The smartphone industry as a whole is growing year after year. The iPhone was revolutionary but since then, many other vendors and technology companies have caught up and have produced smartphones at a fraction of the cost.
In this context, it is cost that is really the target of smartphones such as the Xone. The Apple iPhone might have been the first and is still one of the most popular but it is one of the most expensive. It occupies a luxury category that is considered niche.
This is where phones such as Xone enter the story. Smartphone developers have seen a gap in the market for very capable phones that offer a good price-to-performance ratio. But can the Xone operate and even succeed in this market when other companies are also producing low- to mid-range phones that give the iPhone a run for its money at a fraction of the retail cost? Here’s our Xone phone review:
The Specifications That Truly Matter
Every experienced smartphone user will focus on the specifications so here’s what the Xone phone has to offer:
- HD screen of 5.7 inches with IPS capacitive touch
- Mediatek 1.3 Ghz quad-core CPU
- 2GB of operating RAM
- 16GB of onboard storage that is expandable to 128GB
- 16MP+5MP dual back camera plus 8MP front camera
- 3350mAh battery
- Fingerprint sensor and unlock
- Android 8.1 OS
- 4G LTE
- Dual Nano and Micro SIM slots
It’s All on the Screen
Given how much time people spend on their screens these days, it’s always good to get a phone that features at least HD quality. For some people, the HD 720p resolution of the Xone might not be enough but the truth is that at this scale, an HD screen will be more than good enough for most purposes.
The screen is where manufacturers can save money and HD is the very minimum resolution that you should be looking for. Luckily, the Xone phone features a crystal-clear display that is more than capable of displaying HD movies and games in good detail.
The other thing that you’ll notice is just how much of the front face the HD screen covers. The screen takes up just about all of the front of the phone and leaves only the most minimal edges. For your money, you get a display that should be good enough for most users and will certainly beat all of the low-end offerings.
What About the Camera?
No proper Xone phone review is complete without some thoughts on the included camera. So what do you get for your money and what kind of image quality should you truthfully expect?
There was a time when a phone just had to be crystal clear when making phone calls and be small enough to fit into a jeans pocket. That’s no longer the case and people are now looking for a good inbuilt camera too. This is what can make or break a smartphone for the millennial generation.
For those who are selfie-obsessed, the Xone features an 8MP front-facing camera that takes some pretty decent shots. This is packed alongside a software beauty mode for smoothing over wrinkles and other skin issues.
One the back of the camera, you get dual cameras: one at 16MP and one at 5MP. The truth is that a camera in this price range will never compete with the high-end smartphone cameras. That said, the Xone gets a pass mark for camera performance. It’s clear enough without being a game-changer and decent enough without being a deal-breaker.
How Long Does the Battery Last?
Despite some of the slight shortcomings in the camera department — though good enough for most uses — it’s the battery life where Xone is a very clear winner. The included 3350mAh lithium-ion battery packs enough juice to operate without a hitch all day on a single charge if you’re not watching HD-quality movies hour after hour.
To put this into perspective, the Xone’s battery has a higher capacity than the latest iPhone. It’s more than good enough for normal use and will please anyone who is looking to step up from the shabby low-end phones that can be had for under $100.
The User Interface Experience
Even if a phone has great hardware, the operating system needs to appeal to the user. The Xone phone runs Android 8.1 so we’re in the ballpark of more modern Android flavors.
There’s no additional skin, custom launcher, or manufacturer-made widgets to get in the way of the experience so what you have here is mostly the Android stock experience. That’s a good thing for those who want simplicity.
As our smartphones store more and more of our credit, bank, and personal details, it’s important for them to have easy-to-use security options. The fingerprint sensor on the back of the Xone is a welcome feature addition in this cheaper segment of the phone market.
What’s really impressive is that in use, the Xone fingerprint sensor reads and activates in 0.1 of a second. In real-world use, that’s an immediate response time. Where other phones in this range might lag to 0.8 or even a full second before activating, the Xone makes for a very good impression.
Furthermore, the Xone can store up to five separate fingerprints. This means that you can give access to trusted family members.
Running the latest version of Android is a big plus for this phone but the hardware Is not without some concerns. The on-board storage capacity of 16GB is what one might consider barely a pass these days when applications are so big and people take so many photos. The good news is that it’s expandable up to 128GB.
The other concern is that the Xone only has 2GB of on-board operating RAM. This is the storage area that is used when running Android, opening apps, and doing all of the things that you do each day on your phone. If there’s not enough of it, the phone can get laggy.
The truth is that 3GB is really the bare minimum storage that one should expect. 2GB will suffice for simple tasks but it’s going to lag if you put some pressure on it. Multi-tasking will be slower and there might be some delay.
The bottom line is that if you want a phone that will open multiple apps at the same time and you like to play processor-heavy games, then you might want to spend more.
Additionally, the included Mediatek CPU is good enough for most tasks but it’s not going to break any records. All of this has to be put in context, though: we’re talking about a phone at the lower end of the price market with some features that you’d only expect to see in higher-priced phones.
While the included WiFi is speedy enough and detects nearby hotspots without an issue, there is no NFC support in the Xone. If you’re used to sharing phone contacts with other users simply by bumping phones, you might want to look elsewhere.
In reality, many manufacturers save some money by not including NFC in their phones. It’s not as crucial as WiFi, for example, and many people never miss it. Having said that, if you want to use Android Pay, you might want to look for a phone with NFC or look at the app store to see if any application can offer similar functionality.
Should You Get the Xone Phone?
This is a purely subjective question, obviously, but here are some reasons why the Xone phone might be a good buy for you:
- It’s a great first phone for kids when you want them to stay in touch.
- It makes for an excellent gift for an older relative.
- The Xone is also a good buy if you want a phone with some higher-end features but the flagship phones are out of your price range.
In context, the Xone phone is a good buy. It won’t break the bank and it’s good enough for most normal use. But don’t expect the best camera quality or the fastest user experience. You’ll need to pay extra for those things and this is not where the Xone phone sits in the market. For the greatest luxury experience, you also need to pay a premium price.
The Xone phone is in that segment of the phone market that is growing every year. The truth is that the Apple iPhones of the world might look great in the hip pocket but they also drain the hip pocket too. They are expensive luxury items that many people simply can’t afford.
Overall, this Xone phone review is pretty positive. That’s good news when a phone raises so many questions about whether it can compete in real-world use. Apart from some concerns about operating RAM, the Xone phone is going to be of interest to lots of people.