Lava Iris X1 Review


The battle for the entry range Android smartphone is well and truly on after Motorola started it by launching the Moto E for Rs. 6,999. It did not take long for the Indian manufacturers to “adapt” to the trend and soon we had a lot of value for money entry range smartphones and the Lava Iris X1 is one of them, probably the classiest looking of the lot. Lets check out what you get with the Lava Iris X1 for Rs. 7,999.

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Video Review

Design, Build Quality and Handling

Lava Iris X1 could be easily mistaken for a big iPhone 4s and that is a big compliment. Lava Iris Pro series is known for its affordable pricing, mid-range specifications and iPhone like looks. Lava have understood that looks do matter and have gone after the iPhone again with the Lava Iris X1. In terms of looks, you are sure to get that “Hey hand me your iPhone” look each time you take the Iris X1 out of your pocket. However, there are noticeable differences between the two with the choice of materials being the primary difference and the absence of the iconic iPhone home button being another. In terms of looks, there is nothing about the Iris X1 that will turn you off.

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The build quality is very good and considering that the price is just Rs. 7,999, the phone is a delight to be held. The phone feels solid in hand and unlike the Iris Pro brothers(Iris Pro 20 and Pro 30), the Iris X1 feels heavy and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There is a chrome plastic rim running across the entire length of the phone thus enhancing the iPhone look factor.

Lets have a quick hardware walkthrough.

On the front, we have the 4.5inch display above which we have the earpiece at the center. On the right side of the earpiece, we have the front facing camera and to the left of the earpiece, we have the proximity and ambient light sensor combination. The bezels surrounding the display aren’t as thin as you would expect them to be, but again- this is a budget phone and you are getting way more than what you are paying for.

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Below the display, we have three invisible capacitive touch keys that light up only when required.

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On the right side of the phone, you have just the power lock button.

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On the bottom, we have just the microphone and on the left side, we have the volume rocker.

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Over at the top, we have a 3.5mm audio jack and a microUSB port.

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Moving to the back of the phone, we find a very pleasing matte finish plastic that doesn’t offer as much grip as it should, but still keeps the fingerprints and scratches away. There is a 8MP camera with dual LED flash below it and the microphone to the side of it. On the center, we have the iris x1 branding. Towards the bottom, we have speaker grill and there is a lava branding.

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The back cover is removable and on removing it, we see slots for a microSIM card, mini SIM card and a microSD card. The battery is removable as well.

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In terms of handling, the Lava Iris X1 feels quite solid in the hands. However, because of the soft and smooth edges, the phone is on the slippery side and the lack of a proper grip on the back of the phone makes it even more tough to grab the phone.

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Overall, the Lava Iris X1 looks cool, feels solid, but is slippery to hold.

Display

The Lava Iris X1 comes with a 4.5inch FWVGA display (480×854 pixels) meaning that it has a pixel density of 218 pixels. Considering the price, the display is definitely quite good. The viewing angles are reasonably good. When even their high end counterparts suffer from poor sunlight legibility, the same is the case with Iris X1. Sunlight legibility is just average even if you have the brightness up all the way. The saturation looks fine and touch response seems okay.

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Overall, you get what you pay for when it comes to display. Not so bright, but good colors and average sharpness sum up the display.

Hardware Specifications and Performance

The Lava Iris X1 is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core Broadcom SoC – BCM23550 and the graphics are taken care by Videocore GPU IV. There is 1GB RAM to help the processor and it is becoming a norm these days.

The internal storage is 4GB and it is the concern for most people. There is a microSD card slot to expand your storage space. The 4GB internal storage is divided to two parts – one for the apps 1.11GB and the other that can be accessed by the user for storing music and videos – 1.36GB.

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At the first boot, out of the 1.11GB for apps, you get 0.91GB for your applications while the already existing Google apps and other apps take up 293MB.

In terms of performance, you clearly see what you get for your money. The performance isn’t great by any means, but isn’t THAT bad either. Despite running on the latest Android 4.4 KitKat, the performance still takes a hit. Simple activities like opening the notification drawer, opening the app drawer seem slow and laggy. Opening apps, Switching between apps could have been faster, but that is what you get with Iris X1.

Overall, the performance of Lava Iris X1 is just okay and leaves you wanting a little more speed from your phone with a quad-core processor and 1GB RAM.

Camera

The Lava Iris X1 comes with a 8MP BSI sensor on the back and a 2MP camera on the front. While the competition has just a 5MP camera on the back and no front camera, the combination of a 8MP camera on the back and a 2MP shooter on the front surely weighs the scales in the favor of Iris X1.  The Lava Iris X1 can record 720p videos from the rear camera.

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The camera interface looks like a Nexus camera interface, but there are some shortcuts on the left side of the view finder as well. The settings and options aren’t plenty and there aren’t many shooting modes. You have nothing to worry about the camera UI as you have a lot of camera applications on the Play Store that you can download and use instead of the stock.

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In terms of quality, the image quality is good, but the focus misses out most of the times as you can see in the samples right below. The saturation isn’t that good either and the images look washed out.

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The 720p video sample can be found right below.

Software

The trend with the local manufacturers is changing day by day as they used to skin the UI to their liking, but now, they seemed to have given it up and leave a near stock experience for the users. The Lava Iris X1 follows the later principle and comes with almost a stock version of Android, but is kinda buggy and the performance isn’t as smooth as you would have liked.

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Media Consumption

There is an FM Radio application that is pre-installed. The default player can play 1080p videos and incase there is some problem, you can always use MX Player for video playback. The audio quality is above average.

Battery

The Lava Iris X1 comes with a 1800mAh battery and considering that it has to power just a FWVGA display, you would expect the battery performance to be good and it doesn’t disappoint. The battery definitely lasts for a day of moderate usage with 3G on for about an hour. When we tried playing videos continuously, we got about 6-7 hours of battery life. Overall, the battery performance is above average.

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Conclusion

At a price point of Rs. 7,999, the Lava Iris X1 aims to deliver a mixture looks, solid build and a good Android experience. However, it does provide a very good case in terms of looks and build quality, but falls short when it comes to performance and the Android experience isn’t the smoothest.

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Pros

  • Excellent looks
  • Solid build quality
  • Good camera for the price range

Cons

  • Average performance
  • Handling is a little tough as the phone is slippery
  • Lack of sufficient internal storage is a problem if you install a lot of applications

Author: Monish Kumar

Monish is passionate about smartphones who is also interested in User Experience and Design. He is currently using Samsung Galaxy S3. You can follow him on Twitter and Google+