Hands-On with the QMobile A1, Pakistan’s first Android One phone
Android One is a line of consumer electronic devices running Android operating system. Unlike other Android-based smartphones, Google manages the design, development, marketing, and support of these devices whereas the original equipment manufacturers (OEM) are responsible for manufacturing them.
The Cherry on top is the near-stock Android experience the smartphones running Android One get right out of the box. With minimum (or no) bloatware and OEM modification to the OS, you get to use Android the way it is meant to be used.
“With Android One we set the bar to be a great software experience and a great device. We really want to bring in a whole new set of people who have never tried a smartphone before.”
– Sundar Pichai, Senior Vice President of Products, Google.
Android One was introduced in Google I/O 2014 with smartphones starting to ship from September 2014. Now there are dozens of manufacturers in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and other South Asian countries. A couple of days ago, Google, with the collaboration of QMobile, launched the first Android One phone in Pakistan, QMobile A1.
I’ve been a fan of stock Android myself and thus I own a Nexus phone, tablet(s), and a player. When I heard about Android One heading to Pakistan, I decided to jump the wagon and buy a QMobile phone to try out the software in lower specs device. Now, I’ve only used the phone for around 8 hours and these are my initial thoughts.
Most of us drool over the specs and rightly so, but hardware generally drives software on a phone. We all love the memory in our phones to be in gigabytes and processor in gigahertz. This specific Android One device comes with a staggering, Cortex A7 1.3 GHz Quad-Core processor and 1 GB of Random Access Memory (RAM). It has a 4.5″ IPS display with 854×480 resolution. It comes with 8GB internal memory and the ability to get more room using a microSD card supported up to 32 GB.
The camera is average at best. The back camera is a standard 5-megapixel auto-focus camera with LED flash and for the selfie enthusiasts out there, the front camera is 2 megapixel. The quality of the front camera too matches the price of the phone.
The other specs include a 1,700 mAh battery and dual-SIM support for 2 Micro SIM’s that support 3G bands. It has FM radio bundled as well though I forgot when was the last time I listened to the radio, but I realize many of you do.
Stock Android, baby! Yup! The phone comes with Android Lollipop 5.1 right out-of-the-box with a commitment from Google that these devices will get the same treatment as Nexus devices do i.e. speedy, OS updates right out of Googleplex. Meaning this phone, will get Android M and all its accompanying OS updates for 2 years to come. What else would you want for a phone that just costs 11,500 rupees?
During my 8-hour of usage, I haven’t suffered any lag when using some common apps like Maps, Gmail, Hangouts, WhatsApp, Facebook etc. It is a remarkable achievement of Android to be running on a lower-spec device, proving that Stock Android is capable of leaving lower memory footprints than its competitors, including the skinned Android versions.
Should you be getting this phone?
How can I tell you that? I’m not your mom! On a serious note, if you’re on a budget and want to experience stock Android, sure! The software will surely knock your socks off. But, since there are more devices to be launched under the Android One line, I would wait if I weren’t a total geek.
This may or may not be the deal breaker for you, but the device only comes in white. I was shocked when I was told that so I visited more than one outlets to make sure. This is quite misleading as the official website displays the phone in black color.