Notebookcheck

BQ Aquaris X Pro Smartphone Review

Manuel Masiero, 👁 Daniel Schmidt, Tanja Hinum (translated by Martin Jungowski), 07/31/2017

Spanish middle class. With the Aquaris X Pro, BQ presents us with a 5.2-inch Android all-rounder with no killer features on the one hand, but also no weaknesses worth mentioning on the other. Update: camera performance improved

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With the Aquaris X Pro, Spanish smartphone-manufacturer BQ stakes its claims in the highly competitive mid-range smartphone battleground. The contestant’s configuration is very respectable indeed: for between $400 and $470 you get a 5.2-inch FHD display embedded in a classy metal/glass chassis powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 octa-core SoC, a Qualcomm Adreno 506, up to 4 GB of RAM, and up to 128 GB of storage.

The good news doesn’t stop there. The Aquaris X Pro runs the latest Android 7.1 operating system and features a 12 MP main camera, a fingerprint-reader, a dual-SIM slot, LTE Cat.6, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, and NFC.

Mid-range competitors are aplenty, and most of them are somewhat similarly equipped. For the sake of this review, we’ve decided to compare it to the Honor 8, the Huawei Nova Plus, the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) and the ZTE Axon 7.

If you want to spend less than $400 on a smartphone, the roughly $100 cheaper BQ Aquaris X offers an equally large 5.2-inch display and very similar hardware. The main differences to the X Pro are its camera and storage options.

Update 4/18/2018: BQ has released a firmware update. Details can be found in the software section.

BQ Aquaris X Pro (Aquaris Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
4096 MB 
Display
5.2 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 423 PPI, 10-point multitouch, IPS, 2.5D, Dinorex Glass, Anti-Fingerprint, Quantum Color+, glossy: yes
Storage
64 GB eMMC Flash, 64 GB 
, 54 GB free
Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm headphone, Card Reader: microSD cards up to 256 GB, 1 Fingerprint Reader, NFC, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: fingerprint sensor, proximity sensor, accelerometer, eCompass, gyroscope, hall sensor, USB OTG
Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.2, 2G quad-band (850, 900, 1,800, 1,900 MHz), 3G quad-band (850, 900, 1,900, 2,100 MHz), 4G/LTE Cat. 6 (800, 1,800, 2,100, 2,600 MHz), downloads up to 300 Mbps, uploads up to 50 Mbps, SAR (head) 0.298 W/Kg, SAR (body) 1.780 W/Kg, Dual SIM, LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 7.8 x 146.5 x 72.7 ( = 0.31 x 5.77 x 2.86 in)
Operating System
Android 7.1 Nougat
Camera
Primary Camera: 12 MPix Samsung S5K2L7SX, f/1.8 aperture, 6 Largan lenses, dual-tone flash, phase-detection autofocus, videos up to 4k @ 30 FPS, slow motion (720p @ 120 FPS), support for RAW photography
Secondary Camera: 8 MPix Samsung S5K4H8YX, f/2.0 aperture, 3 lenses, flash, videos up to 1080p @ 60 FPS
Additional features
Speakers: Mono, Keyboard: Virtual, Keyboard Light: yes, USB 2.0 cable (Type-C to Type-A), modular charger, SIM tool, quick start guide, BQ Launcher, BQ Plus, 24 Months Warranty, fanless
Weight
158 g ( = 5.57 oz / 0.35 pounds), Power Supply: 35 g ( = 1.23 oz / 0.08 pounds)
Price
379 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

Despite the fact that BQ positions the X Pro in the mid-range market, the phone can easily compete with top-range flagship phones when it comes to its case. A very rigid metal frame with practically non-existent gaps, chamfered edges all around, and a 3D glass back cover turn this smartphone into a charming piece of technology. The fingerprint-reader is set into a slightly depressed cavity at the back of the phone and is easily detectable, and it is also available for the cheaper Aquaris X albeit surrounded by a plain plastic case.

The X Pro is available in black and white, and both models are IP52-rated (dust-protected, dripping-water resistant). Accordingly, it should easily survive a sudden rain shower but will most certainly resent submersion. The three buttons have been customized by BQ: the back and menu buttons are represented by single dots; the home button by five dots forming a semicircle.

In order to render the phone less susceptible to fingerprints, BQ has coated its surfaces in what they call an anti-fingerprint coating, which worked surprisingly well during our test. Even though it does not entirely prevent marks and fingerprints it was certainly less susceptible to greasy fingers overall. Unfortunately, the velvety finish is somewhat slippery, and the phone tends to skid off slanted surfaces, such as chairs.

Size Comparison

Connectivity

Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 octa-core SoC and the Qualcomm Adreno 506 GPU, the Aquaris X Pro is very fast and has no trouble running current Android games smoothly.

Depending on configuration, the smartphone is equipped with either 3 or 4 GB of RAM, and 32, 64, or 128 GB of internal storage. Our 64 GB review unit came with 54 GB of free storage; the 128 GB model offers 109 GB of free user-accessible storage according to BQ. The secondary SIM-card slot can be used to house a MicroSD card of up to 256 GB instead, which can then be used for media files such as photos, videos, or music. Given that the MicroSD storage formats as portable storage, we were unable to install or move apps to SD.

The phone’s reversible USB 2.0 Type-C port supports USB-OTG, and in addition to 802.11 ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2, the Aquaris X Pro also features NFC.

Left: dual nanoSIM/microSD slot
Left: dual nanoSIM/microSD slot
Right: power button, volume rocker
Right: power button, volume rocker
Top: 3.5 mm headphone jack
Top: 3.5 mm headphone jack
Bottom: microphone, microUSB 2.0 Type-C port, speaker
Bottom: microphone, microUSB 2.0 Type-C port, speaker

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Software

In the past, BQ used to install the alternative Android OS Cyanogen OS on its smartphones. The Aquaris X Pro and Aquaris X are different and run the latest Android 7.1 Nougat instead. The security patch level was May 1st and therefore up-to-date.

The OS has been left largely untouched - no custom UI and unlike many of its competitors almost no preloaded custom software, commonly known as bloatware. The only extra app, “BQ Plus”, can be used to determine the device’s warranty status.

Update 07-28-2017: BQ rolls out a 286 MB update. It does not only improve the system but also updates the security features of the Android OS to the patch level from 08-01-2017.

Update 4/18/2018: BQ has released firmware version 1.8 for the X Pro with a massive 2.6 GB in size. Its main focus are camera improvements, among others performance and an improved manual focus. The front-facing camera is supposed to capture colors more accurately, and the front-facing flash has been improved. Furthermore, the system has been slightly optimized and Google’s security patches have been brought up to date (April 2018).

Communication and GPS

Thanks to support for LTE Cat. 6, the X Pro offers theoretical maximum download and upload speeds of 300 and 50 Mbps, respectively. During our tests connected to Germany’s rural Vodafone network, reception was respectable and on a par with other Cat. 6 smartphones. The phone supports all relevant European 2G (800/900/1,800/1,900 MHz), 3G (850, 900, 1,900, 2,100 MHz), and 4G (800, 1,800, 2,100, 2,600) bands. In the United States, it will work in AT&T’s 3G (1,900 MHz) and 4G/LTE (1,900, 2,100 MHz) networks as well as T-Mobile’s 2G (1,900 MHz), 3G (2,100 MHz), and 4G/LTE (1,900, 2,100 MHz) networks.

The X Pro supports the lesser-used 5 GHz 802.11 ac standard but has not been the fastest device when connected to our Linksys EA8500 reference router.

Receiving data at 242 Mbps was decent, but it was unable to keep up with the very fast ZTE Axon 7 at more than 300 Mbps. Accordingly, the X Pro scored second in this test. Transmitting data, on the other hand, was comparatively slow at only 148 Mbps, and the X Pro scored second place again. Only this time, it was second to last.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
ZTE Axon 7
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 64 GB eMMC Flash
337 MBit/s ∼100% +39%
BQ Aquaris X Pro
Adreno 506, 626, 64 GB eMMC Flash
242 MBit/s ∼72%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017
Mali-T830 MP3, 7880, 32 GB eMMC Flash
214 MBit/s ∼64% -12%
Huawei Nova Plus
Adreno 506, 625, 32 GB eMMC Flash
53.4 MBit/s ∼16% -78%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
ZTE Axon 7
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 64 GB eMMC Flash
298 MBit/s ∼100% +101%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017
Mali-T830 MP3, 7880, 32 GB eMMC Flash
167 MBit/s ∼56% +13%
BQ Aquaris X Pro
Adreno 506, 626, 64 GB eMMC Flash
148 MBit/s ∼50%
Huawei Nova Plus
Adreno 506, 625, 32 GB eMMC Flash
51.5 MBit/s ∼17% -65%
GPS outdoors
GPS outdoors
GPS indoors
GPS indoors

GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and Beidou location services are fully supported by the X Pro. In our tests, location lock with an accuracy of around 5 m was obtained very quickly both outdoors and indoors.

Compared to the professional Garmin Edge 500 GPS, the X Pro fared very well. On our 12-km long test track, both systems were similarly accurate with the X Pro only trailing behind slightly. For everyday use, the differences are negligible, and the deviation after 12 km was only 70 m.

BQ Aquaris X Pro: total
BQ Aquaris X Pro: total
BQ Aquaris X Pro: apex
BQ Aquaris X Pro: apex
BQ Aquaris X Pro: bridge
BQ Aquaris X Pro: bridge
Garmin Edge 500: total
Garmin Edge 500: total
Garmin Edge 500: apex
Garmin Edge 500: apex
Garmin Edge 500: bridge
Garmin Edge 500: bridge

Telephony and Call Quality

The smartphone uses Google’s stock phone app and has left it completely unmodified. Call quality both on speakerphone and using a headset (which, by the way, is not included) was very decent.

Cameras

HDR photo taken with the phone's 12 MP camera.
HDR photo taken with the phone's 12 MP camera.

Considering the Aquaris X’s 16 MP shooter, we were somewhat surprised at first to see that the X Pro only featured a 12 MP main camera. However, upon closer inspection of both sensors we understood the reasoning behind this decision.

The X sports Sony’s iMX298 sensor, while the X Pro is equipped with Samsung’s S5K2L7SX sensor; the very same sensor that can be found on Samsung’s top-of-the line model Galaxy S7. Combined with a high f/1.8 aperture, dual-pixel autofocus, and a pixel size of 1.4 µm, the Aquaris X Pro is capable of achieving impressive low-light photography results. In comparison, the X only works well in good lighting conditions.

Additionally, the X Pro supports the so-called ZSL (zero shutter lag) technology, meaning that instead of taking only a single photo it takes 10 snaps and combines the six best into a single photo.

Fortunately, this results in a very good overall camera quality. In decent lighting conditions, such as in the first and second scene, image quality is immaculate. Photos are very crisp with high details, and colors pop pleasantly yet remain natural overall. In low-light conditions (scene 3) we were able to detect some noise. That said, even flagship phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus or the Huawei Mate 9 produce similar results. Overall, the X Pro’s camera is very good and certainly justifies the smartphone’s higher price when compared to the Aquaris X.

Video are recorded in 4k at up to 30 FPS, and video quality is very good. We would have liked to see optical image stabilization but the software stabilizer works surprisingly well even for 4k recordings. The X Pro also offers two distinct features missing on most other smartphones: 720p slow-motion with up to 120 FPS and support for 4k time laps. Most high-end smartphones, like the HTC U11, only support time laps up to 1080p or even 720p.

Besides an HDR mode, the extensive camera menu also allows you to choose from various presets, such as night, sunset, action, snow, fireworks, or scenery. A manual mode for individual shutter speed and ISO adjustment is available as well.

In addition to our usual set of photos we have also included a set of photos taken during the Aquaris X Pro’s official presentation in Madrid, where we were able to play around with the phone and take quite a few photos.

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3

As usual, we have also tested the camera under normalized conditions in regards to focus and color accuracy. The photos were taken in automatic mode with absolutely no post-processing or white balance adjustments taking place.

Colors were tested using the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport (left photo), and they turned out to be somewhat oversaturated (the factual equivalent to popping colors). Our test chart was in focus and crisp all over, even around the edges. This is an achievement that not many smartphones accomplish.

ColorChecker Passport: original color is at the bottom.
ColorChecker Passport: original color is at the bottom.
Test chart details
Test chart details
Test chart (click for original)
Test chart (click for original)

Accessories and Warranty

Included in the box are a USB 2.0 cable (Type-C to Type-A), a modular rapid-charging power supply (5V, 3A), a SIM tool, and a quick-start guide. On its website, BQ also sells various black and white protective shells for between $17 and $29.

The phone comes with a 24-month limited warranty by default.

Input Devices and Handling

The phone’s external smoothness and elegance carry over into its overall handling experience. Application launch times are fast, display rotation is almost instantaneous, and hopping between multiple open apps is fast and smooth. The physical buttons all worked exactly as expected, and the fingerprint-reader was very quick and reliable.

By default, the BQ smartphone uses Google’s stock Gboard keyboard. Other keyboards, like Swiftkey, can obviously be installed from the Play Store once the phone has been set up.

Keyboard (landscape mode)
Keyboard (landscape mode)
Keyboard (portrait mode)
Keyboard (portrait mode)

Display

Subpixel matrix
Subpixel matrix

Like the more affordable X, the X Pro is equipped with a 5.2-inch 1920x1080 IPS display with a pixel density of 423 ppi. Not only impressive but also the main reason why the display seems very crisp. The phone supports a so-called “nightmode” that can be enabled in the settings; by raising the color temperature it reduces the amount of blue, significantly rendering the display rather yellowish instead.

With an average maximum brightness of 473.3 nits and a brightness distribution of 88%, the X Pro’s display is very bright and uniform. An even distribution of bright and dark areas resulted in a maximum brightness of 462 nits, and the contrast ratio of 898:1 is decent despite the somewhat high black level of 0.51 nits. Subjectively, display quality is very good but we would have preferred a slightly warmer and more saturated display.

507
cd/m²
467
cd/m²
465
cd/m²
499
cd/m²
458
cd/m²
473
cd/m²
490
cd/m²
445
cd/m²
456
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 507 cd/m² Average: 473.3 cd/m² Minimum: 9.68 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 88 %
Center on Battery: 458 cd/m²
Contrast: 898:1 (Black: 0.51 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 7.1 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.3
ΔE Greyscale 10.5 | 0.64-98 Ø6.5
Gamma: 2.28
BQ Aquaris X Pro
IPS, 1920x1080, 5.2
Huawei Nova Plus
IPS, 1920x1080, 5.5
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017
Super AMOLED, 1920x1080, 5.2
Honor 8
IPS, 1920x1080, 5.2
ZTE Axon 7
AMOLED, 2560x1440, 5.5
Screen
20%
47%
17%
8%
Brightness middle
458
485
6%
539
18%
451
-2%
328
-28%
Brightness
473
481
2%
542
15%
443
-6%
334
-29%
Brightness Distribution
88
90
2%
93
6%
93
6%
88
0%
Black Level *
0.51
0.5
2%
0.4
22%
Contrast
898
970
8%
1128
26%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
7.1
4.2
41%
1.6
77%
5.4
24%
4.6
35%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
14.5
7.9
46%
2.6
82%
9.9
32%
14.7
-1%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
10.5
4.8
54%
1.5
86%
6.7
36%
2.8
73%
Gamma
2.28 96%
2.36 93%
2.28 96%
2.33 94%
2.29 96%
CCT
8951 73%
7568 86%
6422 101%
8262 79%
6612 98%

* ... smaller is better

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM not detected

In comparison: 52 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 8773 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
19.2 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 6.8 ms rise
↘ 12.4 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 18 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (25.6 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
35.6 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 17.2 ms rise
↘ 18.4 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 27 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (41 ms).

While the display was very good, it was far from perfect. Deviations in color and grayscale accuracy were immense. When measured with a spectrophotometer and the CalMAN software, we found DeltaE color and grayscale deviations of 7.1 and 10.5, respectively. Values of less than 3 are considered ideal. Its color temperature of 8,951 K was noticeably shifted towards the colder blue spectrum.

Color accuracy (sRGB)
Color accuracy (sRGB)
Color space (sRGB)
Color space (sRGB)
Grayscales (sRGB)
Grayscales (sRGB)
Saturation (sRGB)
Saturation (sRGB)

As expected, viewing angles were superb due to its IPS panel. We found no distortions or dimout worth mentioning, even at acute angles.

Thanks to its high brightness the phone was very usable outdoors. Even in somewhat sunny half-shade situations the display remained easily readable despite its glossy finish.

Outdoors
Outdoors
Viewing angles
Viewing angles

Performance

Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 quad-core SoC, a Qualcomm Adreno 506 GPU, and 4 GB of RAM, the phone’s fast system performance was not surprising at all. In the highly competitive mid-range market the X Pro is easily one of the fastest smartphones available today.

In synthetic benchmarks, it scored slightly better than the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) and the Huawei Nova Plus equipped with a very similar SoC (Snapdragon 625). The Honor 8 and ZTE Axon 7 were faster.

AnTuTu v6 - Total Score (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X Pro
66226 Points ∼26%
Huawei Nova Plus
64601 Points ∼26% -2%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017
60603 Points ∼24% -8%
Honor 8
94671 Points ∼38% +43%
ZTE Axon 7
122524 Points ∼49% +85%
PCMark for Android
Work 2.0 performance score (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X Pro
4915 Points ∼48%
Huawei Nova Plus
4672 Points ∼45% -5%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017
4060 Points ∼39% -17%
Work performance score (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X Pro
5886 Points ∼45%
Huawei Nova Plus
5724 Points ∼43% -3%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017
5035 Points ∼38% -14%
Honor 8
6735 Points ∼51% +14%
ZTE Axon 7
4970 Points ∼38% -16%
BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X Pro
806 Points ∼40%
Huawei Nova Plus
754 Points ∼37% -6%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017
659 Points ∼32% -18%
Honor 8
994 Points ∼49% +23%
ZTE Axon 7
963 Points ∼47% +19%
Graphics (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X Pro
1012 Points ∼4%
Huawei Nova Plus
1015 Points ∼4% 0%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017
1528 Points ∼5% +51%
Honor 8
1703 Points ∼6% +68%
ZTE Axon 7
4631 Points ∼16% +358%
Memory (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X Pro
1046 Points ∼17%
Huawei Nova Plus
1553 Points ∼25% +48%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017
1508 Points ∼24% +44%
Honor 8
2556 Points ∼41% +144%
ZTE Axon 7
1489 Points ∼24% +42%
System (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X Pro
3492 Points ∼21%
Huawei Nova Plus
2132 Points ∼13% -39%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017
2593 Points ∼16% -26%
Honor 8
3952 Points ∼24% +13%
ZTE Axon 7
3307 Points ∼20% -5%
Overall (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X Pro
1314 Points ∼16%
Huawei Nova Plus
1262 Points ∼15% -4%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017
1408 Points ∼17% +7%
Honor 8
2034 Points ∼24% +55%
ZTE Axon 7
2165 Points ∼26% +65%
Geekbench 4.1/4.2
Compute RenderScript Score (sort by value)
Huawei Nova Plus
3401 Points ∼8%
64 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X Pro
4369 Points ∼12%
Huawei Nova Plus
3148 Points ∼9% -28%
64 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X Pro
928 Points ∼15%
Huawei Nova Plus
880 Points ∼14% -5%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Physics (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X Pro
2132 Points ∼51%
Huawei Nova Plus
1773 Points ∼42% -17%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017
1713 Points ∼41% -20%
Honor 8
2482 Points ∼59% +16%
ZTE Axon 7
1783 Points ∼43% -16%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Graphics (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X Pro
379 Points ∼7%
Huawei Nova Plus
384 Points ∼7% +1%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017
710 Points ∼13% +87%
Honor 8
818 Points ∼15% +116%
ZTE Axon 7
2528 Points ∼47% +567%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X Pro
464 Points ∼10%
Huawei Nova Plus
465 Points ∼10% 0%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017
816 Points ∼17% +76%
Honor 8
961 Points ∼20% +107%
ZTE Axon 7
2500 Points ∼53% +439%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X Pro
2127 Points ∼51%
Huawei Nova Plus
1795 Points ∼43% -16%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017
1752 Points ∼42% -18%
Honor 8
2587 Points ∼62% +22%
ZTE Axon 7
1099 Points ∼26% -48%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X Pro
725 Points ∼9%
Huawei Nova Plus
733 Points ∼9% +1%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017
1053 Points ∼13% +45%
Honor 8
1112 Points ∼13% +53%
ZTE Axon 7
4619 Points ∼56% +537%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X Pro
849 Points ∼13%
Huawei Nova Plus
844 Points ∼13% -1%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017
1155 Points ∼18% +36%
Honor 8
1273 Points ∼20% +50%
ZTE Axon 7
2698 Points ∼42% +218%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X Pro
17044 Points ∼22%
Huawei Nova Plus
15823 Points ∼20% -7%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017
13057 Points ∼17% -23%
Honor 8
15531 Points ∼20% -9%
ZTE Axon 7
20408 Points ∼26% +20%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X Pro
13277 Points ∼3%
Huawei Nova Plus
13412 Points ∼3% +1%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017
13314 Points ∼3% 0%
Honor 8
22157 Points ∼4% +67%
ZTE Axon 7
24310 Points ∼5% +83%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X Pro
13963 Points ∼7%
Huawei Nova Plus
13882 Points ∼7% -1%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017
13256 Points ∼6% -5%
Honor 8
20235 Points ∼10% +45%
ZTE Axon 7
23319 Points ∼11% +67%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X Pro
23 fps ∼0%
Huawei Nova Plus
23 fps ∼0% 0%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017
34 fps ∼0% +48%
Honor 8
41 fps ∼0% +78%
ZTE Axon 7
88 fps ∼1% +283%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X Pro
22 fps ∼1%
Huawei Nova Plus
23 fps ∼1% +5%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017
33 fps ∼1% +50%
Honor 8
43 fps ∼1% +95%
ZTE Axon 7
53 fps ∼2% +141%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X Pro
9.8 fps ∼0%
Huawei Nova Plus
9.9 fps ∼0% +1%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017
15 fps ∼0% +53%
Honor 8
19 fps ∼0% +94%
ZTE Axon 7
39 fps ∼1% +298%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X Pro
9.6 fps ∼0%
Huawei Nova Plus
10 fps ∼0% +4%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017
15 fps ∼0% +56%
Honor 8
19 fps ∼1% +98%
ZTE Axon 7
28 fps ∼1% +192%
GFXBench 3.1
off screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Offscreen (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X Pro
6.4 fps ∼0%
Huawei Nova Plus
6.2 fps ∼0% -3%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017
9.1 fps ∼0% +42%
Honor 8
10 fps ∼0% +56%
ZTE Axon 7
31 fps ∼1% +384%
on screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Onscreen (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X Pro
6.3 fps ∼0%
Huawei Nova Plus
6.6 fps ∼0% +5%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017
9 fps ∼0% +43%
Honor 8
11 fps ∼0% +75%
ZTE Axon 7
16 fps ∼0% +154%
GFXBench
off screen Car Chase Offscreen (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X Pro
3.5 fps ∼0%
Huawei Nova Plus
3.7 fps ∼0% +6%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017
5.2 fps ∼0% +49%
Honor 8
6.3 fps ∼0% +80%
ZTE Axon 7
18 fps ∼1% +414%
on screen Car Chase Onscreen (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X Pro
3.5 fps ∼0%
Huawei Nova Plus
3.4 fps ∼0% -3%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017
5.2 fps ∼0% +49%
Honor 8
6.9 fps ∼0% +97%
ZTE Axon 7
9.8 fps ∼0% +180%

Legend

 
BQ Aquaris X Pro Qualcomm Snapdragon 626, Qualcomm Adreno 506, 64 GB eMMC Flash
 
Huawei Nova Plus Qualcomm Snapdragon 625, Qualcomm Adreno 506, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 Samsung Exynos 7880, ARM Mali-T830 MP3, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Honor 8 HiSilicon Kirin 950, ARM Mali-T880 MP4, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
ZTE Axon 7 Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 MSM8996, Qualcomm Adreno 530, 64 GB eMMC Flash

For reasons unknown to us and despite running the latest version of Google Chrome (59.0.3071.125), the X Pro was comparatively slow in our browser benchmarks. Except for the WebXPRT 2015 benchmark, it scored last place in every other test. Subjectively, browsing the web was very fast though – pages load quickly, scrolling was smooth, and there was no noticeable input lag.

JetStream 1.1 - 1.1 Total Score
Honor 8
64.046 Points ∼100% +139%
ZTE Axon 7
44.754 Points ∼70% +67%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017
32.222 Points ∼50% +20%
Huawei Nova Plus
31.3 Points ∼49% +17%
BQ Aquaris X Pro
26.837 Points ∼42%
Octane V2 - Total Score
Honor 8
10692 Points ∼100% +142%
ZTE Axon 7
8062 Points ∼75% +82%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017
5256 Points ∼49% +19%
Huawei Nova Plus
4730 Points ∼44% +7%
BQ Aquaris X Pro
4424 Points ∼41%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score
BQ Aquaris X Pro
8741.5 ms * ∼100%
Huawei Nova Plus
8027.7 ms * ∼92% +8%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017
6442.4 ms * ∼74% +26%
ZTE Axon 7
3096.5 ms * ∼35% +65%
Honor 8
2979 ms * ∼34% +66%
WebXPRT 2015 - Overall Score
Honor 8
138 Points ∼100% +60%
ZTE Axon 7
111 Points ∼80% +29%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017
89 Points ∼64% +3%
BQ Aquaris X Pro
86 Points ∼62%
Huawei Nova Plus
83 Points ∼60% -3%

* ... smaller is better

Internal storage access was very fast with sequential read speeds of up to 270 MB/s. Writing to and reading from our Toshiba Exceria Pro M401 MicroSD reference card (read and write speeds of up to 95 and 70 MB/s, respectively) was on a par with the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) and the ZTE Axon 7, and at almost 79 MB/s sequential read speed the X Pro was the fastest device of our test group.

BQ Aquaris X ProHuawei Nova PlusSamsung Galaxy A5 2017Honor 8ZTE Axon 7
AndroBench 3-5
2%
-19%
7%
52%
Sequential Write 256KB SDCard
49.77
33.32
-33%
55.98
12%
23.59
-53%
51.34
3%
Sequential Read 256KB SDCard
78.69
41.64
-47%
73.71
-6%
53.68
-32%
78.39
0%
Random Write 4KB
12.07
30.12
150%
12.13
0%
31.5
161%
16.22
34%
Random Read 4KB
37.97
35.64
-6%
22.41
-41%
34.16
-10%
121.07
219%
Sequential Write 256KB
139.63
82.13
-41%
77.1
-45%
119.25
-15%
150.92
8%
Sequential Read 256KB
270.46
241.57
-11%
182.03
-33%
247.46
-9%
406.49
50%

Gaming

Thanks to its powerful SoC, the BQ Aquaris X Pro runs current Android games very smoothly. Our two standard games, Asphalt 8: Airborne and Dead Trigger 2, performed buttery smooth on maximum details. Asphalt 8 limits the framerate to 30 FPS; Dead Trigger 2 on the other hand does not, and the Aquaris X Pro achieves an impressive 57 FPS.

Asphalt 8: Airborne
Asphalt 8: Airborne
Dead Trigger 2
Dead Trigger 2
Asphalt 8: Airborne
 SettingsValue
 high30 fps
 very low30 fps
Dead Trigger 2
 SettingsValue
 high57 fps

Emissions

Temperature

GFXBench battery test
GFXBench battery test

Despite its powerful hardware, the phone remained pleasantly cool during use. A maximum of 35.4 °C when idle and 40.5 °C under load are very comfortable.

In order to determine whether the phone manages these low temperatures by throttling prematurely we ran the GFXBench’s battery benchmark running the T-Rex test in a loop (30x). Our results show that even after the 30th iteration the Aquaris X Pro was still performing as well as when we first started the test.

Max. Load
 37.9 °C
100 F
37.9 °C
100 F
40.1 °C
104 F
 
 37.6 °C
100 F
37.5 °C
100 F
40.5 °C
105 F
 
 36.6 °C
98 F
37.4 °C
99 F
38.6 °C
101 F
 
Maximum: 40.5 °C = 105 F
Average: 38.2 °C = 101 F
35 °C
95 F
36.1 °C
97 F
36.5 °C
98 F
33.9 °C
93 F
35 °C
95 F
37 °C
99 F
33.6 °C
92 F
35.9 °C
97 F
37 °C
99 F
Maximum: 37 °C = 99 F
Average: 35.6 °C = 96 F
Power Supply (max.)  29.2 °C = 85 F | Room Temperature 21.4 °C = 71 F | Voltcraft IR-260
(-) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 38.2 °C / 101 F, compared to the average of 33.2 °C / 92 F for the devices in the class Smartphone.
(±) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 40.5 °C / 105 F, compared to the average of 35.8 °C / 96 F, ranging from 22.4 to 51.7 °C for the class Smartphone.
(+) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 37 °C / 99 F, compared to the average of 34.3 °C / 94 F
(±) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 32 °C / 90 F, compared to the device average of 33.2 °C / 92 F.

Speakers

Speaker characteristics
Speaker characteristics

The X Pro’s mono speaker is located at the bottom next to the USB-C port, and as expected it was not the best. A maximum volume of 86.1 dB(A) and fairly balanced mids and highs are its strong points, but the total lack of bass is its biggest weakness. Listening to music occasionally or watching YouTube videos every now and then are still manageable though, and the phone’s headphone jack worked flawlessly.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2031.634.92525.436.23125.331.14032.928.55033.633.46331.631.18028.423.81002724.812520.829.61602234.620021.342.225020.847.631521.251.940019.45650019.557.963017.759.780017.962.5100017.864.8125017.366.1160017.467.5200016.774250017.274.2315018.271.1400017.977.9500017.681.4630017.778.3800017.875.31000017.9731250018.170.51600018.263.7SPL3086.1N1.360median 17.9median 64.8Delta1.31231.641.125.44025.336.732.93633.635.631.630.628.432.92733.820.841.72244.421.348.420.850.521.256.619.462.519.566.217.766.117.974.217.877.317.374.317.473.816.771.817.269.318.269.517.966.517.661.417.755.817.854.517.959.918.152.218.249.530831.350.1median 17.9median 61.41.39.531.64225.437.625.331.432.936.333.651.731.634.328.431.72736.920.8262229.921.341.820.853.921.259.419.463.619.567.417.766.117.970.117.869.817.373.417.474.616.776.717.277.218.278.917.979.617.67617.772.917.873.217.971.118.164.518.257.23087.41.368.4median 17.9median 69.81.310.2hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseBQ Aquaris X ProSamsung Galaxy A5 2017Huawei Nova Plus
BQ Aquaris X Pro audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (86.1 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 26.4% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (10% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 4.5% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (5.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 11.1% higher than median
(+) | highs are linear (6.7% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (25.9% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 55% of all tested devices in this class were better, 12% similar, 33% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 74% of all tested devices were better, 6% similar, 20% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (82.96 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 15.5% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (9.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 9.4% higher than median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (7.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 5% higher than median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (7.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (22.4% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 28% of all tested devices in this class were better, 11% similar, 61% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 56% of all tested devices were better, 8% similar, 35% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Huawei Nova Plus audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (87.39 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 28.5% lower than median
(-) | bass is not linear (15.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 3.5% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 5.7% higher than median
(+) | highs are linear (3.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (21.5% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 20% of all tested devices in this class were better, 12% similar, 69% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 51% of all tested devices were better, 8% similar, 41% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Frequency comparison (checkboxes selectable/deselectable!)

Battery Life

Power Consumption

The X Pro’s average idle power consumption of 1.78 W was comparatively low, but in return its power consumption of 6.3 W under load was rather high. In our test group, the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) turned out to be the most efficient phone, and the ZTE Axon 7 was a real power hog.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.01 / 0.17 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 0.67 / 1.7 / 1.78 Watt
Load midlight 4.42 / 6.3 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
BQ Aquaris X Pro
3100 mAh
Huawei Nova Plus
3340 mAh
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017
3000 mAh
Honor 8
3000 mAh
ZTE Axon 7
3250 mAh
Power Consumption
17%
26%
-9%
1%
Idle Minimum *
0.67
0.49
27%
0.64
4%
0.78
-16%
0.64
4%
Idle Average *
1.7
1.63
4%
1.36
20%
1.89
-11%
0.84
51%
Idle Maximum *
1.78
1.76
1%
1.4
21%
2.02
-13%
0.87
51%
Load Average *
4.42
2.98
33%
2.53
43%
5.28
-19%
6.02
-36%
Load Maximum *
6.3
4.99
21%
3.63
42%
5.44
14%
10.45
-66%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

Battery life was pretty decent thanks to the phone’s non-user-replaceable 3,100 mAh battery. In the real-world Wi-Fi test simulating browsing the web at a normalized display brightness of 150 nits, the X Pro lasted for more than 12 hours. Translated into everyday usage, the X Pro’s stamina should keep it alive for at least a full day if not two. The Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) and Huawei Nova Plus were more efficient, while the Honor 8 and ZTE Axon 7 ran out of power much sooner.

The included charger can deliver up to 15 W (5V, 3A) and supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0, resulting in speedy charging times. Charging the battery from near-empty (1%) to full (100%) took 1:52 hours.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
30h 40min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
12h 10min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
10h 44min
Load (maximum brightness)
4h 14min
BQ Aquaris X Pro
3100 mAh
Huawei Nova Plus
3340 mAh
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017
3000 mAh
Honor 8
3000 mAh
ZTE Axon 7
3250 mAh
Battery Runtime
20%
46%
-17%
-11%
Reader / Idle
1840
2048
11%
2418
31%
1487
-19%
1735
-6%
H.264
644
732
14%
984
53%
526
-18%
704
9%
WiFi v1.3
730
820
12%
843
15%
499
-32%
411
-44%
Load
254
366
44%
467
84%
255
0%
245
-4%

Pros

+ elegant and rigid case
+ very bright FHD display
+ USB Type-C port
+ current Android OS
+ LTE Cat.6
+ accurate GPS
+ decent camera
+ fingerprint reader
+ fast performance
+ quick charging power supply
+ low temperatures
+ decent battery life

Cons

- hybrid dual-SIM slot
- inaccurate colors
- mono speaker

Verdict

In review: BQ Aquaris X Pro. Review unit courtesy of BQ Spain.
In review: BQ Aquaris X Pro. Review unit courtesy of BQ Spain.

The BQ Aquaris X Pro is a very decent mid-range smartphone that has no trouble keeping up with the competition. Quite the contrary: thanks to its robust high-quality metal/glass case, the 5.2-inch smartphone can be easily mistaken for a premium flagship device. The same must be said about the high-resolution IPS display with its high brightness and pin-sharp FHD resolution.

In addition, the Aquaris X Pro offers a very good 12 MP camera, a reliable and fast fingerprint-reader, and a very high overall performance resulting in smooth gameplay of even the most demanding games topped with an accurate GPS sensor, long battery life, Quick Charge, and a USB Type-C port.

The BQ Aquaris X Pro is a very good smartphone with benefits that clearly outweigh its limitations.

There are only a few disadvantages worth noting, and they are far from being show-stoppers. Think of them more as minor cosmetic flaws.

For one, the secondary SIM-card slot shares its space with the MicroSD-card reader – you can either use one or the other. The display’s color accuracy is mediocre at best but only noticeable with professional measuring equipment and not the naked eye. Also, the Aquaris X Pro only has a single, albeit somewhat adequate, mono speaker.

BQ Aquaris X Pro - 07/24/2017 v6
Manuel Masiero

Chassis
88%
Keyboard
72 / 75 → 96%
Pointing Device
93%
Connectivity
47 / 60 → 79%
Weight
92%
Battery
93%
Display
82%
Games Performance
28 / 63 → 44%
Application Performance
51 / 70 → 73%
Temperature
89%
Noise
100%
Audio
70 / 91 → 77%
Camera
84%
Average
76%
85%
Smartphone - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > BQ Aquaris X Pro Smartphone Review
Manuel Masiero, 2017-07-31 (Update: 2018-04-19)