Review: YU Yunique – THIS Should Have Been Android One
First off, our apologies for the delay in this review. The Yunique has been in the market for a while now, and has even become among the first YU devices to be available offline in this period. In fact, it is even one of the rare devices that has received a price spike since its release (heavens, even the Google Nexus got a price cut). The fact, however, remains that it is still relevant, which is the reason why you are reading this.
Permit us to digress for a bit, though, and take you back to late 2014. Google had launched the Android One initiative if you remember, aiming to deliver the pure Android experience at a very affordable price. The initiative had mixed results for a number of reasons, but primary among them was the fact that other manufacturers had upped the ante in the specs-price game, and while the Android One range did offer decent value for money, there were others (most notably the Moto E and the Xiaomi Redmi 1s) who were seen to be delivering as much, if not more, for a comparable (or lower) price. Slightly better specs, a slightly lower price and perhaps even more finesse in the design, and Android One might have had a different fate.
Why are we mentioning this in a review of the Yunique? Well, because we really think that with it, YU pulled off what Google should have last year – competitive specs, decent design, good performance and crucially, all at a killer price. The phone was launched online at Rs 4,999 and is now available offline at about Rs 6,499 (and online at Rs 5,999) and still has its takers.
That is because it brings a lot to the table for that price. As we had mentioned in our first impressions of the device, it comes from the Yuphoria school of design – jet black front with the 4.7 inch display dominating, power button in between the volume up and down keys, a plain back with a camera placed within a prominent circular design at the back, and with a speaker grille on the lower part of the back. All in plastic, though (the Yuphoria had a metal component remember?). No, it is not super slim at 8.5 mm thickness and there are phones that are lighter than its 128 grammes, but it is definitely smart looking and very compact.
And it packs in some very decent innards. The 4.7 inch display is a 1280 x 720 one, making it at the time of writing the device with the highest pixel density in the YU range at 312 ppi. It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor with 1 GB RAM, the same combination that is seen in the lower priced version of the Moto G (3rd generation) and has 8 GB storage, which is expandable using a memory card. The rear camera is 8.0-megapixels and the front one a 2.0-megapixel one. Most connectivity boxes are checked: 4G, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS are all present. And well, running on top of this is Android 5.1.1, with no skins – yes, pure Android, as seen on the Moto and Nexus devices. Which is the reason why we were invoking Android One.
It is a very good performer too, for the price. Yes, the camera is not the greatest, and one could notice detail and colors being compromised sometimes even on good light conditions (low light performance is painfully mediocre too), and we would have liked a better display, not to mention a battery larger than the 2000 mAh one on board, which we suspect is a consequence of trying to keep the thickness and weight of the device down. But move on to general performance such as browsing the Web, handling social networks and the odd session of Temple Run and Angry Birds, and the phone really shines (the pure Android effect, we suspect). We even found ourselves running up to a dozen apps without too much trouble. The lags do creep in when you are playing stuff like FIFA 16 and the Asphalt series, but for the most part, the Yunique punches well above its weight. Just be ready to recharge it once a day at least, as that battery tends to run out very fast.
In fact, even at its increased price, we would consider the Yunique a very decent alternative to the likes of the Moto E (2nd generation) and the Redmi 2, both of which are very good devices in their own right – it holds its own in terms of general performance and actually looks very smart too. It was irresistible (we almost said Unique!) at Rs 4,999. It remains a very good option even at Rs 6,499. If that does not tell you about the most affordable device of the YU range, nothing will.