Saturday, Mar 24, 2018 | Last Update : 09:57 AM IST
Does the phone has what it takes to challenge the likes of Xiaomi and Lenovo, who dominate this segment.
10.or (pronounced as tenor) is a Chinese brand trying its luck in the budget smartphone segment. Its first handset 10.or E was priced at Rs 8,000. A notch above is the new 10.or G, which brings in more power and features for Rs 13,000. You may have noticed that 10.or seems to follow Moto's naming scheme. Its most pocket-friendly handset is called E whereas a slightly better one is referred to as G. There's nothing wrong with naming your phones E and G, unless your brand name is called 10.or. Let us not pretend that 10.or G (10-or-g) sounds perfectly normal.
If you are done chuckling at the name, let us find out if the phone has got what it takes to challenge the likes of Xiaomi and Lenovo, who dominate this segment.
Design and Build
The 10.or G costs a few grand more than the E. And to justify its price, the G comes with a metal body. The build quality is good and it feels quite sturdy to hold. The 2.5D curved glass on the front is a nice touch.
The phone has rounded edges and smooth finish, which feels nice, but doesn't help with the grip. Despite on-screen navigation keys, the phone has quite thick bezels around the screen. The saving grace here is the fact that those bezels accommodate speakers. A fingerprint sensor is placed on the back. Right above that is a protruding camera assembly.
The 10.or G sports a 5.5-inch IPS LCD panel with a resolution of 1920x1080. With the pixel density of 401 ppi, the screen is quite sharp. The colour reproduction of the panel is decent for an LCD. The colours look fine. However, black areas look washed out due to the backlight. Of course, the contrast ratio takes a hit. Overall, the quality is decent for an LCD panel. However, it can't come anywhere near the similarly priced Lenovo P2's OLED screen.
Software and UI
The 10.or G runs Android Nougat 7.0 out-of-the-box. You get a stock version of Android. The home screen has the standard Nougat user interface. The app drawer can be accessed by swiping up an arrow right above the dock. It also features Google Assistant, which can be accessed by long pressing the home button. The response time is quick and it can recognize a variety of basic commands in different Indian accents.
It does, however, come loaded with bloatware from Amazon. You get Amazon Shopping, Prime Video, and Kindle apps. Amazon is 10.or's exclusive partner in India, so I guess the company can't get rid of these apps. To please Jeff Bezos, the phone even comes with an Amazon widget that displays random stuff from the store.
The 10.or G runs an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 chipset clocked at 2.3 GHz. The phone has 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB internal storage. The combination of Snapdragon 626 and stock Android works well. The navigation is smooth. Transition effects do not suffer from a stutter or lag. The 4 GB RAM ensures smooth operations even with multiple apps open in the background.
My only gripe here is with the fingerprint sensor. For accurate fingerprint detection, you have to align your finger carefully on the sensor. Unlike most phones, the 10.or G seems to have a narrow scanning area. So, many times, it requires you to scan your finger at least twice before letting you log in.
Casual gamers should be fine with the 10.or G's performance. It handled Asphalt 8: Airborne and Modern Combat 5 quite well. However, you can notice a slight frame-rate drop once in a while. Like any metal-clad device, this phone heats up after a few minutes of intense gaming. However, that's perfectly normal, as the device is dissipating heat via metal.
The phone has nothing unpleasant to report in the network section. It does lack 5GHz radio, so you only get single channel Wi-Fi 2.4GHz access.
The 10.or G boasts of a dual-lens camera setup on the back What you get here is one 13MP RGB sensor accompanied by a depth sensing 13MP sensor. Like most modern-day phone cameras, the handset offers Phase Detection Autofocus and HDR.
Everyone's favourite auto-mode does a great job. The 13MP shots present plenty of detail under good lighting conditions. You also need steady hands for good results, as the camera lacks OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation). The low-light performance of the camera is nothing to write home about.
It can, however, create fancy bokeh effect thanks to its dual camera setup. The 10.or G allows you to select the focal point and adjust the magnitude of the blur effect.
Thanks to the selfie-rage, front-facing cameras are now more important than ever. The 10.or G offers a 16MP front-shooter with an LED flash to keep it a company. Although selfies are not my cup of tea, I must admit that the camera is very good at snapping self-portraits. The camera captures a good amount of detail and renders natural colours.
The phone records Full HD 1080 at 60 fps. However, the videos turn out to be quite shaky unless you have undergone the sniper training. Another niggle is that the camera tends to refocus all the time.
The dual-speakers are quite loud. Not that they offer depth and quality sound, but if you wish to watch a YouTube video without plugging in your earphones, the phone has got you covered. The 10.or G comes with a good old 3.5 mm audio jack. When paired with good earphones, the phone's output is quite good.
The 10.or G packs in a 4,000mAh battery. As a result of a high capacity battery combined with a power-efficient processor, the phone offers excellent battery life. On a single charge, the phone easily lasts for 30 hours. This includes nearly nine hours of screen time. Be warned though, the phone lacks quick charging tech. It takes two and half hours to fully charge the battery.
The 10.or G offers good build quality, great performance, and long battery life. On the other hand, the fingerprint sensor is not reliable. Its camera and screen could have been better. So while overall it is a good phone, it is just not enough to take on the similarly priced handsets from Xiaomi. All in all, if you are looking for a budget smartphone, the top two contenders are still the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 and Mi A1. The latter also offers a stock Android experience much like the 10.or G.
Good build quality; Stock Android experience; Packs in power; Long battery life.
Unreliable fingerprint sensor; Screen could have been better; The Dual camera does not live up to the hype.
—– Chandrakant ISI. The author has been covering all-things-tech for over 10 years. He is a sci-fi aficionado, wannabe space explorer, and Content Lead at MySmartPrice.com