Overview
Introduction
Design
Display
Hardware
Software and apps
Camera
Audio and video
Performance
Battery life
Conclusion
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YU Yunique Review

A smartphone which offers 4G LTE connectivity at a modest price
By Chakri Kudikala on 2015-09-21
Key Features
  • 4.7-inch 720p display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 chipset
  • 4G-ready
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop
What we like
  • 4G LTE support
  • Feels good in hand
  • Powerful loudspeaker
  • Option for Cyanogen OS 12.1
  • Display is protected by Gorilla Glass 3 technology
What we don't like
  • Display could be better
  • Heating issues
  • Non-removable battery
  • Underwhelming camera
6.3
Our Score
Introduction

YU Televentures, a subsidiary of Micromax, launched its fourth budget smartphone, the YU Yunique, earlier this month. Already a brand to reckon with in terms of manufacturing affordable handsets, Micromax uses its same ‘low-cost handset’ philosophy with this smartphone as well. 

Introduction1

A watered down version of its predecessor the Yuphoria, the YU Yunique boasts of being one of the cheapest smartphones available in the market to offer 4G connectivity. Although, the device comes preloaded with Android 5.1 Lollipop, YU claims that one can install Cyanogen OS 12.1 as well.

The YU Yunique is exclusively available via Snapdeal on flash sale for a price of Rs. 4,999. We got our hands on a pre-retail unit of the YU Yunique in black variant, and after using the handset for a week, here’s what we think of the device.

Design
8

In terms of design, the YU Yunique looks simply like a replica of the Yuphoria. At the time of the Yuphoria’s launch in May this year,  the company had announced that it intended to follow a unique design for all of its devices. And so, the Yunique bears the same design language of the Yuphoria, except for its metallic frame. Moreover, as on the Yuphoria, this device too sports a unique metal ring around the camera module, which the company calls the ‘Saturn Ring’, that breaks just for the LED flash. 

Design1

The body of the YU Yunique is completely made of plastic, and its back panel has a rubber-like feel to it, that makes it very comfortable to hold. The smartphone boasts of a 4.7-inch HD screen protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 technology. At a thickness of 8.3mm and a weight of 128g, the device is relatively bulkier, when compared to its arch rival, Karbonn Mach Five. The finishing on the YU Yunique to be quite good, especially for a device that is so affordably priced. 

Design2

The back panel has a soft matte coating and is also prone to fingerprints. Underneath the panel lies a 2,000 mAh non-removable battery, a microSD card slot and two SIM card slots. The back panel is removable and is available in two more colours - Serene white and Moonstone grey. The power button is located on the right edge of the device, with the volume buttons on either side of it. On this device, YU sticks to on-screen navigation buttons, rather than opting for capacitive ones. The 3.55mm port rests right at the centre of the top edge, whereas the charging port is similarly placed at the centre of the bottom edge of the device. 

Overall, the YU Yunique is a compact device in terms of its design and definitely impresses, if compared to other devices in the same price segment.

Display
4

The front part of the device is dominated by a 4.7-inch HD screen with a resolution of 720x1280 pixels, which translates to a pixel density of 312PPI. Clearly, this device offers one of the most crisp displays in the market for its price segment. Additionally, the display comes with Full Lamination technology and is also protected with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 technology.

Display1

The display of the Yunique tends to look faded all the time. The colour accuracy and brightness on this phone are decent. The IPS panel ensures good viewing angles. However, the lack of an oleophobic coating tends to accumulate fingerprints, which eventually causes difficulty in viewing the text from different angles. Also, if you plan to use it under direct sun light, you might want to bump the brightness to the maxium, else the legibility will be poor.

Hardware
6

The YU Yunique houses the 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 mobile chipset with four processor cores clocked at 1.2 GHz, and coupled with Adreno 306 GPU for the graphics. However, the 1GB LPDDR3 of RAM is a disappointment on this device, especially when compared to Coolpad Dazen 1 offering 2GB of RAM.

Hardware1

In terms of storage space, the device offers 8GB of internal storage, out of which only 4GB is available to the user. This storage can further be expanded up to 32GB via a microSD slot. Both the SIM slots in the Yunique support 4G connectivity. 

Hardware2

Other connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, and A-GPS. The speaker grille located at the bottom on the back panel, delivers rich sound. The built-in FM radio app allows you to tune into various radio stations, but only works when headphones are connected. 

Software and apps
8

Up until now, YU shipped all of its devices with Cyanogen OS, but this is not the case with the Yunique. If you are a fan of Cyanogen OS, you can still flash Cyanogen OS 12.1 onto this device. Yunique runs a version of stock Android 5.1.1 Lollipop and YU has made a few tweaks to this version of stock Android. For an instance, the phone comes with a different gallery and video player. The device also features a few of YU’s applications like the YUniverse, a news reader based on the Opera mobile browser. The app launcher too appears to be a customised version of the Google Now Launcher. 

Software1

The bloatware-free software on this device is one of its biggest merits. That said, we did notice some lags while using a few apps, the Dialer being one of them. But since we were using an early pre-retail unit, it is quite likely that the software bugs will be fixed with an update in the near future. 

Without any frills, the clean and neat looking stock Android UI is average at best.

Camera
6

Camera1

The YU Yunique has a 8-megapixel primary camera and a 2-megapixel secondary camera. The rear camera, in particular, captures good images in bright light. When the pictures were taken indoors though, the images looked fair amount of details but the white balance goes for a toss. The Yunique captures good images in low light as well, with the help of the LED flash. 

Focussing is not an issue on this device although it takes a while to lock focus. While focussing, the camera tends to over-expose images at the edges. However, we can overcome this by installing the Google Camera app from the Play Store. The images taken by the front camera were soft in all kinds of lighting conditions. 

Camera2

The Yunique has one of the most feature-rich camera apps with a Pro mode to offer more manual control. So you can adjust the parameters such as ISO, White Balance and Focus, and then click the image. The camera app allows you to set several modes such as Mono, Sepia, Aqua, Neon, and Sketch to your pictures. There are also real-time filters such as Beauty mode, Sports, Candlelight, and Beach, that you can use to enhance your images. 

Camera3

The YU Yunique can capture 1080p videos with plenty of details in it. It also tends to skip some frames, which is quite disappointing though. 

While we found the phone has a camera with plenty options to play around but the resultant images turn out to be average at best.

Audio and video
6

As we have seen on its previous devices, YU doesn't pack any native music application. One has to make do with the stock Google Play Music player as the primary choice to listen to music. The music player can be used along with the built-in equaliser for sound equalisation. The equaliser allows you to choose from either your own preferable settings or from presets such as Classic, Dance, Folk, Heavy Metal, and Jazz. You can stream music through online sources such as wynk, saavn, and gaana. 

Audio1

For videos, YU has added a separate video player. The Yunique does a great job while playing 720p videos which look just alright and not punchier like that on other models. However, the viewing angles on the Yunique do add up to the joy of watching videos. Unfortunately, the phone can't play 1080p videos. Te loudspeaker amplifies the experience of watching the videos with good sound quality.

Performance
6

The YU Yunique offers a 64-bit processor in the under-Rs.5,000 price segment. In our day-to-day usage, we found that the Yunique performed well without any hiccups or lags. Packing decent hardware and offering stock Android, the Yunique performs better than other devices in its price segment such as the Karbonn Mach Five. Additionally, games like Asphalt 8:Airborne work well in medium graphic settings, but don't inspire confidence in high graphics mode. Low-graphic intensive games such as the Temple Run and the Beach Buggy Blitz can be played without any lag. During the time that we played games on this device, we noticed that its back panel would get heated up within five minutes, especially while playing graphic-intensive ones.

The Yunique scored 16,462 in the AnTuTu benchmark test in terms of overall performance. This placed the device slightly below the Xiaomi Redmi Note. Its gaming performance was measured by the GFXBench test, where it scored 9fps, which was relatively low. 

Performance1

The YU Yunique performs well in terms of voice calls; the call quality was acceptable and there were no call drops during our entire usage. The network quality was also decent - the device provides good 4G connectivity outdoors as well as indoors.  

The almost-stock Android UI works smoothly, and the device didn’t show any noticeable lags while switching between apps or swiping through the gallery. You can also browse the web with ease on this phone. Overall, the Yunique delivers just about average performance.

Battery life
6

Battery1

The Yunique comes with a 2,000mAh non-removable Li-Polymer battery. As on other YU devices, the Yunique too lacks Quick Charge support. During our review period, the device lasted over eight hours with an hour of gaming, an hour of music playback, ample call usage, and some amount of web browsing. A much more generic usage is likely to provide you with a better battery life. The device offers screen-on time of about 3 hours with 4G LTE enabled. This Lollipop laden device comes with a battery saver option, which is automatically switched on when the battery is less than 15 percent. As seen on its predecessor, the YU’s Yuphoria, the battery life woes on the Yunique continue to exist.

Conclusion

The YU Yunique, the new entry-level smartphone launched by YU Televentures, that has some hits and misses. It is one of the smartphones in its price range to offer 4G connectivity. Moreover, the device comes with good build quality and competitive hardware. The device boasts of a good camera and a decent battery life even when connected to 4G LTE, especially on a device that is as affordable as this. That said, the display is prone to fingerprints that affects the viewing angles. At the price point, Yunique falls behind with mere 1GB of RAM against the Karbonn Mach Five bearing 2GB of RAM. That said, both devices run stock Android like experience, and we did not face any performance hindering issues with its software.

Overall, the Yunique thrives to be a well-rounded package but with bunch of misses, it has to compete with couple of other handsets at the same price point. 

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