Hot on the heels of the Canvas HD announcement by Micromax, XOLO spared no time in announcing its answer to the competition. The A1000 is priced at Rs.13,999, so it competes directly with the A116 from Micromax. We’ve been playing around with the handset for a bit and these are our initial impressions of XOLO’s attempt at causing a stir in the budget Android space.
Design and build
Given XOLO’s excellent build of the A800, a phone we all loved very much, the A1000 follows a similar path and does not disappoint. As soon as you remove it from the box, the massive screen, along with the shaved down bezel, screams style. The build and finish of the A1000 is a lot better than the Canvas HD with acute attention to detail and very good aesthetics. We can safely say that the handset easily rivals smartphones double its price. The phone is a bit on the heavier side due to the battery, but it still sits comfortably in your pocket. The silver strip on the side along with the chrome trim running along the edge gives it a classy and expensive look.
The IPS panel packs in an HD resolution (1280 x 720) just like the Canvas HD. The display also uses, what XOLO calls, One Glass Solution (OGS) where the display panel and outer glass are fused together, making the display thinner overall. Due to this, the display does look slightly sharper and the colours, more saturated. The front features a 1.2MP BSI camera along with the sensors. The capacitive buttons works well and even have backlighting. The power button on the side is a bit of a stretch for your thumb and the same goes for the volume rocker. Below it is another button that can snap a picture or take a screenshot. The rear cover is a bit too flexible and there is a possibility of it cracking over time if you’re not careful. The 8MP rear camera protrudes out, just like the A116 and is prone to scratches. Instead of the glossy white finish, we were hoping for a matte finish, like the A800 had. This has much better aesthetic appeal and doesn’t attract too many fingerprints. As far as aesthetics go, the XOLO A1000 wins any day over the Canvas HD.
The UI is pretty much identical to the Canvas HD except for one critical difference – it's not as smooth as the A116. Despite both handsets running on Jelly Bean and with 1GB of RAM, there is a very noticeable lag in the menus and animations. The A1000 is powered by a dual-core MediaTek SoC, but we doubt it would have such a negative effect on performance. The Galaxy Nexus uses a dual-core and it runs Jelly Bean just fine. We’ve spoken to XOLO about this issue and the company has agreed to send us another unit, just in case it was a piece fault, so we’ll reserve our verdict for now. Other than this, it’s business as usual. XOLO has also bumped up the dpi of the icons just a little bit, so they all appear a bit larger.
If the lag in Jelly Bean was puzzling, it’s nothing compared to the surprise that awaits you in the camera interface. In the picture settings, you have the option of going all the way up to 12MP! The reason why this is strange is because XOLO’s website states that it’s an 8MP BSI shooter. Anyways, here’s a first look at the capabilities of the supposed 12MP camera.
We also found the camera interface to be very laggy, unlike the interface of the A800. We’re hoping this is an issue with the build or some sort of glitch, since there’s no excuse given the specs and the fact that it’s Jelly Bean.
Pricing could be an issue
The A1000 has the potential to be a hot-seller but XOLO has to do better with the pricing. The Canvas HD is available for the exact same price and offers a more powerful SoC and much smoother UI. At a price of roughly Rs. 10,000, the A1000 would be more attractive, provided XOLO fixes this lag issue and figures out if its bundling an 8MP or a 12MP camera. In any case, we’re hoping our replacement unit would fare a lot better before we put it to the test.
Stay tuned for the full review and camera comparisons with the Canvas HD A116 only on tech2.com.