The Mobiistar XQ Dual is priced at Rs 7,999
Features dual front cameras - a 13-megapixel sensor and a 120-degree wide angle 8-megapixel sensor.
It comes with a traditional 5.5-inch screen with an aspect ratio of 16:9.
Not a lot of us have heard about Mobiistar. So it only makes sense to begin with a little background. Mobiistar is a Vietnamese smartphone company that has only entered the Indian market back in May 2018, with the plans to take on the likes of Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi in the budget segment. As a part of this strategy, the company launched two smartphones called the Mobiistar XQ Dual and Mobiistar CQ Dual priced at Rs 7,999 and Rs 4,999 respectively.
The Mobiistar XQ is naturally the higher end variant. For that price, it competes with the Honor 7A and Xiaomi Redmi 5. While both the other phones have adopted taller displays, XQ Dual sticks to a much traditional approach with a bigger 5.5-inch 16:9 screen. But the smartphone does come with dual cameras at the front, in order to live up to the selfie trend. But is it enough to make the XQ Dual a worthy competitor in that segment? Let’s find out.
If you have to consider design, then Mobiistar XQ Dual definitely falls behind of its competition in the market. While phones like Xiaomi Redmi 5 and Honor 7A have already adapted taller 18:9 screens, the Mobiistar XQ Dual sticks to a more traditional 5.5-inch screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio. The phone also comes with thick bezels all around, with capacitive Android navigational buttons placed at the bottom of the screen.
One of first things you notice about the phone is its chunky design. The metal finish at the back is slippery, and offers almost no grip when holding the phone in one hand. While traveling in the train or walking around, I felt more confident using the phone with two hands.
On the flipside, the phone seems well built. It has a plastic chassis and comes with an added Ashai Dragontrail glass protection at the front. The 2.5D curved glass also gives the phone a premium feel. I had the black variant of the phone, which came with two copper antenna strips at the top and bottom of the back panel. They seem to have been added more for visual representation, which is why a similar finish has also been given to the exterior of the fingerprint sensor, the camera lens and even the side buttons on the phone.
Everything else is pretty standard. The volume keys are placed on the left and the standby/ power button is placed on the right. At the bottom, you have a microUSB port flanked by two speaker grills. However, only one of them is for the speaker, while the other one is the microphone. The 3.5mm headphone jack is placed at the top.
The Mobiistar XQ Dual comes with a dual camera setup at the front, featuring a 13-megapixel sensor and an 8-megapixel sensor with a 120-degree wide angle lens, for taking group selfies. Both sensors feature an aperture of f/2.0. The camera can take decent pictures in good lighting situations. It focuses quick enough and decent amount of details are visible as well. However, the quality of the images deteriorates when switching to the 8-megapixel camera (wide-angle). Images carry plenty of noise, under the same lighting situations. They also look a little stretched around the edges because of the wide-angle lens.
White balance holds well in natural lighting, but goes completely off during low-light situations. Images generally carry a greenish tinge. The camera also struggles in getting the focus right during nighttime. Taking a clear picture even in slight shaky situation felt like an impossible task. The few times the camera got it right, the quality of the image wasn’t very impressive and carried plenty of noise.
There aren’t a lot of features included for the front camera. You get seven levels of FaceBeauty mode, which works well enough to remove blemishes, while still making your pictures look fairly natural. Besides that, you get an HDR mode, which helps improve exposure in low light conditions. However, I noticed the focus and detail to take a slight hit here. Additionally, the camera took about 3-4 seconds to process these images.
The rear camera is 13-megapixel and is even more unimpressive. It struggles to get the focus right, and images clicked look dull. There’s little to no detail and performance takes a further dip when taking pictures in low light situations. HDR mode comes handy during these times, but you need to hold the camera stable for a few seconds to get a well-focused image. There is also a Pro mode included which gives you access to ISO, exposure and shutter speed, but having control of these settings doesn’t help much.
The Mobiistar XQ Dual comes with a 5.5-inch full HD IPS LCD screen. The brightness levels are pretty good. Setting it halfway, was more than sufficient for indoors and during nighttime. Even in broad daylight, I didn’t feel the need to push it to its maximum extent. That said, the viewing angles were pretty bad.
Media experience on the device was delightful, be it watching videos, playing games or just scrolling through Instagram. What I really liked about is that it manages to deliver a subtle looking picture, while still carrying vibrant colors. The contrast is great for the most part and there’s good amount of depth. The only problem I had was with the black levels. They are little overcompensated for, hiding some of the minor details. It’s still not a big problem and doesn’t quite hamper the experience.
There aren’t a lot of settings available in display settings. You get the general options to change wallpaper, theme, font size and brightness. While it’s good to see Mobiistar keep things simple, I would have still preferred a night mode for it, which isn’t included.
Performance and software
The Mobiistar comes with an Android 7.1 Nougat layered on top with a custom UI. Apart from the outdated OS, I don’t have many complaints with the interface. It’s not heavy and Mobiistar has kept things refreshingly simple. The app drawer serves as the homescreen, and notifications drawer can be scrolled down from the top. Bloatware is kept to a minimum. Flipkart is the only third-party application included and it can be uninstalled as well.
Mobiistar has also included a quick news panel, which can be accessed by swiping right on the homescreen. The feature is very similar to the Flipboard news panel found on Samsung smartphones. However, here you can’t customize the news feed according to your preference and are stuck with what’s provided. It also doesn’t work very well, and crashed most of the time I used it.
The interface feels smooth for the most part, but there are a few sloppy moments, where the phone hangs for a couple of seconds before you can do anything on it. While, the Snapdragon 430 SoC might not be the best in terms of performance, it enables the Mobiistar XQ Dual to handle basic applications like Chrome, Instagram and Facebook with ease. Even games like Mario Run and Jetpack Joyride ran without any glitches. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for heavier games like Asphalt 8: Airborne and PUBG (PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds). While games are still playable, the performance is sluggish. Both games ran on low quality and stuttered constantly.
With playing games, watching videos, and going through the usual social media applications, the 3,000 mAh battery on the Mobiistar XQ Dual was able to last for just about a day on a single charge. On moderate usage, the phone might run for a day and half or even more. There is no fast charging feature included, but the phone managed to charge completely around an hour and an half on most occasions.
There are some battery monitoring and optimization features available as well. For starters, you have Smart Power saving mode, which provides a good balance between performance and battery efficiency. There is also an Ultra Power saving mode, which cuts down all the unnecessary applications in the background to deliver a better standby performance, while running on low battery. You can also choose which applications you want to be running in the background, when the phone is on standby.
Besides that, there is also a Power Master tab provided in the Display settings, which gives you an approximate runtime for games, video playback and other things, based on the battery percentage. It comes handy to monitor and manage battery usage. There is also a One-touch power saving feature available here, which further optimizes the battery performance by shutting down background applications, and optimizing the screen brightness among other things. It even gives you an approximate number of minutes that it has helped increase the battery life by.
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In the time of taller displays and great camera performance, the Mobiistar XQ Dual seems a little outdated. It’s not nearly as powerful, trendy or as feature-filled as some of its competition in the market. It’s only USP is the dual-front facing camera, which as we’ve seen doesn’t live up to the hype either. Even with a lower price tag of Rs 7,999, it just doesn’t come across as the better option. The Redmi Note 5 and the Honor 7A, with their taller displays and current Android 8.1 Oreo OS will definitely have the vote of a majority of youngsters, and in this case, mine too.
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