Premium looking phone in your budget

There is tremendous competition in the budget smartphone segment. No brand wants to be left behind. In this segment, Xiaomi, Motorola, Yu Televentures, Micromax and many small companies are eyeing your money. Every other day a new smartphone is being introduced in the market.

In such a situation, how could Lava Mobiles remain behind? The company has presented its claim in this segment through its premium brand Xolo. Xolo Black handset is available for Rs 12,999. This handset comes with many useful features like dual rear camera and front flash and also tries hard to show itself as ‘premium’. Will Xolo Black be able to make its mark in the market? Let us know.

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Look and Design
The Xolo Black looks similar to the Sony Xperia Z3 due to its curved edges and matte finish metal frame. Glass has been used in the body of Xolo Black. Corning Gorilla Glass protection is also present on the front and rear panels, which will help in keeping the handset scratch free. The front camera and the flash used with it have been placed on both the top corners. The backpanel has a dual-camera setup apart from Xolo and Hive branding. The charging port and speakers are placed at the bottom of the phone and the 3.5mm headset socket is placed at the top.

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The SIM tray is on the left side of the phone and the power and volume buttons are on the right. The second SIM slot can also be used as a microSD card slot. The power button also works as a status light, which we found odd. However, at a price of Rs 12,999, the company has introduced a phone with an excellent build and it looks more premium than its competitors.

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Specifications and Software
Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 (2nd Gen) processor has been used in Xolo Black, which means it supports 4G. The good thing is that it also has support for 4G bands used in India. The 5.5-inch display of the handset has full-HD resolution, with a pixel density of 401ppi. The device packs 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage (with support for microSD cards up to 32GB), and a 3,200mAh lithium-polymer battery. There are two sensors in the rear camera setup, the primary camera is 13 megapixels and the secondary is 2 megapixels. The front camera is 5 megapixels. In Xolo Black, the company has used its Hive UI, which is based on Android Lollipop 5.0.2. The Hive has an interesting UI with a lot of features that other devices in this price range don’t have. The app drawer is a little different. In this, the app can be customized on the basis of alphabet, time of installation and app category.

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However, Hive sometimes performs a little slow. The screen is slow to load at times and its animations also take a long time to load completely. Well, it mostly works fine, so we don’t have much to complain about. The default Hive lock screen is very bad, it doesn’t appeal at all. The good thing is that it can be disabled. You can customize quick launch keys and display notifications. Overall its user interface is better than other manufacturers. Users get multiple customization options and a lot of changes are possible through the settings.

camera
Interestingly, a dual-camera setup has been used in the rear panel of Xolo Black. This setup increases the speed of autofocus and gives the option to refocus on different parts of the photo. The same dual-camera feature was also present in the HTC One M8 device. The device autofocuses fast, but not very fast. The refocus feature also works well, but is not of much use. The OptiZoom and ChromaFlash features deserve mention. The job of OptiZoom is to improve the zoom quality of photos, but it is not that effective. ChromaFlash is needed to capture two consecutive photos, one with the flash and the other without it. After this, the software combines these frames and creates a single image, on which the effect of flash is less and the result image is also more real. Its performance made us happy.

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The camera does a fine job at capturing sharp, detailed and vibrant images, but white colors appear too bright. The 5-megapixel front camera works as standard and also has its own flash. Selfie lovers will love this feature, as this flash will help in taking better selfies in low light. It would not be wrong to say that those who are fond of taking regular photos will be happy with the camera of Xolo Black.

The camera software is easy to use and has all the features and modes you’d expect from a smartphone. Two apps are provided for the camera, one with normal mode, which has many filters. Second, a dual camera app that also uses a 2-megapixel secondary camera. While using these two apps as per our need, we got a little confused. Hopefully this deficiency will be removed in the next version.

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performance
The performance of Xolo Black is good. The device completes most tasks with ease. Hive UI gets slow sometimes, but it doesn’t affect the performance of apps and games. As long as we kept the phone with us, it never crashed. Voice quality was also good. The sound from the headphones and speakers of the device was good. It played most HD videos smoothly. However, there were some file format problems. We also played the Sonic Runners game on the phone and found that there was no lag or performance problem anywhere. The phone definitely became slow during multitasking, so our suggestion would be not to use too many apps at the same time. The display is definitely full-HD, but it is a little weak in terms of color and contrast.

Xolo Black scored 32,519 and 20,996 points in AnTuTu and Quadrant tests respectively. We also ran 3D Mark Ice Storm Extreme and GFXBench on the device, which yielded results of 5427 points and 14fps respectively. Other devices based on Snapdragon 615 have also given similar results. The battery lasted 9 hours and 41 minutes on our video loop test, which is a bit low for a device with 3,200mAh power. The battery easily lasted for a day during normal use.

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our decision
Xolo Black is a smartphone with better than average capabilities, which does not pose any problem in using. It gives equal performance compared to other smartphones in its price range. It is also good to look at and has some features which leave a different impression.

Its dual rear camera setup, front flash and decent performance during photography give the device a distinct identity. We liked this phone and hope you will too. If you are looking for a phone that does its job well and doesn’t cost too much, then definitely consider Xolo Black.

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