YU, A Subsidiary brand of Micromax was found a year ago and since the company has been trying to mark their presence in the Indian smartphone market. The company has launched five smartphones till date, the first one being the YU Yureka which was launched in association with CyanogenMod was a smash hit while the rest of the devices were hit or miss. The company is in dire need for a blockbuster device that will put the company back in the race where the competition is now head-to-head with Chinese entries like Xiaomi, Huawei, and LeEco. YU YUNICORN is the latest smartphone that company claims to redefine the flagship meaning, So does the company’s claims stand still? Or it falls short? Let’s find out in our detailed review.
YU YUNICORN Design and Build: During the YUNICORN launch last month, CEO Rahul Sharma specially mentioned that it is the most beautiful YU smartphone the company has ever designed. Well, it’s true on some levels. However, it looks a lot familiar to another Chinese company smartphone, and we are not complaining about the similarities, but it’s worth mentioning. The 2.5D curved glass display makes it comfortable to use with one hand, and the Brushed metal back gives it a premium look, and it is entirely flat with no camera bumps, and we did like that. Though the weight of the device is on the heavier side at 172 grams, it is evenly distributed making it not so heavy to hold.
Starting off with the design, up front the device sports a 5.5-inches Full HD 2.5D curved glass display, LED notifications light, proximity and ambient light sensor accompanied with a 5-megapixel front camera. Down below the screen, you have the three capacitive buttons within the display and below that you find the home button that also bodes as a fingerprint sensor. To the bottom, you find main speaker grills on both side and a MicroSD card slot in the middle. However, only the right side one is the speaker while the left side one is a primary microphone. On the right side, you find the volume rockers and power button, these buttons are tactile and do give a good amount of feedback. To the left, You find the SIM tray that takes in Hybrid Dual SIM (nano SIM + Nano / microSD card). On the back side, you have the 13-megapixel camera with dual-tone LED flash, Brushed aluminum back panel, YU branding. The back panel cannot be removed, and a 4000mAH battery lies underneath. On top, there is a 3.5 mm audio jack followed by the secondary microphone.
YU YUNICORN Display: The Yu YUNICORN sports a 5.5-inches FullHD 2.5D Curved glass display with a contrast ratio of 1000:1 and brightness of 450 cd/m2 and a pixel density of 405 PPI. The display is beautiful with impressive color reproduction and contrast ratio with impressive brightness levels which makes the outdoor visibility in check. The display comes with ultra-thin bezels which make it a delight in consuming content and the 2.5D curved glass makes it comfortable to hold and one-handed usage. On the whole, the display is impressive and makes it one of the best in this price segment.
YU YUNICORN Performance and Gaming: The YU YUNICORN is powered by MediaTek Helio P10Soc clocked at 1.8GHz Octa-Core processor with Mali T860 GPU. Though the specifications on paper stand still to be called as Flagship, falls short with sub-par performance especially the gaming. The typical day-to-day tasks perform real good with minute lag, but it did throttle and lag during heavy multitasking. Though it comes with 4GB of Ram, the performance can get better, and we hope it will as the software gets matured as we blame it for the occasional lag. As we said the general day-to-day tasks like taking/making calls, push notifications the device performs real good but slows down eventually if you have a good number of apps running in the background. During the launch event, the company focused on the audio department, and it does come with its support, but the sound experience via the loudspeaker is average and is neat once you are plug-in the earphones.
Coming to gaming, we played games like subway surfers to have a brief idea about the display color contrast, Riptide GP 2, Asphalt 8, Need for Speed Run. Of all these games we did play, we just had a good experience while playing Subway Surfers and rest all other games lagged, stuttered a lot and we did notice frame drops, and it felt very choppy.With Asphalt 8, the game wasn’t even playable in medium graphic settings, certainly not the flagship-level performance one would expect. We want to believe the performance might improve with software updates in the future.
YU YUNICORN Camera Review: The YU YUNICORN rocks a 13-megapixel rear camera with Dual TONE LED flash, f/2.2 aperture, Phase Detection Auto Focus (PDAF) and 5P lens and a 5-megapixel front camera for selfies and video calls. Talking about the rear camera performance, it performs well in outdoor lighting conditions where there is ample amount of natural light but fails to retain the same under low-light. However, the color contrast is always on the over-saturated side. The rear camera can record 1080p video, but the quality of the clip is pretty average, the PDAF allows you to focus on objects quickly, but it can be a bit quicker.
To put it simply, YU YUNICORN camera performs the same way like any other Android phone that is priced is the 10,000-15,000 segment. Shines in well-lit conditions but fails in low-light. The front 5-megapixel can click decent selfies and gets the job done. The camera interface is similar to any other MediaTek powered smartphones. During out testing, the device did get a couple of OTA updates that improved the camera performs slightly. Check out the camera samples to know more.
YU YUNICORN Software and Connectivity Review: The YU YUNICORN runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop, thought it is not fair to call a smartphone flagship that doesn’t run on the latest operating system, it is understandable since the company broke up with CyanogenMod. It now runs on its custom ROM called Android on Steroids (AOS), it is near to stock with slight customizations and several simple yet most useful features. YU has debuted the “Around YU” functionality during the YUTOPIA launch that is integrated within the OS and eliminates the need to download apps for food ordering, cab, flight booking and more. Now with YUNICORN, the company has introduced the Around YU 2.0 which comes with YU wallet that lets you pay bills, do recharge and more; all this is linked to your YU account.
As we said its very near to stock OS, it can either be boring or exciting depending on user’s perspective. We never noticed any lag in the UI for regular day-to-day tasks, but it did slow down during heavy multitasking. Connectivity features include 4G LTE– Band 3/5/40, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, Hybrid SIM slot that takes in Single SIM and a MicroSD card or dual nano SIM but not both. It also supports USB OTG, and it comes with 32GB internal storage which is enough for most users. Talking about the call quality, we never faced any issues with call reception and quality via the ear piece and WiFi performance is a bit bizarre as it disconnects automatically sometimes or loses signal strength even though we are close to the router.
YU YUNICORN Battery Review: The YU YUNICORN packs a 4000mAH battery and for such a massive battery it does not come with fast charging support and during our testing the battery took almost 3 hours to charge completely from 5-100%. The company claimed that the battery would last up to 4 days, but that is only possible if you are a light user. Now if you are a moderate to heavy it can go up to 2 days. The software on this device does not show you the battery percentage on the status bar which is the worst bug any software could have. Leaving aside the bug, we are impressed with the battery performance.
The YU YUNICORN also features a Fingerprint sensor on the home button, taking about the performance, it can unlock the device in less than 0.2 seconds, and you can register up to 5 fingers. Fingerprint sensor performance is splendid.
YU YUNICORN Final Verdict: Under 15,000 price segment, YUNICORN is one of the best choices which has a lot going on for the price we pay. But you should also know the device can’t perform like a flagship. However, if beautiful display, fast fingerprint sensor, amazing build quality, and looks, incredible battery life are your priority you should check out the YU YUNICORN. If gaming performance and camera are your things, you might want to check out other alternatives.