Smartphone placed in the category of Rs 10,000 to Rs 13,000 have been closely competing due to almost equivalent specifications and features. This segment has many options for users, and most of these options have some similarity, be it in terms of their looks or hardware specs.
In such a case the competition comes down to the software part, as this is what brings the difference on table. While Chinese smartphone companies such as LeEco and Xiaomi are garnering attention for their UIs that brings more value to the phone, top tier players such as Samsung too have been trying to create their own space in this highly competitive price range.
Korean company LG, which is a well know consumer electronics and smartphone maker, didn't want to stay out of competition and hence, launched its all new X series. The company introduced the LG X Screen smartphone as the first in this new series dedicated to budget conscious, Internet savvy generation which look for specs heavy smartphone options.
The X Screen gets this name, because its features a secondary screen which sits on top of the primary screen. It is similar to what we saw on LG's premium range V10 smartphone that also featured a dual-screen interface. Besides dual screen, the phone is loaded with hardware specifications that have now become the basic criteria for smartphones to stay in competition in this price range.
I was there at the launch event of the LG X Screen in Delhi, and spent a few minutes with the phone to have a look at it. I liked a few things about it, and found a few other boring! Here are my first impressions in the form of what I liked and disliked about the LG X Screen:
Design: Average looks, but surprisingly light!
Starting with the design of the LG X Screen, we found the phone sleek and light for its price. The X Screen has a plastic body design that might not appeal to you but won't even disappoint you. What we really liked about it is that it has an ergonomic design, which makes it sit comfortably on your hand and easily operational single handedly. The phone is surprisingly light enough that when I first held it I thought the unit doesn't have a battery inside! It is designed neatly, and the keys placed on the right side are easily accessible.
The phone does come light on hand and is ergonomic, but there is nothing extra ordinary about its looks. So if you are looking for a good looking smartphone, then let me tell you that this is just another average looking phone, which felt plasticky to me.
Display: The X factor, but lacks some features
The X factor of the X Screen smartphone is its secondary display, which basically is a strip that is layered on the top side of the main screen. The primary display is 4.93-inch 720p, and the secondary screen is a 1.76-inch strip. You can scroll the secondary screen left and right, for it features three screens with shortcuts to already assigned apps, and other apps. The first panel features shortcuts to volume mode, Wi-Fi, Torch, and SOS. The SOS is another highlight of the phone, which I will talk about in next point.
The main screen has 720p resolution and work like any other standard screen. The secondary screen, on the other hand, remains always on. You can use it to check time, date and more, and to check your notifications. The good part is that it alerts you of a new notification without waking up the main screen.
The bad part is that the secondary screen does not let you toggle app shortcuts for a longer time or permanently. Besides the four default options, you get shortcuts to the recent apps, which are there in the bar only till you don't close them or restart your phone. Moreover, the primary display of the phone offers good visuals, but we have seen better in the price range.
Average Hardware - Quad-core processor with 2GB RAM - Nothing Great!
The LG X Screen is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 410 chipset with quad-core ticking at 1.2GHz. The chipset is outdated and is an average performer in comparison to new generation Qualcomm chipsets such as Snapdragon 650. To team up with the chipset, there is 2GB RAM and 16GB internal storage, which again is a nice combination, but the competitors have better configuration. To power up the phone, there is a 2300mAh battery that cannot be removed.
Camera: 8MP front-facing camera seems attractive!
In the photography department, LG X Screen features a 13MP rear facing camera paired with LED flash, and an 8MP front-facing snapper. I tried the camera of the phone in low light, in which it worked fine. But considering that the ambient lighting conditions were not good to test it, I would like to reserve my view on its performance for its detailed review.
The 8MP front-facing camera does sound nice, but we are not sure if it would deliver what the company has promised!
The phone ships with Android 6.0 Marshmallow based LG's own UI. The Marshmallow iteration brings new features and improvements, which should offer better user experience than a Lollipop version based smartphone. The phone's UI is light and smooth.
SOS Button: Women Safety in mind!
LG has made the X Screen women friendly, to help them in case of emergency. The company introduced an SOS key on the phone, which can be accessed quickly either from the secondary screen or by pressing the power key 5 times continuously. On launching SOS, an alert message will be sent to assigned contact. This is one quite usable feature, and should come handy in case of emergency.
With the X Screen, LG launches a new series of phones that will be online exclusive. The LG X Screen, priced for Rs 12,990, makes for a nice option but it will be facing the heat from Chinese rivals such as Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 and LeEco Le2.
Its dual screen concept is nice, but we are not sure how many consumers would buy the phone for its secondary screen concept. Though it does have a few other advantages, but at the same time the competition in this price range is really tough. The dual-SIM compatible 4G smartphone will go on sale starting midnight of July 20.