Motorola is aiming to be Android top dog and to achieve that takes not only awesome high-end smartphones like the Atrixes, but also phones that take potential buyers’ wallets into consideration. This resulted in the Quench XT5, a phone that takes on the LG Optimus One P500 and the Samsung Galaxy 3. We clearly liked both of the aforementioned devices, so the XT5 has quite the task ahead of it. Let’s find out just how well it fares, shall we?
The candybar XT5 just screams cool the moment you lay eyes on it. The exterior is mostly comprised of a matte black finish, with a dash of chrome thrown in for good measure on the rims. The front is mostly glossy and it houses the 320×480 3.2-inch Gorilla Glass encased display, which is pretty high quality for the resolution it runs at. Below the display lies the four generic touch-sensitive keys, but Motorola have also included call answer/end keys, as well as a trackball below that. The power button and the 3.5mm audio jack are on top, a flapped micro-USB port is on the left and the right houses the volume rocker and the click button used for the 5 megapixel fixed focus camera which is located on the back. The Motorola logo also doesn’t take up the usual spot centered above the display, but is instead positioned on the top left, which is pretty cool if you ask me.
Well designed and built
The phone doesn’t feel rugged but it does feel extremely solidly built. It’s not bulky either, which is a bonus as a solid light phone is pretty hard to come across these days. Overall, the XT5’s design gets a major thumbs up.
Features and Performance
The XT5 is powered by a Qualcomm MSM7227 processor, which is clocked at 600MHz, and comes with stock Android 2.1 Eclair. Eclair’s a bit of a bummer, not by itself, but simply because the Optimus One ships with FroYo out of the box, and even the perennially slow Samsung have announced a FroYo update for the Galaxy 3. Motorola on the other hand, are being rather defiant about updating their phones, and there’s no news on if/when the XT will get an OS update.
One might expect the 600MHz processor to cause a performance bottleneck, but contrary to expectations, the XT5 performs admirably. The touchscreen, even when using multi-touch, is responsive and there’s minimal to no lag present and even that only shows up when the phone’s undergoing heavy multi-tasking. The accelerometer is also quite responsive and it recognizes tilts quickly and accurately.
Performs pretty well, too!
The call answer/end buttons are a bit of a headscratcher. While the OS can be configured to allow those buttons to activate the display (it’s not enabled by default), the call end button doesn’t take you back to the home screen. It’s not a dealbreaker by any means, but I would have liked to have at least an option that enabled that function. The clickable trackball, on the other hand, works fine and is a real help while browsing the web.
There are three different keyboard layouts for text input, which can be changed at will by swiping over them. These include the standard QWERTY layout, the numeric keypad and even a half-QWERTY keypad. The keys are well spaced out, especially in landscape mode, so typing isn’t much of a hassle.
The video player on the XT5 is decent, as its augmented by a pretty good screen. It only plays files of resolutions of up to 640×480 (640×360 for 16:9 videos), but the codec support is pretty good, with DivX and H264 both supported.
Where the Quench surprisingly shines is the music department. The DAC is high-grade stuff for a phone in this budget range and sounds better than most PMPs – it’s loud enough and provides a decent soundstage with good bass and treble levels. Of course, the problem that music players on most Android Phones have – complete lack of EQ Settings – returns, but a quick install of any of the third-party music players available on the Android Market will unlock the true potential of the XT5’s DAC.
Jack it in
The bundled handsfree is of an earbud design so it could be either a good or a bad thing, depending on your preference, but they are built decently and sound decent too. They’re obviously no match for a good pair of earphones, but as bundled handsfrees go they’re fantastic.
The Quench XT5 is 3G enabled, HSDPA even, along with the other standard connectivity options like EDGE and GPRS. WiFi and Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP is also included.
On the software front, the phone comes pre-loaded with Gtalk, MySpace and Facebook apps, you’ll have to get the Twitter app yourself. E-mail support includes your standard POP/IMAP accounts, along with Gmail.
The phone ships with GPS, a-GPS support and even has a GPS tracker that, as the name gives away, tracks your movements if you enable it. This is in addition to the pre-loaded Google Maps app.
There are quite a few handy tools thrown onto the XT5. There’s Documents-to-go, a notepad, a file browser and an RSS reader. Being a stock OS, it also has access to virtually every application on the Android Market.
The 5 megapixel fixed focus camera comes with a bunch of options. There are options to change the white balance, colour effects and even parameters such as sharpness, contrast and saturation.
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As for performance, the camera doesn’t do dim lighting very well but the well-lit pictures are pretty decent.
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The 1270mAh battery manages to hold its own against the XT5, providing talktime of about five hours on an average. Off a full charge, it lasted for around two days with regular usage which includes WiFi, music, videos and calls and three days with light usage, so I’d say that’s pretty impressive.
Of course, the functionality of the auto-brightness feature goes a long way to help this. However, the phone lasted that long without any app killers or battery saver apps, so one could probably go even higher with those installed.
The Motorola Quench XT5, which is available at some places for Rs. 13,990, is quite the sleeper hit. The OS is smooth as butter, music playback is excellent and the Gorilla Glass-encased display ensures scratches don’t affect your viewing experience. Add to that the quality build and the good battery life and the XT5 becomes a fantastic mid-range Android option.
I only hope Motorola follow this through with a Froyo update, and also fix the couple of minor niggles along with it.
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