It is a well-known fact that the Indian market is dominated by the budget smartphones. In the recent past, we have seen many manufacturers bringing out devices that come with decent specifications on a tight budget. But still, if we consider sub Rs 8,000 price bracket, not many options are available. This is the segment, which Xolo aims to capitalise with the launch of Xolo Era 2X. The smartphone comes in two variants-one with 2GB RAM priced at Rs 6,666 and one 3GB RAM comes with a price tag of Rs 7,499. The device will be exclusively available through Flipkart starting 9th January.
The company boasts that the latest smartphone is one of the cheapest smartphones to come with a fingerprint sensor (more about this later). And yes it has a lot to offer, but will it be enough to mark its domain in this competitive market? We spent some time with the device and this is what we think of it.
Design and display
Earlier, if one had talked about the design part about a budget smartphone, then most of us would have ignored this topic by saying what you can expect from a cheap smartphone. But fast forward it today and you will see that smartphones now sports a premium look in spite of carrying that ‘affordable’ tag. And Xolo tries to take this legacy forward. The device sports a compact look and is designed in a way which makes it comfortable to hold. We have a black colour unit with us. A Latte Gold colour variant will be made available by the end of January.
Era 2X comes with a plastic finish with metal ring going through the edge of the phone. The back comes with a matte plastic finish, which does not look cheap when you touch it and the perfect alignment and size of the rear module and fingerprint sensor give a distinct look to the device. The front bears a 5-inch screen with top part bearing front-facing camera coupled with an earpiece and the usual array of sensors, but frankly speaking, I was quite disappointed with the thick bezels surrounding the screen. The top and bottom bezels are especially so thick, that it gives you an impression that the base houses physical navigations buttons, but it does not-the back, home and recent menu buttons are virtual. The thick bezel is seriously a big turn off.
On the right, you will find volume rocker and power on/off buttons. The top edge houses an audio jack, while at the base you will see the micro-USB port. Moving to the back, the device comes with a removable panel and underneath it are the dual-SIM slot along with a microSD card slot and removable battery.
To sum it up at Rs 6,666 for the 2GB variant, apart from the thick bezels, Xolo Era 2X is seriously not a ‘cheap’ looking device.
On the display front, the Xolo Era 2X comes with a 5-inch HD IPS On cell display with a screen resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. The display comes with 480 lumens which the brand claims will deliver bright display. However, it would be interesting to see that how well the display works in the testing period, but as of now, we can only say that the display is bright enough, and comes with some good viewing angles.
Hardware and Software
On the hardware front, the Xolo Era 2X is powered by a 1.25GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6737 processor along with 2GB/3GB of RAM and for graphics, there is Mali-T720MP1 GPU. The smartphone has 16GB of internal storage and an expandable storage slot for up to a 32GB micro SD card. The smartphone runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system. On the connectivity front, the device support Dual SIM, 4G with VoLTE, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, WiFi Hotspot, Bluetooth, GPS, and a micro USB port.
That said, looking at the sheer specs sheet, the 2GB variant might look like an interesting deal due to its cheaper price, but if you can spend a few extra bucks, then you can explore Xiaomi Redmi 3s for Rs 6,999, which is at par with Xolo Era 2X in every department. The 3GB variant also seems to be an underdog, at least on papers, when compared to the likes Motorola Moto E Power, Lenovo K6 Power, Coolpad Mega 2.5D and more, which gives you far more superior specs at similar price point.
Coming to USP of Era 2X, the fingerprint sensor, the company touts that it is the cheapest device to sport a fingerprint sensor. Well, to some extent that is true because Coolpad brought Note 3 Lite with 3GB RAM and fingerprint sensor at a price tag of Rs 6,999.
Then you have Xiaomi Redmi 3s, which gives you a fingerprint at the same price. The difference is only of few hundreds of bugs, Rs 333 to be precise, and the claims fall flat for the 3GB variant which is priced at Rs 7,499, as there are many others who are offering a fingerprint sensor at similar or lower price point. That said, the fingerprint sensor comes with many interesting features like Tap to unlock, Tap to Secure, Tap to capture, Tap to talk and more. You can choose different fingers to different apps and can register up to five fingers. We will talk about this later in our detailed review. So watch out this space.
On the software front, the device runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system. The user interface is close to stock Android, which is a welcome move and it will interesting how it performs in our detailed review.
Camera and Battery
On the camera front, the smartphone sports an 8-megapixel autofocus rear camera with f/2.0 aperture, LED Flash and a 5-megapixel camera on in its front for selfies and video calling. In our initial testing, we found that the device does click some good photos, and I liked the front camera during my brief testing, though it was a bit slow to process the image. It would be interesting to see how it performs during our review.
The Era 2X gets its power from a 2500 mAh removable Li-Po battery, which claims to offer 14 days of standby time. It would be interesting to see whether the smartphone lives up to company’s or falls flat completely. So stay tuned with us for the final verdict about the smartphone.