Yu Televentures did take a dig and succeeded quite a bit with its budget smartphone, the Yu Yuphoria. It was put up against the Xiaomi Redmi 2, forcing the latter to come up with a Prime variant to match the specs, but the build quality of Yuphoria was indeed better. The inflow of brands from outside India made the competition fierce and there are decent devices made for price of as low as Rs. 5000. The bigger point to note is not the specs, but the capability of supporting 4G connectivity at this price point.
Lenovo had its A2010 and Phicomm has its Energy 653 smartphone at that price point, and Yu recently had launched the Yu Yunique smartphone, with some compromise in both, internal and external hardware of Yuphoria. How does it fare against the competition, and does it give the value expected for the price? Let’s find out.
As for the build quality, Yunique is surely a lot different and lighter than Yuphoria, as the metal side frame gets replaced by plastic, and it is the plastic back that extends up to the screen area. Meanwhile, the size is also reduced as Yu has reduced the screen size from 5-inch to 4.7-inch. The coating on the back of Yunique seems rubberized, which is good in a way, but has a problem attached to it – the smudges and patches showing up after a considerable amount of time.
The front has no navigation buttons as they are a part of the display, and the YU Logo is seen alongside the front-facing camera above the display, and just near to the edge is the earpiece grill that also houses an LED notification light. The back comes with YU’s Saturn ring around the camera, and the ring has the LED flash, while the speaker grill is seen towards the bottom.
No proper access is given to lift the back cover out, and a fingernail force on one of the bottom edges would do enough to remove it, and on the back is a non-removable battery and slots for two MicroSIM cards and a MicroSD card.
For the build quality, you surely are going to guess this is a cheapish device with its plastic body, but keep in mind the price tag as well, and things are set pretty much right for the easiest use of a phone having a 4.7-inch screen.
As for the display, we are actually impressed with the quality of it, with the sharpness, contrast and readability. But the screen is oleophobic, and touch isn’t really smooth as we felt it to be a bit sticky. Otherwise, the 720p display under the 4.7-inch screen is as good as ones you might see on higher-priced phones.
YU was pretty much under spotlight when it had launched Yureka with CyanogenMod back then, but since then, things have changed pretty much and the approach from the company now has become interesting. The Yu Yunique now comes with Android 5.1 OS with near-stock UI, and it is not Cyanogen OS that you can see here. But, if you wish, Cyanogen can still be installed pretty easily.
The lovers of stock Android will feel at home with this unit, and we usually suggest users to go with devices that don’t come with the clutter of bloatware and unnecessary animations, when there is no heavy hardware supporting it. Here, the OS seems very responsive, quick at action and hardly any different from stock Android, except for a few functions like a prompt asking you to register your device.
YUniverse is a new browser included in the OS, although there is Google Chrome already pre-loaded. YUniverse is Opera for Android, with the speed dial having a few shortcuts to websites, which aren’t actual shortcuts but ads that take you to the websites. Ignore that, and you are still looking at a decent UI that doesn’t take your time to make you adjusted with it.
The compromises that were made with the internal hardware, were with storage and RAM as YU managed to give it the power by Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor, while reducing the RAM to 1GB and internal storage to 8GB, of which about 4.11GB storage is available to the user.
The performance of Yunique is appreciable, but the reduction in RAM capacity does matter because multitasking with several apps closes down the heavy ones, for example, we switched between about 9 apps and a couple of them were high-end games, and the game restarted without saving the data in the background because the RAM wasn’t sufficient. Without any apps running in the background, around 450MB of RAM was free.
The basic games that top the charts in Play Store, most of them played well without much lags, but the resource-demanding games like Asphalt 8 and Real Racing 3 were toned down with graphics and didn’t do great, as expected.
The camera is quite a let down, with the Yunique although having a 8-megapixel rear, and 2-megapixel front-facing shooter, it doesn’t come close to the captures we took on the Redmi 2 in comparison. While we see nothing really bad on natural bright light, the Yunique doesn’t do well on close-up shots, and the performance is poor in low light.
Megapixels don’t really count when you are out to look at a good color reproduction and naturally looking captures, and frankly, the Yunique does well with color reproduction except a few hiccups when subjected to moving objects changing the contrast pretty quickly. The camera app is quite disappointing, and so is the front-facing camera, but we feel that the camera on the back does enough one would want to see from a phone priced at Rs. 5000.
Check: Yu Yunique Camera Samples
At a place where signals were pretty unstable, the Yunique tried to latch on to 4G even on low signals, whenever the data network was being used. Otherwise, it could easily switch between 3G and 4G when not using the data, and the other connectivity options worked very well, which is more than what I’d personally expect from a budget phone, as these usually come with compromises in one or the other way.
One other segment where Yu did a bit of compromise, is the battery. It is a 2000 mAh battery that comes packed into the phone, and it isn’t user-replaceable. It in fact comes with a warning written over it, that the warranty would be void if the battery is removed from its place.
Stand-by is great on the device, and the battery lasts for a day easily on normal usage, with the screen-on time of around 3 hour 10 minutes, though I strictly used the Yunique as a secondary phone alongside the LG G4. At a place with unstable network, the Yu Yunique still managed to drain only about 6% battery overnight, where there was frequent switching between 4G and 3G networks.
Read below for our final verdict about the Yu Yunique, and the things we liked and disliked about the phone that is well settled in the budget range.