In the Startup world, A Unicorn is a Startup company that has a value of over a Billion Dollars. In the Smartphone Industry, for the first time, we are hearing a brand naming its Smartphone as Yunicorn that’s close to the unicorn name, that could make it big for the brand? We are referring to Yu Televentures, which is a subsidiary of Micromax, founded by Rahul Sharma, who owns 99% of the stake in this company. We have already seen the brand launching many devices including health related products under this new brand that has been promising a different lineup and a service when compared to Micromax.
Today the brand has launched the Yu Yunicorn Smartphone that’s the first phone that impresses us, not just regarding the package but also the build when compared to the devices we had seen in the earlier times.
Let us get into this based on a few points & do make a note that this is not a review of the phone but the first impressions based on a few days usage.
- Build Quality:
While we would have loved to see Yunicorn sporting fresh new device, developed specifically for the Indian audience, it does feel like the new YU flagship device from company looks strikingly similar to the Meizu M3 Note, which is a mid-range handset launched by Chinese manufacturer sometime this month in India. In fact, the same handset is available for sale starting today, i.e. May 31st. Talking about the build quality, it is quite a sturdy handset and feels like it may be the best build Yu has offered in their small line of handsets. The handset looks fantastic with its white and gold color combination.
- Stock Like UI:
- Yu Cloud: Pushing the limits in software experience, the YU brand has finally launched its Cloud service, which not only allows you to save the photos and videos but also makes it easier to backup the SMS, Call Logs and other system Settings that you might have added. While we have many reliable options to seamlessly backup the photos and videos such as Google Photos, Dropbox and One Drive, there aren’t any reliable options for backing up contacts and call logs.
- Open Source Development:
YU Televentures has been in partnership with Cyanogen Inc. when it launched its first handset in the December 2014. The brand has been planning to launch its own UI, which would be far more interesting than any UI based on the stock Android look. And it finally looks like the company is moving forward with its in-house software, as the Yunicorn sport a stock like an interface with tweaks that can be seen with different icons. Unlike, many companies such as Samsung, LG, and HTC, who have customized the Android to its core, which is why many don’t prefer TouchWiz, Flat UI, or even Sense UI.
While the Android OS that we see on the Yunicorn is the Lollipop 5.1.1, but hope that to be upgraded pretty soon, as the brand has already announced its open source development program for older devices like Yunique, Yureka Plus, and Yuphoria. The Yu Open OS that is touted to be a groundbreaking project by the company head, Rahul Sharma, will surely bring this OS to the latest flagship. Though the dates haven’t been promised by the brand; we believe it might be earlier than one expect. This new OS by the company will truly be a developer based OS, but note that company will be curating the features to make them reliable and more streamlined with their offering.
Taking inspiration from another brand is one thing, but using their design aesthetics is totally different. If you put the three devices; Meizu M3 Note, OPPO F1 Plus and Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 with Yunicorn, then you can clearly see some striking similarities. Talking about the front design, it highly resembles the M3 Note and even to F1 Plus handset from OPPO. Whereas the rear side reminisces of the Redmi Note 3 design, subtracting the fingerprint sensor, it is placed on the physical home button just like on the M3 Note.
The rear camera that you see on the back is of 13-megapixel resolution, which isn’t the best 13MP module out there, but it certainly takes good captures. Though, I’m more concerned with the part that it doesn’t support a 4K Video recording. It might be a deal breaker for most of the consumers out there, but omitting a high resolution recording feature is a big deal for a camera enthusiast like me. Moreover, there are many handsets with 13MP module like Le 1S Eco that offers 4K content recording capability. So, the brand would have to think about adding that feature in future updates.
First Impressions: This phone could be the one that could not just save the company but also bring it back into the market share reports with good sales depending on the pricing & also the sales partners. If the brand moves to offline distribution where we had already seen OPPO getting success with aggressive offline push it could also taste more success. Keeping it online exclusive does help the brand control the price and save money but sometimes learning from other strategies could also help.
With this device going in the right direction, we just hope that the brand focusses first on better products rather than just pushing on competitive products because it’s the product that ultimately matters & consumers who value that would continue buying the future lineup. We have had heard a lot of complaints in terms of the service issues from the brand & do hope that there a major change in this aspect because the trust could be built from this area.
Overall a Smartphone from Yu that does Impress us from a few days of usage but also hope that they would soon push a software update to fix few of the issues we have mentioned in the above story.