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YU Yunicorn Review

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YU wasn’t quite successful with its first flagship offering despite having the best offering on paper. However, now the company has reattempted with the YU Yunicorn, this time with more focus on the services rather than the hardware. Let’s find out if this handset can truly “break other flagships”.

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YU Yunicorn specs:

  • 5.5 inch display
  • 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution
  • 1.8 GHz octa core MediaTek Helio P10 MT6755M processor
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 32 GB internal memory
  • 13 MP primary camera
  • 5 MP front facing camera
  • Android v5.1 Lollipop
  • 4000 mAh battery

Design:

While YU seems to have finally got a refreshingly new design for its line-up, we couldn’t help but notice the striking resemblance with the recently launched Meizu m3 Note. The device certainly does feel premium owing to the full brushed metal design but doesn’t quite feel like flagship material.

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The front of the phone flaunts the 5.5 inch display which looks comparatively small owing to the minimalistic bezel running along the edges. The most significant item is the Home button below the display which has the fingerprint scanner embedded. On top we have the earpiece, the front facing camera, the notification LED and the proximity sensor, all neatly aligned.

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The back of the handset has just the rear camera module with the dual-tone LED flash. Also visible are the antenna bands which go well with the brushed metal surface which is smoothly curved and rounded at the edges thus making it very comfortable to hold. The corners are also rounded smoothly.

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The left edge has a single hybrid SIM tray which accepts either two nano SIM cards or one nano SIM card and a microSD memory card.

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The right side has the Power button and the volume rockers.

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The top has the 3.5 mm headphone jack along with the secondary noise cancelling microphone whereas the bottom has the micro USB port, two grills of which the right is the speaker outlet.

Display:

One the best features of the YU Yunicorn definitely has to be the 5.5 inch 2.5D curved glass display which has full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels with 1000:1 contrast ratio and 450 cd/m2 brightness. As expected, the display is significantly bright and crisp. More importantly, the display is well visible in sunlight and bright outdoor conditions. This display has very good viewing angles and is ideal for watching videos or playing games.

Software and User Interface:

After the fallout with Cyanogen, YU finally decided to go with its own Android version which it proudly calls ‘Android on Steroids’ or AoS. For starters, the software is based on stock Android Lollipop v5.1.1 with very little bloatware. YU has however customized it to make it a little more visually appealing. For example, the app drawer flaunts a vertically scrolling app drawer which has the apps sorted alphabetically. As unique as that may be, it slightly takes some time to get accustomed to.

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The core feature of the YU Yunicorn would be the services AroundYU which are baked right into the handset. A simple swipe to the right on the Homescreen takes you to the AroundYU services page where you can avail a host of services in just a few clicks.

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For example, the feature allows you to book cabs from OLA and Uber without having their apps installed. More importantly, YU has integrated the YU Wallet powered by UDIO for recharging mobile, data cards and DTH. Further, the Health app powered by Lybrate connects you to doctors in real time for opinions and necessary treatment.

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Interestingly, YU has already rolled out two updates in the last few days since the launch and seems to be pretty committed to the AoS version. While there is no word on the Android Marshmallow update yet, the company claims to be working on it and could release it in a few weeks.

Camera:

The YU Yunicorn sports a 13 MP Omnivision PureCel OV13853 sensor with PDAF and f/2.2 aperture lens and is accompanied by a dual-tone LED flash. While the camera seems to take some rather decent shots, it goes in for a complete toss with the slightest zoom. On zooming, the sharpness levels drop contrastingly and the contrast levels drop sharply.

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In natural light
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With HDR
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Using dual-tone LED flash

In general, the camera takes some decent shots in bright outdoor conditions. The HDR mode certainly adds in a lot more detailing but requires you to stand perfectly still for better results. The indoor shots are just above average with a little noise creeping in. The dual-tone flashlight certainly improves on picture quality in low-light conditions but tends to lose out on the smaller details.

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The 5 MP front facing autofocus camera is amazing for selfies. The wide-angle lens enables more people to fit in the selfie.  Also the selfie features like Beautify help remove wrinkles and whiten the skin tone.

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YU has also introduced a PIP camera mode which simultaneously activates the back and front shooter. The Panorama mode is quite good and captures a decent angle without much distortion. It also offers a host of modes based on the colour tone.

Hardware, Performance:

The YU Yunicorn is powered by the octa core MediaTek MT6755 Helio P10 processor clocked at 1.8 GHz, which by itself kicks it out of the flagship race. While the company did pack in 4 GB of RAM, given the performance it certainly does seem like unnecessary. While benchmark scores may not give the exact picture in terms of performance, the handset scored just 33184 on AnTuTu benchmarks while the other handsets in the same range like the Redmi Note 3 scored above the 80k mark.

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However, despite its limitations and owing to the copious 4 GB RAM, the handset can function smoothly without any visible lags. Also multi-tasking is a breeze unless it involves high-intensity applications like games or high-end image editors.

The worst downside of the handsets is however the graphics which is openly visible when playing games. The Mali-T860 MP2 GPU on the Helio P10 processor is way too under-powered to make justice to any high-end games. The heavier games like Asphalt 8 did display significant issue with the graphics and minor lags. Also there is slight but noticeable amount of heating when the device is used continuously or is running heavy applications.

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The fingerprint scanner is embedded inside the Home button present just below the screen. It can store up to five fingers and is pretty fast at registering the fingerprint. More importantly, it is pretty quick at unlocking the phone and as claimed by the company takes just 0.2 seconds. However, it fails to recognize the finger when it is wet or slightly turned.

Storage and Connectivity:

The device comes with a standard 32 GB of inbuilt storage instead of storage options. Storage space available to user is slightly above 24 GB. The storage can further be expanded up to 128 GB using microSD cards inserted in the hybrid SIM card slot.

The phone has 4G LTE support and supports a wide array of LTE bands along with carrier aggregation. Also present is Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, USB-OTG and GPS support. However, the handset lacks FM Radio.

Battery:

During the launch, the company claimed that 4000 mAh battery would last for 4 days on a single charge. However, in reality the battery could last at most a day lasting exactly 18 hours on extensive usage before requiring to be plugged in again. On moderate use, the battery would easily last for a day and half, thus making it a long-lasting offering the range.

Conclusion:

Clearly, YU has done a better job with its flagship this time around by improving on the looks (highly inspired, but nonetheless!) and build quality. We would expect the camera department to be improved in near future though software updates. The deeply integrated AroundYU services are surprisingly easy to use and time-saving.

But at the price point of Rs. 12999 (the cheapest flagship maybe), the handset seems to be slightly overpriced compared to other mid-range handsets in that range including the LeEco Le 2 and the Redmi Note 3. Further, the Meizu m3 Note which has the exact same design and specs (except 3 GB RAM) is priced at just Rs. 9999.

What makes this even more difficult is that YU plans on hiking the prices of the handset to Rs. 14999 later this month. However, if you’re looking for a decent smartphone which belongs to an Indian brand in the sub-Rs. 15000 range, this is definitely the phone for you.

Pros:

  • Build Quality
  • Around YU services

Cons:

  • Price
  • Graphic performance (gaming)
  • No fast charging
  • Camera

 

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