Xolo Era 1X Detailed Review
Technology is slowly trickling down from budget smartphones to the more affordable sub-5K categories. While phones costing less than Rs. 10,000 are extremely powerful these days, the sub-5k segment has yet to undergo a major revolution. The Xolo Era 1X is one of those devices and it supports 4G LTE connectivity. The question is, has Xolo done enough?
Build and design
You could say that for its price there are no smartphones that set a good example in terms of design. The sub-5k smartphone hasn’t seen a decently built device since the Yu Yunique, and the Xolo Era 1X doesn’t change that. I don’t expect metal and glass at this price point, but the Era 1X feels outdated, which I don’t like.
The Era 1x isn’t as ergonomic as other 5-inch devices, with thicker bezels around the screen making it a tad wider than other 5-inch devices. In addition, the lack of protective glass on the screen also hurts the overall experience.
There are only two good things worth mentioning about the build and design. First, the two physical buttons, including the power key and volume rocker, feel good, and second, the chrome band around the sides is aesthetically pleasing.
Display and user interface
The Xolo Era 1X has a 5-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1280 x 720p. This is fast becoming a category standard. However, the quality of the screen is still only comparable to the Xolo One HD that came out more than six months ago.
While it’s one of the better displays under 5K, there’s room for improvement. The colors are fine, but nothing to write home about. The same can be said about the touch experience and the brightness, which at 491 lux is nothing worth mentioning.
For the UI, the vanilla Android approach is sympathetic, and the fact that the Era 1X runs on Android Marshmallow gives it a distinct advantage over the competition. However, it only has 8GB of storage and quite a few preloaded apps. As a result, I had space on the device quite easily.
The processor brings the Xolo Era 1X to its knees. It has a 1.3GHz quad-core Spreadtrum SC9830 SoC and lags behind mainstream apps like Facebook, YouTube, Maps etc. Even at this price point, this is unacceptable for a phone these days. The experience on phones that cost about 1k more is much better.
The SoC does not handle multitasking well and the gaming experience is also quite unacceptable. The phone lags behind fairly basic games like Badlands, and Asphalt Nitro brought it to its knees with ease. That said, the phone doesn’t get extremely hot even while gaming. I recorded a maximum temperature of 36 degrees while gaming and the temperatures went up to 38 degrees while recording videos.
Call reception and audio quality, on the other hand, are better than average and since the phone does support 4G, you get better network speeds. That said, the browsing experience is subpar, thanks to the slow processor.
The Xolo Era 1X should last about a working day, but only just. With intensive use, it needs to be charged more often and thanks to the budget price, fast charging is also not supported. Due to gaming and camera use, the battery runs out very quickly.
If all of the above doesn’t annoy you, you may find this phone worth buying now. The Xolo Era 1X has a good camera for its price. The 8MP rear camera is best in well lit conditions, with decent color rendition and admirable detail.
The dynamic range is low and HDR mode doesn’t fix it either. Low-light images will show noise, but despite this, the Era 1X has the best camera among the sub-5K phones.
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The front-facing camera does a decent job too, but some images show a strange shade of pink. In low light, the front camera is aided by a flash, but it only makes the subject yellow.
The Xolo Era 1X is not the best choice in this price range. It has a good camera, but everything else about it gets in the way of the user experience. Yes, the 5k segment comes with compromises, but this experience isn’t worth spending on. We recommend spending 2k extra to buy the Redmi 3S.