YU Yunicorn first impressions: Good design, great features at just the right price, but can it beat rivals?
YU Yunicorn first impressions: Good design, great features at just the right price, but can it beat rivals?YU via Twitter

Micromax's online subsidiary YU Televentures is exploring a new price category with the launch of its all-new Yunicorn smartphone in India. The new handset packs a series of premium features that can easily make it one of the key competitors despite the intense rivalry between manufacturers. While the spec-sheet does seize to impress for a handset at its price, we tried out of the device and here's our first impressions of the Yunicorn.

Before we jump into the specifics, take a look at the key features of the handset:

Display: 5.5-inch Full HD with 2.5D glass and 401ppi
Processor: 1.8GHz MediaTek Helio P10 octa-core CPU
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 32GB, expandable up to 128GB
Camera: 13MP primary shooter with f/2.2 aperture, dual LED flash, PDAF and 5MP front snapper with f/2.0 aperture and wide angle shot feature
Battery: 4,000mAh with fast charging technology
Software: Android 5.1 Lollipop (Android on Steroids OS)
Add-ons: Metal uni-body, fingerprint scanner, Around YU 2.0 integration, 4G LTE
Colours: Gold, silver and graphite
Price: Rs. 14,999

As a part of the launch offer, YU is offering the Yunicorn for a discounted price of Rs. 12,999, but only for a month. The first flash sale kicks off on June 7 and registrations are open on Flipkart, YU's exclusive partner.

With these specifications, one wouldn't doubt the capability of the Yunicorn smartphone, but the handset enters a compact market, which has already seen several players such as Xiaomi, Meizu, LeEco, Lenovo, Motorola, Samsung and others. Can YU break through the rush and make its Yunicorn stand out in the crowd? Can it beat the record sales achieved by Xiaomi and LeEco? Can Yunicorn establish YU as a worthy premium brand after Yutopia's failure to do so? These are a few questions that YU will need to answer with its actions.

After spending quite some time with the Yunicorn, here's what we think of it. Also note that this is not a full review of the handset, which is expected to follow in the coming days, and only our first impressions of the Yunicorn based on short time use.

Design

YU did an excellent job with the design in its Yutopia smartphone, but the Yunicorn has no resemblance of that, which isn't a bad thing at all. Yunicorn is unique in its own way, but not a complete standout in the market. It has a metal unibody, chamfered edges, brushed finish rear panel and offers a firm grip.

YU Yunicorn first impressions: Design
YU Yunicorn first impressions: DesignIBTimes India/Sami Khan
YU Yunicorn first impressions: Design
YU Yunicorn first impressions: DesignIBTimes India/Sami Khan

YU Yunicorn has a physical home button just below the display, speakers are placed at the bottom panel and the volume and power buttons are on the right side of the device. A 3.5mm headphone jack is at the top and a SIM card tray, which also houses a microSD hybrid card slot, is on the left.

1/4
  • YU Yunicorn first impressions: DesignIBTimes India/Sami Khan
  • YU Yunicorn first impressions: DesignIBTimes India/Sami Khan
  • YU Yunicorn first impressions: DesignIBTimes India/Sami Khan
  • YU Yunicorn first impressions: DesignIBTimes India/Sami Khan

We are not at all disappointed by the Yunicorn's design, but it certainly strikes similarities to handsets like Oppo F1 Plus, Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 and Meizu M3 Note.

Display

Yunicorn has a 5.5-inch Full HD display, which is pretty standard for a smartphone in this price range. We tested the display quality in sunlight and well-lit areas and it had minimal reflection, which wouldn't hinder readability. The colours are well balanced and bright with good viewing angles.

User Interface and Around YU 2.0

YU ended its exclusivity with Cyanogen, which resulted in Yunicorn's stock Android OS. The company introduced its Open OS with the device, which ensures latest software updates soon after they've been released. The new OS, which the company calls AOS or Android on Steroids, delivers stock Android experience, which is a good thing. We have experienced a few lags in really fast operations and the OS returned an error saying the launcher isn't responding. But this is nothing that YU cannot fix with a software update.

YU Yunicorn first impressions: Software
YU Yunicorn first impressions: SoftwareIBTimes India/Sami Khan

YU has smartly integrated its Around YU platform into Android and it makes a lot of difference now. Users need not install apps for various services such as food, shopping, cab or recharge. Everything is just a swipe away from the home screen.

YU Yunicorn first impressions: Around YU 2.0
YU Yunicorn first impressions: Around YU 2.0IBTimes India/Sami Khan
YU Yunicorn first impressions: Around YU 2.0
YU Yunicorn first impressions: Around YU 2.0IBTimes India/Sami Khan

Camera

Yunicorn's camera configuration is impressive, but the quality is not exceptional or something we haven't seen in rival smartphones in the sub-Rs. 15,000 price range. The camera UI is simple and fast. Images are capture in a fraction of a second. The selfie camera is pretty decent, but again we have seen similar results from other phones. We will dive into the details of the camera's performance in our full review.

Fingerprint scanner

YU Yunicorn houses a fingerprint scanner in its home button and we must say it is one of the snappiest ones we have come across. As we had noted in Yutopia's review, the fingerprint of the handset struggled, but YU came around this time. It takes just a micro-second to scan owner's finger and unlock the device. The placement of the scanner in the home button is more convenient that having a fingerprint sensor at the back.

YU Yunicorn first impressions: Fingerprint scanner
YU Yunicorn first impressions: Fingerprint scannerIBTimes India/Sami Khan

We will be reporting the handset's performance, battery life and other specifications in our full review.