“The Mobiistar X1 Notch is the first smartphone from the brand to feature a display notch”

Just last year, the Vietnamese smartphone maker Mobiistar forayed into the Indian handset market through a long-term strategic partnership with Flipkart. The company has been launching affordable and selfie-centric smartphones in the country for a while now. However, one look at the latest offering from the brand, the Mobiistar X1 Notch, and you can tell that the company has come a long way since its debut in the country. The handset looks stunning, but does it perform well? We try to find the answer to this question as the X1 Notch recently landed in our office and we managed to spend a little bit of time with it.

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The packaging of the Mobiistar X1 Notch is same as used by the brand in the past. The smartphone comes packed in a white box with branding all around and core specs listed at the bottom. Upon lifting the lid, you are greeted by the X1 Notch lying atop a cardboard tray. You will need to remove the tray to access the envelope containing the clear protective case and documentation. Below the envelope are the wall charger, micro-USB cable and a pair of in-ear headphones, all in white. A SIM ejector tool is also provided in the box. Props to the brand for providing all necessary accessories with the smartphone.

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Coming to the Mobiistar X1 Notch, we won’t be exaggerating if we said that at first glance, it’s hard to believe that this is a sub-Rs 10,000 offering. Fashioned from glossy polycarbonate, the smartphone feels like a premium glass-sandwiched device. What catches the eye though, is the stunning gradient hue used by the brand. Our review unit came in a stunning purple, blue, green gradient, which also showed a hint of gold when looked at from a certain angle. The gradient hue pours over to the side to maintain the uniformity of the design. However, the perennial issue of smudging plagues the X1 Notch as well, which is why we recommend using the provided case.

Speaking of design, the 3.5mm audio jack is located on the top, while the micro-USB port with speaker grille is placed on the bottom. You will find the dual SIM tray with a dedicated microSD card slot on the left and physical buttons on the right. The glossy rear panel is home to a circular fingerprint scanner and single camera with LED flash, whereas the 19:9 notch display dominates the fascia.

Coming to the display, the Mobiistar X1 Notch marks the debut of the brand in the notched display smartphone arena. The display measures 5.7-inches, offers HD+ resolution and features a 2.5D curved glass layer on top. It would be wise to put on a screen protector since we noticed nicks and scratches appearing on the glass even when handling the phone delicately. As for the visuals, the screen is plenty bright with sharp text and vibrant colours. However, we felt that notch has too much of wasted space and the sizeable chin translates into a less immersive viewing, thus rendering the purpose of having a notch display moot.

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Moving on to the performance, the Mobiistar X1 Notch comes powered by the MediaTek Helio A22 chipset and is offered in two configurations – 2GB + 16GB and 3GB + 32GB. We received the latter, which offers approximately 23GB of free storage space out of the box. In our brief stint with the smartphone, it didn’t lag most of the time, except for jarring UI animations every now and then. Speaking of animations, the X1 Notch runs the Star Launcher based on Android 8.1 Oreo. The software is loaded with features like gestures support, face unlock, DuraSpeed and more. There’s considerable amount of bloatware including third -arty apps, which can be uninstalled.

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For imaging, the Mobiistar X1 Notch is equipped with a 13-megapixel shooter on both front and rear panel with AI beautification and scene detection, respectively. The camera app offers features like Night mode, FaceBeauty, live filters, pro mode, HDR, anti-flicker, anti shake and more. The initial shots taken using both front and rear cameras were pretty good and AI camera works just as intended. However, the latter does tend to boost the saturation and exposure levels.

With a starting price tag of Rs 8,499, the Mobiistar X1 Notch goes up against some serious contenders like the Realme 2, Xiaomi Redmi 6, ASUS Zenfone Max Pro M1 and Honor 9N. However, none of these smartphones have the attractive gradient hue or look as good as the X1 Notch, so that definitely works in its favour.