There are already a plethora of smartphone brands fighting out for the top spot in the Indian market. And there's one more to the list, but this time around, the brand is not coming from China. Instead, it's one of the top smartphone brands in Vietnam looking to make a mark in the Indian budget smartphone segment. Yes, we're speaking about Mobiistar itself, which last week announced its strategic partnership with Indian e-commerce portal Flipkart. The Vietnam brand, today announced two new smartphones in the sub-continent and both are part of its Selfie Star series. The bigger one is the Mobiistar XQ Dual while the smaller one is the Mobiistar CQ. Both the devices will be exclusively sold on Flipkart.
The Mobiistar XQ Dual is an interesting smartphone as it packs dual selfie cameras in the sub Rs 8,000 price point, something which we haven't seen in the past. Of course, some brands have launched dual selfie camera smartphones even under Rs 6,000, but they lacked the specifications. The XQ Dual sports decent selfie cameras, well, at least on paper. A 13MP primary camera with f/2.0 aperture is paired to an 8MP wide-angle secondary camera with f/2.2 aperture. The secondary sensor offers 120-degree wide-angle field-of-view.
Other specifications are also decent on paper, and thankfully Mobiistar has gone with Snapdragon processors to power both the smartphones it launched today. I have been using the device for more than a week now and here's what I think about it.
Starting off with the design, the Mobiistar XQ Dual is not a head-turner in terms of looks. The smartphone measures 7.9mm in thickness and has a weight of 160grams to it. The front of the phone is dominated by the 5.5-inch Full HD display, and the company has gone with hardware navigation keys, meaning the display has 16:9 aspect ratio. The navigation keys are not backlit. When taken into hands, the XQ Dual doesn't feel that heavy and the weight is evenly distributed too.
The power button and SIM card tray are located on the right side while the volume rockers are on the left side. These buttons offer decent tactile feedback. To the back, here's where the difference comes into play. The device comes in two colour options- Black and Gold. The Black colour variant which we have has a gold coloured accent to the camera ring and antenna bands on top & bottom. The fingerprint scanner is placed at the rear side and talking about its performance, it's not the best in the business, but certainly faster than several other phones available in the similar price range.
Display wise, it has a 5.5-inch one with Full HD resolution. The display gets bright enough to view the text even under direct sunlight, but it's a reflective panel which could affect the reading experience. There's a 2.5D curved glass on top, which makes the device look a bit better from the front.
Moving onto the hardware side of things, Mobiistar has used the Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 chipset in the smartphone, which is an octa-core with all the cores clocked at 1.4GHz. It comes with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage with support for storage expansion with a microSD card. Sadly, it's a hybrid card slot and not the dedicated card slot.
It runs Android 7.1.2 Nougat out of the box, which feels dated in current scenario as Google is prepping for the release of Android P and several other budget smartphones in the same price range are coming out with Android Oreo out of the box. Also, the interface is a skinned one, but the best part is doesn't feel heavy. Animations are smooth, apps load up real quick, offers gesture controls & anti-theft features, and it comes with a Theme Engine, something which every brand has left out these days.
The software experience on the XQ Dual is decent because it's optimised well. Also, there's no fact denying the interface has an uncanny resemblance to the Apple iOS. The default theme app icons are exactly similar to the iOS app icons. Even the icons inside the Settings app are designed to match those of Apple's iOS.
Mobiistar has added all the sensors such as Accelerometer, Ambient Light Sensor, Proximity Sensor, E-compass, Gyroscope inside the device.
Now, let's move onto the cameras. The Mobiistar XQ Dual comes with a 13MP camera at the back with f/2.0 aperture and dual-LED flash. Up front, it has dual selfie cameras with a regular RGB one and wide-angle sensor. The camera app interface is also in-line with that of the iOS camera app. It offers options to choose from different modes such as Mono, Sepia, Negative, Solarise and so on. Both the front and rear cameras offer an HDR mode, but you've to be extremely perfect to get a good shot, otherwise, you'll end up with a blurry shot. There's a dedicated Night mode for the rear camera, and Mobiistar has added a Pro mode. The Pro mode interface is very much similar to what we have seen in the Nokia's latest Pro mode that's coming with the Nokia 7 Plus and Nokia 8 Sirocco smartphones.
Mobiistar also allows you to capture a picture using the fingerprint scanner. When enabled, you can tap on the fingerprint scanner located at the back to capture a picture. This feature will be useful while shooting selfies. The camera app also allows you to zoom in and zoom out using the volume keys. Here are some of the camera samples:
The device packs a 3000mAh battery inside, and the performance was alright too. It delivered me a day's worth of battery with moderate use, but we will push it to the maximum limit in the next few days to post it in our full review.
On the whole, the Mobiistar XQ Dual is a decent addition to the crowded budget smartphone market. What makes the device shine is the Qualcomm processor and dual selfie cameras. Stay tuned for our full review of the product, which is coming very soon.