Lava today unveiled its Xolo X900 Android smartphone, which is the first to run on Intel’s Medfield chipset in the world. This device was originally announced at the Mobile World Congress in February, and ever since its unveil, its chipset has been making all the headlines. We managed to get our grubby mitts on the Xolo X900 at the event for a first impressions. Read on for more.
Industrial design wise the Xolo X900 basically uses Intel’s own reference design for the Medfield chipset. In fact, it looks identical to the reference design that Intel had showed off at CES. There is a lot to like about this design even if its not ground breaking. For starters, the Lava Xolo X900, breaks the monotony of ultra large form factors. The combination of a 4.03-inch display, 10.99 mm thickness and 127 gram weight make the Xolo X900 a very ergonomically designed smartphone.
For me (A Galaxy S II user) the ergonomics work really well as the device is neither too small like an iPhone which has a 3.5-inch display or neither too large like a HTC One X which has a 4.7-inch display. It feels very comfortable and at first glance the build quality of the device was solid.
The downside of this design is that Intel packs in a resolution of 1024×600 pixels in a 4.03-inch display which is way higher than the qHD resolutions found in devices like the HTC Sensation, but it also makes the aspect ratio of the device longer, in turn not giving the user complete access to the display with one thumb.
This might not be a big issue for most people as generally people are used to insane form factors and when one takes into account the success of devices like the Galaxy Note, this should not be a major problem.
Performance wise I found the UI to be extremely smooth. Admittedly the device runs a stock version of Android 2.3 Gingerbread bereft of any OEM customization, but the good news is that Lava is promising an OTA update to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich in the near future. However the company did not specify when exactly it would ship the update.
The power of the Intel Atom 1.6GHz chip was quite evident and to further bolster its performance the device comes with 1GB of RAM and a 400MHz GPU.
At the event Intel’s head of mobility, Mike Bell (Who also worked on the original iPhone) took the stage to demo the product. He showed us some impressive demos which included an HDMI linkup with an HDTV where he played games like Asphalt HD. What ever I got to see was indeed impressive as the game loaded very quickly and performed smoothly.
Perhaps, the most talked about feature of the Lava Xolo X900 was its 8-megapixel camera. Intel claims the device would be able to take 10 snaps in a burst mode inside a second. The Lava Xolo X900 delivered that promise with relative ease, however we will test this feature in much more detail once we get the device for a review.
Lava and Intel call this DSLR like performance which I believe to be an over exaggeration of facts, however I could be proved wrong once I review the product.
Other salient features of the device include 16GB of internal memory, HSPA connectivity using Intel’s own integrated solution, 1080p video capture and playback.
Intel says that users should not worry about the issue of native ARM apps not running on the Xolo X900 as Intel has packed in emulation technology which enables native ARM games to run smoothly on the Xolo X900. Bell showed off Angry Birds which is a native ARM app via a HDMI linkup. The device performed pretty smoothly with no visible hiccups. Intel further specified that it is working with app developers for native x86 support and it believes slowly but surely most apps on the Google Play store will natively support Intel architecture.
Initially we expected the device to be priced around Rs 25,000 but Lava surprised us with a more favorable pricing of Rs 22,000.
At the moment the Lava Xolo X900, indeed seems to be a powerful device, but some questions remain unanswered. We still need to figure out if Intel’s chipset has a noticeable performance advantage over ARM, plus there is also the case of battery life as Intel chipsets have historically been known to guzzle battery life. And when one takes into account the issue of native app support, the case becomes more mysterious.
On paper though the Lava Xolo X900 seems to be a darn decent device, but I will reserve my judgement till I run it through the BGR India test cycles for a week. In the meanwhile stay tuned for the review.