YU YUNICORN : worth buying??

Micromax’s sub-brand YU Televentures has decided to shift way from the popular online-only sales model and will use offline channels to drive more sales of its smartphones. The first smartphone under the YU brand that will be available through online as well as offline stores is a budget smartphone called YU Yunicorn. Priced at Rs.12,999 as an introductory offering on Flipkart, the handset will sell atRs.14,999 after a month. The first phase of online sales will begin from 7 June. Offline sales will start from July. We take a look at what is good and what’s not so good in this new smartphone.

The Good Stuff

There is a lot going for the YU Yunicorn, and it hits the sweet spot with an usable design, a good screen with rather detailed display customization options as well as a clean interface, smooth performance and good battery life.

Well built but handy

The YU Yunicorn is a metal-clad phone with a brushed matte finish at the back and a glossy front panel. While the metal finish adds to the phone’s solidity, the laser etched YU logo and the brushed metal finish on the back definitely adds to its looks. The edges on the back are slightly tapered which gives the phone a sleek appearance. It tips the scales at 172g and feels pretty handy to use. The bezels around the display look wide due to the front facing button which also serves as a fingerprint sensor. The fingerprint sensor is accurate and quick.

Big and sharp display

The YU Yunicorn comes with 5.5-inch LCD display with a screen resolution of 1920x1080p. The display handles text well, colours don’t look pale or too bright. visibility from odd angles is also good. The only niggle is that the visibility under bright light is a bit restricted, though due to the reflective nature of the screen.

The YU Yunicorn has a feature called MiraVision. This offers extensive controls over the contrast, colour saturation, picture brightness, sharpness, temperature as well as dynamic contrast and colour effect settings for video playback. We have not yet seen such detailed and fine picture quality controls in any smartphone, and this will be great news for those who want to tweak the screen for greater comfort or visibility or even richness. There is even a monochrome mode which switches off the colour display and turns on what is essentially a black and white mode—it can improve the battery life, but because the screen refresh rate is reduced, some animations and transitions may seem sluggish.

Clean UI with some cool features

Though the YU Yunicorn runs on a slightly older (Lollipop) version of Android, it uses an almost stock version of Android with some cosmetic changes. For example, the app icons look different. Also swiping left to right from the edge of the home screen opens up a location-based feature called Around YU instead of the Google Now. Around YU is a notable addition to Micromax’s software portfolio. It is basically a one stop solution where users can find all their answers. One can book bus, cab and a seat on flight, shop and even order food with it. Its latest feature is the option of recharging mobile and DTH connection.

What is also likable about the UI is the clean look and the absence of unnecessary third party apps.

Delivers smooth performance

The phone runs on MediaTek’s new Helio P10 octa-core processor with 4GB of RAM. It is more powerful than the Helio X10 processor and can handle day to day tasks such as switching between apps, keeping more than 10 apps running in the background smoothly. It even played games such as the FIFA 16 and GT Racing 2 without any signs of sluggishness or heating up on the back panel. The device has dual SIM slots which supports all 4G networks. User gets 32GB as internal storage and the option to expand it to another 128GB via micro SD cards.

Long-lasting Battery

The 4,000mAh battery gives more than a day and half on regular use, which is impressive and at par with most rivals.

The not so good stuff

Despite the positives with the YU Yunicorn, there are some shortcomings, such as the inconsistent camera and the fact that it still runs an older Android.

Camera struggles even in natural light

The 13-megapixel camera may be technically at par with its rivals, but in real life, the camera struggles even under in good light. Light colours look washed out and when viewed on a bigger screen the noise is clearly visible. It also tends to darken colours in non-focus areas which gives the green colour a slightly darker look. There aren’t many camera modes either which limits the options for users.

Lacks some latest features

The YU Yunicorn runs the previous version of Android. Though YU has assured Android M update by July. We are not entirely sure if the lack of the USB Type-C standard goes against the YU Yunicorn, but some users may have preferred the faster data transfer and fast charging it would have allowed.

Verdict

The YU Yunicorn impresses with its design, display, performance and battery backup and can offer tough competition to the Lenovo Zuk Z1 (Rs.13,499; exclusive on Amazon.in) which offers a more customisable Cyanogen OS, USB type-C, more internal storage and a superior camera.