There is fierce competition in the budget smartphone segment. No brand wants to be left behind. In this segment, smaller companies like Xiaomi, Motorola, Yu Televentures, Micromax and many more are eyeing your money. Every other day a new smartphone is being introduced in the market.

In such a situation, how would Lava Mobiles lag behind. The company has presented its claim in this segment through its premium brand Xolo. The Xolo Black handset is available for Rs.12,999. The handset comes with a slew of useful features like dual rear cameras and front flash and tries hard to make itself look ‘premium’. Will Xolo Black be able to make a mark in the market? Let’s know.

look and design
Thanks to the curved edges and a matte finish metal frame, the Xolo Black looks similar to the Sony Xperia Z3. Glass has been used in the body of Xolo Black. There is also Corning Gorilla Glass protection on the front and rear panels, which will help keep the handset scratch free. The front camera and its accompanying flash are placed on both the top corners. Apart from the Xolo and Hive branding in the back panel, there is a dual-camera setup. The charging port and speakers are placed at the bottom of the phone and the 3.5mm headset socket at the top.

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The SIM tray is on the left side of the phone and the power and volume buttons are on the right. The second SIM slot can also be used as a microSD card slot. The power button also acts as a status light, which we found awkward. By the way, at a price of Rs 12,999, the company has presented a phone with a great build and it looks more premium than its rivals.

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Specifications and software
Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 (2nd Gen) processor has been used in Xolo Black, that is, it supports 4G. The good thing is that it also has support for 4G bands used in India. The handset has a 5.5-inch display with full-HD resolution, with a pixel density of 401ppi. The device packs 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage (support for microSD cards up to 32GB), and a 3,200mAh lithium-polymer battery. There are two sensors in the rear camera setup, the primary camera is 13 megapixels and the secondary is 2 megapixels. The front camera is of 5 megapixels. In Xolo Black, the company has used its Hive UI, which is based on Android Lollipop 5.0.2 (Android Lollipop 5.0.2). The Hive has an interesting UI, which has many features that are not available on other devices in this price range. The app drawer is a bit different. In this, the app can be customized on the basis of alphabet, time of installation and app category.

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However, Hive performs a bit slow at times. Sometimes the screen is slow to load and its animations also take a long time to load completely. By the way, it mostly works fine, so we don’t complain much. The default Hive lock screen is so bad, it doesn’t look appealing at all. The good thing is that it can be disabled. You can customize the Quick Launch keys and display notifications. Overall, its user interface is much better than other manufacturers. The user gets multiple options of customization and many changes are also possible through the settings.

camera
The interesting thing is that the dual-camera setup has been used in the rear panel of Xolo Black. This setup increases the speed of autofocus and gives the option to refocus on different parts of the photo. The same dual-camera feature was also present in the HTC One M8 device. The device autofocuses fast, but not very much. The refocus feature also works fine, but it’s not of much use. It is important to mention the OptiZoom and ChromaFlash features. OptiZoom’s job is to improve the zoom quality of pictures, but it is not that effective. ChromaFlash is needed to capture two consecutive pictures, one with flash and the other without. After this, the software combines these frames to create a single image, on which the effect of flash is less and the result image is also more real. Its performance pleased us.

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The camera does fine in taking sharp, detail and vibrant pictures, but white colors appear brighter. The 5 megapixel front camera works as standard and it also has its own flash. Selfie lovers will love this feature, as this flash will help in taking better selfies in low light. It won’t be wrong to say that regular photo enthusiasts will be happy with the Xolo Black’s camera.

The camera software is easy to use and has all the features and modes you would expect from a smartphone. Two apps have been given for the camera, one with normal mode, in which many filters are present. Second, the dual camera app which also uses the 2-megapixel secondary camera simultaneously. We got a little confused while using these two apps according to our needs. Hopefully this shortcoming will be fixed in the next version.

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performance
The performance of Xolo Black is good. The device easily completes most of the tasks. Hive UI does slow down occasionally, but it doesn’t affect the performance of apps and games. As long as we kept the phone with us, it never crashed. Voice quality was also good. The sound came from the headphones and speakers of the device. It played most HD videos smoothly. However, with some there was a problem with the file format. We also played the Sonic Runners game on the phone and found no lag or performance issues anywhere. The phone did slow down during multitasking, so we would suggest not to use too many apps at a time. The display is definitely full-HD, but it is a bit weak in terms of color and contrast.

The Xolo Black scored 32,519 and 20,996 points in AnTuTu and Quadrant tests respectively. We also ran 3D Mark Ice Storm Extreme and GFXBench on the device, during which the results were 5427 points and 14fps respectively. Other devices based on Snapdragon 615 have also given similar results. The battery lasted 9 hours and 41 minutes on our video loop test, which is a bit low for a device with 3,200mAh power. The battery easily lasted for a day during normal use.

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our decision
The Xolo Black is a better-than-average smartphone, which is not a problem to use. It gives equal performance compared to the rest of the smartphones in its price range. It is also good to look at and has some features that leave their mark.

Its dual rear camera setup, front flash and decent performance during photography give the device a distinct identity. We liked this phone and hope you like it too. If you are looking for a phone that does its job well and is not too expensive, then definitely consider the Xolo Black.

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