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XOLO Q1010i review: a quality camera-centric smartphone

|June 5 2014 |Mobiles, Android Phones, Reviews, Xolo

"The XOLO Q1010i is an affordable Android smartphone that seeks to impress shutterbugs with its 8MP Sony Exmor R camera sensor."

If you’ve ever searched for the top Android smartphones under Rs 15,000, you'll know how crowded this segment is. With local and international manufacturers vying for a slice of the pie, competition is tough. Affordable handsets are no longer small fry, packing in the latest software, advanced cameras and ample processing power. Indian brand XOLO, which has partnered with big names like Intel, NVIDIA and Qualcomm in the past, recently launched the Q1010i, which sports an 8-megapixel Sony Exmor R camera sensor. Targeted primarily at shutterbugs, the dual-SIM Q1010i adds commendable specifications to the mix, sealing the deal with attractive pricing. We’ve been playing with the Q1010i (unboxing) for a couple of weeks now, and here’s our full review.

Quality finish in a sleek frame

XOLO Q1010i display

The XOLO Q1010i doesn’t peg itself as a standout in the design department, but we’re impressed with its quality and finish nonetheless. The front is taken up by the 5-inch display, surrounded by slim bezels on the side, and thicker ones at the top and bottom. Above the screen you’ll find an earpiece, a multi-hued LED notification light, proximity and ambient light sensors, and a front-facing 2MP camera. At the bottom is a trio of Android hardware keys, which are unfortunately, not backlit.

XOLO Q1010i front camera XOLO Q1010i Android hardware buttons

Complemeting the narrow bezels is an 8.3mm frame and a weight of 139g, which adds to the smartphone's overall sleek look. A uniform chrome strip runs around the sides, and spills over into the back panel to encase the primary camera. We had a black unit for review, but the phone is also available in white.

XOLO Q1010 3.5mm audio jack XOLO Q1010i micro USB port
XOLO Q1010i volume rocker XOLO Q1010i power button

Given that the Q1010i has a removable back cover, the sides don’t have much in the way of ports and buttons. There’s a 3.5mm audio jack on top, a micro-USB port and microphone at the bottom, a volume rocker on the left spine, and a power button on the right.

XOLO Q1010i back panel XOLO Q1010i battery

The back panel is made of plastic, but sports a matte finish, which makes it pleasing to the touch and less prone to smudges. The 8MP camera sensor and LED flash are on top, with a secondary microphone between them. At the bottom is a row of finely drilled holes for the loudspeaker.

The back panel comes off quite easily, thanks to a little recess on the bottom left. Inside, you’ll find the non-removable 2,250mAh battery, a microSD card slot and dual-SIM slots, which accept a pair of micro-SIMs.

XOLO has also provided a free flip cover in the box, but it doesn’t offer a sensor to turn off the display when closed.  

Vibrant, responsive display

XOLO Q1010i display

The Q1010i’s 5-inch IPS display sports a healthy resolution of 1,280 x 720 pixels. It also gets OGS (One Glass Solution) treatment to keep the weight down and increase sensitivity. There’s a layer of Asahi scratch-resistant glass on top for protection.

With a pixel density of 294ppi, the display is sharp and clear. Colours are reproduced well, although we did notice a greenish tint at times. The display was responsive, with no lags when typing or flicking through the homescreen. Brightness is a strong point, and the display was surprisingly legible even in sunlight, an important feature for any camera-oriented smartphone.

A worthy snapper that lacks the wow factor

XOLO Q1010i primary camera XOLO Q1010i camera mode

In addition to the Sony Exmor R sensor, the Q1010i’s 8MP primary camera also offers f/2.0 aperture and a 5-element lens. The camera performed well for daylight shots, particularly macros. The large aperture successfully recreates depth of field, and subjects in focus are detailed and sharp.

For landscape shots, we found that while images looked fine overall, zooming in revealed a loss of detail, which the camera over-compensates for by artificially sharpening edges. In low-light, the results are quite dark, but grain isn’t overwhelming.  The primary camera shoots videos in 1080p, and video quality was good, with the microphone picking up sound clearly.

XOLO Q1010i camera interface XOLO Q1010i camera interface

The camera UI is quite standard, with HDR, beauty, panorama, smile detection and scene modes available. You can also choose a colour effect, white balance, ISO and exposure. 

When activating the front camera, you get a choice of Scene or Face Beauty modes. The latter applies some digital makeup to your skin in an attempt to make it lighter and smoother, but unless you want to look like Frankenstein, you should stick to full auto or portrait modes. Here too, grain wasn’t a major issue, but we did notice that the front camera lagged when detecting movement.

We've already given you a sampling of the Q1010i's image results, and here are a few others.  Click on the thumbnails to view them in full resolution.

XOLO Q1010i image sample XOLO Q1010i image sample XOLO Q1010i image sample
XOLO Q1010i image sample XOLO Q1010i image sample XOLO Q1010i image sample

Thank you for not bloating

XOLO Q1010i UI XOLO Q1010i screenshot

The XOLO Q1010i runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, although the retail box says ‘upgradable to KitKat’. The update is coming soon though, and is scheduled to arrive this month. We appreciate that the device runs an almost stock version of Android, with no modifications to the UI or icons. There are only a couple of XOLO's own apps pre-loaded on the device.

XOLO Q1010i screenshot XOLO Q1010i screenshot

First up is XOLO Care, which new users need to sign up for to activate the one-year warranty on the handset. The other is XOLO Power, a useful app that provides diagnostics of your battery, giving you an estimate of how much time it can last for different functions, and also indicates battery temperature to warn you of overheating.

The app features a Night Mode to turn off internet use between a specified set of hours. A Low Battery Mode disables Wi-Fi, data, GPS and Bluetooth when the battery drops below a specified percentage. There’s also a CPU profiler to show you how many cores are currently active.

The Q1010i supports gesture-based features, letting you trace out a few pre-assigned characters on the lock screen to open specific apps. The feature is hidden in Settings > Language & input > Gesture mode. FYI, there’s also a glove mode which can be accessed from this location.

Once enabled, you can trace an ‘e’ on the lock screen to open the web browser, ‘c’ for the dial pad and ‘m’ for the camera. While you can’t customise the gestures or open apps of your choice, it’s still a useful feature that works without a hitch.

Fine for routine use, but not for intensive gaming

Powered by a 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek 6582 processor, the Q1010i is assisted by a respectable 1GB of RAM. The phone handled day-to-day use and multitasking with ease, but don't expect blazing performance.

XOLO Q1010i gaming

For graphics, it’s endowed with a Mali 400-MP2 GPU, which is fine for less intensive games like Temple Run and Angry Birds. Games with heavier graphics like Riptide GP2 are also playable, but animations aren't as smooth as we'd like them to be.

The device offers 8GB of internal memory, which is partitioned into 2GB for apps and a little over 4GB for your media files like photos, videos and music. There’s a microSD card slot for expansion up to 32GB.

XOLO Q1010i battery XOLO Q1010i storage

Coming to the all-important battery test, the Q1010i’s 2,250mAh battery easily lasted us an entire day with regular usage like phone calls, texts, browsing, Facebook and Twitter. The 91mobiles standard video-loop battery rundown test gave us just under eight hours of juice, which isn't bad at all.

While the handset supports dual-SIMs (3G only in the first slot), there’s not much in the way of SIM management. You can rename and assign colours to specific SIMs, and set a default SIM for calling or texting.

Call quality was a strong point, and users on the other end reported that our voices sounded loud and clear with no disturbance.

Verdict

XOLO Q1010i front shot

The XOLO Q1010i is available at an MRP of Rs 13,499, but is already retailing for a little over Rs 11,000 online. Unfortunately for XOLO, the competition in this category includes the Moto G, Nokia Lumia 630, Panasonic P31 and LG L70 Dual, not to mention the offerings from rival Indian brands like the Micromax Canvas Magnus and Karbonn Titanium X.

That said, the XOLO Q1010i offers commendable features and build quality, and the prospect of an Android KitKat update is the cherry on top. The lauded camera isn’t all that it’s made out to be, but is still better than what the majority of smartphones at this price range offer.

Price: Rs 13,499

Editor’s rating: 8 / 10 

Pros

  • Premium build quality
  • Vibrant display
  • Good primary camera
  • Day-long battery life
  • Near-stock Android

Cons

  • Average front camera
  • Not great for intensive gaming
  • Non-backlit navigation keys

Specs at a Glance

Dimensions 143.6 x 72.2 x 8.3mm
Display 5-inch
Display resolution 1,280 x 720 pixels
Processor 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6582
RAM 1GB
Primary camera 8-megapixel with an LED flash
Secondary camera 2MP
Internal memory 8GB
External memory supports microSD cards up to 32GB
Network support dual-SIM (3G on first SIM slot only)
Connectivity Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, USB OTG
Battery 2,250mAh
Operating system Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
(upgradable to KitKat)



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