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Xolo Play T1000 Review

on July 31, 2013 – 6:38 pmNo Comment

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One of the first mid range handsets to be equipped with a Tegra 3 processor, the Xolo Play T1000 brings with it a promise of high end gaming capabilities. Xolo claims it to be an overall competitive device which should provide some much needed competition in this space. Does it live up to its claims ? We test that and more in our review below. Read on to find out.

Video Review

Design

The handset doesn’t really stray from the tried and tested design language and is essentially a giant touch screen slab with physical elements like the buttons built around the screen’s frame. The front has a large 4.7 inch 720p screen that is of the IPS variety and is built around the One-Glass Solution technology that is all the rage these days. The screen doesn’t seem to have a Gorilla Glass layer and is unfortunately very fingerprint and smudge prone. That said, the display itself is gorgeous.

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Over on the right side we have the power key and volume rocker. The buttons have good tactile feedback and while we’d have preferred a centered power key, it wasn’t much of a stretch to reach it. The left side of the phone is bereft of buttons.

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Over at the back of the Xolo Play T1000, you’ll spot the camera module encased in an aluminum & glass island with an LED flash below it. A secondary microphone can also be seen here while the speaker is located towards the bottom. Xolo and Nvidia branding is also visible. The matte finish material used is quite grippy that should help prevent the device from slipping off.

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The top of the handset is where you’ll find the 3.5mm audio jack as well as the micro USB port. The handset follows the trend set by the HTC One X amongst others and has a USB port that is placed the other way around requiring you to change the cable orientation every time before inserting it. The back plate of the Xolo Play T1000 is removable and under it you can find the 2,000 mAh battery pack, full size SIM card slot as well as the micro SD card slot. We’re fairly impressed by the build quality of the phone that has a reassuring heft to it. The phone is far from the thinnest or lightest budget Android around and clocks in at 10.44mm thickness, 167grams of weight.

Display

The screen on the Xolo Play T1000 as mentioned above is a 4.7 inch 720p HD IPS panel. The screen has a pixel density of 312PPI which results in crisp text. The OGS technology used means that the viewing angles and clarity are exceptional.

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We loved the screen on the XOLO Play T1000 and found it to be one of the best in the category. Sunlight visibility wasn’t bad at all either. Colors are natural and we really enjoyed viewing multimedia content on the handset.

Software

The Xolo Play T1000 runs on Android 4.1.1 Jellybean and has an almost stock Android experience. Xolo has not made many changes to the UI and you can notice changes only in the Dialer and Contacts application. The contacts application has a small search pad to the right that allows you to search for a contact quickly.

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Being powered by the Tegra 3 quad-core processor, the Xolo Play comes with the TegraZone app. Xolo has added some apps like Xolo Care, Xolo Power and Xolo Secure. The Xolo Care app is quite simple and lets you communicate with their customer care either via call, SMS or Email. The Xolo Power app lets you control energy saving features and controlling the performance of the processor. The Xolo Secure apps lets you backup your data to cloud and checks for malwares when new apps for installed.

Performance

XOLO has made quite a big deal of the 1.5Ghz NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor on board the handset. Alongside it is the 1GB of RAM. Internal storage is fairly limited at 4GB though you can expand that with the microSD card slot. Despite the powerful chipset being used, performance isn’t as good as you’d expect. There’s a hint of lag that can be seen through the OS. It isn’t really a deal breaker but is worth mentioning considering the pedigree of the chipset where we’ve seen it deliver much better performance on the HTC One X amongst others. The comparatively sluggish performance despite using the same internals as the One X might be due to the company underclocking the chipset as part of battery optimization however we can’t confirm this.  We’ve embedded a slew of benchmarks below that should put some figures to the performance of the handset.

It clocks 4219 points in the Quadrant benchmark, but it couldn’t beat the HTC One X powered by a similar processor.

The Xolo Play Scores 12494 points in the AnTuTu Benchmark 3.3 which is similar to most of the quad-core smartphones.

Camera

The Xolo Play has a 8MP camera at the back that is capable of 1080p video recording at 30fps and a 1.9MP front facing camera that can record VGA videos.
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The Xolo Play T1000 runs on Android 4.1.1 Jellybean and has the stock Jellybean camera app. The UI is pretty simple with the view-finder on the left side and the shutter key on the right side. The left side of the viewfinder has  no settings while on the right side, we have the toggle switch for front and rear cameras at the top. Below that we have the zoom slider and at the bottom we have the settings icon. You can check out the complete camera review of the handset here -

Tapping the settings icon reveals very few settings like flash light on/off/auto, setting the white balance, exposure and choosing a scene mode (you get only three – Auto, Sunset and night). Below it, we have more settings options. A settings panel opens up with options to choose the geo-tagging, Picture size, focus mode(auto, macro, infinity or continuous), storage location and enabling or disabling face-detection.

 

Swiping left from the viewfinder takes us to the recent photos/videos. On the right of the viewfinder, we have the shortcut to gallery at the top, the camera shutter key at the middle and mode selection at the bottom. You can select taking photos, shooting videos or taking panoramas.

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The in terms of image quality, the pictures were quite reasonable. The shots in daylight came out quite decent with nice colors and details. In the low-light shots, there was a bit of noise and we found that the focus was not always spot on. When the flash was on, the images weren’t as bright as we would have expected and still the noise remained. The Macro photos were quite good, but focusing took a lot of time.
You can take only horizontal panoramas with the Xolo Play T1000. The quality of the panorama taken with the Play T1000 was accceptable. Details in images were fairly accurate and the stitching was near perfect.
In terms of videos, the Xolo Play T1000 is capable of recording 1080p videos at 30fps. In the video, the colors were pretty decent, but the bitrate was low and it was slightly over-sharpened. The front camera is just decent, but it has lots of noise in indoors. The video from the front camera is noisy as well, but gets the job done. Overall, the camera on the Xolo Play proved to be just about average.
Gaming
The Xolo Play T1000 is being teased as a gaming device and it is powered by a 1.5GHz NVidia Tegra 3 Quad-core processor, has 1GB of RAM and ULP GeForce GPU. We tried out a few games like Dead Trigger, ShadowGun, NFS Most Wanted, Asphalt 7 and Modern Combat 4.
The gameplay performance was similar across the board. The experience was not buttery smooth and there were occasional lags, but it was definitely playable. The details were pretty high in Tegra optimized games like Dead Trigger and Shadowgun and and remained decent in non-Tegra games like Asphalt 7 and NFS Most Wanted.
In NFS Most Wanted, the graphics quality was great. Gameplay performance was decent but was plagued by the occasional lag and jitter. The road reflections and car detailing was quite impressive, but the gameplay could have been smoother. In Asphalt 7, the graphics was very good, but there was a slight lag throughout the game. The gameplay was decent and the gaming experience was quite ok. We noticed a lot of skipped frames and that made the gameplay slightly tough.
In Dead Trigger the graphics were quite good and we got a lot of details that are Tegra specific like rain splashes, detailed smoke and suspended particles in the air. The game play was not the smoothest, but remained playable. Playing Dead Trigger on this device was really a good experience because of the above average gameplay and excellent detailing.  Next, we tried out ShadowGun. Being another Tegra game,  The game was full of details and smooth textures. The details were pretty high, but the gameplay was not very smooth. There were a few occasional glitches that kind of ruined the experience. In Modern Combat 4, which is a first person shooter, the details were pretty high and the gameplay was reasonably ok. There were occasional drops in frame rates, but it did not hinder the gameplay much. Overall, considering the price of the device and the competition, the Xolo Play T1000 is a pretty good device for gaming.
Connectivity & Battery Life

The XOLO Play T1000 ticks all the boxes in terms of connectivity options and these range from WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0 and also A-GPS. As mentioned earlier, the in built storage is 4GB but this can be expanded via the microSD card slot. XOLO has made it possible to install third party applications to the SD card which should make it easier to get around the limitations imposed by the small built in storage.

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The battery pack is a 2000 mAh unit and allows the phone to manage about a work day of usage. That said, our experience with the Tegra 3 chipset dictates that you’ll be wanting a spare battery sooner rather than later.

Conclusion

The XOLO Play T1000 marries specifications that were high end last year to a device that delivers premium build quality and a gorgeous screen at a very attractive price point of Rs. 15,599. The Nvidia Tegra 3 processor paired with the TegraZone app aims to provide a fantastic gaming experience on the handset.

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Performance on the handset could be hit or miss but never enough to be a deal breaker. If XOLO manages to push out an update to fix the random performance issues that plague the handset, it could be amongst the best in the category. For now we’ll give it a cautious recommendation and would suggest looking at other handsets like the Zen 701HD, Gionee Elife E3 as well before making your decision.

Pros

Brilliant display

Good build quality

Nvidia Tegra 3 Processor

Cons

Performance glitches

Battery life could be better

 

 

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Dhruv Bhutani is a technology enthusiast who is always in sync with the latest and greatest in tech. He is currently using a Nokia Lumia 1020, HTC Butterfly S and whatever device he is reviewing at the moment. Suomirock ftw! . Catch him on Twitter @DhruvBhutani , you can also reach out on Facebook or .