Specifications VS Experience. The debate lingers on and on and on. In 2016, consumers and brands are making a gradual shift towards the latter, but everything about Yu Yutopia – from YU’s apparent vision, Marketing strategy, and the end product – makes it come across as a device that tries to lure on the basic of specifications, and in turn projects it as a major proponent of ‘Specifications’ camp.
For years, domestic brands have been notorious for bundling ballistic hardware (XYZ cores and ABC megapixels) at a ludicrously low price which somehow didn’t add up in practice at user end, resulting in a sub-par experience, poorer than what one might expect. Yutopia, while being an honestly ambitious attempt, makes the same elementary mistake and falls in the same rut. Let’s elaborate as we progress with our review.
Key Specifications of Yutopia:
|Display||5.2-inch (1440 x 2560 pixels) Quad HD OGS display with Corning Concore Glass|
|Processor||2 GHz 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor|
|Internal Storage||32GB with expansion slot (128GB)|
|Software||Android 5.1.1 Lollipop based CyanogenOS 12|
|Primary Camera||21MP with dual tone LED flash, PDAF, OIS, wide angle lens, 4K video recording, Sony Exmor RS IMX230 sensor|
|Selfie Camera||8MP with wide angle lens, OV8865 BSI-2 sensor, f/2.2 aperture, 1.4um pixel|
|Others||Fingerprint sensor, 4G LTE, Hybrid Dual SIM|
|Battery||3000mAh, Quick Charge 2.0 supported|
- Premium design
- Reasonable Camera performance
- capable chipset
- Good display quality
- Slow fingerprint sensor
- Buggy software
- Build quality is average
Premium design, but flaky
Yutopia’s design resemblance to low-end variants like Yuphoria and Yunique (Symmetrical design, Saturn ring on camera, 3 element key) might be an initial setback, but isn’t something that is likely to set you off. The metallic unibody phone strikes the right width-height balance and is quite comfortable to hold and carry around.
Yutopia is a well-designed phone which feels premium, especially considering what other manufacturers are offering in the same price range, but the device never felt solid.
Apply gentle pressure on the back – the chassis creaks and the display pops out. Besides, the glass on the rear camera module accumulates scratches very easily, and that could have a negative impact on camera performance in the long run. The fact that it’s very slippery doesn’t help either, but that is something which can be easily rectified using the case YU has bundled in the retail box.
Blame the software
It appears Cyanogen had done a great disservice to YU with this half-hearted effort. The software doesn’t talk with the hardware like it should and makes Yutopia a very erratic handset.
These inconsistencies manifest in numerous forms. Calls drop abruptly, the display starts to flicker, the phone randomly freezes, videos get muted unless you restart them and so on.
This is the first Cyanogen OS device with 2K display and fingerprint sensor, and the company doesn’t put in any special effort to embellish either of the two. Even the default wallpapers haven’t been scaled properly and thus feel pixelated. The high resolution content we downloaded felt so much better on Yutopia display. CyanogenOS on Yutopia, despite being feature rich, is a big let down. However, the silver lining is that it can be rectified with future updates (or changed altogether if you are an advanced users who likes to play god).
Talking of software, another highlight here is Around YU. The service provides for an interface to quickly book cabs, order food, book tickets, etc. It certainly feels like a value addition, but is still in its nascent stages.
Display and multimedia experience is quite good
The display quality on Yutopia is pretty good for both indoor and outdoor viewing. Punchy vivid colors, wide viewing angles and awesome blacks makes it a good display for watching multimedia content (Cyanogen isn’t helping the display either).
The loudspeaker audio experience is pretty good too. Yu has bundled Little Bird in-ear headset from House of Marley, which are again reasonably good as far as in-box accessories go (though I won’t recommend you to buy them separately). To enhance music experience, Micromax has roped in Gaana app as the default player for both online and offline music. This should be an added bonus for Hindi music lovers. The effects of DTS audio weren’t very well pronounced.
Performance, Battery and Heating
Naturally, Yutopia isn’t skimming on specs, but we won’t say the day to day experience is smooth. The handset randomly freezes and lags many a times. Having said that, there is no denying the hardware muscle under the hood. Gaming experience is smooth and the handset is quite capable of heavy lifting and multitasking.
It feels hot even with day to day usage, but the temperature is within permissible limits. High-end gaming and extended heavy usages makes it uncomfortably hot at times, but that isn’t something unusual for most Snapdragon 810 powered handsets we have come across past year.
There are signal drops, but when you have connectivity, call quality is very good. The Fingerprint sensor used is a mediocre one. It is mostly accurate if configured properly (It’s a 360 degree sensor) but is very slow, which defeats the whole purpose of using it.
The 3000 mAh battery should last for a day if you are a basic or moderate user. Heavy users will need to charge their handsets through the day. We managed to get screen on time of around 3 hours 20 minutes (average). Standby times are good. The handset supports fast charging (10 percent to 48 percent in 30 minutes). Yu decided to avoid USB Type C for now and we are happy with this decision. USB Type A is more convenient as of today.
Yu has included a powerful 21MP Sony Exmor RS IMX230 rear camera sensor on Yutopia which is good enough to make average users happy. Shots in good and natural lighting turn out crisp and accurate. In low lighting, camera performance dwindles more than expected, but we still managed to capture decent shots. The front selfie camera is also a capable performer in good lighting. You can also tap any finger on the fingerprint sensor to conveniently click selfies.
As far as video recording goes, the 1080p and Slow motion videos are decent enough, but 4K video capture is plagued with frame drops. HDR shots feel overexposed. Camera shutter speed and focus aren’t very fast either.
Yutopia camera left us with mixed feeling. On its own it is quite good at producing the intended results without putting in much effort most of the time, but feels secondary to camera modules we have experienced in phones like Nexus 5X and OnePlus 2.
Yu Yutopia Photo Gallery
Should I buy Yutopia?
While writing our first impression piece, we were a tad skeptical about Yutopia’s approach towards excellence. Now that we have had more time to spend with YU’s most ambitious smartphone and to put all our inhibitions to test, our opinion hasn’t changed much. Yu Yutopia aims for the sky, but inexperience and resulting lack of proper ground work makes it an imperfect attempt.
There is potential and still a lot to like, and things might get better after a few software updates, but for now using Yutopia feels annoying, and thus it is hard for us to recommend (Even though we are inclined to).