[First Cut] Mobiistar XQ Dual: New Player, Familiar Design
Sticking to basics on its Indian debut
India is one of the biggest smartphone markets in the world, so it is hardly surprising that it attracts just about every smartphone brand around. And while it may appear as if the market is already saturated with players, there is always room for more. Vietnamese brand, Mobiistar has just stepped into India, launching the Mobiistar XQ Dual. The smartphone, priced at a very competitive Rs. 7,999/8,999, is targeted at the budget segment and goes directly into the battlefield with some well-settled veterans. Can it survive?
Selfie cameras stars in a standard spec sheet
In terms of sheer numbers, the Mobiistar XQ Dual might not stand out but it does not disappoint either. The device sports a 5.5-inch full HD display with screen resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels with 2.5D glass on top (we could not find any mention of Gorilla Glass protection) – sorry, 18:9 aspect ratio fans, this one is more traditional, and to be fair, 18:9 is still a rarity at this price point. It is powered by 1.4 GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor paired with 3 GB RAM. The smartphone comes with 32 GB inbuilt storage which can be expanded up 128 GB with a help of a microSD card.
In the camera department, the Mobiistar XQ Dual offers a single 13-megapixel primary camera paired with dual tone LED flash. On the front, it has a dual camera setup comprising a 13-megapixel and an 8-megapixel sensor which is coupled with front-facing LED flash. The device comes with a hybrid SIM card slot which means it has a support for dual SIM cards or one SIM card and a microSD card.
The Mobiistar XQ Dual runs on Android 7.1.2 topped with Mobiistar’s in-house UI, which at first glance seems neat and clean with not too many Preloaded apps – there is no app drawer, though. It is powered by 3000 mAh battery and the connectivity options on the device include a micro USB port, a 3.5 mm audio jack, 4G LTE, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS and USB OTG.
The specs might not make your jaw drop, but seem decent enough to carry out most daily tasks. The star of the show is perhaps the dual selfie cameras.
Solid old school design
In terms of design, it looks like the Mobiistar XQ Dual has taken a page or two out of budget phone design booklet of 2016-2017. A glance at the device will take you a year or two in the past where bezels were not enemies and having a single primary camera on a device was not a crime.
In the day and age of tall displays and shrinking bezels, Mobiistar has chosen a different path. The front of the smartphone which is dominated by the 5.5-inch full HD screen comes with pretty chunky bezels around it, especially the ones on top and base. The bezel above the screen holds the two front-facing cameras, the earpiece, proximity sensor and the LED flash, whereas the one on the base sports touch buttons for navigation purposes, which are not backlit.
Moving on to the metallic back, we received the black unit of the smartphone which comes with hints of gold. The smartphone has golden metallic antenna bands around the top and the base. The primary camera and the fingerprint scanner are also accented with a gold finish. The back sports the primary camera and the dual LED flash on the top left corner of the smartphone. A little down south from that resides the circular fingerprint scanner and just below it is the company’s logo in white. While the black and gold combination on the back looks good, the white logo detracts from its appearance and even makes it look a little tacky.
The base of the Mobiistar XQ Dual holds the micro USB port and the speaker grilles while the top sports the 3.5 mm audio jack. The volume rocker is placed on the left side of the smartphone while the power button and the hybrid SIM card tray are placed on the right – a slightly unusual arrangement, especially for those used to having the volume rocker and power button on the right (no, OnePlus users, we do not mean you!).
The device measures 76.6 x 154.3 x 7.9 mm and weighs 160 grams. The smartphone feels pretty solid. It can fit in one hand easily but to use it, you might need both hands on deck. The overall design of the smartphone is pretty old school and we do not know how many people are going to like that. Speaking for ourselves, we think it is reasonably decent but definitely not in keeping up with trends.
A new star faces stiff competition!
There is no denying the fact that the budget segment is one of the most competitive segments in the smartphone industry. It has some very well settled players like Xiaomi, Motorola, Nokia and Honor. The Mobiistar XQ Dual, therefore, will face a lot of heat from the likes of the Redmi 5, the Redmi Y1 (which also boasts a high profile selfie camera), and the recently released Honor 7C and 7A, which come with dual rear cameras, Android 8.0 and 18:9 aspect ratio displays. The Vietnamese brand has got its work cut out for itself. Just how well it does will be revealed in our detailed review. Stay tuned.