If you are looking for a budget phablet, three phones make their presence felt right now: Asus Zenfone 2 Laser, Lenovo K3 Note and Micromax Yu Yureka Plus. Each has a unique feature or two to offer, which makes it best for a certain type of audience.
There is also Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G which we really like (read our review), but with its successor announced globally and heading to India soon, it makes more sense to wait for the Redmi Note 2 than buy this one. We also think the Redmi Note 4G does not have a significant element to recommend it over the aforementioned three phones.
So without further ado, let’s find out which phone scores in which segment.
Best Screen: Lenovo K3 Note
The K3 Note’s ability to display balanced colours, adjust the colour settings to your liking, and its superior sunlight legibility make it the best screen among the three.
The Zenfone 2 Laser loses out with its HD screen compared to the sharper Full HD screen on the K3 Note and the Yureka Plus. That said, it’s still a pretty good screen.
The Yureka Plus comes in third, despite a sharper screen. The reason? The colours are simply not accurate enough. There is an odd tendency for images to appear yellowish—even at full white, it looks off-white.
Performance: Lenovo K3 Note
There isn’t much to say here since the three phones are pretty closely matched. The K3 Note’s octa-core Mediatek MT6592 processor marginally edges out the Yureka Plus’s octa-core Snapdragon 615 processor. The Zenfone 2 Laser’s quad-core Snapdragon 410 is definitely the weakest of the three, but there isn’t really a performance issue either. Don’t think too much about performance to differentiate these three.
Camera: Asus Zenfone 2 Laser
The Zenfone 2 Laser’s claim to fame is the laser focus, which emits a laser beam to autofocus on the subject of your image. This speeds up autofocus and even lets you focus in dim light, unlike most other phones. Apart from that, the phone’s camera is generally pretty good too.
The Yureka Plus and the K3 Note would both come in second here, but we’d cut the K3 Note’s points for the odd placement of the camera. Stuck in the top-left corner, time and again, we found our finger obstructing our view—it’s not easy to grip a gargantuan phone while simultaneously trying to avoid the corner, hold it steady, and tap the screen.
OS: Yu Yureka Plus
Of these smartphones, the Yureka Plus enjoys a major advantage due to Micromax adopting the CyanogenMod platform and having it officially supported by the team. The main reason is that this means you can almost be assured that you will get updates to your phone, especially critical security patches, faster than the other two.
Lenovo and Asus have both customised their Android 5 Lollipop OS heavily, and while we like some of the features of Asus’s Zen UI, the Lenovo UI remains an avoidable disaster.
Connectivity: Asus Zenfone 2 Laser
With dual 4G SIM slots and the best network reception we have seen in a budget phone, the Zenfone 2 Laser is a clear winner. In fact, coupled with its battery, we’d go so far as to say it’s the best phone to buy if you want to make a lot of calls all day.
The K3 Note and the Yureka Plus don’t have any problems with connectivity, but they just aren’t exceptional like the Zenfone 2 Laser is.
Battery: Asus Zenfone 2 Laser
Again, the Zenfone 2 Laser won this round easily. Its lower-powered processor and lower-resolution screen means that it outlasts the K3 Note, which has a similar capacity battery. The Zenfone 2 managed 12 hours of continuous video playback, which was seriously impressive! The K3 Note conks off at 7-8 hours, and the Yureka Plus with its smaller battery barely manages 6 hours.