Design and build - Xolo Black is a premium build device even though it is a budget smartphone. The front and rear is protected with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 making the display more reflective. The device is super handy as it is slim, measuring just 7.3mm. With the smooth curves and matte body the device displays an elegant finish. A view from certain angles gives the Xolo Black a slight look a likeness of that of Sony Xperia Z3. Xolo Black has used glass as body material instead of Polycarbonate which is now the current trend in fact.
The power buttons and the volume rockers are placed on the right side of the device while the left side features the SIM card slot. The SIM card slot doubles up as the micro SD card slot as well. Leaving you with the options of either more storage or double SIM functionality. The power button also has dual functions, it is also features as a status light. When you have any new notifications the power button will start to blink. This might be a bit insane as you will notice the indicator only if your device is placed in such an angle. The conventional notification light on the front would have served the purpose well.
The 5.5 inch display screen features the front camera and its flash, which are placed on the two top corners with the ear piece right in the middle. The soft keys below stay dark by default until pressed. They seems to be widely spaced and often you mind find yourself tapping at empty space. The rear shows two lenses placed in a row which is separated in the middle with an LED flash. The back panel also bears the Xolo and Hive logo as well. The bottom includes the charging port and the speakers and the top with 3.5mm audio jack.
Display - The device sports a 5.5 inch full HD display with a screen resolution of 1920x1080 pixels. The screen features IPS OGS technology presenting the user with great viewing angles. With a pixel density of 401ppi watching movies on this screen is very impressive and amazing as well. The HD screen is ideal for viewing in direct sunlight as well. The Corning Gorilla Glass 3 safeguards your device from scratches and bruises. The oleophobic coating at the rear makes it smudge free and stain free.
Performance- The Xolo Black is power driven by Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 2nd generation SoC. The 64-bit octa-core processor is 4G enabled as well. Apparently it is compatible with band 4.0 therefore the Indian users can avail 4G network services with this device. The processor is coupled up with a 2 GB of RAM. The Internal storage is of 16 GB and an external one up to 32 GB via micro SD cards.
The OS on which the device runs is Android 5.0 which is layered with the company's own Hive user interface. The Hive UI is an attractive UI since it has a couple of features that allows you to sort apps horizontally by category. You can even classify the apps via alphabets, app category or even by time time of installation. Usually these features are available only in high-end phones but the Xolo Black offers the users greater comforts with this UI.
Even though Hive UI is often slow and lagging the device is offered with several useful pre-installed apps including McAfee, Comet browser and various Hive branded security tools and services. We have noticed that the default Hive lock screen is a disaster as it takes a long time to get through it. Fortunately the lock screen can be disabled and replaced with Android lock screen.
Camera - The Xolo Black features a dual rear camera with 13 MP and 2 MP. The dual cameras helps you to refocus on the different parts of the images that has been already taken. The refocusing feature works well and we are wondering how many if the users will put that feature to use very often. The 5 MP front snapper with flash will help you click selfies even in the dark. Both the cameras works like charm and provides you with greater shutter experience. The rear camera also features Fast Focus, Opti Zoom and Chroma flash as well. The Opti Zoom option improves the quality of the zoomed images but we observed that always the zoomed pictures are grainy as it can ever be.
Chroma flash allows the users to capture two images incessantly in which one will be captured with flash and one without. The software then combines both the frames to a single image which brings down the effect of flash on the image to give it a natural look.
Apart from all these features the Xolo Black camera seems to produce brilliant pictures with the exception of white imbalance. Where the pictures with a lot of white however seem to lose some detail.
The camera software comes with two apps, one with a few filters and basic setting modes and the second one with the dual-camera app which uses the 2 MP secondary sensor but does away with many of the main app features. This leaves the user with a dilemma as to use which of these apps to get a perfect shot. It would have been awesome if the dual camera mode was integrated into the main app feature as well.
Battery - Xolo Black bears a 3,200mAh battery. The battery is equipped with Qualcomm quick charge feature that allows you to charge the device up to 50% within an hour and the entire device in 2.5 hours.
Display - 5.5-inch full HD (1920x1080p) IPS screen with OGS (One Glass solution) technology
OS - Android 5.0 Lollipop with Hive UI
Processor - Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 Series Octa-core (1.7GHz quad-core ARM Cortex A53 + 1.0GHz quad-core A53) CPU
Storage- 16GB, expandable up to 32GB with 2 GB RAM
Camera – 13 MP + 2 MP dual rear camera and 5 MP front camera
Battery - 3,200 mAh with Quick Charge 2.0
Connectivity – 4G, 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and A-GPS
Price – Rs.12,999/-
The dual rear cameras and front facing camera with flash gives amazing picture quality. The dual rear camera feature must be interesting but it also leaves the users with confusion as in to use which camera app for capturing a particular picture. The internals are decent with lag- free performance. The upgraded Hive UI will be an attraction to the users to try it out. The device sure has some quirky features but still it is difficult to categorize it into a premium quality. The Gorilla Glass 3 along with Oleophobic coating leaves us with the question of how slippery the phone will be. Though the Hive UI may seem to be sluggish at times, the UI has plenty of personalization options making you feel that the device was made specially for you. The processor along with 2 GB of RAM leaves you with powerful performance experience.
In short nothing much to rant about, so make sure you witness a demo of the device before you actually buy it. If you are looking for a device with standard performance with great value for money then this is the one for you.