After arriving slightly late on the dual-core scene, it seems Indian smartphone makers are now fast adapting to the 720p display trend. Following the launch of the Micromax A116 Canvas HD, it’s the turn of the XOLO A1000 to bring an HD display on a large screen.
On paper, there is not much difference between the A1000 and the Canvas HD except the quad-core processor and the lack of dual-SIM on the former. However, the A1000 might suffer from lack of sales thanks to being priced in the same range as the Canvas HD. At Rs 13,999, it’s not the cheapest dual-core phone in the market, but it does bring some nice specs to the table. The camera, in particular, looks to be a standout feature. Let’s take a closer look at the specifications of the phone.
OS – Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
The A1000 will launch with 4.1 Jelly Bean, which brings a smooth UI experience as well as the Google Now app, a better camera interface. Jelly Bean also brings with it Project Butter, which makes transitions and animations smoother, and increases general UI responsiveness. XOLO’s A800 had only minimum customisations like notifications toggles to the stock Android 4.1 experience and it would make sense to continue on this path with the A1000 as well.
The A1000 replaces the A800 as the company's flagship phone
Cellular network – 3G support
The XOLO A1000 supports 3G networks and has EDGE connectivity on GSM 900 and 1800 MHz bands, and 3G on WCDMA 2100 MHz band. HSDPA is restricted to 7.2Mbps, which is lower than the HSDPA speeds on Micromax A116 Canvas HD (21Mbps).
Display – 5-inch HD IPS
Micromax paved the way with a 720p screen on the Canvas HD, and XOLO A1000 looks to have the same display. The 5-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1280 x 720 sounds great. XOLO has manufactured the screen using a One Glass Solution (OGS). OGS dramatically reduces the girth of the phone, while also making the interface seem closer to the finger. A similar technique is used by LG in the manufacture of the Optimus G and Nexus 4. However, there is no word on whether the phone will have any scratch resistant glass on top.
XOLO A1000 has a 5-inch 720p display
Form factor and weight – Quite slim for a 5 incher
Normally, 5-inch phones released by Indian manufacturers have a fat waistline. That is not the case with the XOLO A1000. The OGS technology has allowed the manufacturer to reduce the thickness of the handset. At just 8.8 mm thick, it’s quite possibly the slimmest Indian phone in the market right now. XOLO has decided to go with capacitive buttons under the display rather than on-screen buttons. There are three hardware buttons on the handset for power, volume rocker and the physical camera shutter key. The weight of the handset has not yet been revealed by the company.
Wi-Fi – 802.11 b/g/n
Nothing out of the ordinary here. The XOLO handset supports 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi bands. It’s not as powerful as a phone with dual-band support, but it should still be good enough for everyday use.
SoC– MediaTek MT6577 (dual-core)
Where Micromax has launched its phone with the latest MediaTek chip, the XOLO A1000 uses the last-generation chipset – MediaTek’s MT6577 SoC, which contains a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, clocked at 1GHz and PowerVR SGX 531 GPU. While the CPU uses the slightly older architecture from ARM, the SoC has been used in hundreds of devices made by low-cost manufacturers. Without seeing the handset ourselves, we cannot give any guarantees about its performance, but on paper, the combination of a dual-core CPU and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean sounds like a good match. The phone has 1GB of RAM, which is on par with the A116 Canvas HD and the Samsung Galaxy Grand.
Storage – 4GB onboard with room for expansion
Onboard storage is not great at 4GB, but you do have the option of expanding it up to 32GB via the microSD card slot. We would have preferred to see at least 8GB of internal storage, so that an external memory card does not become a necessity.
Primary Camera – 8-megapixel BSI sensor with LED flash
The main camera on the XOLO A1000 is an 8-megapixel snapper, which we reckon is the same one used on the A800. Thankfully, it’s also a BSI sensor and gives better pictures in low-light or badly-lit situations. Other features that the camera brings are HDR mode, touch focus and autofocus. It also has an LED flash to light up subjects in low light.
Front camera – 1.2-megapixel BSI sensor
The front-facing cameras normally get the short straw, but XOLO has done nicely in this department. The 1.2 megapixel BSI sensor should ensure clean video calls on 3G networks. The odd self-shot should also ideally go off without a hitch.
XOLO A1000 is only 8.8 mm thick!
Sensors – Just the usual
Accelerometer, proximity sensor and ambient light sensors are all regular entries in this department. Nothing out of the ordinary otherwise in the XOLO A1000.
XOLO has stuck with the traditional GPS chip for the A1000. GLONASS is missing from the picture, but that’s normally reserved for high-end devices. Besides, a GLONASS chip would have driven up the price.
Battery – Li-Ion 2100mAh
The battery size is the same as the one on the Galaxy Grand. The low-powered dual-core CPU should help conserve juice. Heavy data users and those with a penchant for watching videos might find their battery levels dropping steadily as the day passes. Even so, it should help keep the phone powered on for at least 12-14 hours of moderate use. A larger battery would have been a nice inclusion, but it would have been a trade-off against the slimness of the phone.
The bottom line
We can’t fault XOLO for launching the A1000. Apart from the low internal storage and the last-gen processor, the phone has very good specs. Its price is another matter that we would have liked to change. Closer to Rs 10,000, buying this smartphone would have been a no-brainer. But we live in a brave new world where quad-core phones are being launched for less than Rs 14,000. In this world, the XOLO A1000 seems to stand out for the wrong reasons.
The comparison between the Micromax A116 HD and the XOLO A1000 is a moot point. The former is retailing for less than the A1000 at Rs 13,990, so why would anyone buy a dual-core phone over a quad-core one. It could be argued that the XOLO smartphone does look to have better build quality and has a better camera on paper. We will be bringing you an in-depth review of the phone as soon as it reaches our office. But until we test it in our lab, it’s hard to get behind the argument that the A1000 might be a better buy than the A116.