The XOLO made its way into our labs recently and needless to say, our tech radars were piqued. It’s always an exciting day for the team when a new and highly anticipated device makes it in, but of course we have to keep our expectations in check. The XOLO has been making the news ever since its announcement leaked and we were aching to take a crack at it to see just what Intel would bring to the Android smartphone table. So before we get into a full fledged review, here’s what we thought of the XOLO right out of the box.
Lava and Intel team up on the Xolo
The device is neatly packaged with what looks like minimal stress on the environment. The handset itself is as “neat” as they come. It has a ‘no-frills’ like feel to it in its simplistic rectangular design that some could consider akin to the Apple iPhone 4. While it didn’t appeal to our savvy phone sense initially, we will admit that after a few hours of toying with it, it grew on us. What will really meet any mobile user's fancy is that the XOLO X900 is extremely lightweight at just about 127g, making it about 3 grams lighter than the One X. It’s also quite slim at about 10mm in depth, keeping the styling in tune with today’s sleek requirements from the consumers.
The rear panel, although quite plain has a slightly rubberized feel to it, which makes it quite easy to grip and on the whole the handset itself, thanks to its weight and dimensions felt easy to handle. It slips into tight jeans and doesn’t leave a bulge. The XOLO is sealed up tight, so there’s no removable battery and like the competition i.e. HTC and Apple, the X900 doesn’t feature any external memory support, but the 16GB of internal storage seems adequate enough for all uses. The trend is now the Micro SIM, which LAVA has also incorporated into the XOLO.
Micro SIM support, no microSD card support
Similar to the Optimus 2X, the XOLO also has a rather large more-or-less vacant space below the display. The Android access keys are placed here in a soft-touch capacity, but we thought this could have left room for either a smaller shell or a larger display. Both would have made the overall appeal go up a notch.
Where LAVA could have done better is in the accessories department. The USB to power adapter looks a little old fashioned and quite like what one would have expected from a Java-based, low budget, LAVA device, not something in this calibre. The USB cable is of standard quality, so no issues there. LAVA’s bundled headset looks promising and for a higher standard as compared to the rest of the package assortment. The in-ear style headset is stark white, though, in complete contrast with the handset, we’re not quite sure how we feel about that. LAVA has also provided a little pin to be used to pop the Micro SIM tray out, again very similar to the iPhone’s or the HTC One X. But there are very limited ways to have done this, otherwise.
In the looks department, in a single statement, the XOLO comes off as a ‘Professional’ looking piece of hardware. It’s not premium quality design material and feels a bit like it could crack open on impact from... let’s say 3 feet. It’s still nevertheless a simple, yet neat looking phone.
As far as specs are concerned, the XOLO seems like an extremely capable handset. Running stock Android Gingerbread (2.3.7), at least we’re assured that we’ll get a taste of true ICS goodness when it arrives for the X900. As far as we could tell, the XOLO is a super speedy handset. The super fluid functionality and immediate launch time for apps and features was nothing short of impressive. Of course ‘prolonged exposure’ to tons of apps and multimedia cluttering up the drive could prove to be challenging for the device, so let’s hope Intel is up to the task.
Under the hood, the XOLO features the first ever, Intel Atom processor to make it to the mobile domain. Being of the 1.6GHz variety the CPU should be more than adequate to handle all kinds of pressure from rigorous use.
Running on Android out-of-the-box instead of ICS
The 1064 x 600 pixel resolution on the 4-inch display tends to compress the fonts and icons to quite an extent making everything seem a little small on the screen, which seemed a little dull in terms of colours. However, alternative UI's fixed that former size problem somewhat. Although the icons and fonts appeared small, at least the clarity and sharpness seemed quite high, so we don't feel it's a deterrent in any way. We're looking forward to seeing ICS on this display.
Unfortunately, what we noticed and expected is that some apps, like Instagram and Flash Player 11, for example, aren’t available via the Native Google Play store, you’ll have to download them off the web store. There were no compatibility issues as far as we could tell initially. The fact is that the X86 Architecture will still need a few apps to be ported for compatibility, but there’s plenty that’s already available. We were unable to find quite a few high-end games like N.O.V.A. 2 and ShadowGun and they didn’t seem to get installed via the web store, either. More on this in the review.
We also noticed that the LAVA XOLO featured the native Android music player, which seemed devoid of features, except for the bare minimum. The DoubleTwist player that is also pre-loaded is not the full version, so you’re going to have to look for an alternative.
We’re expecting the XOLO to do well in the connectivity department, seeing that it is quite well-equipped from Wi-Fi to NFC, but we were hoping to see Wi-Fi direct as well. Not that it’ll be missed.
The 1460mAh battery should fare quite well, but we’ll know more once we’ve put it through our lab tests and see how it works in a real-time environment as well.
1064 x 600 res makes fonts/icons a little smaller than usual
The 8MP camera strapped to the rear (LED flash) also looks promising, especially with features like Burst Mode and 1080P video recording. A secondary camera is also located at the front for video calling.
First Impressions at a glance
Needless to say, we can only say just how good it is after our actual tests, but we do have high hopes for this device. Priced at just 22,000 for a 16GB device with “Intel Inside”, the XOLO could prove to be a worthy competitor to the likes of the Xperia S, the Motorola Atrix 2 and possibly even the Galaxy S II and RAZR XT910. This would naturally propel LAVA into the big leagues.The handset as is, is proportionately designed to suit all needs and seems fast enough to compete with the big boys.
Similar but, the Xolo is much lighter and a little faster it seems than the Atrix 2
Full review on the XOLO X900 coming up, watch this space.