Safaricom Intel Yolo Review

Intel Yolo Zeeya Beach

Intel has been working on smartphones powered by the Intel Atom processor and it’s been having impressive results. Intel is quite new in the smartphones  foray but the devices they are entering with are quite disruptive, plus they are making some quite strategic deals with Mobile carriers. Here in Kenya, they partnered with Safaricom to develop a product for this market. Safaricom played a part in the development contributing input on how the finished product will be, and here it is.

Let’s take a look at what makes the Intel Yolo:

Design and Build

That’s the first thing you will interact with when you get a smartphone, hold it, savour it with your eyes. Now the Intel Yolo has a bold build, what many manufacturers like calling compact. It has that bulky appearance, at 12.6mm, it’s not the thinnest device out there, neither is it any close, the design is minimal, not much has been put here. The device I have here is black, I haven’t heard of any colour in the works though, so we go with black. Dimensions are 110.5 x 61 x 12.6mm and weight is 132g.

Intel Yolo B-210

At the bottom we have the slot to fit in your fingernail when opening the rear cover to expose the battery and all other entrails like the SIM card and MicroSD. Yolo has a 3.5 inch TFT multi-touch capacitive screen and four touch sensitive controls at the bottom. There is no front camera, so above there you have the earpiece and the Intel  Inside logo.  On the left we have the volume rocker and on the right we have the power buttons. These are the only two buttons on the device, and they are well blended in, almost camouflaged. So there’s no chance of accidental pics. The top bears the Micro USB slot and the 3.5mm jack. The rear is a matte black silky feel cover with four elements, the camera, speaker at the bottom and both Intel and Safaricom logo. There is minimal colour as the two logos are white. You know I mentioned that because of the green company, right? The charger is three pin, which is quite an advantage since you won’t be plugging it in with assistance of a pen.

Hardware:

The interiors are what maketh the smartphone, so could we delve in already? The Intel Yolo has at the core, a 1.2GHz Intel Atom processor , 512MB RAM and 400Mhz GPU.  The phone responds well  to touch and the 3.5 inch screen is sufficient with the responsiveness the phone exhibits. I didn’t test the screen for shatter resistance, but it is scratch resistant. This was tested using keys scratching them hard on the surface to go beyond the usual pocket with keys environment.

Storage is 4GB internal and is complemented by a micro-SD slot with 32GB capacity.

Intel Yolo AnTuTu BenchmarkThe Intel Yolo actually performed quite well in the benchmark tests, at AnTuTu it did an impressive 12365(more is better), outperforming the first Galaxy Note from Samsung with a good show at 3D graphics processing and RAM performance against hardware. I went into the task of pushing it to the edge, and opening ten apps concurrently seemed to wear it down. I take it that the RAM was responsible for the reduced response at that point.

Sound on the earphones is quite good, and the type of earphones is quite good, you find these on the high end. Sound on the loud speaker is nothing out of the ordinary so nothing to report.

The device is quite fast and is said to get speeds of upto 21Mps HSPA+, you don’t get those here, but browser performance was good. Connectivity options range from Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1, A-GPS, FM Radio, Micro-USB 2.0.

Gaming experience is as good as devices on the high end, Intel seems to have bore much emphasized on this experience with 400Mhz GPU on the 1200GHz processor and Accelerometer.

 Software

Intel Yolo ICSIntel Yolo comes pre-installed with Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich and this is a Nexus feel it presents, with no skinning and customization of the Operating system. The carrier Safaricom has also not added any bloatware like is the trend with international carriers, leaving this device with minimum resource usage. It however comes with pre-installed apps by Intel like the Wireless display app (WiDi) which works by rendering a second virtual display broadcast via WI-FI. WiDi is enabled by My WiFi, a feature in Intel Centrino wireless chipsets that connects to a receiver on the Tv or PC.

Projecting does not lose the pixel density inside the screen, however 3rd party apps aren’t safe from this. Other apps that come bundled in, are doubletwist and chrome browser, most ICS devices do.  Users who get to purchase Intel Yolo from Safaricom get a free one year subscription to McAfee mobile security application (review on this much later).

The camera, a 5MP camera with touch focus captures snazzy photos in good lighting. However, due to lack of flash, images in low light will be as grainy as the darkness dictates.  Camera also has two other features that don’t come at this price point. Burst shot which enables capture of upto 7 simultaneous photos and is activated on the camera controls. The other feature is panorama mode, allowing you to shoot on panorama mode. See below a photo taken by Yolo. See more photos here.Intel Yolo camera pictures

Intel Yolo comes with a pre-installed SwiftKey keyboard, Swiftkey for Intel. Swiftkey is a premium keyboard and is the most downloaded keyboard on Android. This makes the typing on Intel Yolo quite easy and responsive. I guess Intel wanted to take that off their hands worrying about user experience, the same with the move not to engage skinning  of the OS.SwiftKey for Intel

Display

Intel  Yolo has a 3.5” TFT display with HVGA  resolution at  480 x 320 px and this makes for a good viewing, the display is well rendered particularly when gaming where this is of much importance.  Screen use outdoors is quite impressive, you won’t strain looking for shaded areas to see what’s on the screen.

Battery Life

The 1500mAh battery is quite good and can give you well a full day of use on twitter, facebooking, photos and mild gaming. However if you take it to the test and do some Grand theft Auto or Need for Speed you might be plugging in earlier than expected, give it 6 hours.

Conclusion:

Intel  Yolo is a good entry level device, and with all Intel has managed to bundle in, the price point of 11k is quite on point. Yolo can make for a main device considering it has Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich, a 3.5 inch screen, good processing and battery life. Plus it gets what you need done. It will stand really well against devices at that price point.