Earlier this year global chip maker Intel had announced the launch of the Intel Lexington platform and under it the Intel Atom Z2420 chip that is aimed at low cost devices, but promising the same old reliability as its other chips. The Lava Intel Xolo X500 is based on the same low cost chip and is one of the first Android devices to be commercially available in India following the launch of the platform earlier this year. While the device looks good and solid it comes with budget phone specifications and a similar price tag as well. So let’s find out more about the Lava Intel Xolo X500 Android smartphone.
Look and feel
With colored phones being the current rage among manufacturers, black phones are getting scarce day by day. But manufacturers have again begun to return to the black color and that’s what dresses the Xolo X500 as well. The device has a flush front finish, and as opposed to three keys on most devices the Xolo X500 features four.
On the sides the Xolo X500 has a glossy black band sandwiched between layers of matte finish that surrounds the device all around. It looks good and adds to the device’s appeal as well. The rear portion of the device has a matte rubberized finish to it that surely is good thinking on the company’s part as it will prevent scratches and smudges, and will also help a better grip.
The device is lightweight with 130 grams of total weight that includes a 1500 mAh battery pack. The sidewise placement of the power/standby key really makes it easy to use. The left side houses the volume rocker and the right side features the power key, which is a big turn off for right handed users and causes a lot of discomfort too. The left side volume rocker key makes sense for left handed users but right handed users won’t like it much at all.
Overall, the build quality of the device is good: it’s sturdy and it can handle accidental falls too. The protective plastic capacitive touch surface on the display will protect it from damage but getting a scratch guard with the device early on would be advisable. Overall we are quite happy with the way the device has been designed and with its build quality as well.
Display and touch
Xolo X500 has a 3.5 inch 480 x 320 pixel resolution based IPS LCD display which works great and manages brilliant contrast at both lower and higher brightness levels. The maximum brightness supported by the display makes it a perfect device to be used even in bright sunlight. Apart from having a low resolution the display does not lack in anything and supplements the device in every action perfectly.
The color reproduction and black levels are good and the picture quality offered by the display is sharp and vibrant. It is great for games and video playback as well.
The capacitive touch on the other hand is a breeze to use and offers flawless utility all along. So be it gaming or web browsing the touch sensitivity of Xolo X500 is perfect. Just a slight touch is required for most tasks and no false touches or missed inputs were ever experienced during the review.
Processor, display engine and storage
The Intel Lava Xolo X500 utilizes Intel’s Atom Z2420 chipset based on the Lexington platform. This single core chip is capable of reaching speeds of up to 1.2 GHz while utilizing Intel’s hyper threading technology for superior multitasking. Also, the processor will be fully capable of getting HSPA+ speeds for data transfers. Along with that there is a 400 MHz graphics chip also included with the processor to take care of the graphic needs of the device.
While with hyper threading the device is expected to be a superb multi-tasker it actually struggles a bit. While playing games or browsing if you receive a message on Whatsapp the notification will make the device freeze for a moment before it comes back to life again.
The phone features 512 MB RAM and 4 GB of internal storage, which works great for all applications. Plus, storage can be upped by another 32 GB with the help of external micro SDHC data cards.
On the gaming front too the phone is capable of doing justice to most games, even some of the HD ones, but only those with bare minimum hardware requirements.
With the hardware combination the Xolo X500 works well but with too much multitasking the device loses its breath. Maybe the problem is just with the device we received for review as most people have never complained of such issues. Or maybe it’s just that the device requires a little bit more RAM to make it work freely and bring it to its true potential.
Powered by Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich operating system the Xolo X500 comes with a stock Holo theme with user interface customizations from the manufacturer. The device is very easy to use and it’s easier to navigate. Sadly though USB connectivity is only offered as a media player device and mass storage device, so adding .apk files can be a bit of a nuisance. The device comes with a promise for its upgrade to Android Jelly Bean operating system, which is a great thing, but when that will happen remains a question.
Applications are easily available on Xolo X500 and run well too. We never came across any app that was not compatible with this device. It’s just that after having a bad experience with the Mutant Road Kill game we tried not to venture into hardware intensive games at all. In terms of compatibility, most applications work easily and flawlessly on the smartphone, plus the 1.2 GHz processor and 512 MB RAM combo keeps performance in tune at all times.
Performance and usage
The Xolo X500 offers overall decent performance that makes this device fun and easy to use. As mentioned earlier the device we got froze for moments on receiving messages or browsing but its okay for a budget device to show such signs. During the course of the review the device underwent a lot of application testing and stressing but it actually just froze once, and removing and reinstalling the battery was the only solution. The 3.5 inch IPS display is a major plus point of this device. Its touch sensitivity and all the gestures are very accurately registered and translated by the device as well.
The Swiftkey for Intel onscreen keypad is nicely designed and spaced as well, although other third party keyboards such as Swype can also be used.
The call performance of this device is another major plus point for it. Calls are received and made without an issue. The earpiece and loudspeaker volume are abundant and the microphone also makes sure the receiver gets to hear every word loud and clear. One issue is that the microphone somehow gets activated a few milliseconds after the call is connected, therefore if you say hi or hello a little too early you might have to repeat it, but once you get used to the way it behaves it all will be well.
Camera and multimedia
There is a 5 megapixel camera featured on the Xolo X500, which is good and offers a great chance for users to go creative too. The camera features an autofocus lens, as opposed to a full focus lens offered by most budget devices, and it certainly adds to the image quality. Along with that the device can record high quality videos as well. The front misses out on a camera so there will be no video calling from this device. The rear camera, however, features a burst mode capturing 6 images in 1 second, which will come in handy for capturing fast moving objects.
The image quality of the camera is good for outdoors, but the indoor mode suffers due the lack of an LED flash.
On the multimedia front this device features support for all generic Android formats like any other Android device. Plus, there’s a plethora of applications available at the Android marketplace, which is now called the Google Play store. The loudspeaker, on the other hand, is a big plus for the device. The sound is great and volume is ample for music, videos as well as calling.
Well, now for the moment of truth: so summing it all up, the Lava Intel Xolo X500 is a great budget device that offers most features and hardware specifications and is as easy to use as other Android devices.
Xolo X500 has a 1500 mAh battery, which is a positive, and the device manages up to two days of usage between charges, maybe a little low for heavier users but it is great overall.
The build quality of the device is pretty good; it has a nice camera, and a super great loudspeaker. If the freeze up problem is just specific to this particular handset that we got for review then it has no problems whatsoever and is a great phone. If not, then the device really needs a software upgrade before more and more people start facing the issues.