“YU’s latest takes on the reigning VFM champs”
The smartphone industry is brimming with choices when it comes to the mention of powerful yet affordable devices, with the Lenovo ZUK Z1 (review) and the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (review) currently battling it out for the throne. With the recent unveiling of the YU Yunicorn (review), we might just have another potential candidate in our midst worthy of running for the crown. How does the latest from YU stack up against the mid-ranger giants? Let’s find out.
Design and Display
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 ups the budget smartphone game with its distinctive metal unibody design which is a rare sight to behold whilst looking for an affordable phone. However, the contestants are not too far off with the YU Yunicorn being on par with its premium metallic framework and the ZUK Z1 lagging a bit behind with its metal frame which is married to an all-plastic back. When it comes to a flaunt-worthy design, the YU Yunicorn is certainly the way to go with full metallic chassis coming at an 8.5mm of thickness with the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 missing the mark at 8.7mm thickness. Despite featuring a slightly thicker build, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 is the lightest of the bunch coming in at only 164g while the ZUK Z1 and the YU Yunicorn weigh at 175g and 172g, respectively, making it more desirable of the mentioned handsets.
All three participants stand up to today’s standards of smartphone quality with each sporting their own biometric scanner for added security, with the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 standing out the most with its rear placement for the fingerprint sensor.
When it comes to the display part of it, our devices are pretty much neck and neck with each housing a 5.5-inch 1080p IPS LCD panel with the mentioned devices flaunting a common pixel density of 401ppi. Hence, all three phones stand on par when it comes to the viewing experience but after taking the Sunlight Display technology that the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 is embedded with, it gets a slight edge over the other contenders when it comes to outdoor legibility.
All three of the aforementioned phones surely pack a punch when it comes to sheer processing power with the YU Yunicorn housing a MediaTek Helio P10 octa-core chipset battling it out with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 hexa-core and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core chipsets powering the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 and the ZUK Z1, respectively.
On paper, the phones might seem to be worlds apart but that’s certainly not the case when it comes to the actual user experience, where all three of these devices go neck and neck in every possible field ranging from gaming to multitasking. That said, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 powering the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 is slightly more desirable of the bunch mainly because of integrated technology namely the Qualcomm Immersive Audio, Qualcomm Snapdragon Voice Activation and Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 fast charging capabilities.
Coming to the shooting prowess, each phone has its own unique element to offer, although, the ZUK Z1 impresses with its inclusion of OIS technology in its rear 13MP f/2.2 camera unit which is still more of a luxury then a necessary feature even when talking about high-end flagships. Despite the OIS feature embedded within the ZUK Z1’s sensor, one can’t overlook the 16MP f/2.0 rear facing unit that Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 3 comes packed with. Owing to larger aperture in the Redmi Note 3, the phone flaunts impressive colour accuracy and plausible performance in poorly lit conditions but despite the higher megapixel count in the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, Lenovo’s ZUK Z1 still offers a better contrast with sharper and low noise shots both in significantly and poorly lit environments. The YU Yunicorn houses a 13MP f/2.2 rear facing shooter without the OIS feature placing it behind the other two devices.
For all your self-portraits, the ZUK Z1 might again be the device for you with its 8MP f/2.2 front facing shooter making it placing it in a better position than its competitors with their 5MP f/2.0 front facing sensors.
Apart from its ability to deliver true-to-life shots, the ZUK Z1 is also capable of recording 1080p videos both at 60fps and 30fps while its competitors are only capable of 1080p@30fps with their respective shooters. Throwing in the OIS feature that the Lenovo ZUK Z1 flaunts, it gains a massive lead over the other two smartphones in the camera department.
Battery and Storage
When it comes to the RAM and storage bit of it, the YU Yunicorn starts off strong, raising the bar for every mid-ranger that is bound to hit the market anytime soon with its heavy 4GB of RAM accompanied with 32GB storage along with microSD card slot granting you a maximum storage capacity of 128GB. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 and the ZUK Z1 both house 3GB of RAM with 32GB and 64GB storage, respectively. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, much like the YU Yunicorn, throws in a microSD card slot for a storage cap of 128GB whereas the ZUK Z1 fails to do so but makes up for what it losses with higher amounts of onboard storage right out of the box. Considering multitasking abilities, the YU Yunicorn takes the win in the storage section.
On the battery front, the ZUK Z1 goes for the charge with its 4,100mAh battery pack leaving out the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 and the YU Yunicorn with their still quite decent, 4,050mAh and 4,000mAh battery cores.
Software and other features.
Software is one of the main components that differentiates our competitors from each other. The Lenovo ZUK Z1 offers the highly customisable yet stock-like Cyanogen OS based on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop while on the other hand the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 runs Android 5.1.1 Lollipop with Xiaomi’s feature-rich, heavily-skinned, yet incredibly smooth MIUI 7.0 granting the user innumerable features to carry out daily routine tasks with increased efficiency. The YU Yunicorn runs Android 5.1.1 Lollipop with Around YU 2.0 layered on top of it providing for a near stock like experience with Micromax’s custom features coded within.
Apart from the above mentioned fields, the phones have a few notable features sprinkled upon them, namely the presence of a USB Type-C reversible connector on the ZUK Z1 and the inclusion of Qualcomm’s fast charging capabilities in both, Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 and Lenovo’s ZUK Z1.
Pricing and Availability
Lenovo’s ZUK Z1 is available for purchase via flash sales on Amazon.in and will run you for Rs 13,499. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 is available on online shopping websites for a price tag of Rs 11,999 for the mentioned 32GB ROM/3GB RAM variant. The YU Yunicorn is available for purchase through flash sales at Flipkart.com and will run you for Rs 12,999.
At the end of it all, it’s all a matter of personal preference, for the people who are looking for a feature rich experience with an added sense of premium feel, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 is for you, for those who are looking for sheer multitasking capabilities wrapped in a gorgeous premium design, the YU Yunicorn is the way to go. For those who want an exceptional camera performance and at the same time want absolute control over their device, Lenovo’s ZUK Z1 takes the throne for you. Regardless of the choice, the mentioned phones stand strong in their respective fields and are overall, brilliant when it comes to delivering more for less.