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YU Yunicorn camera review: hits and misses

|May 31, 2016 |Android Phones, Mobiles, Reviews, YU, Camera Review

"Let's see how well YU's latest flagship shoots"

Micromax's sub-brand YU, which is known mainly for its budget and VFM Android smartphones, ventured into flagship territory with the Yutopia (review) last year. The premium smartphone boasted top-of-the-line specs, but received only a lukewarm response. Now the brand is back with another premium offering, the Yunicorn. The latest smartphone comes with a sleek new design, along with a new Android-based UI called AOS – Android on Steroids –  that comes with a few extra features, plus a deep integration of the Around YU services. But that's something we'll talk about in our review. For now, let's take a look at what the Yunicorn's cameras have to offer. While the primary camera is a 13MP unit, the front shooter is rated at 5MP.

Yu Yunicorn_camera UI Yu Yunicorn_pip

The camera app isn't much to write home about, and features a standard interface which we wish YU would have polished. When viewed in landscape mode, the right side gives you access to the shutter button, video mode, gallery and settings. You'll find controls for the front camera, flash and HDR on top, as well as options to switch between Panorama, Pip and Normal shooting modes on the left. Speaking of the Pip mode – it's basically a picture in picture. A little postcard-style pop-up captures an image from the front camera, while the background is captured by the rear shooter. You can also change the postcard style, choosing from a range of other options. While the camera app itself doesn't have much in the way to offer, let's see how the shooters themselves fare. 

Long Shot


This long shot is average at best. Large parts of the image appear washed out, with the fresh green leaves on the trees appearing drab and washed out. On the plus side, the image is sharp and detailed.

Close Up


The Yunicorn's primary camera seems to fare a lot better for close up shots compared to landscape ones. This rose has been captured in sharp focus, with a nice depth of field effect for the background. The colours also appear true-to-life, although there is a blueish tint to the image. 

Close Up (Zoomed In)

Yu Yunicorn_camera performance_close up cropped

To get a closer look at the image above, we've cropped it closely. There's a lot of detail captured in this image, with the individual petals of the rose and even the fuzz at the bottom clearly visible. All in all, this is a great macro shot. 



Captured on a sunny afternoon, this seemed like an ideal scene to test out the Yunicorn's HDR capabilities. There are clear areas of light and shadow in this image, and the background seems quite noisy. Let's see if turning on HDR livens things up.



The HDR mode on the Yunicorn takes a couple of seconds to process the image, so you'll need to hold the phone still. As you can see, there's a lot more visibility in ths shadowed areas now, and sharpness seems to have been improved as well. However, the increase in overall brightness makes some areas of the image seem washed out. 

Front Camera

YU Yunicorn_image sample_front camera

Captured with the front camera, this image sample is quite decent. Skin tones appear natural, and so do the colours. The image is sharp and in focus, and while there are traces of grain, it's not enough to be of concern.

Night Shot 


This shot taken at night isn't impressive at all. While the colours appear natural, there's a lot of visible noise, and the image is blurry despite the ample lighting. 

Low Light

Yu Yunicorn_camera test_low light

This image taken in low light has met a similar fate. The subject isn't visible at all, rendering it useless. Let's see if the flash can improve this.

Low Light (With Flash)


With the flash on, all the subjects are well illuminated, although the one on the right looks a bit blown out. The flash has a nice, natural tone as well – not too white or too yellow.

As you might have surmised from the images above, the Yunicorn's cameras are average at best. While this might be acceptable for a budget device, it's very disappointing on a flagship, where people expect superior image quality. The camera can take decent up shots, but apart from that doesn't impress. To see how the Yunicorn fares in our other tests, check out our full review.

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