When you utter the words “6.0-inch display” your mind inevitably conjures up the image of a less-than-legitimate offspring of a phone and tablet that is designed to stretch your hands and pockets. And as we have written before, while we do see the benefits of a large screen device, there is a point beyond which they start becoming more of a physical hindrance than digital assets. So when Chinese phone manufacturer Qiku told us that they would be bring the 6.0-inch display laden Q Terra phone to the Indian market, our first thoughts were to head to a holy place and make an offering on behalf of our poor hands. I mean, we think the iPhone 6s Plus and the Nexus 6P are big and they have smaller displays (5.5 and 5.7 inch respectively).
So you can imagine our surprise when we clapped eyes for the first time on the Qiku Q Terra. No, we will not call it a small phone, for it isn’t one. But it definitely does not look like a phone with a 6.0-inch display either. For at 157.6 mm in length, it is a tad shorter than the 158.2 mm iPhone 6s Plus and significantly shorter than the 159.3 mm Nexus 6P. The only device which we have seen pull off a 6.0-inch display in a smaller frame is Lenovo with its 156 mm long Vibe Z2 Pro. Yes, the other proportions of the Q Terra are bigger than those of the 6s Plus and the 6P – it is 79.8 mm wide and 8.6 mm thick. No, we are not going to claim that it will fit your palm easily, but we showed the device to a number of people and all thought that its display was a 5.5 inch one rather than a 6.0-inch one, which sort of tells the tale – the Q Terra is not a small phone, but it is certainly smaller than we expected a 6.0-inch display phone to be.
And it definitely looks classy – many mistook it for a HTC device from the back, which is not really a bad thing, considering the formidable reputation that worthy has in the design department, although some might detect shades of a Nexus 6P metal-ishness about it. It is mainly one sheet of metal with what seem like plastic strips on the top and the base. Near the top are also two 13.0-megapixel cameras with a dual LED flash next to them – this is the first time we are seeing two parallel dual cameras of the same megapixel count since the Honor 6 Plus. The first one is a color Sony IMX-278 sensor, while the second one is a black & white Sony IMX-214 sensor. And below these is a circular fingerprint scanner, with shiny edges. The back curves out gently, which is a bit of a mixed blessing we think as while it does make the device easier to hold, it also means that when placed on its back, the phone will be resting on its cameras (although they are very slightly recessed).
Flick it around and you will see the 6.0-inch full HD display (with Corning Gorilla Glass 3) topped off with a earpiece speaker grille, and a front facing camera. Below it are three touch buttons for home, back and recent apps. The display, however, holds centrestage out here as it is from edge to edge in terms of width – there is hardly any bezel on its left or right. The sides are metallic too, with the left sporting dual SIM slots (one can be used to expand storage as well), and the right holding the volume rocker and power keys. The 3.5 mm audio jack is on the top, while on the base of the device is a micro USB port with a speaker grille.
It all feels very solid and yet reasonably stylishly put together – something we cannot really say about phones with displays this large. And well, there is some seriously good hardware beneath that exterior – we got the 6.0-inch full HD display variant, powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, 3 GB RAM, 32 GB storage, those dual 13.0-megapixel cameras and 4G connectivity. Significantly, it also packs in a 3600 mAh battery which comes with support for quick charging (70 minutes to full charge, claims the company). Rounding off the goodies is what the company calls the 360 OS, which is a whole new interface built around Android 5.1.1 and which is claimed to be faster and more battery friendly than Android itself. No, we are not drawing any snap judgements, but so far, a few bugs apart, it does seem more impressive than what we have seen from a number of Chinese manufacturers, focusing more on functions than bells and whistles.
The Q Terra is incidentally the less superhuman cousin of the Terra Prime which has the same proportions and design but boasts a quad HD display, a Snapdragon 810 processor and 4 GB RAM (and a higher price tag as well!). But we expect Terra Prime to launch much later. The Q Terra though should be available early next month at what many people assure us will be a surprisingly low price (think of something in the vicinity of the OnePlus 2 and maybe even lower). It is too early for us to talk about its performance (review coming up), but from what we have seen so far, the Qiku Terra stands out from the crowd of Chinese brands laying siege to the Indian market, both in terms of design as well as software. It has been a while since we were able to say that!
Disclaimer: The device might be released under a different name in India. Our first impressions are based on a unit that did not have the final version of software meant for the Indian market, but as per our sources, features the same hardware.