Lava, which used to be known for their feature phones and entry-level smartphones is slowly making an entry to the bludgeoning low-to-mid range Android smartphone market in India. What used to be the fortress for the likes of Micromax and Samsung has now been breached by the likes of Lava and Motorola. The Lava Iris 504q started the trend, and was carried over by Lava Iris Pro 30, both known for great looks and decent build quality.
Now the Lava Iris Pro 20 has joined the fray and takes it heads on with the likes of Moto G. As the name would suggest, the Iris Pro 20 is the younger sibling of the Iris Pro 30, with similar looks, but slightly compromised hardware internals. So how good is the Lava Iris Pro 20? We take a look.
Design and Build quality
Make no mistake about this. The Lava Iris Pro 20 is an exact replica of the Iris Pro 30, so much so that I had to recheck and reconfirm the box twice to know if my mind was just playing games. Like the Iris Pro 30, this too looks like an iPhone clone, with sleek design and chamfered edges along with chrome trim running on the sides. Although, it doesn’t carry the same reassuring metallic build of the real iPhone, the Lava Iris Pro 20 just feels good to hold for the first time.
The phone is sleek at 7.7mm and weighs just 112g (same as the iPhone 5 *cough*). This makes it extremely comfortable for single handed usage. The left side is bare with no buttons or ports to hold, while the right frame houses the power/home key and volume rocker keys.The top has the 3.5mm audio jack, while the bottom has a Micro-USB port for data transfer/charging along with the microphone. There are dual microphones for noise cancellation.
The back cover is plastic, but doesn’t feel cheap in anyway. The bluish grey plastic back has a nice feel to it with mild glittery textures on it, and has just “iris pro 20” written on the middle. The Lava branding is conspiciously absent. On top of this back is the 8MP camera along with dual-LED flash. The back cover can be opened, which reveals the 2000mAh battery along with the slots for two SIM cards and microSD card. You might be surprised to see how thin the back cover is, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The Lava Iris Pro 20 comes with a 4.7-inch IPS LCD display with Sharp OGS (One Glass Solution) technology and full lamination display. Although the screen resolution is just qHD (960 x 540 pixels), the display looks bright with great colour reproduction and good viewing angles. You can easily get away claiming it’s a 720p (HD) display, if not for outdoor visibility where it struggles big time. The touch experience is smooth and responsive. You can find the accelerometer, proximity and light sensors housed on top of the display along with a VGA front camera.
Features and Specifications
Like its bigger brother, the Lava Iris Pro 20 is powered by a MediaTek M6589 quad-core processor clocked at 1.2GHz and 1GB of RAM. The graphics is powered by PowerVR SGX544 which is a standard on budget smartphones these days. The Iris Pro 20 has just 4GB of internal storage with 1.3 GB available for usage out of the box. It comes with microSD card which can support unto 32GB. Apps and games can be installed on the external storage. OTG is also supported.
The 8MP rear camera comes with dual-LED flash and can shoot videos at HD (1080p) resolution. The front camera though, is just VGA resolution. The Iris Pro 20 supports dual-SIM, both GSM, with one of them supporting the 2100MHz 3G band. The phone also has Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP support, but lacks gyroscope.
The Lava Iris Pro 20 runs the near stock version of Android 4.2.1 JellyBean with FOTA (Firmware over the air update) support. Although Lava’s sister brand, XOLO, has started releasing OS updates, there are no talks about the same for Lava Iris series.
Lava has included the Lava Care app which simply lists the all Lava service centres in India. The other change is with the notification centre where Lava shows the current CPU usage graph along with RAM and battery usage graphs. That’s a very nifty addition from Lava.
Lava is known for their decent cameras on feature phones, and they have done a decent job with the Iris Pro 20 as well. The 8MP rear camera is capable of taking good quality pictures in daylight. The images captured have decent details and colour reproduction. But the problem is with the camera app UI. Being a two year old JellyBean camera interface, it’s difficult to access HDR and other modes.
Auto focus works fine, but is on a slower side. Once focussed, the camera takes pictures really fast. It comes with a zero-shutter-lag mode for taking photographs faster, and works great. Although it comes with dual-LED flash, low light photography is its achilles heel. The flash is extremely bright and spoils the picture completely. Overall, just an average camera I’d say.
Videos are captured in 1080p, and are good to view on the phone, and not meant to go beyond that. The VGA front camera can be used as a mirror at desperate situations and nothing more than that.
Click for full resolution images.
Lava is using the MediaTek M6589M processor which is the downgraded version of M6589 which we saw on the Iris Pro 30. But that doesn’t mean the performance is inferior. In fact some of the benchmark scores were better on the Iris Pro 20. For those who care (we don’t), the Lava Iris Pro 20 scored 13710 on Antutu and 4090 on Quadrant.
Gaming performance was mixed. It could play Asphalt 8 without stuttering, but only on graphics set to low and medium. Temple Run 2 played fine for most part. True to Lava’s reputation, the loud speakers were loud and clear. Overall, the gameplay performance was good, but the graphics could be better.
The phone packs a 2000 mAh non-removable Lithium Polymer battery. Thanks to the CABC (Content Adaptive backlight control) screen brightness regulation technology, this automatically reduces screen brightness for better battery life. We could get a day’s battery life easily with medium-to-heavy usage. Lava claims that CABC enables them to offer 30% more battery life as compared to the competition, and we did see some merits to the claims here.
The Lava Iris Pro 20 is available for around Rs.12,500 right now,a nd that pitches it right against the 8GB version of Moto G. As we found out in our video review of Moto G, it’s a tough nut to crack for the competition. Although Moto G has a lower specced camera, smaller sized display and lacks a microSD slot, it scores higher than Iris Pro 20 with better performance and latest OS.
The Iris Pro 20 costs around Rs.2500 less than its bigger brother, the Iris Pro 30, with the difference being display resolution, processor and the front camera. The Iris Pro siblings does well to give a tough fight to the Moto G, and even scores heavily with the looks. But overall, they both come a distant second to the aggressively priced Moto G. A couple of thousands cut in price of Iris Pro 20 might tilt our opinion.