Though the 5.0-inch plus smartphones made their debut in India back in 2011 (through Samsung Galaxy Note 1), the phablet - hybrid between smartphones and tablets -segment really took-off with local vendors, lead by Micromax, who began to churn out these devices in large numbers from 2013.
With so many domestic players jumping in to cash-in on the niche big-screen smartphone business, the market began to see a saturation, in terms of features offered by the companies in 2013. However this year two local players - Intex Technologies and Xolo (subsidiary of Lava Mobiles) - have come out of the shadows of Micromax to release their flagship phablets with high-end features, keeping the price under check, to give stiff competition to market leader Samsung's new Galaxy Note 3.
Here are the key features of Intex Aqua Octa, Xolo Q3000 and Samsung Galaxy Note 3:
Among the three, the MNC-branded Galaxy Note 3 boasts the best display. It sports a Super AMOLED full HD (1920x1080p) with pixel density of 386 ppi (pixels per inch).
Meanwhile, Xolo Q3000 flaunts a similar display size of 5.7-inch full HD resolution screen and Intex Aqua Octa features a bigger 6.0-inch screen with HD (1280x720p) display panel, boasting OGS (One Glass Solution) technology.
Processor, RAM and Storage capacity:
In this department, the Aqua Octa takes the lead as it boasts the world's first true Octa-core processor MediaTek MT6592. Uniqueness of this chipset is that it uses all 8-cores to perform multiple tasks simultaneously and smoothly and still will be able to have a long battery life.
It's quite unlike Samsung Galaxy Note 3's Exynos 5420 Octa-core chipset which uses only four cores at any given time. The chipset consists of two sets of four-cores; first four Cortex-A15 cores perform heavy-duty operations while the other four Cortex-A7 cores perform less intensive functionalities. While performing a task, one set of cores will be active and the other quadrate will be idle, thereby under utilizing its full potential.
Xolo Q3000 ships with 1.5GHz MediaTek Turbo (MTK 6589) processor with 2GB RAM and 16GB inbuilt memory (expandable up to 32GB).
Intex phablet boasts 2GB RAM and 16GB memory (expandable up to 32GB), whereas the Samsung device comes with 3GB physical memory and 32GB storage onboard with options of expanding up to 64GB.
Samsung's flagship phablet flaunts a 13.0-megapixel camera with BSI sensor, auto-focus, LED flash (High CRI), full HD video recording at 60fps and, on the front side, it houses a 2.1-megaixel snapper with full HD video recording ability.
Whereas, the Xolo ships with a 13.0-megapixel camera with BSI 2 sensor, HDR, flash support, digital zoom and a 5.0-megapixel front camera with BSI sensor.
The Aqua Octa too boasts a standard 13.0-megapixel camera with LED flash support and a 5.0-megapixel camera on the front.
Mobile Operating System:
All Samsung Galaxy Note 3, Xolo Q3000 and Intex Aqua Octa ship with the same OS platform Android Jelly Bean; the only difference is that they run on different versions.
However, Samsung phablet owners have one advantage: they are expected to receive the new KitKat update soon. Once installed, they are expected to enhance the device with smarter caller ID, more organized message grouping - Hangouts (now all text based SMSs, audio and video MMS will place under one roof ) - quick access to settings, Quickoffice word document app, Wireless printing (select HP printers) Bluetooth MAP (Message Access Profile) and many more.
This segment is a very important aspect for the price-conscious buyers in India who look for value for their investment.
Knowingly, domestic players Xolo and Intex have kept their devices Q3000 and Aqua Octa under ₹20,000, almost ₹16,000 lower than the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (around ₹46,000).
Samsung Galaxy Note 3:
Pros: finest display quality, camera features, 3GB RAM and stylus functionality is a value-added feature
Cons: build quality but owners using flip-covers won't be having any complaints
Intex Aqua Octa:
Pros: Octa-core processor, low price-tag, 2GB RAM and expandable memory
Cons: no full hd display, lacks Stylus support, low battery, lacks brand awareness in India - company needs to learn from Micromax
Pros: full HD display, low price-tag, 4000 mAh battery - no other phablet (even MNC brands) in the Indian market boasts this feature
Cons: no stylus support,1.5GHz quad-core processor is slower than its rivals. Though it has gained some awareness though TV ads, it still needs to go an extra mile like Micromax to make itself a better brand. Need to improve after-sales service as well
Key specifications of Intex Aqua Octa vs. Xolo Q3000 vs. Samsung Galaxy Note 3:
|Model||Intex Aqua Octa||Xolo Q3000||Samsung Galaxy Note 3|
|Display||6.0-inch HD (1280x720p) screen with OGS (One Glass Solution) display technology||5.7-inch full HD (1920x1080p) IPS screen||5.7-inch (5.68-inch) Super AMOLED Full HD (1920x1080p) display with pixel density of 386ppi (pixels per inch)|
|OS||Android v4.2.2 Jelly Bean OS||Android v4.2 Jelly Bean||Android v4.3 Jelly Bean OS|
|Processor||MediaTek Octa-Core processor with 1.7GHz CPU speed(Chipset type: MT6592)||1.5GHz MediaTek Turbo Quad-core processor(Chipset type: MTK 6589)||Exynos 5420 Octa-core processor with two quad-core processors-one A9 with 1.9GHz and another A7 with 1.3GHz CPU speed.|
|GPU||700 MHz Mali MP4 450||PowerVR SGX544||Mali-T628 MP6|
|Storage Capacity||16GB, expandable up to 32GB||16GB, expandable up to 32GB||32GB, memory can be further expandable up to 64GB|
|Camera||Main: 13.0-megapixel camera with LED flash supportFront: 5.0-megapixel camera||Main: 13.0-megapixel camera with BSI 2 sensor, HDR, flash support, digital zoomFront: 5.0-megapixel camera with BSI sensor||Main: 13.0-megapixel camera with BSI sensor, auto-focus, LED flash (High CRI), full HD recording at 60fpsFront: 2.0-megapixel camera with BSI sensor, full HD 1080p video recording|
|Battery||2,300 mAh||4000 mAh (Li-Polymer);Talk time: up to 33 hours (2G) & 21 hours (3G)
Standby time: 667 hours (2G) & 634 hours (3G)
|Network||2G & 3G||2G & 3G||3G & 2G|
|Add-ons||Dual-SIM slots, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, A-GPS, microSD card slot, FM radio,||Dual-SIM slots, Bluetooth v4.0, Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n), micro-USB v2.0, loud speaker, A-GPS integrated with Google Maps, microSD card slot||S-Pen functionality, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n (HT80),Bluetooth v4.0 (LE), IR LED (Remote control),MHL v2.0,GPS/GLONASS,NFC|
|Dimensions||161.06 x 80.86 x 7.0 mm||164.8 x 81.9 x 8.9 mm||151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm|
|Weight||180 g||---------------||168 g|
|Price||₹19,999/-||Available around ₹18,500 to ₹21,000||around ₹46,000/-|