Lava Iris 401e Review


Lava Iris 401e is an entry range smartphone from Lava and it is aimed to be one of the most affordable Android devices out there. It was released back in June and it has bare minimum specifications for an Android smartphone.

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Is it worth buying for its price? Lets check out.

Design, Build Quality and Handling

Lava Iris 401e comes with a 4inch WVGA display which is on the smaller side in the modern day display sizing chart. It has an all plastic build, but feels quite good and looks premium. However, the downside to its all plastic build is the glossy nature of the phone that makes it slippery and tough to handle.

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On the front, we have the display above which we have the earpiece. Being a budget device, there are no orientation and proximity sensors.

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Below the display, we have three capacitive touch keys. There is a metal ring that surrounds the front panel and is more visible on the bottom. There is a microphone on the metal ring.

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On the right side of the phone, we have the volume rocker.

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There is nothing on the bottom and the left side. The top is a little crowded with the microUSB port, 3.5mm audio jack and the power lock button.

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Moving to the back, we find a glossy plastic back that looks a lot like metal. On the top center, we have a 3.2MP camera with LED flash to the left of it. At the center, we have the Android logo followed by the product name. On the lower back, we have the Lava logo and a speaker grill below it.

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The back case is removable and on removing it, we get two SIM card slots and a hot swappable microSD card slot. There is also a user removable 1500mAh battery.

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Overall, in terms of build quality, the phone feels quite good. But when it comes to handling, the phone seems heavier than normal and is very slippery to hold.

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Display

The Lava Iris 401e comes with a 4inch WVGA display and hence has a pixel density of 233ppi. The phone comes for a very affordable price and one of the compromises to bring down the price is the display. The display is very poor and looks different from each and every angle. The colors are nowhere near how they should be and the viewing angles are probably the worst.

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Overall, the display on Lava Iris 401e is definitely not among usable displays.

Hardware and Performance

Lava Iris 401e is powered by a 1GHz dual-core processor, has Mali 300 GPU and comes with 256MB RAM. 256MB RAM is a joke these days and you get only 200MB RAM out of it.

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You get 140MB internal storage and out of that, once you update the pre-installed apps to their latest versions, you get less than 10MB storage space. There is a microSD card to expand storage, but if you are looking to get this phone for the Android apps, then definitely this is not the phone for you.

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In terms of performance, it is again directly proportional to the price. Since it runs on a very old Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread, the phone is very slow and laggy. Even moving through the homescreens or opening apps seems to take a toll on the processor.

Camera

Lava Iris 401e comes with a 3.2MP camera on the back and there is no front camera. The camera UI takes us back a little in time as the UI looks and feels antique. The viewfinder finds its place on a supposedly textured paper pattern. On the right side of the view finder, you have a few options – exposure, white balance, flash, quality and zoom level. To its right, we have shortcut for gallery on the top right corner, below it we have the camera and video recorder toggle and below it is the big shutter button.

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The camera quality is average for a 3.2MP camera and there is no auto-focus. You can check out the camera samples right below.

It can record videos at and you can check out the sample right below.

Overall, there is a camera on this phone.

Software

Among the many things that makes this device scream budget, software is one. Android OS is something that could have improved at very little cost, but Lava chose against it. Lava Iris 401e comes with Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread and that is it.

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There are a few third party applications pre-installed like Dragon Hunter II, ES File Explorer, Lava Zone, Saavn and many others. The UI is typical Android 2.3.5 with very little customization only in the form of icons and widgets.

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Audio

The audio quality is above average. The device also comes with FM Radio with RDS.

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The loudspeaker is loud, but there is a lot of noise.

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Connectivity

Lava Iris 401e comes with connectivity options like 3G(on one SIM), WiFi, Bluetooth, microUSB, GPS and dual SIM connectivity.

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Battery

There is a 1500mAh battery that drains pretty quickly. It hardly lasts a day when you use two SIMs.

Conclusion

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Lava Iris 401e is meant to be a budget Android smartphone, but it just manages to be a budget smartphone. You can hardly use Android on this phone and the feeble internal storage doesn’t let you try out apps.

Pros

  • Budget pricing
  • Audio quality is above average
  • Solid build quality and looks premium

Cons

  • One of the worst displays
  • Not usable level performance
  • Below par Camera

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+