IUNI started life as the maker of custom ROM IUNI OS, but like Xiaomi before them, have branched out in to the hardware market with their own high specification flagship phone. Read the IUNI U2 review here.
$290 can get you a lot of phone these days, well it can if you are lucky enough to live here in China. The IUNI U2 is the first smartphone from this young custom ROM maker and from just 1799 Yuan ($290) you get a heck of a lot of phone for your money!
IUNI U2 Specifications
There are two variants of the IUNI U2 the only difference between the two phones being the amount of internal memory and either 2GB or 3GB RAM. This review (translated from the original Chinese review here) is based on the 2GB version of the phone.
The 2GB RAM 16GB memory IUNI U2 is on sale in China for only 1799 Yuan, where as the flagship 3GB RAM 32GB memory version is just 1999 Yuan! That’s cheaper than the Xiaomi MI3, with better hardware, more compact design and screen with a much higher PPI!
IUNI U2 Review – design
IUNI have created the U2 has a unique alternative to mainstream smartphones. The body comes in a choice of either silver (seen here), black or green. Each phone is machined from a single block of alloy making for impressive build quality for such an affordable smartphone.
With just a 4.7-inch display up front, and narrow bezels, the IUNI U2 is one of the most compact flagship smartphones on the planet, the actual dimensions being 139 x 65 x 10.2mm (that’s measured to the tip of the protruding camera on the rear) at a weight of 145g.
From the rear the IUNI U2 seems to have taken a dip in the wardrobe of the HTC One and has the same 3 stage rear with simple bands separating each section of the phone. The middle section is the largest and is also where we see most of the action, that action being a 16 mega-pixel main camera with a single LED flash.
Over to the front and we can see those narrow bezels up close, and the front camera. Interestingly the front camera is a 4 mega-pixel Ultra-pixel unit, similar to the sensor found on the newly launch HTC One M8 smartphone.
Looking at the front we also get our first glimpse of IUNI OS, the custom ROM which IUNI produced for their flagship phone, and is also available for certain Samsung phones and soon the Xiaomi Mi3. At this point owners of the Gionee Elife E7 might be having a bit of deja vu! Not only does the IUNI appear to be a mini version of the Elife E7, but that ROM certainly has a familiar Amigo UI look to it also!
No on screen controls for the IUNI, personally I prefer on screen buttons, but fans of backlit capacative buttons can rejoice.
As for physical buttons there is a small power button on the top to the left of the 3.5mm headphone hack, and a volume rocker an the right in a great location for your thumb.
The base has been perforated on each side with 20 small holes for the external speakers, between which a Micro USB plug sits in wait for charging and transferring data.
Finally the left hand side is where you will discover the single SIM card tray for GSM or WCDMA 3G cards. As you might have seen the body is of unibody construction meaning that the 2200mAh battery is sealed in to the phone. There is also no space for a micro SD card.
IUNI U2 Review – Display
Since the start of 2013 smartphones have gradually become larger and larger. First there were 5-inch 1080 phones, and this year most flagships have gone for between 5.1-5.5-inch 1080 displays. IUNI buck that trend and once again go for the more unique option of a 4.7-inch panel.
Not only does a 4.7-inch panel mean the phone itself will be physically smaller, but due to the fact that the display has a full 1920 x 1080 FHD resolution the pixel density is much higher than that of a Xiaomi Mi3, Gionee Elife E7, or even the mighty Oppo Find 7a!
LTPS and IPS mean that colours are bright and vibrant, touch response if fast and you can get away with using the phone with gloves on.
IUNI U2 Review – IUNI OS
One of the reasons IUNI made the choice to launch their own phone is to highlight their own ROM.
It’s hard to make any custom ROM look truly unique these days, and there are always some feature, functions and UI decisions which will either be inspired from other ROMS or will eventually make their way on to rival devices.
IUNI have gone for the popular flat design language giving the interface a similar overall design to iOS 7, Nubia UI and Amigo OS. However the ROM is extremely well though out and personally I feel it is one of the better looking ROM options available today.
Being a newish ROM the majority of features are exactly the same as what you would find on any flagship phone, but has development hots up we are bound to see some nice surprises and unique ideas from the IUNI OS team.
IUNI U2 Review – Performance
The model on review here is the Snapdragon 800 2GB RAM model. Without testing the phone with Antutu we can already guess that performance is going to be stunning.
For those of you who need the numbers though, Antutu gives a score of 34,529 points! Thats more than the Xiaomi Mi3, and the Sony Xperia Z Ultra. The flagship 3GB RAM model could have the power to take on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3!
IUNI U2 Review – Battery
Looking at the hardware the weak point appears, at least on paper, the 2200mAh Samsung battery, but keep in mind that the IUNI has a smaller 4.7-inch display than comparable devices. According to the reviewers who tested the phone the 2200mAh battery uses around 67% of the battery.
40 minutes of video will eat 12%, and 20 minutes of social networking takes around 4%. Leaving the phone on standby overnight drains the battery by a mere 2%!
IUNII U2 Review – Camera
We are at a time in phone development that pretty much any phone can produce amazing photos. When it comes to smartphones at the same calibre of the IUNI U2 you can be sure that camera quality is going to be up there with the best of them.
The 16 mega-pixel main camera on the U2 produces high quality photos. Colour reproduction is assuage and even low light nigh photos are excellent!
Unfortunately the source review does not have full size photo samples for all the photos to share. Here is a link to one sample, I will upload more in future posts.
IUNI U2 Review – Conclusion
In a market full of large screen smartphones, the IUNI U2 makes for a unique and refreshing change. The compact body means one-handed operation is a real pleasure, the alloy body oozes quality and the high-resolution display is beautiful.
Hardware is something you just don’t need to consider with the U2. Everything from the display and cameras, to the Snapdragon processor and Samsung battery are all top of the line items and will keep even hardcore phone fanatics happy.
If you get a chance to buy one of these phones you really should give it a go. I certainly will be!