Google last month launched its latest Android One smartphone with Lava dubbed the Pixel V1 at Rs. 11,350. After devices from three OEM partners – Micromax, Karbonn and Spice – last year, this is company’s first large-screen (5.5-inch) Android One smartphone above Rs. 10,000 in India.
When last year Google’s Android One initiative kicked-off in India, it created a lot of buzz around the world, but unfortunately couldn’t keep up with the expectations. Now almost a year after, company is back with the new smartphone – the Lava Pixel V1. But will it deliver? We find out.
Design and Build
The Lava Pixel V1 is completely made of plastic and comes in two colour combinations – White with Silver and White with Gold. Though the smartphone has got decent build, we would still not say that it is one of the premium looking smartphone in this price segment. Last year, Google had given the reference design for the Android One smartphones, so the partners had no choice. But this time around, Lava and Google closely worked together for the new Android One addition, said companies representatives during the launch.
The looks of Pixel V1 seem to have been borrowed from smartphones like Vivo X5 Max or in fact there are many Chinese manufacturers who use similar design language.
As you can see from images, we got the White-Silver variant of the Pixel V1 for our review. It flaunts a shiny silver steel finished rim around the handset and the removable back does give you a feel of metal, but that’s all plastic. Talking about the White-Gold variant, only the silver part on the handset gets replaced with gold colour.
Front of the Pixel V1 features a 5.5-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) IPS display with Asahi DragonTrail Glass protection. Above the display sits front facing 5-megapixel camera, notification LED, earpiece grill, and the two sensors – proximity and light sensor.
The three touch buttons (Back, Home, and Recents) sit within the display, occupying some area of the screen resolution.
The back side of the Pixel V1 features an 8-megapixel shooter (Interpolated to 13-megapixel) with high intensity LED flash on the top left corner and loudspeaker grill sits at the bottom center (just below Android One branding).
The 3.5mm audio jack and Micro-USB charging / data port sits on top edge. The bottom edge of the handset only features primary mic.
While the right side of the handset has power / lock key and the volume rocker, left side is completely bare.
The two SIM cards (Regular + Micro-SIM) and microSD card slots sit beneath the removable back panel. The device is pretty lightweight with 135 grams and measures 152.08 x 76.31 x 8.5 mm.
Overall, the Lava Pixel V1 (Android One) smartphone feels decent in hands, but offers average build and outdated design.
The Pixel V1 packs a 5.5-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) IPS display with Asahi DragonTrail Glass protection and pixel density of roughly 267ppi. The display is nicely packed with almost no bezels and it is one of the highlight of the smartphone. Although with competition around, it would have been better if Lava and Google could accommodate a full-HD (1080p) display instead.
The display on the handset is pretty accurate with sharp and almost natural results. The brightness levels and viewing angles are good too, and it does a very nice job under sunlight. One another thing we noticed here is that the screen isn’t as reflective as some of the other smartphones in this price segment. Also, we were happy that it didn’t get scratches easily.
Our assessment of the display on Pixel V1 is that it is definitely one of the better display we have seen from Lava till date, but at the same time it lags behind the competition because other mostly offer full- HD resolution in this price segment, which is the new standard as well.
Performance and Software
The Lava Pixel V1 is powered by a 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6582 SoC with ARM Mali-400 MP2 GPU and 2GB of RAM. Onboard storage is 32GB out of which approximately 25GB is available to users and is also further expandable via additional microSD card (up to 32GB).
About the performance, the smartphone isn’t at par with competitors like Lenovo K3 Note, Xiaomi Mi 4i or even the YU Yureka Plus. Though it can handle average multitasking easily, it prominently lags when too many things are being done at same time. Heavy games like Asphalt 8 had problems on this combination of processor and RAM.
One good thing about the Pixel V1 is that there is very little or almost no heating problem with the device. The videos played very nicely, including playback through USB OTG. Also, the stock Android experience is very smooth.
We also found the Audio output to be very impressive. Quality of the audio from loudspeaker and headphones is one of the best in segment. It also includes FM Radio. The company bundles a nice pair of in-ear headphones with the device.
Coming to the software, the Pixel V1 runs stock Android 5.1 Lollipop out-of-the-box with very few pre-loaded apps, which is a good thing. It also comes with assurance from Google for the timely OS updates for at least next two years.
It scored 19572 points in the AnTuTu Benchmark 5 and lies behind the Redmi 2 and Canvas Spark Q380.
In Basemark OS II benchmark, it scored only 389 and lies behind InFocus M2 and Micromax Unite 2.
It clocked 53.6fps in NenaMark 2 GPU benchmark and lies behind the Canvas Spark Q380.
It scored 5353 points in Quadrant benchmark, which is only a little better than first generation Moto E Dual SIM smartphone..
The Pixel V1 packs an 8-megapixel rear camera (Interpolated to 13-megapixel) with high intensity LED Flash, 1.4um BSI sensor, f/2.0 aperture, and 5P lens. Company touts that the smartphone with the enhanced software can capture good quality 13-megapixel images.
We found that the camera performance and results to be very ordinary. While daylight shots were just about decent, they were very inconsistent at the same time. Also, the camera shutter speed was super slow and it on average took about 4 seconds to click an image.
About the shots taken in low-light, the results were not clear and had lot of noise. Overall the rear camera was not up to the mark and that includes the video quality as well. Talking about the front 5-megapixel (software enhanced 8-megapixel) shooter, it was no different to rear camera, and had slow auto-focus with terrible shutter speed and awful results. Check samples below.
Connectivity and Battery life
The Android One – Lava Pixel V1 – offers dual-SIM (Regular + Micro-SIM) support with dual-standby. Unfortunately, it lacks 4G LTE and only supports 3G HSPA+ networks. Other connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, and Micro-USB with OTG support.
The 2650mAh removable battery beneath metal-finished back cover is decent for an average user. In our test the battery lasted for almost a day (we count it as 15-18 hours on a single charge) with single-SIM in use and on 3G connectivity. With heavy usage and gaming, the battery did a decent job as well.
In our opinion, the Lava Pixel V1 is little late to the party especially when the segment has already been captured by brands like Lenovo, Xiaomi and YU with some good quality products. Apart from the stock Android experience and timely future updates, there is nothing much that the smartphone can offer.
With a price tag of Rs. 11,350, it is clearly a device that is not worth your money. We believe that Google and Lava are at least one year late for this smartphone for this price. Also, the phone doesn’t even offer 4G.
- Latest Android OS and timely updates from Google
- Audio Output
- USB OTG support
- No 4G support