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Bugs can be fixed and software can be optimised through updates, but would you buy a phone hoping that would happen? If your answer to that is yes, then the Yu Yutopia is a good pick. If not, then the OnePlus 2 is more powerful, while the Honor 7 is the most stable.
If research around user behaviour on the Internet is to be believed, you'll most likely not reach the end of this page. So, before I begin with the Yu Yutopia review, let me answer a few burning questions that most of us have been asking for a while now.
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- Is the Yu Yutopia the 'flagship killer' Yu wants you to think it is?
No, the Yu Yutopia is the best phone that Micromax or Yu has ever made, but like the OnePlus 2, it is no flagship killer.
- Would I choose this phone over the OnePlus 2?
The answer again is no. The Yutopia has a great camera, but it's software is not well optimised and is really buggy. That makes the phone weaker than the OnePlus 2 and hence the second choice.
- What's the Yutopia's key weakness and strength?
Its key weakness is, surprisingly, Cyanogen OS, while it's key strength is the 21MP camera.
- Does the Snapdragon 810 heat up?
Only when you shoot long videos or play games, and that too not abnormally.
- What's the key takeaway from using the Yu Yutopia?
The fact that Micromax's Yu brand must be followed closely as a company that is going to do great things in the future. Also, it is by far the most innovative OEM from the Indian stables.
With that out of the way, if you're still reading, here's the Yu Yutopia review.
Build and Design
Personally, I'm a big fan of compact devices and the Yu Yutopia, I had hoped, would be a smaller alternative to the OnePlus 2. Alas, I'm reminded once again that the iPhone is soon going to be the only real compact, but powerful option in the market.
"I'm reminded once again that the iPhone is soon going to be the only real compact but powerful option in the market"
The Yutopia is impressive when you first take it in your hand. It's made completely out of metal, with a somewhat frosted finish on the back. It feels really solid, but something that'll not take kindly to being dropped, in the sense that there'll be dents on the metal. It's not the kind of build that you see on HTC or Apple phones, but then, neither is the price.
What dissapoints me though is the Yutopia's size. It has a 0.3 inch smaller display than the OnePlus 2 and one needn't look farther than the Nexus 5X to recognise how much of a difference that can make in terms of the size. The Yutopia is nearly as big as the OnePlus 2, with a wider footprint, that makes it more unweildy than that device. The width would have worked had the phone been curved on the back, but the fact that it isn't makes it more difficult to manage. The all metal build also interferes here, making the phone somewhat slippery. All of that put together makes this phone rather unweildy, especially for a 5.2 inch device.
From a looks point of view, I personally quite like the Yutopia. While many may not like camera bumps, it doesn't hamper the looks of this phone. The Yutopia is a bigger, metallic and more premium looking version of the Yu Yuphoria and its looks shouldn't dissapoint many. It's also the best looking phone than any from this company.
A QHD panel that stands at 5.2 inch, gives the Yutopia a massive advantage in terms of the pixel density, against both the OnePlus 2 and the Honor 7. What makes this display so good though is Corning's Concore Gorilla Glass. Concore Glass fuses the display panel and the protective glass into one unit, using the full screen laminated technique. It's Corning's take on OGS and makes the screen thinner, making things more vivid, especially with a QHD resolution. The sacrifice though is in screen brightness.
The Yutopia's screen is definitely better to look at, compared to both the OnePlus 2 and the Honor 7 (it's closest and main competitors). The colours pop and the feel is top notch. However, as mentioned above, it can feel dim, especially when watching videos etc. There's also a very slight colour shift at extreme viewing angles, which shouldn't matter to most.
As I mentioned above however, CyanogenMod is this phone's key weakness and that got in the way massively here.
While many would argue the fact that the Yutopia's software can be changed without voiding warranty means this can't be its key weakness, out of the box software should never carry drastic bugs. In the case of the display, mentioned above, for two days, the Yutopia's display had suddenly developed this weird yellowish tint, peculiar to Android's adaptive display mode. It appeared right after I had turned on adaptive display for a while, but refused to return to the original even after the feature had been turned off and the phone restarted. I was reluctant to reset the phone and redownload the 4-odd GB of apps and games and nearly 10GB of music I had on my phone, but that's what I had to do to fix this issue.
"Out of the box software should never carry drastic bugs"
There are other bugs too. The phone froze twice during initial setup and once when I was resetting it again after the display issue. The setup process got to the WiFi bit and then froze. I had to restart the device and start from scratch. Next, the phone also failed to recognise between horizontal and vertical modes once, fixed after a restart. Also, when in full screen apps, like games, the on-screen back, home and multi-tasking buttons often refuse to appear when needed.
Ever since Nexus Imprint, I've preferred fingerprint sensors on the back of the phone. They're just really fast and efficient. The version of the rear fingerprint sensor on the Yutopia though is less than useful. The sensor didn't recognise my fingerprint more than 80% of the times and I'm inclined to attribute this flaw to the phone's software as well.
It's not all bad with the UI though. As I mentioned in my first impressions of the Yutopia, the AroundYu feature is the key takeaway from this phone. It adds services like Food, Cabs, Flight bookings and more, in a separate screen on your phone. In Nexus phones you'll find Google Now, HTC has its BlinkFeed, OnePlus has the Shelf screen and Yu has AroundYu. It doesn't take a genius to know which one has the most potential.
"There are ifs, but to give credit where it's due, there's no denying the innovation"
A lot of work is needed to achieve that potential though. For example, right now you have to have the Ola app on your phone for AroundYu to show cabs from Ola, but that breaks the purpose of the feature, which is to reduce the number of apps you have to download and have everything in one place. Given the right partnerships and lots of money (which Micromax certainly has) however, it could work wonders, while also presenting a separate revenue source, without bloating the phone, if Yu's phones can reach that wide a consumer base. There are ifs, but to give credit where it's due, there's no denying the innovation. AroundYu is already something more useful than 3D Touch on iPhones, but while the onus there is on developers to put the feature to use, it's Yu's job to make AroundYu revolutionary.
With the heating question already answered, what you need to know about the Yutopia's performance is whether it is as good as the OnePlus 2. Well, in a word, no. As I explained after spending one day with the Yu Yutopia, the phone is just not optimised enough. Combine that with really aggressive thermal control algorithms and you have a comparitively lesser performing processor.
The Yutopia starts throttling the SoC after 5 races on Need For Speed: No Limits, and the changes are visible. In addition, the software's chinks and bugs do get in the way often and it's just not optimised enough to churn the most out of the processor the way the OnePlus 2 and Honor 7 do. It's the primary reason for why I'd choose the OnePlus device over this one, while the Honor 7, though not as poweful, is much more stable than both these phones.
Having said that, your question should really be what you will do with your phone. The Yutopia may not be the most powerful device, but it works well enough for regular tasks. Multitasking is easy with 4GB of RAM.
The problem, just like it was with the display, is that there are too many bugs. Why did my game crash? Why does the gapps package keep crashing? So on. Sure, they can all be fixed through a software update and many Yu users will simply flash something else on this phone, but hey, it's still an issue, just like a buggy OxygenOS was an issue for the OnePlus 2. The bugs were just not as disruptive.
The battery on the Yu Yutopia is more or less and industry average nowadays. The 3000 mAh battery would last power users about 7-8 hours, while more frugal users could hope for 12 hours of battery life. I personally never got it past 7 hours though and with no SIM card inside and connected to WiFi, the phone drops about 12% battery over 25 minutes of gaming. In a word, the OnePlus 2 is better, thanks, in no small part, to its 1080p display.
"The battery on the Yu Yutopia is more or less and industry average nowadays"
The 21MP rear camera is the hero of this device. Though a bit slow to focus, the Yutopia's camera can take sharp images and is really good under low light. It tends to desaturate images sometimes, but can do well under most light conditions. You can find more information about the camera and sample images here.
The Yutopia, OnePlus 2 and Honor 7 all take equally good images, but the OnePlus 2 is the fastest to focus. The Yutopia's shutter response time can be reduced by turning on the Zero Shutter Lag mode.
House of Marley Little Bird in-ear headphones
One of the most exciting aspects of the Yu Yutopia, for me, was the fact that a pair House of Marley Little Bird headphones have been included in the box. Needless to say, they're better than any other pair of headphones you get with phones. The Little Birds are quite bass heavy though and lack mids or details. If you don't mind spending about 600 bucks more, then the Cowon EM1 can provide better sound. That said, the bass bias on the Little Bird will suit many Indian users.
Bugs can be fixed and software can be optimised through updates, but would you buy a phone hoping that would happen? If your answer to that is yes, then the Yu Yutopia is a good pick.
If not, I'd recommend the OnePlus 2, for the fact that it's got a great camera, better optimised software and a easier to use design. If you want to save 2000 bucks and don't mind compromising on the performance then the Honor 7 is the stablest of the three.