The cold war in the smartphone arena is in full swing to determine the fastest phone on a budget price. Manufacturers currently seem busy trying to flaunt their quad-core Android handsets with the best spec sheet possible to impress the Indian consumer. But what these phones lack is possibly the trust of the Indian consumer in the state of the after-sales service. Nevertheless, leaving aside the after-sales angle, are these phones really worth considering or not is left up to the consumer himself. And it is the consumer who decides whether the handset suits his needs and performs as per his/her expectations. We recently saw the Gionee Dream D1 quad-core handset with the best feature-set and the lowest cost yet available. WickedLeak and Micromax are also not too far behind with their quad core variants. XOLO, another known manufacturer, has recently released a new quad-core handset—the Q800. Does the Q800 have something better than the rest? Let’s take a look.
4.5-inch IPS display with qHD resolution (960 x 540 pixels)
Design and build quality
The XOLO Q800, a product from LAVA International Ltd, is packed in a rugged and firm plastic chassis. The entire shell has a rubberised finish with a shiny brown trim around it. The front panel is complete glass with three capacitive buttons for Home, Back and Menu on the bottom side while the top highlights the speaker, front camera and the earpiece. The rear panel sports the main shooter with an LED flash and the speaker grille is visible at the bottom. The top has the 3.5 mm audio jack and the microUSB PC interface while the power button and the volume rocker are placed on the right side. Snap open the rear panel and you will find the two SIM card slots along with a hot-swappable microSD card slot beneath it. The entire phone has a good grip and the 4.5-inch display is just sufficient enough for single-handed use—not too large, not too small.
8MP camera with LED flash, matte-finish rear panel
The XOLO Q800 has powerful hardware under the hood. It runs on the MT6589 SOC which features a quad-core 1.2GHz processor coupled with a PowerVR SGX544 GPU and 1GB of RAM. The display is a sufficiently large 4.5-inch IPS panel, but sports a resolution of just 960 x 540 pixels. We did see the Gionee Dream D1 sporting a Super HD AMOLED resolution display panel with Gorilla Glass 2 on the exact same hardware. This could be one reason for the price difference of almost Rs 4,000 between the two. Moving on, the internal storage is the same as with all budget handsets we have witnessed in the past. It stays at 4GB, which can be expanded up to 32GB using a microSD card.
Dual SIM GSM+WCDMA, 2100 mAh battery
The rear shooter is 8MP with LED flash and is capable of capturing full HD 1080p videos. The front camera is 1MP for video chats over Wi-Fi or 3G. The handset is dual SIM compatible with support for either two GSM SIM cards or one GSM and one WCDMA SIM card for 3G Internet. Sensors present within are for 3-axis accelerometer, proximity, light, magnetic 3-axis and gyroscope. The XOLO Q800 runs on Android Jelly Bean v4.1 operating system; it can be updated to v4.2 when the manufacturer is ready to release it. Lastly, the handset is fuelled by a 2100 mAh battery.
Power and volume rocker on the right side
We tested the Q800 using the standard benchmarking apps to check its core performance and the potential of the hardware within. AnTuTu scored 12997, Quadrant scored 2643 while NenaMark2 scored 53.2 fps. Linpack gave us scores of 37.2 MFLOPS and 126.1 MFLOPS in the single-thread and multi-thread tests respectively. According to the scores we received, the handset does not perform any better than other similar budget quad-core handsets in the category.
Headphone jack and PC interface on the top.
The Q800 uses the stock Android Jelly Bean launcher and user interface unlike the one we saw on the Gionee, which had a custom launcher designed by Gionee. The user interface on the Q800 is smooth and stable with no issues whatsoever. The manufacturer has not included any free apps, which is good in a way, as it helps keep the maximum amount of memory in store for the user’s apps.
Jelly Bean V4.1 with stock launcher, minimal apps
Display and media
The display used on the Q800 is a 4.5-inch IPS panel with plain glass. Provided with the product is a screen scratch guard that needs to be installed the moment you purchase the handset. The display has a qHD resolution of 960 x 540 and is very clear with good viewing angle. The videos and photos are also very crisp and clear and we do not have any complaints here too.
1.2GHz quad core, PowerVR SGX544, 1GB RAM
We played a few HD and full HD videos on the handset to check if the video playback had any issues. Full HD videos are flawless and enjoyable on the IPS panel. The fine viewing angle also makes it worthy of a good media player on the go. The built-in speaker is loud and clear and good enough for entertaining a small group. The bundled earphones are in-ear type and sport an above average audio performance, but the overall build quality is not as great as one would expect.
Outdoor shots lack proper balance of brightness and contrast
The camera featured here is an 8MP shooter with a BSI sensor. Outdoor pictures are not as great though—we took some shots in broad daylight only to find that the brightly lit areas were too bright and the images in the shade were almost blacked out. Correcting the shots with a photo utility would only result in washed out photos. Hence, one will have to play around with the EV a bit to get good photos in broad daylight. Images shot in the shade are good enough and there are no complaints. Indoor photos are below average; they are grainy, slightly blurred and lack sharpness. Overall, the camera on the XOLO Q800 was a letdown.
Indoor shots are grainy and lack sharpness
The 2100 mAh battery that fuels the Q800 seems good enough for the handset with respect to basic and casual usage. If you are using this phone for continuous video playback, the maximum you can use it for watching movies back to back is 5 hours and 20 minutes. Standard use of the phone with calls, Internet browsing, gaming, watching a few videos and listening to some music in between could give you a maximum of around 7 to 8 hours. But again, the battery life will depend from person to person and his/her pattern of usage.
Macro shots are decent provided there is sufficient lighting
Verdict and Price in India
The price tag of Rs 12,499 seems very attractive for a quad-core Android handset with an IPS display. The phone is a good buy if you are looking for a quad-core handset on a budget. But there are other manufacturers who are offering better hardware features at a marginally higher price. Take for instance, the Wammy Titan II and the Canvas HD A116, which feature quad-core processors with 5.3-inch and 5-inch HD IPS panels, respectively, for around Rs 1,500 more. Plus, there's Gionee with a 4.65-inch Super HD AMOLED display for around Rs 4,000 more. Manufacturers are competing with each other with price and hardware variants, making it more confusing for the buyer. We would recommend this handset if you are on a shoe-string budget.
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