Yutopia (First Impression |Review) was an ambitious project that didn’t chalk out well. For the first time a domestic manufacturer dared to source the best hardware components in one package, and label it with a price that lies way beyond what’s conventional comfort zone for domestic player; However, the combination simply didn’t add up and was primarily let down by its software.
Today YU launched its next flagship phone, Yunicorn, and this time it’s playing safe. No Sir, Yunicorn won’t be “redefining flagships”, not by any yardstick, but yes it redefines YU’s approach towards its flagship phones. Yunicorn has a lot to offer and marks the beginning of a new chapter. But was it as compelling in person as on paper? Read on to know our first impression of the new Yu phone.
YU Yunicorn Specifications and Features
|Display||5.5-Inch, 1080p Full HD resolution Display, 2.5D Gorilla Glass|
|Processor||1.8GHz Octa-core MediaTek Helio P10, Mali T860 GPU|
|Internal Storage||32GB, 128GB microSD card supported|
|Software||Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow based AOS|
|Primary Camera||13 MP, PDAF, Dual tone LED Flash|
|Secondary Camera||5 MP|
|Others||4G LTE, Fingerprint sensor|
New Design Approach
Yu had been sticking to the same symmetrical Saturn ring design across its product portfolio for most part of last year, but wisely opts for a change this time. Yunicorn brings together what’s already trending these days, but there are design flourishes which make it unique.
The brushed metal texture back is mostly flat but it gently curves towards the edges, thus lending the Yunicorn a comfortable grip and helping with how it feels in hands.
The 4000 mAh battery housed inside adds a decent heft to it, and also bloats it up a bit, but nothing that shall put you off. On the front there is a 2.5D glass panel that curves on the edges, facilitating smooth transition from glass to metal. The side edge is chamfered on both side.
The 5.5 inch full HD display felt sharp. Color temperatures lean towards the colder side, but the software provides many options to tweak color temperature, hues and contrast in line with your specific taste.
A fingerprint sensor is integrated in a physical home button that rests below the display, but navigation keys are still on-screen. The dual speaker grill flanks the USB port on the bottom.
Comparisons with Meizu M3 Note are inevitable, but in my opinion, both phones have their fair share of differences when compared side to side (Meizu M3 has curved side frame, feels lighter, doesn’t have onscreen navigation bar, and has a flatter back) and the M3 Note looks more elegant.
One might say that the design elements like brushed metal texture (Honor 5x), back cover that curves at the edges (Le 1s) or chamfered side edges (numerous others) aren’t new in this price bracket, but that shouldn’t matter much. All said and done, Yunicorn design is certainly one of its strengths.
Yu Yunicorn Photo Gallery
The AOS Software
During the product launch, Yu laid considerable emphasis on the new Software. This is one thing it can’t afford to screw-up one more time. YU breaks free from Cyanogen and brings its own AOS (Android On Steroids).
AOS has a new app launcher, but settings menu, notification shade, quick settings, etc. are all stock android Lollipop (Marshmallow would have made more sense though). The pane on the left of the Homescreen is reserved for Around YU, which takes center-stage this time as well.
Around Yu basically clubs services like cab, food and even doctors consultation in one place, and lets you choose the best option from one place, without downloading separate apps. The Idea makes sense, but we couldn’t test it on our hands on prototype and don’t have much to say in this regards.
Clearly the software is still in its nascent stages and doesn’t feel very polished. Don’t expect a ton of customization options.
Performance and Camera expectations
The Helio P10 is a fairly new chipset. It’s one of the first big.LITTLE architecture based chip from MediaTek and from initial reviews, we know that it doesn’t offer chart breaking performance but significantly improves battery efficiency compared to past MediaTek offerings.
We expect the performance to be decent enough for basic and moderate users, but will test how well it handles almost stock software on Yunicorn in our full review.
The 13MP rear camera is again like most other cameras we come across in this budget. Here are a few initial camera samples clicked in low and artificial lighting for early assessment. We will need to test it outdoors before formulating our final opinion.
Yunicorn Camera Samples
Yunicorn offers a lot to like, but will face grave challenges from existing rivals. Specs junkies will have a hard time looking past Meizu M3 Note, which is offering almost the same hardware for considerably lower price of 9,999 INR (and the Yunicorn will cost 13,499 INR after introductory sale). Also the likes of Moto G4 Plus and upcoming LeEco Le 2 will also pose as formidable rivals in the online space.