The India-China ‘Phone’y War
One is from India. The other from China. Both are from new brands. Both claim to be flagship sinkers offering excellent hardware at surprisingly low prices. Both come accompanied with a tide of hype and diehard fans. Both run Android with a distinct flavour. And both cost exactly the same – Rs 24,999.
We are referring to perhaps the two most talked-about affordable flagship devices of 2015 – the YU Yutopia and the OnePlus 2. While the OnePlus 2 hit the market towards the latter part of the summer, the Yutopia was released in the final days of 2015. And both have been slugging it out for the “Best phone for under Rs 25,000” title. If that is indeed is your budget, which of the two should you be going for? Well, here’s my take:
Appearance and design
Both phones are going to stand out in a crowd because of their distinct design – the OnePlus 2 for the slightly rough sandstone finished back and the YU Yutopia for the protruding spherical camera unit on its back. However, where the Yutopia pulls one over the OnePlus 2 is in being a totally metallic phone, while the OnePlus 2 just has a metal frame (the back with the Sandstone finish is plastic), and in being far more compact – while the OnePlus 2 is 9.9mm thick and 151.8mm long, the Yutopia is a mere 7.2mm thick and 146.6mm long. The Yutopia is also lighter – 159gm as compared to 175gm. All of which makes it the winner in this battle of design, although we don’t like the fact that it rests on its camera when placed on a table (as the camera juts out!).
Winner: YU Yutopia
On to the spec sheet and here the battle becomes a formidable one. Frankly, both devices offer staggeringly good hardware for the price they are charging – Snapdragon 810 processor (considered the best in the business in 2015), 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage in the case of the OnePlus 2 and 32 GB (expandable) in the Yutopia. Round that off with fingerprint scanners, all the connectivity options you could need (dual SIM, Wi-Fi, 4G, GPS, Bluetooth) and a very good pair of cameras (13 megapixel in the OnePlus 2 and 21 megapixel in the Yutopia) and you have a cutting edge hardware feast being served at a budget price. Once again, however, the Yutopia takes the mantle by dint of its having a quad HD display as compared to the full HD one on the OnePlus 2, even though the latter is larger (5.5 inch to 5.2 inch). The Yutopia also has a more powerful camera set (21 megapixels and 8 megapixels) as compared to the OnePlus 2 (13 megapixels and 5 megapixels), and comes with expandable memory, something which offsets the larger battery (3300 mAh as compared to 3000 mAh) on the OnePlus 2. Add the Little Birds headphones for the Yutopia from the House of Marley and you can chalk up another round for the Yutopia.
Winner: YU Yutopia
And it is here that it gets very interesting. Although the first OnePlus device was released on a popular version of Cyanogen, the company later switched to its own Android-based OS called Oxygen for the OnePlus 2. Ironically, the Yutopia is the one running on Cyanogen with a few tweaks thrown in by YU, most notably the use of the Gaana app as the default music app and the introduction of the Around YU app, which lets you know of shopping options, cafes, eateries and even cabs in your vicinity. Both are based on the Android 5.1, and to be honest, both are more than a trifle buggy. We are going to give the round to YU, however, for its attempts at innovation.
Winner: YU Yutopia
Gaming and multimedia
This is a very tight round indeed. In gaming, both devices can handle pretty much any game you throw at them, thanks to the heavy duty chips and stacks of RAM at their disposal. The Yutopia’s higher resolution screen gives it a clear edge when it comes to viewing Web pages and videos, and its higher megapixel cameras also capture more detail. However, we found the display of the OnePlus 2 to be much brighter and easier to read in sunlight, and while its camera did not have the spec muscle of the Yutopia, it compensated in terms of sheer consistency and better colour reproduction. The battle of sound is also a close one – the Yutopia’s Little Birds headphones give it the edge in that department but in terms of sound on loudspeaker, the OnePlus 2 does seem to do that much better. We just think that while viewing multimedia is a better experience on the Yutopia, creating it is better on the OnePlus 2. Which makes us give this round to the latter. By a thin margin.
Winner: OnePlus 2
When it comes down to a regular performance, the difference between the two phones is wafer thin. Both unfortunately suffer from slightly buggy UI, which in the case of the OnePlus 2 surfaces in the form of lags, update issues and slowdowns and in the case of the Yutopia, in an erratic fingerprint scanner and occasional camera eccentricities. Both phones are perfect examples of great hardware being let down by the software running on it. In terms of call handling and battery life, however, the OnePlus 2 has the edge over the Yutopia, with clearer calls and battery life that easily gets through a day – that quad HD display on the OnePlus 2 needs careful handling to last a day of heavy use.
Winner: OnePlus 2
So which one delivers more bang for your buck? Truth be told, both devices boast excellent hardware but are let down by the software, which seems less than the final cut. No matter which device you opt for, be ready to tackle a few bugs and inconsistencies, be it the update and heating vagaries of the OnePlus 2 or the moody fingerprint scanner of the Yutopia. What you do get for Rs 24,999, however, is some of the best hardware in tech town, on par and even better than some of the flagships that cost much more than these two (the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium, the LG G4, to name just a few). We would say that at the moment the Force is slightly stronger with the Yutopia thanks to its more compact form factor, superior display, packaged earphones and the fact that it gives you the option of expanding storage, but we can see many going for the OnePlus 2 simply for that sandstone finished back, the more consistent camera and the significantly better battery life. Neither one is going to really disappoint those who are patient with them.