QiKU Q Terra: David with a sling? Goliath be warned!

Q Terra image 2

What is a flagship? What are killer specs? What is thoughtful design? What is premium material? Sometimes, there comes along a phone that simply answers all these questions by just being there. Chinese device maker QiKU ( pronounced “Cheeku”), an alliance of a hardware (CoolPad) and Software (Qihoo) company has just made one phone that has effectively pushed the envelope further on a lot of fronts – The Q Terra! Let’s look at this device that has taken everyone’s mind by storm this year.

Q Terra image 2

The Q Terra is made of a Magnesium and Aluminium mix called Magnalium. The crafting is top notch and the device feels good in one’s hand. It is a large sized device with a 6 inch screen. Larger than your average flagships. The size is a bit unwieldy to begin with, but you get used to it over time. The design team has ensured that the almost non existent bezels give you a great screen to phone ratio. The screen has 2.5D glass on it. This gives a bit of a classy twist to the display. After a while of using this one, it got easier to handle. But that being said, the size does tend to lead to a few anxious and awkward moments with the device. But there is no denying the class that screams out from the device. You feel very good when you hold it in your hands and others stare at your device.



So, absolutely no doubts that the specs are top notch and that the makers mean business in the category that they are in. They have essentially tried to encapsulate the best in every aspect to make a phone and succeeded at it in a big big way. Just the specs have held public imagination in a big way. The fact that they have priced the device aggressively adds to the excitement around the device.

Q Terra Image 1

The OS running on the phone is Android 5.1.1 with a wrapper called 360. Yes, the same name as the anti-virus and security app. Like I mentioned earlier, Qihoo is one of the stakeholders in QiKU and hence the software has been built by them. They are security experts and it shows in the software. There are so many security related options and toggles that one can quite literally get lost in them.

The display is very good. No issue at all with colors, saturation, range or the viewing angles here. Graphic and video rendering was smooth and there weren’t any issues noticed. The 2.5D thing sometimes makes the touch a tad bit dicey, but more often than not, most people will not even notice it.

Q Terra (Back)

The rear side of the phone has two 13 MP cameras, yes you heard that right, two cameras. One that clicks black and white images and another that clicks color images. Then the software magic takes care of the mixing of detail from both to give you an image that is profoundly detailed and very clear. This is one of the USPs of this device and the makers have been going to town about it. The camera UI is good. There are the usual modes in this one, there is also a DSLR mode which should actually have been called Bokeh mode. All that this mode does is to make the object vivid and sort of fade the background out of the image. The results are excellent, but calling it DSLR mode is a tad bit extreme if you ask me. The front camera is an 8MP selfie clicker. Not bad at all, the selfies were very good. Will I be giving up my Zenfone 2 camera for this one? Looks like it!

Q Terra camera

There is a fingerprint scanner on the back that does what it’s name suggests, scans finger prints. While the jury is out on whether it is actually safer or not to store your fingerprint on a device in whatever format, this is a convenient feature to have. The scanner is positioned well and works quite well. There aren’t that many misses, there are more hits. I believe that the CoolPad influence is showing there and it is very welcome!


Performance of the device is very nearly there with the flagships. When I tried synthetic benchmarks, the results were very good, but not as good as the OnePlus Two, but then the OPT has differences in specs and I am not a big fan of benchmarks. For me performance is about how a device can handle multi-tasking and the graphics or memory intensive tasks. In that department, the Q Terra is brilliant. I have absolutely no issues with it.  It exceeds expectations here.

The sound quality during calls is good. No hitches in 4G/3G and voice connectivity. Bluetooth was good. The speakers are ok, can be better. When you have headphones on, the sound is better.

There is a 3700 mAh battery that powers the Q Terra, the phone gave me 14 hours of above average use with WiFi on right through and around 13 hours with 3G enabled in areas with slightly lower signal (my home). In my books, that is mighty fine and good.

All in all, I would say that this phone is a reviewer’s delight. The specs are good. The material is premium. Performance is neat. Display is great. The camera is impressive. But is this THE device? There are issues, the english in the UI could have been better. Despite the two rear cameras, there are times when the images are not that striking. And like every phone with a fingerprint scanner – there are hits and misses. More hits, but yet, there are misses. The camera UI is a bit windy when you want to crop and image. It takes a few tries to fully get it. So, if one wants to, there are things that can be picked. The phone also uses the invite system and there is difference in price between people with and without invites. I am at a loss to understand why mobile makers use this method to sell devices! Seriously!


This is the easiest part of the review. It is a no-brainer! At the price of 19,999 with an invite and 21,999 without it, there isn’t any other phone that I know that has such specs and gives such an excellent experience.  This phone has very clearly redefined the capacity and experience parameters of an android phone. What a way to end the year! I m loving it! Go buy it! These kind of chances are rare and few! David is ready with a sling! Goliath beware!


About Shakthi

I am a Tech Blogger, Disability Activist, Keynote Speaker, Startup Mentor and Digital Branding Consultant. Also a McKinsey Executive Panel Member. Also known as @v_shakthi on twitter. Been around Tech for two decades now.

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