The XOLO Q1000 Opus is one of the first devices running on the new BCM23550 Broadcom chipset which features a 1.2 GHz Cortex-A7 based quad-core processor and 312 MHz VideoCore IV graphics engine. The Q1000 Opus stands in a crowded room of mid-range devices with quad-core processors, what sets is apart is its 1 GB RAM and excellent build quality. There were some issues with the phone including camera app crashes and a bit of over-heating but those have been resolved with two OTA updated from XOLO, this furthermore increases our confidence in the Q1000 Opus. But how does the phone fair in daily use? It is a viable purchase or should you go for any Micromax Canvas device instead ? Those are the questions among several others we intend to answer in the Full Review of the XOLO Q1000 Opus.
- Good Build Quality/Choice of materials
- Accessories Quality
- Value for money
- Almost vanilla Android
- USB OTG Support
- Apps movable to SD card
- Design Ergonomics
- Gaming Performance
- Quad-band network support
- Average Camera
- Speakerphone could have been louder
- Light bleeding though capacitive buttons
- Light bleed in lower left and right sides of display
The Q1000 Opus runs on a 1.2 GHz quad-core Broadcom BCM23550 chipset which integrates a 312 MHz Videocore IV, GPS with GLONASS support alongwith dual-SIM dual-standby capabilities. The phone supports 3G HSPA+ network with a theoretical download speed of upto 21 Mbps. USB OTG is also supported on the device. There's 1 GB of RAM which is ample for multitasking alongwith 4 GB of internal storage which is expandable using a micro SD card upto 32 GB.
The XOLO Opus has a 5-inch FWVGA (854 x 480 pixels) display which gives it a pixel density of 196 PPI. Although that might sound less, but for a budget device the display is not that bad. We'll talk about that later in the display section of our review. Apart from that there is a 5 MP Auto Focus camera at the back with a very bright LED flash which does allow the phone to take decent shots in fluorescent as well as low-light scenarios. There's a VGA front-facing camera as well.
If we peek inside the backcover you have the battery compartment for the 2000 mAh Lithium-Polymer (Li-Po) battery alongwith two full-size SIM card slots with the micro SD card slot in the middle. The XOLO Q1000 Opus is a quad-band phone, meaning you can virtually travel anywhere with the phone where 2G and 3G networks are supported. GSM supported bands are 850/900/1800/1900 MHz while 3G WCDMA band 2100 MHz is also supported on SIM Card 1.
There are three sensors in the phone, namely:
- Proximity Sensor
- Ambient Light Sensor
GPS as well as navigation works fine, it is able to triangulate your position in a matter of seconds and stays with you while travelling. FM Radio also finds a place on the Q1000 Opus, which again is able to find channels quickly alongwith the ability to record audio. Earlier issues with USB OTG where the phone restarted have now been resolved through the second OTA update to the Q1000 Opus.
You get a flip cover (which can act as a stand) alongwith a screen protector within the box as well. Here's our unboxing to see what all accessories you get.
First lets have a look at the front of the Q1000 Opus. The front panel is made of plastic which encloses the 5-inch display, three capacitive buttons at the bottom for menu, home and back, alongwith proximity and light sensors as well as the front-facing VGA camera and earpiece. The sides of the front-panel are raised a bit to protect the display from coming in contact with a flat surface. There is a bit of light bleeding through the capacitive buttons at the bottom and it looks purple in color making it a sore point on an otherwise perfectly build device. Then there's also a bit of light bleeding through the display in the lower right and left corners. Although certainly not deal breakers, it was something that was overlooked. The bezels around the display are smaller when compared to other devices with 5-inch displays making the XOLO Opus better for single handed use.
On the left you have the volume rocker which is made of the same faux-metallic material the trim on the sides is made of. It makes the Q1000 Opus look classy as it is not the shiny kind found on Micromax Canvas 2 but more silver, like Samsung Galaxy smartphones. On the right you have the power lock/unlock button and that are the only two physical buttons on the phone. Both provide adequate feedback when pressed, don't wobble and don't creak either. In-fact nothing on the phone creaks and there are no gaps, loose buttons or any other fault we could find with the build of the device.
At the top you just have the 3.5 mm audio port while the microphone and micro-USB data-syncing/charging port find a place the bottom of the device. If we move to the back, at the top you have the 5 MP AF camera with BSI sensor and LED flash right next to it. The backcover is raised slightly to protect the camera from coming in contact when put on a flat surface. Same goes for the loudspeaker, which has a raised speaker-grill which doesn't let audio get muffled when the phone is put on its back. In the middle you have an embossed XOLO logo which gives the device a signature and that's the only bit of branding on the device.
The backcover is glossy but its not slimy and doesn't show fingerprints that easily. But its a pain to open, there are what seems like a million locks that you need to go thorough one by one to open it all the while worrying that it might snap although its not that flimsy. Still, it stays in place, doesn't creak or bend and there's no gap between the device and the backcover which is always a good sign. Overall, it gives a kind of reassurance in the build that is otherwise reserved for phones from Samsung or Sony.
Its a classy design, certainly inspired from the Samsung Galaxy S III with some alterations. XOLO calls itself a premium smartphone brand in India, and to some extent that can be seen on the Q1000 Opus.
So, we have a 5-inch FWVGA display on the XOLO Opus. The resolution should have been a bit higher since XOLO normally packs a qHD display with their 4.5-inch devices and this being a 5-inch device atleast should have been qHD.
The color reproduction of the IPS panel is quite natural with good contrast ratio and saturation. But we would have to give it to XOLO, even though the display is lower in resolution it still looks sharp but its not that bright and sunlight visibility is definitely a question mark. The viewing angles are good and color distortion is minimal. Auto brightness works well most of the time, and doesn't fluctuate.
The touch response is excellent although the display just supports two points of touch. Pinch to zoom as well performance in gaming is good.
Network and Call quality
Call quality is better than average with both sides having no issues. There's no echo or disturbance caused by the hardware, the earpiece is loud and clear and there is no crackling while talking over the speakerphone as well. Network retention is above average and 2G/3G data download speeds are consistently average on our networks.
The dialer interface has been customized to allow making calls using any SIM card alongwith option to message a contact or start a video call on 3G from within the interface. The Call logs filter calls based on whether they are incoming, outgoing or missed. You can even view calls in these filters on a single or both SIM cards. 3G network is support on one SIM card only.
The XOLO Q1000 Opus uses the stock Android 4.2 Jelly bean camera app which adds touch to focus as well as options to choose focus modes. The interface is pretty minimal and so are the options. You don't have the crazy options available on MediaTek chipset based smartphones like HDR, Best Shot, Beauty Shot or Scene modes. Its minimal at best, you can however take a panorama as well as 720p video recording at 30 FPS.
When we got the Q1000 Opus its camera app crashed continuously on using touch to focus or even without that. Those issues have been resolved with the OTA update alongwith faster focusing but images still sometimes come out blurry. It seems the shutter speed needs to be adjusted and focusing fine-tuned. The LED flash is quite bright, but it does add a bit of a yellow tinge on images taken with it. It makes everything look a bit warmer than it should be.
The images taken in natural light turn out with good color saturation and almost natural colors but the details are just not there. If you blow out an image to its full resolution, you will notice a lot of fine details missed and some post processing noise added to the mix. Low-light performance is average at best and the BSI sensor doesn't help much there.
You can see the full resolution camera samples on our Google+ Page.
The Speakerphone is clear and the sound is quite full but it should have been a bit louder. The raised grill on the speakerphone helps it sound louder when placed on a flat surface.
Then again I always believe that the speakerphone should be on the front on the device, but only the HTC One and the LG Optimus One P500 made it work.
Music and bundled earphones
The bundled headset is no good, its bass heavy and listening to songs is excruciating on these. But as soon as you put any other headset its a different story altogether. The speakerphone, as I said earlier is clear but not that loud.
Music playback is flawless, high bit-rate music sounds good although the speakerphone does muffle lower tones it is able to distinguish mid to high tones which gives a better listening pleasure. Quality through the 3.5 mm audio port depends more on the headset you are using, since the audio engine provides a good full output. If you fast-forward or jump through a track the volume reduces and comes back up which is better than a sudden change in tempo.
FM Radio also works fine, it is able to detect channels very quickly but the headset needs to be plugged in as the antenna. Audio quality is clear and you also have the ability to record FM from within the interface while the channel is playing. Recordings are saved automatically in the default write disk you selected in Storage settings.
The VideoCore IV graphics engine is capable of rendering 1080p videos natively and there is no stuttering or sync issues. We tested high bit-rate 1080p MKV, AVI and MP4 files on the phone and there were no issues playing any content. Videos look sharp and colors look natural. There is no ghosting or freezing, and a consistent framerate is maintained.
Jumping or fast-forwarding in even large files causes no stuttering and there's no delay. There's no video player to speak off, but you can play videos through gallery app or install MXPlayer from the Play Store.
The storage settings on the XOLO Q1000 Opus deserves a special mention as it has some different settings. First, you can choose your preferred install location and then you can also choose the default write disk which the phone will use to save files.
You get 1.16 GB as internal storage and 1.68 GB as phone storage but apps as well as data is movable to the SD card. So you can possibly install as many apps as you want.
The first update resolved issues with the camera app which crashed and auto focus almost never worked properly. Those issues are now gone. Then there was the issue with the device heating up when playing games or even during extended usage. That came second with the next OTA update which fixed the heating issues as well as the issue with USB OTG in which the phone restarted everytime you took the cable out.
What this goes to show it that XOLO listened to its customers as well as reviewers and made corrections to the software to make the phone more usable.
Software and Apps
The Q1000 Opus runs almost a stock build of Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. There's almost no customization when it comes to the UI including the launcher, app drawer or settings. You do get navigation quick toggles.
Getting into the settings menu everything looks quite familiar and you have USB, WiFi as well as Bluetooth tethering. Moving into display settings you have an option to turn off button backlight which is truly a godsend and daydream also finds a place. Disabling button backlight as well as daydream will certainly help save battery life.
Although there is something really interesting, Application Security, which lets you customize the features and permissions apps are allowed to use. You can either Grant, Forbid or make an app ask you everytime for every permission it wants to use. Once you install apps and then open it generally you are asked to grant, forbid or cancel access to a particular feature. Its a very handy feature and virtually lets you have complete control over all installed apps including system apps. However, some apps have certain permissions which are compulsory or mandatory which if disabled will crash the app.
The messaging app is a bit customized with the option to add smileys without them being on your keyboard, and you can choose which SIM card to send the message from. The Q1000 Opus uses stock Android keyboard which is very basic in terms of prediction and doesn't allow gesture input, but you can get any other keyboard from the market.
You also get XOLO Power and XOLO Secure apps which are always handy. XOLO Power especially helps you save battery life and customize usage based on your daily routine. XOLO Secure adds an extra layer of security to your phone helping you protect your data and also locate your phone in case its lost.
Web browsing performance is great, large websites load fast and text rendering is quite fluid. Pinch to zoom is a bit delayed and sometimes jittery, which is generally observed in displays with 2 points of touch however text does re-flow quickly. We didn't find any compatibility issues with major apps. There's no bloatware installed.
In our gaming review of the XOLO Q1000 Opus we found that the VideoCore IV graphics engine can certainly muster enough power to play even high-end games but yes the framerate is a bit lower than we expected. Although it doesn't struggle to play these games, but at low-mid settings even the latest games are certainly playable.
Have a look at the gaming review:
There are a few hiccups here and there when it comes to performance, especially in transitions and the launcher. Its related to the software more than the hardware, because in terms of benchmarks the XOLO Q1000 Opus with BCM23550 stood almost toe to toe to MediaTek's budget quad-core solution MT6589. But newer chips from MediaTek especially MT6582 is blazing fast when compared to its Broadcom counterpart. But then again the XOLO Q1000 Opus is cheaper and is in a different price bracket, therefore the comparison is moot.
You can watch the benchmark video here, but for a closer inspection you should read our Q1000 Opus benchmarking review which compares it with other similarly priced smartphones.
Where XOLO excels in is diversity and build quality. It is possibly the only smartphone manufacturer in India which has tried multiple platforms including NVIDIA Tegra, Broadcom, MediaTek as well as Qualcomm Snapdragon. What a consumer gets out of it is a choice of products which differ both in terms of price and features.
Coming back to the Q1000 Opus, its just not your average phone. It has better build than most smartphones in this price segment, is better designed and simply just has that something special that makes the device worth buying. At present, the Q1000 Opus is available for about Rs. 9000 in the market, which is a great price for a quad-core phone with 1 GB RAM. Since we don't have any heating or camera issues now, I can say that at this price its worth it.