Indian smartphone Industry has many things in common with Bollywood. Big media attention to star, fan following behind the top brand and public spending for wrong choice when a better product up there for attention.
Kumar and Khan Starrer Bollywood films receive wider coverage in media and do well on box-office as public line-up to buy ticket for first day first show. Similarly Apple, Sony, LG, Samsung, Xiaomi, Micromax, Lenovo, Huawei launch gets huge reception from tech media. Smartphone buyers register for flash-sales, which end nowadays in 3 to 4 second.
There are many films, despite having better story and script fail to get better response from fans. The recent failure of Ajay Devgn’s Drishyam is one example. Similarly, many good smartphones in the market overshadowed because of mindless popularity of few selected smartphones.
In this review session, we are presenting three decent smartphones, not quite popular among buyers, tech pundits and unboxing professionals. However, we cannot miss them without knowing more. We believe these gadgets are nicely made has ability to render productivity in daily usages. Without reviewing them, we cannot complete decision to finalize the best choice in current availability. As a potential smartphone buyer you should be presented all available choices for making a super selection.
- iBall MSLR Cobalt 4
- Lemon Ocean 101
- XOLO Cube 5 1GB and 2GB RAM – Pick 2GB RAM variant
iBall mSLR Cobalt 4 with Extra Lens
Experts always say that smartphones cannot replace a professional camera, but smartphones companies have been constantly trying to prove them wrong. These days most flagships are offering great cameras, which are fully equipped to replace traditional point and shoot cameras. However, the greatest problem that smartphone manufacturers face in making the best camera phone is of lens and the sensor. Well, the technology is still not developed enough to solve the sensor problem, but there is nothing stopping brands from solving the lens problem.
Just a few months ago, iBall, which is a popular Indian smartphone manufacturer, came up with an amazing smartphone that can actually be attached with specially designed kit lenses. Another great thing about this phone is that it is available for a payment of just 8799 rupees only.
In The Box
- Wall adapter
- USB cable
- Four detachable lenses
- Smartphone case
- User guides and warranty card
Build and Design
The phone is only 8.9 mm in thickness and is slightly curved to match the natural profile of a human hand. Materials used in the making of the body are of high quality and give a solid feel. Golden strip along edges make this phone pretty attractive.
All the colors are perfectly reproduced on the IPS panel of this phone. Its viewing angles are really great, which helps a lot in capturing photographs. The qHD display can go much bright making everything readable even in bright daylight. However, the only thing that will annoy a lot of smartphone lovers is the low pixel density of 220 ppi.
The iBall MSLR Cobalt 4 runs Android 4.4 Kitkat right out of the box. All the icons are heavily customized and some of which will really confuse you. It took me a while to figure out that the small iBall icon at the bottom of the home screen actually triggers the app drawer.
iBall is not famous for pushing software updates so it will be a big mistake if you are thinking that this phone will get Lollipop update in the future.
Thanks to the Octa-core 1.4 GHz processor that takes the performance of this phone to the next level. However, you will not be able to use the full processing power of this phone as its RAM is limited to only 1GB. The good thing is you will not be restricted with the 8GB of on-board storage as you can always install a micro SD card of up to 32GB.
The only culprit that will ruin gaming on this phone is again the 1GB of RAM. You might be able to run games like Dead Trigger-2 and NOVA-3 in average setting, but in the best graphic settings you will certainly notice frame drops.
I know you were eagerly waiting for this section as the camera is the greatest attraction of this smartphone. However, the rear camera sensor that it sports is not capable of capturing great level of details. So the image that you will get after carefully positioning the lens will not be as good as your expectations. However, the front 3.2 MP camera is really great at shooting Selfies.
Anyway, iBall has shown courage by launching a Camera phone and we really appreciate that. To use the lenses you will have to put on the case that comes along. The lenses actually get screwed up to the case and not to the phone. To get perfect shots one needs steady hands, which is why I always got blurry photos. The four lenses that come in the box are:
- 8x Zoom Lens
- Fish Eye Lens
- Wide Lens
- Macro Lens
Connectivity and Sensors
The iBall mSLR Cobalt 4 is loaded with just the basic connectivity options. It lacks all the modern features like 4G and NFC. Although it is a dual SIM phone, but only one of the SIM slots actually supports 3G networks. There are only a handful of sensors on this phone like Light Sensor, G-Sensor and Proximity Sensor.
This smartphone will hardly make it to the end of the day with its 2,000 mAh battery. If you are a heavy user like me, then it is better that you carry a charger along.
- Detachable lenses.
- Great build quality.
- Decent front camera.
- Octa-core processor.
- Rear sensor is not that great.
- Below average battery backup.
The iBall MSLR Cobalt 4 is not the phone you would want to take professional photographs with. In fact, it is not even a perfect smartphone as its performance is below average.
Lemon Ocean 101 with 3000 mAh battery
Indian brand Lemon’s Ocean 101 is a decent smartphone has nice built, standard hardware and intuitive battery backup at a pocket friendly price tag of just 7000 rupees. Ironically, it is abandoned by the parent brand as no listing found on the official website. Furthermore, we did not find sufficient information or users comment for this device.
I really like specifications of this lost gadget. Its magic box packs a long list of accessories that saves money mostly spent by user to secure and decorate a phone. Besides regular stuff found in a smartphone sales box, buyer gets a quality flip cover, which has a notification window cut out worth approx 600 rupees. The brand is offering a good deal at current market price.
The phone has rectangular shape, smoothen edges and three capacitive control touch key at the front. Buttons are positioned at identical places much similar to an ordinary Android phone. It is available in black and white colour variant sports not very slim profile at 11.4 mm of thickness.
The Ocean 101 is powered by MediaTek quad core processor coupled with a Mali MP-400 GPU next to that is 1GB RAM. In terms of memory management, it packs 8GB of internal storage easily extended via a dedicated microSD port supports upto 32GB in size.
I am excited about this gadget because its specification sheet says a lot. 5 inches screen features an IPS LCD panel has 480P resolution wherein pixel per inches is only 196. Such display orientation termed bad according to general believes although it is real remedy for easy usages of battery fuel for long run.
My Doodle 3 display offers 163 PPI pixel density and another phone Xperia T2 Ultra sports 245 PPI display have decent performance during watching HD movie or image slideshow. I believe in low pixel density because that saves battery much needed to keep the phone in active mode.
Camera management remains denounced in Indian designed phone until the use of a branded lens or sensor. Even though the device comes with 8MP primary and 2MB front facing selfie shooter, not much could be expected from the setup. Here, primary camera boosted a bit more with auto focus integration. Digital zoom helps capture long distance subject in clear focus. The phone also has a LED flash that helps shoot in low light ambient.
The phone got my attention because of intuitive backup from its main highlight 3000 mAh lithium polymer battery. User should know lithium polymer battery is costlier compared to lithium-ion. I am very sure user will be satisfied with day-to-day battery backup.
Since the parent brand has disowned it, exact 2G and 3G talk-time and standby backup data is not available. However, I am sure low pixel density in 480P display supported by slow demands from efficient quad core MediaTek processor will consume one 100% recharged battery in two to three days against casual usages.
This is a multi-touch smartphone lists the lasted communication, multimedia and connectivity features. It supports 3G, internet browsing on 2G and calling on 1G network. Use Bluetooth 4.0 and UBS 2.0 for data syncing and share. Wi-Fi with the regular band adds support to local area network. GPS (with A-GPS) helps find address in unknown area. It also offers internet sharing and mobile hotspot feature.
With efficient sensors for intelligent response and FM tuner for live local entertainment, the gadget has potential to do well in day-to-day usages.
- 3000 mAh battery
- Display with low optimization helps conserving more battery juice.
Low brand equity
In my opinion this smartphone meant to be good on basic usages. It does not sport fancy features or the latest operating system. Only good feature that makes it a worthy choice is 3000 mAh battery that sustain at least 36 to 40 hours of multitasking. If you want a smartphone just for calling, listen to local FM and music playback, and then certainly this is one choice for your consideration.
XOLO Cube 5.0 1GB and 2GB RAM
The Indian smartphone market has got flooded with a number Chinese smartphone brands in the last couple of years. The startups like XOLO have lost most of their customer base that they had gained in their initial years. However, these brands are not losing hope and are doing their best to compete with the global players. The XOLO Cube 5.0 is already popular phone, but in order to offer the best specs, the manufacturer launched a refreshed version of this phone in the month of June this year. However, it will be a little hard for you to get this refreshed version as it is currently not available on most of the eCommerce websites. But you can always buy the old Cube 5.0 for a price of 7999 rupees.
In The Box
- Wall adapter
- USB cable
- User guides and warranty card
Build and Design
The XOLO Cube 5.0 comes in an attractive body, which is made of premium quality materials. The glossy finishes of the soft touch back panel makes this phone look appealing to the eyes. You will be really amazed to know that it is just 6.9 mm thick and feels much comfortable in hand. However, this phone can easily get slipped.
XOLO has not improved the display of this phone, but we cannot criticize that decision because there is nothing wrong with the display of the old Cube 5.0. The high pixel density of 294 ppi provides crispiness enough to the display that all the graphics look stunning. IPS panel provides this phone great viewing angles and high contrast ratio. Moreover, the Dragon Trail Protection makes the display scratch proof in every manner.
The XOLO Cube 5.0 runs a highly customized version of Android 5.0 Lollipop. Although lags are really hard to notice, but you will face memory leak problem as that bug was only resolved in the later Android versions.
The 1.3 GHz quad-core processor that this phone houses does not offer the best performance in this price range. During intense hours, the phone gets uncomfortably hot and takes a long time cooling down. Although 1 GB RAM (old variant) cannot be considered the best option, but it suits the processing needs of this phone.
There are a lot of better options available at this price if you are looking for a gaming smartphone. This phone is just not meant for gaming. Even the Mali-400 GPU fails to help this phone while playing intensive games. You should feel blessed if you manage to even run Asphalt 8 without any frame drops at the highest settings on this phone.
Both the old and new variant offer same rear camera experience as they feature the same 8 MP sensor. XOLO is appreciated by smartphone reviewers for providing great camera on its budget segment smartphones. This phone can take decent low light images as its camera captures more light. One can also record full HD videos at 30 frames per second on it.
At the front, however, you will notice a significant change. The new Cube 5.0 comes with a 5 megapixel selfie shooter whereas the old one featured a 2 MP one. Now this phone can take your stunning selfie shots with great level of details.
Connectivity and Sensors
Other manufacturers like Micromax, Huawei and Lenovo are already offering 4G connectivity on their budget phones, but XOLO is still far behind on this front. However, this dual-SIM phone is equipped with all other basic connectivity options.
This phone is not compatible with all types of applications available on the Play Store as it lacks various sensors.
Although this phone features a 2100 mAh battery, but I am assured it will not last the whole day. XOLO poorly customizes operating systems because of which the battery performance of most of its phones considerably drops.
- High pixel density.
- Display is protected by Dragon Trail Glass.
- Great audio quality.
- Decent camera performance.
- Android Lollipop.
- No 4G support.
- Battery performance is below average.
The people who are lucky enough to buy the new variant of this smartphone can go for it without any second thought else you should start looking for alternatives.