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Bluboo Xtouch Android Smartphone (with December OTA) review

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By SilverBarrel, Junior Member on 24th December 2015, 01:04 PM
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The 5 inch Blueboo Xtouch regroups features that are normally found only in the larger devices: Fingerprint sensor, Octa-core processor, Android 5.1, 3GB RAM, FHD display, ...

The 3 previous smartphones I reviewed were MTK6752-based, and while being good performers, only THL managed to produce a decent device around it. I don't known if Mediatek is to blame for not providing proper drivers or if Ulefone and Elephone just suck at implementing them correctly.

I also keep in mind that the two aforementioned brands shamelessly lied on the true specification of their "flagships".

I paid a particular attention to how Bluboo delivered the features advertised for their XTouch with the newer MTK6753.

Main Features of BLUBOO XTOUCH:
Display: 5.0 inch FHD Screen, Corning Gorilla Glass 3, 5 points multi-touch.
CPU: MTK6753 64bit Octa Core 1.3GHz
GPU: Mali-T720
System: Android 5.1 Lollipop
RAM + ROM: 3GB RAM + 32GB ROM
Camera: Front 8.0MP (OmniVision) + Rear 13.0MP Sony IMX214
Sensor: Light sensor, G-sensor, P-sensor
Fingerprint Recognition
Bluetooth: BT4.0
GPS: GPS/A-GPS/Glonass
OTG: Support
SIM Card: Dual SIM dual standby, dual Micro SIM cards
2G: GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz
3G: WCDMA 850/900/2100MHz
4G: LTE 800/1800/2100/2600MHz
Battery: 3050mAh

Note: There's no gyroscope although some shops are mistakenly advertising it.

First look:
The phone comes in a nice and tight packaging that gave me some troubles to open without destroying the box. With the phone comes a charger, a USB cable and a small first use guide.
The phone itself looks nice and feels sturdy. First good point: it's a 5 inch, not a huge phablet, and nevertheless it comes with strong specification.
unboxing

The design is sober and the only fantasy is the shiny pattern on the rear plastic cover. This soft cover is fixed and there's no access to the battery.
The Micro-SIM cards and MicroSD memory goes into a 3-in-1 drawer that opens with the pin provided, but a finger nail can do the job because the drawer sticks out a bit (flushing rigid piece of metal within a soft surface is obviously a design challenge).



Interface, connectivity and sensors
On the hardware side, the volume and power buttons are on the right side and the fingerprint scanner is also the central button separating the Menu (left side) and Back (right side) unlabelled but illuminated soft buttons. The micro-USB (not a USB-C) is located on the bottom edge.

On the software side, the AOSP ROM provides easy access to all the features of Android 5.1
The notification LED can be customized with different color based on the type of event.

No pairing issue with Bluetooth 4.0 and quick GPS positioning (I did a few trips with this phone using Google Maps).
Wi-Fi also turns out to work great with a slightly better range than my Xperia Z (also a 5 inch phone).

The phone is delivered with the firmware build:
C220 C83A BLBOO Xtouch 20151111_c220v53_hhwy
and comes with a real Android 5.1 (Build ID is LMY47D corresponds to android-5.1.0_r1)

A first OTA update was released in December:
C220 C83A BLBOO Xtouch 20151130_c220v53_hhwy
The may noticable difference was that Xender did not crash at launch anymore.

HotKnot: If you need NFC, buy a Snapdragon-based phone instead. Mediatek decided to push their own cheaper close-proximity transfer method, called HotKnot. However, it definitely does not come near NFC is terms of possible applications.

Off-Screen Gesture (Draw a symbol anywhere while screen is off to launch an app) and Gesture Sensing (wave over the proximity sensor to trigger simple actions like: take a picture, or slide to the next photo) are little extras that may please some users.

One-Touch Fingerprint Scanner: This is my only bad surprise for the moment.
This type of fingerprint scanner does not require any swap but just to leave the finger on the central button. One of the first phone to bring that was the Ulefone Be Touch where it worked like a charm, but the Xtouch gives very random results, with a high rate of failure. Unlike the Ulefone scanner which allowed to scan fingers in any position, this one requires to observe the same position as during the fingerprint registration process. However, even when observing that requirement, the success rate is way too low to allow a normal use.
I'm using the Face-Unlock (now called Trusted Faces in Lollipop's Smart Lock feature) which at least is surprisingly reliable (as long as I shave regularly...)

Memory and Storage:
beside the comfortable 3GB RAM capacity is a 32GB internal storage space. The actual formatted capacity is 26GB. There's no bloatware and the only extra to the bare AOSP Android is Xender, a cross-platform file sharing app.

Screen quality
The FHD display is superb with vibrant colors and sharp details. In my opinion, there's no need activate Mediatek' MiraVision enhancements here.

Camera:
The rear camera is based on a Sony IMX214, giving 13.0 MP f2.0. I don;t know why they need to provide an interpolated 16.0 MP resolution, but it's there. The powerful dual LED flash that does a great job from a distance.

I found the pictures generally good-looking and colorful. Zooming on the small details will reveal the obvious artefact from the attempt to over-sharpening. Purple fringing is expectedly present but not excessive.

The factory camera app must be limiting the potential of this sensor which is striking when comparing to an

The results are overall comparable to other IMX214 using the factory camera app I tested previously...good but not amazing. Major brands (Xperia ZL with"Superior Auto" mode and comparable IMX135) do much better with their dedicated app.

The front 8.0MP (OmniVision) is perfect for selfies and face unlock.
Be aware that MiraVision display enhancements may adversely affect how the camera pictures look on screen.






Sound quality:
The speaker output is located on the bottom right, between the USB port and the microphone.
The sound quality is good as long as you don't push the volume. Unlike many rivals, the Xtouch has no problem being loud, even without the help of BesLoudness feature, but the whole phone will resonate like a plastic shell.

Performance: I had low expectation from this phone, knowing that the MTK6753 (1.5Ghz) is in fact a cut down version of the MTK6752 (1.7Ghz), and not only for the clock frequency (see here for a comparison of chipsets )
As expected, Geekbench gives an modest score of 619/2661 compare to a MTK6752 (1.7Ghz, typical score: 800/4000). The Antutu score was 38144.


Not to say that the performance is not adequate: Demanding games like Need for Speed No Limits run perfectly fine with not lag. A bit of heat is generated on heavy use but nothing unusual.

Battery:
Many phone brands exaggerate their battery capacity and the 3050mAh announced for the XTouch caused some scepticism.
I must agree with other reviews reporting about 13 hours of battery life.
Maybe that's the price to pay for an FHD panel...
The quick charging feature is more than welcome in that case (about 1h to full charge, like the BeTouch2).

Accessories:
The phone is a fingerprint and dust magnet. Fortunately there are good dedicated accessories to reduce that problem:
The Cover Case (to be tested soon) is an absolute must to keep the soft back cover from scratches. Good point: It allows to take calls without lifting the flap cover.
Also, by experience, the Tempered Glass Protector is a better option to the pre-installed plastic filter (less finger traces, nicer touch feeling).


Conclusion:
Yessss! 5-inchers are back...at last!
It's nice to see a Mediatek phone done right for once. It might not be a performance beast in the benchmarks, but it did well with the heavy games I could throw at it and, so far, all the features advertised are present and working fine, with the exception of the unreliable fingerprint scanner.
The build quality is good, and Bluboo did not mess up the software, unlike other brands I've seen.
Is it "the best 5 inch smartphone so far" as the advertising says? Well, in that price range, and amongst the existing offer of 5-inchers it is probably true.

I would qualify the XTouch as an honest product, which it's rare enough nowadays, and can definitely recommend this very good and complete device.

Out of any promotion, the Xtouch is sold at Mod edit by @Darth : link to selling site removed.
I suggest to consider spending the extra 11€ for the cover case in your purchase.

Pros:
- Stable and clean firmware with all functionalities operational
- Nice looking device with dedicated accessories available
- Comfortable storage capacity
- Good Wifi reception range
- True Lollipop 5.1

Cons:
- Battery life correct but below expectations for a 3050mAh
- Good camera but not exceptional
- Unreliable Fingerprint scanner

[See my blog for the full review]
Last edited by Darth; 24th December 2015 at 09:06 PM.
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20th January 2016, 04:15 PM |#2  
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Xtouches shipping now seem to churn Antutu 45-48,000. Great price/performance/quality.
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