Reliance launched the LYF brand of smartphones in tandem with their ambitious 4G startup, JIO, earlier this year. Yesterday, LYF introduced the newest member of the family, Earth 2, priced at ₹19,999. However, the phone hardly has anything that justifies its price tag.
Earth 2 does come with two noticeable features. The first one is the Iris retina scanner which allows the user to unlock the phone with their eyes. The other good feature is the 13 MP front camera with auto-focus and flash.
A quick comparison with a lower end LYF phone suggests that besides the bumped up RAM and the front camera, the Earth 2 offers nothing new. Many other devices with these features are available in the market for ₹10-12,000.
The phone's battery life is also disappointing, especially because, with JIO pushing for 4G connections, the demands on a phone's battery is going to go up significantly. Earth 2's 2500 mAh battery charge will not last for even a day for a current regular user. Another point of concern is the software. The phone is being launched on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop and it is unclear what Reliance's plans are about providing software updates.
Meanwhile, Jio opened their 4G program recently to people, without any invites required. Users have to buy a LYF headset for getting a Jio connection but, in return, they are getting 3 months of unlimited 4G data, which is a great deal. Reliance Communications is also offering their users a taste of the Jio network by offering 10 GB of 4G data for just ₹93.
Thus far, LYF has gained great traction through offline sales in India, mainly because of their low-end offerings, bundled 4G data and store reach. They have achieved the 5th position in smartphone shipments in India in the first quarter of 2016.