Xolo Era 2X Review


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Xolo has always been a bit slow to adopt the latest specifications, opting for a more refined and well-rounded experience. The company recently launched their first smartphone equipped with a fingerprint scanner. Admittedly, very late to the market, we spent some time with the device to see if it packs enough to  still be a viable competitor.

Xolo Era 2X specifications

  • 5-inch (1280 x 720 pixels) HD On-cell IPS display
  • 1.25GHz Quad-core MediaTek MT6737 64-bit Processor with  Mali T720 MP1 GPU
  • 2GB/3GB RAM, 16GB internal memory, expandable memory up to 32GB with microSD
  • Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) OS
  • Dual SIM
  • 8MP autofocus rear camera with LED Flash, f/2.0 aperture, 5P Largan lens
  • 5MP front-facing camera
  • 3.5mm audio jack, FM Radio
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Dimensions: 72.3x144x9.5 mm
  • 4G VoLTE, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS
  • 2500mAh battery

Design

The Era 2X is a budget device and it reflects in the design language on offer. Generic would be an apt description for the front of the phone. Thick bezels run along all sides but the chin at the bottom is particularly apparent. The black panel set around the 5 inch display makes the phone appear larger than it is.

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The phone eschews capacitive keys for on-screen controls.  Up at the top is a 5MP front facing camera. On the other side of the earpiece lies the ambient light as well as proximity sensor. The black panel set around the 5 inch display makes the phone appear larger than it is. A metal frame runs all along the sides of the phone and sits proud of the black panel thereby adding more girth to the phone. Owing to the large bezels and frame, the Xolo Era 2X isn’t much smaller than a device equipped with a 5.5 inch display.

Over on the right hand side lies the volume rocker as well as the power button. Predictably, feedback is minimal and the buttons are very spongy. The left side is bereft of buttons while the top and bottom sport left aligned headphone jacks and microUSB ports respectively.

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Moving over to the back, the removable rear panel is made of soft touch plastic with a speaker grille lined up at the bottom. Towards the top you’ll spot the concentric camera module and fingerprint sensor. Between the two lies the single LED flash. The Xolo Era 2X measures 72.3 x 144x  9.5 mm and backs up our opinion that the phone is surprisingly large for a device with just a 5 inch display.

Software

The interface on the Xolo Era 2X is bog standard and we weren’t really expecting anything else either. Like stock Android, the homescreen displays the time and date with shortcuts for the camera and Google Assistant at the right and left bottom corners respectively. Swiping up drops you straight into the homescreen.

The phone retains a separate app drawer. As expected, you can keep selected widgets and apps on the homescreen. Tapping the shortcut button launches the app drawer where you can view all installed apps in one go.

Customisations throughout the interface are limited. Xolo has put a lot of emphasis on the gesture support built into the phone. The fingerprint reader does up as a button of sorts and you can use it to open the camera, take a photograph, answer calls and even to stop alarms. Similarly, you can draw gestures on the screen to launch specific functions.

Performance

The Xolo Era 2X is not the device to look at if performance is paramount for you. The phone runs on a 1.25GHz Quad-core MediaTek MT6737 64-bit Processor with  Mali T720 MP1 GPU. There’s just 2GB of RAM on the offline version while the online variant of the smartphone gets a healthier 3GB. Performance is as you’d expect. Interface navigation works well enough and there’s not much of a slow down if any at all. Games do take a bit longer to start up and this is one area where the lower end specifications are easy to make out. We’ve included some benchmarks below to show how the phone lines up against the competition.

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In the 3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited benchmark, the Xolo Era 2X scored 3729 points which is around the middle of the test bench.

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In the AnTuTu 6 Benchmark, the phone scores 30390 points which is particularly good for the category.

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Similarly in GFXBench 2.7, the phone scores 588.2 frames per second which is towards the upper end of the test bench.

Display

Equipped with a 5 inch 720p display, the screen on the Xolo Era 2X isn’t particularly great. We’re willing to concede a bit on the resolution due to the size and price point but it is certainly possible to get a higher quality panel even in this price range.

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While contrast levels and brightness is predictably sub-optimal, what really got us was the extremely high color shift just a few degrees off straight on. The screen looks passable when you look at it head on but moving even slightly over to the side and the change in color gets very off-putting.

Camera

The Xolo Era 2X is equipped with an 8MP rear facing camera. An f/2.0 lens and 5P Largan lens sounds good on paper but real life performance is a bit less than ideal.

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As is true of most phones in the budget to mid segment, you can expect passable photos only if the lighting is really good. Unless you are shooting straight into the light, we observed decently accurate colors.

Dynamic range is limited and you won’t get much details if zoom in. Step indoors though and you can almost forget about taking photos from the Era 2X. The software is seemingly optimised to keep the shutter open longer to allow in more light but without optical image stabilisation you invariably end up with a blurry shot.

Connectivity & Battery Life

The Xolo Era 2X packs all the basic connectivity options that are expected from a device of its calibre. Bluetooth, GPS, WiFi b/g/n and 4G LTE wrap up the connectivity capabilities. The Era 2X ships with FM Radio capabilities as well which is a nice addition for the category. The phone has dual SIM card support as well as a microSD card slot. With just 16GB of built-in storage of which 9.71GB is available at launch , the presence of a memory card slot is definitely appreciated.

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Battery life proved to be hit or miss on the Xolo Era 2X. The 2,500 mAh removable battery is a fair bit smaller than most other devices in the sub Rs. 10,000 segment but on the flip side, it affords you the option to switch it out as and when you please.

Conclusion

The Xolo Era 2X might be a special device for the brand that has been extremely slow on taking up technology but it isn’t anything special in the larger scheme of affairs.

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The phone is priced at Rs. 6,666 for the 2GB RAM variant while the 3GB RAM variant goes for Rs. 7,499. Meanwhile, the Redmi 3S is similarly priced and offers a much larger battery and better display. All said and done, given the number of arguably better options available, Xolo will have to do a lot more to make a mark for itself. The phone is available exclusively on Flipkart.

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Author: Dhruv Bhutani

Dhruv loves technology & is passionate about travel, science in equal measure. Currently using a ZF2. Catch him on Twitter (@DhruvBhutani) / Facebook . The metal head down the block ;)