LAVA’s all new entry into the Android segment has caused quite a stir in the community by tying up with Intel who’re making their big debut into the mobile computing space. The XOLO X900 is the first smartphone to come equipped with an Intel Atom processor based on their Medfield technology. It could prove to give the Tegras and ARMs, among others a real run for their money. We’re here to tell you whether or not this well priced flagship mobile is worth the wait and worth your hard earned cash. Take a closer look.
The XOLO X900 is a simple handset, much like the iPhone. So much so that it infact resembles Apple’s latest device to an extent. With it’s squared off look and simple button system, the XOLO is a simple and neat product that’s also quite lightweight. For a more detailed description of the device, you can head over to our ‘Unboxing’ feature here.
Compared to the iPhone 4
While slipping in the micro SIM card we had no issues – the tray popped out easily and without much effort was reinserted. However, removing the card was a real task. We were required to use quite a bit of effort to remove the tray. Needless to say, as decent as the phone may look, we weren’t too impressed with the overall build quality of the XOLO, even though we had no issues with the dimensions. The 4-inch TFT LCD capacitive touchscreen features a 1064 x 600 pixel resolution, which keeps images quite sharp and focused, even if they’re smaller than those from most other handsets. Viewing angles are good even in bright conditions.
Slightly rubberised for better grip
We do feel that the real estate up front could have been better utilized with either a larger screen or a reduction in the size of the handset. Nevertheless, as is, it doesn’t really hamper the design in any way. A light sensor/Proximity sensor and secondary 1.3MP camera are located on either sides of the speaker, above the display. Unfortunately, LAVA does not seem to have included a notification LED, which would have been quite helpful. A volume rocker and dedicated camera access/Shutter release button are located on the same side as the micro SIM card slot with a Micro HDMI Port on the left side, a micro USB for charging and PC interfacing at the bottom and a 3.5mm handsfree socket at the top near the power/screen sleep button.
Features and Performance
We hoped for ICS out of the box with the XOLO, but sadly, the mobile segment is not at par with the budget tablets being launched in the country that are, oddly, all featuring ICS out of the box. Needless to say, the XOLO does not come with 4.0 out of the box. It will receive an update, but there’s no official word on the timeline. Intel’s Atom Processor (1.6GHz) is, simply put, blazing fast. It’s instantaneously gratifying when it comes to activating and accessing any and all features from simple swipes to switching screens, activating the camera, music player, gallery, etc. Opening high-res images in succession or accessing full HD videos is just as fast as on the One X or the iPhone 4. There’s no lag, no delay, nothing of that sort and that’s what makes the XOLO an exciting device to use.
Impressive specs especially when you take price into account
Linpack Benchmark scores put it at an average of 88 in single thread runs and close to 90 in multi-thread runs, only proving just how fast this device really is. AnTuTu scored it at 5784, placing it just under the Samsung Galaxy S II, but much higher than Motorola’s Atrix 2 (scored 5222).
Since it's running stock Gingerbread, it will most assuredly feature stock ICS up on its arrival.
It's simple, but perhaps a little too much
What also was a major concern, which we could attribute to this particular device being a test piece, but can’t be certain of, is the unusual heating issue. When used outside of an AC environment for more than 7 minutes (average), the lower back portion of the handset where the battery or CPU is placed tends to heat up quite rapidly making it a little uncomfortable to hold. We tested this multiple times in multiple scenarios and environments and it was quite consistent and more so when the Wi-Fi was active. The heating also caused the network disruption almost as soon as the device reached a certain temperature, even in areas with no reception issues and others with the same service were at full strength. Hopefully this is not a generic issue with the X900. Should any of you readers and owners of the X900 have the same problem, please let us know.
The native music player is a little too basic with no enhancements, whatsoever. Of course, this is an easy fix as there’s no shortage of players available on the Google Play store. However, in terms of sound quality, the XOLO is quite a capable device. The decibel level it attains at peak volume is just about right. Tones are well balanced with lower frequencies coming in with a resounding thump in the bass and no bright tones in the higher range. With players, like PowerAmp and others you’ll be able to adjust the levels to quite an extent and further enhance your audio experience. LAVA has also preloaded the doubleTwist player, however if you wish to use the EQ presets etc. you’ll have to download the full version that’s not free.
Great audio quality but a better player could have been provided
The video player is capable of reading quite a few formats, including some in DivX and AVI. MP4 (H.264), 3GPP, MOV Full HD (1080p) files, properly encoded, worked flawlessly via the native player. The formats it doesn’t read will easily work on any third party player, like Mobo Player or RockPlayer that are free off the Google Play store.
With Internet connectivity options that include 3G support, Wi-Fi with Hot Spot creation and EDGE/GPRS, you're pretty much covered in this department. The XOLO also comes with an NFC antenna for accessing NFC-based tags and other connectivity feeds for this tech. Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP and USB 2.0 are also on the cards. The handset does lack Wi-Fi direct, but it’s not something you’d miss seeing, as other devices in this price range don’t have it either. The HTML5 supported native browser works just great.
Not too much in terms of extras
We were required to download Social Networking apps, like FB and Twitter, but hopefully box packed devices will at least come with Facebook preloaded. Google + and its corresponding messenger are on board. We were unable to find Instagram on the Play store via the handset, but installed it via the APK downloaded off the online store via the browser. Easy availability of apps for the x86 architecture, through the Google Play store could be an issue for now. You'll have to use workarounds for the time being. Google’s standard Android suite of apps that include Google Maps, Navigation Places, Latitude and YouTube have of course been provided. There’s nothing more that can be said in terms of connectivity.
There are no frills thrown in with regards to additional apps to help with the overall user experience. It’s rather unusual to see a company like LAVA that started off in the feature phone /Java-based segment and offered quite a few extras in their first Android offering i.e. the S12, keep things so very basic in this flagship model. The only extras that came with the XOLO out of the box, were QuickOffice, Google Translate and XOLO Care for connecting to a customized care center for the device. Apps like Voice search, Voice Dialer and a sound recorder are also thrown in.
The 8 megapixel autofocus camera with its LED flash worked out to be a great asset for the handset. Intel’s new mobile processor has managed to integrate a slew of features into this device that give it high-end digicam-like settings. From standard issue mobile phone settings that include White Balance and colour options to exposure and ISO control, the XOLO goes a few steps further. It packs in features like GDC (geometric distortion correction), XNR (extra noise reduction for low light) and ANR (another noise reduction routine), options for shooting RAW formats (YUV, Bayer), Backlighting correction, Geotagging, indoor and outdoor modes, options to select Shutter or Aperture Priority and so much more. It’s as comprehensive as it gets in the mobile domain.
Colors could have been a little better
But let’s talk quality of capture. While just as fast as the Xperia S or One X, in terms of accessing the camera and taking an image (2.3 seconds average), we did find that the camera had a few issues with focus and didn’t prove to be as good with the touchfocus setting as Sony’s or HTC’s offerings. Indoor images, even with the ‘Indoor’ settings activated were a tad dull and colours seemed a bit washed out. The same goes for outdoor pictures. While remaining clear enough with a reasonably acceptable amount of grain and artifact for CMOS mobile camera, we were not happy with the colour reproduction. On the whole, image quality was not bad, but just a little dull in terms of colour depth.
Macro mode… little dull but quite sharp
Macro images looked great, once you get the focus right and the level of detail retained is quite high.
Does well even in low light outdoors
The 1460mAH battery proved to be the handset's biggest issue, as we also found that charging it at least twice in a day was quite required. In our battery tests, we were able to run video non-stop with Wi-Fi running the background for no more than 4 hours and 10 minutes which, as smartphones go, is quite under par. In our tech2 loop test, the XOLO was barely able to complete a single loop that consisted of 2 hours of video, 2 hours of audio, 2 hours of audio streaming and 1.5 hours of talk time. The XOLO clocked in a total of 7 hours and a few minutes in total usage, which is not at all what we expected, considering the specs. While we can consider this to be average, since Wi-Fi was active in the background, it still isn’t impressive enough to be compared to other devices that ran for longer under same conditions.
Intel Inside – makes a difference
The Bottom Line
LAVA’s XOLO X900 comes with a price tag of 22,000, making it a very affordable smartphone, as far as we’re concerned. The fact that the Intel Atom processor makes this handset so brilliantly fast was a reason we would have recommended the device for anyone and everyone who was looking for a high-end smartphone. However, the poor battery life and possible heating issue will prove to be a deterrent in this case. LAVA has nevertheless done a decent job in terms of design and functionality, but the few issues like the lack of a removable battery, no memory expansion option, no FM radio and no ICS out-of-the-box, might not go down well with some .
In this price range, you also have the option of the Motorola Atrix 2, which features a large display, much better battery life and quite a few extras thrown in the form of EA games. But keep in mind, in terms of actual real time and tested performance in speed, the XOLO is unmatched in its class.
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