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Intel's first x86 Android phone reviewed

Mat Bettinson
Intel's first x86 Android phone reviewed

Tech boffin site Anandtech has put Intel's Medfield foray into mobile phones under the microscope with a look at the first Intel-powered Android phone.

The Lava Xolo X900 is a high-end Android smartphone aimed at the Indian market, based heavily on Intel's own Form Factor Reference Design (FFRD) for the Medfield mobile chip. Anandtech put the phone through a series of benchmarks in order to see how it stacks up against the ARM-powered incumbents.

Running a special build of Android 2.3 Gingerbread, the x86 Atom-based phone can run most applications - even translating ARM code if native code has been used in the applications. In terms of compatibility, Anandtech's Brian Klug said: "Almost everything is perfect."

The applications that didn't work were few, including the latest Flash 11 and the Netflix application. "I wager your average Android user wouldn't be able to tell that this is running on a completely different architecture," said Klug.

In terms of performance, Intel's Medfield does not appear to deliver a knock-out blow. Klug called the Atom Z2460 "a competent dual-core Cortex A9 competitor," but noted that it couldn't stand up to the vanguard Cortex A15 such as the Qualcomm 'Krait' architecture in the HTC One S.

Anandtech said that battery life was a little lower than the average but this was down to the Intel reference design using a lower than average capacity battery. Normalising for battery capacity, Krug said: "In terms of power efficiency, the phone is distinctly middle of the road."

The phone/chip was let down in a good few benchmarks of GPU performance since the chip uses a fairly pedestrian PowerVR SGX 540.

"On the one hand it's a good thing that you can't tell an Intel smartphone apart from one running an ARM based SoC, on the other hand it does nothing to actually sell the Intel experience," wrote Krug.

He went on to suggest that the Medfield chip was no flagship product and that it needed Intel's cutting-edge 22nm chip fabrication technology and a faster GPU to make the device "better than the rest."




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Tags: Intel, android, anandtech

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