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YU Yutopia unboxing and first impressions: potent enough to take the flagship killer head on

|December 17 2015 |Android Phones, Android, First impressions, YU

“The YU Yutopia isn’t only the most priciest offering from the new company, but also its most ambitious bet yet”

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Almost a year ago, YU, Micromax’s newly-formed subsidiary, took covers off its first smartphone, the Yureka (review | FAQs). Since then, the brand has launched three more devices, and all of them have rocked the popularity charts. However, all its offerings were priced in the sub-Rs 10,000 segment, but now it’s setting its eyes on the mid-tier category. Its latest smartphone, the Yutopia has been swirling in Rumorville since quite long, with the company also taking potshots at potential rivals from time to time. But finally today, the device has seen light of day.

Priced at Rs 24,999, the YU Yutopia isn’t only the most priciest offering from the new company, but also it’s most ambitious bet yet. While our review will be able to tell whether it lives up to the lofty claims, let’s first take a glimpse at what its box offers along with our initial impressions.

One look at the retail box of the Yutopia and it becomes apparent that the smartphone is aimed at the premium segment. Unlike the brown packaging of its siblings, the phone comes packed inside a good-looking rectangular black box. After removing the lid, you'll see the smartphone. Underneath the plastic tray holding it, you get all the accessories laid out nicely. There’s a micro-USB cable, a two-pin wall charger and a set of earphones.

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However, don’t dismiss these earphones just like any other, as YU has partnered with popular audio company House of Marley to bundle the premium Little Bird earphones. Lastly, the package includes a SIM ejection tool as well as documentation in the form of a warranty card, user guide and SAR information.

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It seems that after the rage of phablets, manufacturers are now again looking to offer an optimum size that can be used comfortably with a single hand. Phones like the Honor 7 (review | FAQs) and the Google Nexus 5X (review) are prime examples, and the Yutopia also follows them as it’s being built around a 5.2-inch display. The size definitely seems to be a sweet spot, as the handset nestles in the hand well, and we didn’t find any issues while reaching the corners of the screen.

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The screen offers brilliant visuals and colours thanks to a rich pixel density of 565 ppi, as it sports a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels. The OGS display is sourced from Sharp and offers realistic colours. A layer of Corning’s Concore glass protects the display from scratches and minor knocks.

The smartphone is fashioned completely out of metal, with the uniformity only broken by antenna bands, but they too are quite slim. There’s little doubt that the YU Yutopia looks gorgeous, with design attributes like a three-element key and Saturn ring around the camera adding to it further. This design ethos started with the Yuphoria (review), and lends a unique character to the brands’ offerings.

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The fascia remains quite minimal with the display panel covering the majority of the portion, and an earpiece, front scanner and YU’s imprint above. The space below the display is barren, as the navigation keys are available as part of the software interface.

The three-element key is formed by the power button placed between volume keys towards the right, with the left spine holding the ejectable tray with slots for inserting micro-SIM and the secondary one being a hybrid that can accept either a nano-SIM or a microSD card. The 3.5mm audio socket is available up top, whereas the micro-USB port can be found at the bottom.

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The unibody smartphone is quite lean with its frame measuring 7.2mm and is also lightweight. The rear of the YU Yutopia sports the primary camera, with a noticeable protrusion. Below the camera module, it offers a fingerprint reader with a YU logo and speaker grille further below.

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The fingerprint scanner is snappy, and unlocks the smartphone almost instantly, although it takes a long time for the initial setup.

The Yutopia is being touted as “the most powerful phone ever”. To ensure that remains the case, YU has relied on Qualcomm’s high-end Snapdragon 810 SoC. The chipset is a combination of two quad-core clusters, with the high-speed core running at 2.0GHz and the low-power cores tuned at 1.5GHz. The CPU also offers Adreno 430 graphics engine for smooth rendering of games. For smooth multitasking, the processor is paired with 4 gigs of RAM. While we weren’t able to push hardware’s limits during our brief time with it, the device did seem snappy while navigating or switching between apps.

Coming to the storage, the phone ships with 32GB of memory on board. After accounting for OS and its various resources, users will be able to access around 22GB for their use. Unlike other flagships, the Yutopia supports memory expansion with the use of microSD cards.

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YU is focussing (quite literally) on the photography capabilities of its latest offering, so much so that before launch, it lent the phone to a photographer, who released a number of shots taken with it. To offer such crisp quality, the Yutopia comes equipped with a 21-megapixel sensor at the back. It features optical image stabilisation to compensate for hand shakes while capturing images or videos. For locking focus on the subject quickly, the camera offers phase detection autofocus, letting it focus within 0.2 seconds. The camera is complemented by a dual-tone LED flash to assist in shooting in dim environments. Taking care of selfie enthusiasts, the Yutopia features an 8MP secondary camera. The camera hardware seems powerful, and we’ll surely check it out in detail with a dedicated review to put it through its paces.

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For video recording, the primary camera can record 4K videos as well as slow-mo videos at 120fps in HD resolution.

One of the highlighting aspects of YU smartphones has been the popular CyanogenMod platform, and the same is found on the Yutopia. The phone runs CM OS 12.1 which is based on Android 5.1 Lollipop. It brings forth features such as customisable themes, AudioFX, etc. The company has also promised that the phone will get an upgrade to Marshmallow 6.0 soon with Cyanogen OS 13.

YU Yutopia screenshot (1) YU Yutopia screenshot (6) YU Yutopia screenshot (7)

In terms of preloaded content, the YU Yutopia comes with apps like Gaana, Yuniverse, etc. Consumers would be getting a six-month subscription to Gaana's premium account.

One of the most promising features in the YU Yutopia is Around YU, a dedicated screen towards the left in the homescreen. Working along with its partners such as Ixigo, Scandid and Zomato, users would be able to quickly look for cabs, hotels, flights near their location and even purchase items online. The best part is that you don’t need to install any app. The concept seems interesting, though we’ll surely see whether it works as seamlessly in real life.

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Fuelling the so-called beast is a 3,000mAh battery, that seems to be capable enough of ensuring an all-day battery life. Thanks to the support for Quick charging 2.0, the Yutopia should also get juiced up quickly.

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For connectivity, the YU Yutopia supports 4G networks, along with the usual options like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS.

Along with bundling premium earphones, the phone also offers superior audio experience with the support for DTS audio.

With its pricing, the YU Yutopia definitely falls in the hyper-competitive category, with the most formidable rival being the OnePlus 2 (review | FAQs). However, the phone is able to differentiate itself with its premium build, powerful snapper and highly-customisable CM OS. Watch out for our review of the Yutopia to give a comprehensive analysis of its capabilities, coming your way soon.

Photos by Pratik Vyas

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