LAVA International's latest product in the market, the Xolo Q700, has been priced safely within the Rs 10,000 bracket. The manufacturer claims that it's the world’s first multi-profile Android smartphone, a feature which is usually seen on tablets running Jelly Bean. The phone sports a quad-core processor with an IPS display running Google’s latest Jelly Bean v4.2 operating system. The device looks smart, but does it pack enough performance and features to woo consumers? Let’s take a look.
4.5-inch qHD IPS display with a resolution of 540 x 960 pixels
Design and build quality
With a rugged chassis, the Xolo Q700 has an all-black exterior with a high gloss screen and frame edge, while the rear panel has a matte-finish texture. The front panel is completely made of a protective glass frame with the IPS display panel below it. The only opening on the front glass is available for the earpiece and the front camera. The bottom features three backlit touch buttons for home, back and menu. On the right is the power/standby button, while the left features the volume rocker. The top sports the micro USB PC interface and the 3.5 mm audio jack; the bottom is devoid of any ports. The chassis has a dark chrome trim, which along with the rear panel looks like the phone is placed in a protective hard shell or back cover. But it is in fact a single piece that looks good, but is not comfortable to hold.
5MP rear shooter with LED flash. Rear panel is matte finish
Moving on, the rear panel highlights the camera with an LED flash and a very neat manufacturer’s logo embossed with a chrome finish. Lastly, on the bottom lies the opening for the speaker. Below the rear panel you will find a 2400 mAh Li-polymer battery, which needs to be removed to insert the SIM card and the memory card. With a thickness of 10.2 mm and a weight of about 151 grams, the phone looks very classy. Bundled along with the phone are a pair of earphones, the charger, a screen protector film and the user manual.
2400 mAh battery, dual SIM slots, microSD card support up to 32GB
The Xolo Q700 is a dual-SIM smartphone operating on the Android Jelly Bean v4.2 operating system. The display is IPS-based, 4.5-incher and is protected by an OGS (One Glass Solution) technology touchscreen panel, which is supposedly thinner and clearer. The touch panel supports up to five simultaneous touches. The display bears a qHD resolution of 540 x 960 pixels. Below the display screen is a quad-core processor running at 1.2GHz with 1GB of RAM built on a MTK6589W-M chipset. The graphics processor featured here is a PowerVR SGX544 clocked at 238MHz. The internal storage provided is 4GB, which can be extended further to 32GB using a microSD card. The rear shooter is 5MP with an LED flash. The camera features a BSI sensor, which helps enhance photos and videos in low light conditions.
Volume rocker and power on either sides of the 10.2 mm thick shell
On the connectivity front, the Xolo Q700 features Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and 3G for Internet, USB 2.0 PC interface and Bluetooth v3.0 for communication and audio. USB OTG is also supported for connecting external USB devices and peripherals such as storage, mice and keyboards. Sensors available on the phone are accelerometer, magnetometer, ambient light and proximity. The phone is equipped with a 2400 mAh battery capable of fuelling the phone for almost 6–10 hours depending on the type of usage.
To get a glimpse of how the hardware can perform, we ran a few of our basic benchmarking utilities. AnTuTu scored 13453, Quadrant scored 3875 and NenaMark2 scored 39.7 fps. Linpack gave us results of 36 MFLOPS and 113.5 MFLOPS in single-thread and multi-thread tests respectively. When we matched these scores to other phones that we have reviewed in the past, the Xolo Q700 seemed to perform at par with phones that sport similar chipsets.
1.2GHz quad core CPU, PowerVR SGX544 GPU, 1GB RAM, 4GB internal storage
The Xolo uses a custom user interface that is very close to the stock UI, except for a few changes here and there. The app drawer page is made of four sections or tabs, namely, system apps, user downloaded apps, user games and widgets. The apps are categorised well so that the user can easily find what he or she is looking for. You can keep swiping continuously to enter each tab automatically at the end of the list. The user interface is pretty smooth thanks to the quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM and GPU on board. The manufacturer has included just a handful of useful apps for the user, which include Xolo Switch, Kids Mode, Xolo Secure and Xolo Power. As we mentioned earlier, this phone has multi-user profiles, which seems to be a borrowed feature from the tablet OS and customised by the manufacturer’s in-house developers. Android limited the multi-user profile option to the tablets only and did not implement it for phones. Using the app called Xolo Switch, you can set up multiple user profiles so that they have their own desktop and apps when using the phone. Similar to a desktop PC, this ensures that users can keep their apps and data private.
Custom UI on the Android JB 4.2 operating system
Kids Mode is a feature pre-installed on the phone. This app puts the phone in kid mode or child mode, which can be installed with entertainment and educational apps for your children. The mode will lock the phone completely and you can happily handover the phone to your child to play with, without worrying about any data loss, application launch or unwanted phone calls and SMSes going out. You also have the option of blocking incoming calls if you need to. Xolo Secure is for backing up your phone’s data onto the cloud for safe keeping. Lastly, Xolo Power is a power management utility to control the phone’s usage accordingly and extend the battery life. You can set the background data sync frequency, set up night mode timings and set up what the phone should do when the battery runs low. It also gives you a time estimation on the remaining battery life.
Battery saver app from Xolo
Display and media
Sporting a 4.5-inch IPS screen with a resolution of 540 x 960, the display on the Xolo Q700 is crisp and clear. There are no viewing angle issues whatsoever. The colours are bright and vibrant and the picture quality is great. As far as the video playback is concerned, the handset can play full HD 1080p MP4 files coded in MPEG4, H263and H.264 formats with great ease. Full HD 1080p content in other formats also played very well, except that you can see a minute framing in the fast panning and action scenes. Switching from hardware decoding to software decoding in a third-party player can eliminate this visual disturbance.
Audio files supported by the Q700 are MP3, MIDI, WAV, 3GPP,AAC and AAC+. The on-board speaker is loud and clear and great for playing music, streaming radio and short videos when in a small group. The bundled earphones are in-ear type. The build quality is a little below average, while the audio quality is above average with excellent bass reproduction but a little disappointing on mids and highs. Overall, the audio quality is acceptable and you might not need another pair of earphones unless you tend to damage them or if you are an audiophile.
Multiuser profiles can be added for additional users
The 5MP camera on the rear panel features a BSI (Backside illumination) sensor, which helps in better low-light photos. To an extent, this is true as in our indoor photos, we did find the picture quality good enough as a whole. Using the flash helps to an extent, provided the subject is close enough. Outdoor shots are good and sport a good balance of detail, brightness and contrast. Macro shots taken indoors are not as good as compared to the ones taken outdoors. So if you are to shoot macro and close-ups in low light or indoor areas, make sure you have a good lighting arrangement.
Outdoor photos are better than average
The camera features the standard modes available on most of the Android smartphones available today. These include Image Stabilization, Scene Modes such as night, sunset, snow, party, portrait, theatre, beach and a few more, High Dynamic Range (HDR), Low Light Enhancement, Face Recognition, Panorama Capture and Geo Tagging. To sum up the camera is definitely better compared to many low budget Android smartphones we have reviewed so far.
Macros are great if you have enough light on the subject
The Xolo Q700 sports a quad-core processor, which uses low power by utilising the internal cores according to the requirement. The additional battery saving app helps increase the battery life to quite an extent. In our tests, we clocked a whopping 9 hours and 25 minutes when tested with voice calls, movie viewing and music listening for a stretch of two hours each and looping it all over again till the battery gave up. If you are a moderate user, you should get around 12 to 15 hours of battery life on average before looking for the charger.
Indoor photos are decent, but need some more lighting
Verdict and price in India
To sum up the whole, we did begin to like the Xolo Q700 simply due to the good looks, decent performance of the system, good camera and a great IPS display. The price of Rs 9,999 is definitely a great deal for a quad-core phone with an IPS display and a good 5 MP shooter. If you are looking for a decent phone with a fast processor and a good camera on a shoe-string budget, the Xolo Q700 is definitely worth investing in.
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May 2, 2016