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Xolo Era 1X Pro Review: Entry level smartphone that's good for basic tasks
Xolo Era 1X Pro was launched in July and offers specifications that are far from the actual performance of the device. It has a quad core processor clocked to 1.5 GHz and 2GB RAM.
XOLO entered the Indian smartphone market as a strong contender in the year 2012. It offered few of the best performing devices at that time with some first-of-its kind features and latest mobile hardware.
XOLO introduced X900 Android smartphone in India for Rs. 22,000 and the device was powered by Intel processor. It was the first Indian brand to join hands with Intel and its device was first one in the world to sport an Intel processor but it did not stop just right there. Soon enough it collaborated with AMD and introduced a tablet that was powered by the AMD processors. It also introduced the world's fastest performing 7-inch tablet, the XOLO Play Tegra Note which housed NVIDIA Tegra 4 and was a dream come true for gamers.
The same year it became the first brand to introduce 4G smartphones in the country which was a pretty big deal. It also introduced one of the first few dual camera smartphones, the XOLO Black in India in 2015.
Lately, the brand has lost some grip around Indian smartphone market partly due to the introduction of Chinese smartphone brands including OPPO, Vivo and Gionee and partly due to the lack of competitive innovations that had managed to amaze consumers in the country.
The Era series of devices have been introduced in the last couple of years. The first device from the series was XOLO Era which was released in July 2015. Xolo Era 1X Pro was released in July 2017 and retails at Flipkart for Rs. 5,777. It is available for sale through offline as well as online retailing.
Specifications: Quad-core CPU and 2GB RAM
XOLO Era 1X Pro has specifications that are good enough to lure in consumers at the price point the device sells.
It boasts 2GB of RAM and 16 GB of inbuilt storage. It offers an option to expand the storage to 128 GB via microSD card support. The device is powered by Spreadtrum SC9832A Quad Core processor, clocked to 1.5 GHz. It has an 8-megapixel primary camera and a 5-megapixel secondary camera. What's interesting is that the front camera gets a dual LED flash while the rear camera has a single LED flash.
The smartphone has a 5-inch HD IPS LCD display which has a pixel density of 294 PPI. The smartphone has a 2,500 mAh battery unit. It has micro USB 2.0 port for charging and a 3.5mm audio jack. The 4G smartphone has room for two SIM cards.
As intriguing as it may sound, the device's specifications are certainly questionable which we will discuss further.
Design: Industrial grade mockup!
The Era 1X Pro has a design that looks dated in today's time. It tries to copy an industrial grade design, however, fails to pick the quality. It feels very light in hands, which is not a bad thing; however, the use of metal in casting the design is very minimalistic making the smartphone very plasticky.
The smartphone comes in a single color which is Black. It has all the elements at appropriate places i.e. audio jack at the top edge along with micro USB 2.0 charging port, speakers at the back behind grills, lock/unlock toggle on the right side with volume rockers right above it The right placement of the controls makes the handset ergonomic.
The back panel sports the rear camera along with a LED flash right beside it. The rear camera has a square shape and so is the shape of the flash alongside. The rear panel of the device has a rugged texture although the removable rear panel is very light and seems susceptible to damage when you try to remove it. The speaker grill at the bottom of the back panel does not favor to the looks the device offers. Rather it gives it a very plastic like feel.
The front panel is all black with a visible amount of bezel. The front camera and sensors rest atop while three, touch enabled buttons are at the bottom.
The corners of the device protrude out of the device in a triangular shape. The edges of the device have a metal strip running around the smartphone.
The smartphone does not look too appealing, however, it looks different and if you are looking for a light device you just might like it.
Camera: 8MP rear camera with Slow-motion and Time-lapse
The 8-megapixel rear camera is slow when you use it even in bright daylight. It is outdated and pictures clicked by it lack details. During low light condition, the camera is best used with a locked screen and with the device in your pocket. The low light performance is really poor and the shutter lag along with a slow processing makes the camera no good for use. You will mostly end up with blurred pictures and if they are not blurred they tend to be super noisy.
The front camera of the device is rather usable although do not expect the quality to be any better. It faces the problem of blown highlights and the pictures are not well exposed. The front dual LED flash saves the pictures from getting a blurry notion however the quality is of no good use.
It records rather decent videos and what is the best part about its camera is the fact that it supports auto-focus while recording videos. It records 720p videos and although the quality isn't great you still do not see any prominent lag. Although, using the device for recording really fast events is certainly going to be a disaster.
The camera app offers features like slow motion video recording, time-lapse recording and an option to create GIFs.
Software and UI: Outdated OS with stock Android
The Xolo Era 1X Pro runs Android Marshmallow 6.0 and uses stock Android UI. The UI has no useful feature incorporated; however, it is is pretty light and operates smoothly. We have seen several entry level smartphones with Android Nougat. IVoomi recently launched two devices in sub 5K range in India and both run the latest Android version. Xolo could have at least offered Nougat given the fact that there is not a lot to look up to from the device.
Display: Works well for an entry level smartphone!
The device has an HD IPS LCD display and the quality is not too challenging for its competition. Video playback isn't impressive but one can enjoy watching videos on the device, over saturation is not one of the issues the display faces which is the case with several smartphones in the price segment. It also has a decent quality in terms of sharpness and exposure.
The daylight performance is also satisfactory although I would suggest you not to expect too much from the device.
Battery backup: Lasts 12 hours or less
The device houses a 2500mAh battery which should have been enough to last more than 12 hours but it seems the battery compliance isn't too accordant for reliable usage. It lasted exactly 12 hours when I did not make it too hard for the device.
With maximum usage that involved the use of location services most of the time and with a couple of hours of music playback the device lasted approximately 9 hours. The device charges completely in 2 hours.
Performance: Not what Xolo Promises
According to the specifications, the device has 2GB RAM with 1.5GHz Spreadtrum SC9832 quad core processor. One expects a decent performance from the device if not an impressive one and Era 1X Pro fails to offer none.
Its performance capabilities are very limited. I tried running Angry Birds 2 on the device and I had to wait for more for the stages to load up. The game ran with lags whenever the graphics turned demanding.
What Era 1X Pro is capable of is running apps smoothly and if you try to push it to its limits it simply crashes the app, however, the device does not hang.
Well, it is quite evident that Xolo has lost the charm of being a brand that consumers looked forward to for performance and features that matched international standards. Its latest offering fails to impress in almost all the components.
I really hope Xolo comes up with a surprise offering sometime soon or we just might have to bid adieu to a great brand that once challenged as well as inspired competitors to offer more to users.