Smartphone Review – Lava Iris 501 #AwesomeValueforMoney

Lava Iris 501Few days back I shared some exclusive hands-on and unboxing pictures of Lava Iris 501 – company’s first 5 inch phablet. May be Lava is a bit late to join the phablet party, yet it’s first offering Iris 501 has its own uniqueness to impress people.

In the box there are neatly packed smartphone with transparent screen cover, 2300mAh battery, charger cum USB cable, 4GB microSD card, a protective case, earphone and user manual. First impressions of Lava Iris 501 is something big, unless you are already using a 5” device. It’s a handful device.

Lava International may be little known company, but it has the reputation to work with Intel to bring some of first Intel processor inside Android smartphones under XOLO brand. Lava has introduced several Android running smartphones under its sub-brand IRIS. Lava Iris 501 competes with Micromax’s Canvas series, as well as latest phablets from Spice, Zync, iBall, Karbonn and others.


Lava Iris 501 comes with dual core 1 GHz processor on MTK6577 chipset with powerVR SGX 531 GPU, 512MB RAM, 2 GB internal storage.

hardware details of lava 501


Lava loads Iris 501 with Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich with custom look and feel. You can easily change the look with apps (like GO Launcher EX).

lava iris 501 user interface

Lava adds some preloaded apps; games – Asphalt6, CricketFever, Saving Private Sheep, Little Big City, Shark Dash; Other apps like Fusion, Hike (free messaging app from Bharti Softbank), Saavn; full Google app suite – Gmail, Google+, Local, Google Maps, Google+ Messenger, Navigation, News & Weather, Google Play Store, Google Search, Voice Search, Google Talk, Google Voice Search and Youtube. Some of them are updated, so you may need to update them. However you may miss some popular apps – Facebook, Twitter, Skype, WhatsApp etc are not preloaded.


It’s a 5 incha 5 inch 480 x 800 pixel resolution TFT LCD display with 480 x 800 pixel resolution. Overall the display is very good, the capacitive touch is sensitive one. It supports multi touch as well.

Multimedia – Audio and Video

Though there is default Music and Video apps with decent performance, you must try other apps for better multimedia playback. I used JetAudio as my personal favorite. It gave a superb performance. VPlayer played 720p videos without any issues. Sound quality is good, bundled earphones are also good, but if you have better earphones you should use them. There is also FM Radio with recording option.


Iris 501 has a 5 megapixel rear camera with auto focus and flash, and shoots quite good pictures. Though daylight pictures are better than night pictures. It can also record videos at 720p. The camera offers many custom options like HDR, color effect, white balance and different modes like landscape, sports, portrait etc. But note that it can not beat your digital camera. Front cam is ok for video chat.

lava iris 501 camera settings

Connectivity, Sensors & Usability

Iris 501 has two SIM slots – one is for 3G/2G and second is for only 2G. None of them are hot-swapable, you need to remove the battery and then can remove the SIM. Beside the SIM slots there are microSD slot.

It has options for Bluetooth, WiFi, WiFi hotspot, GPS – all worked smoothly. Magnetic sensor was tested by Marine Compass.

Lava Iris 501 Sensors

The power port is near to camera, so after a long charging you may find the camera gets heated up.

Battery comes with is a 2300mAh Li-Ion battery which is good enough for a full day charge with moderate use of music, video, gaming, data, voice and texts. Last but not the least, if you are concerned about SAR, Lava Iris 501 has SAR <1.6/Kg.

benchmarking of lava 501

During my use of Iris 501, it never hangs, but a bit slowed down when I kept many apps opened.

Bottomline: When I use this phone publicly, people exclaimed, ‘is it Samsung?’ So this big sized device + Android means the perception of Samsung, which is made due to Samsung’s Note. Lava Iris 501 is one of the most value of money device with 5” form factor. With sub-10K pricing Lava Iris 501 may not compete with Samsung Galaxy Note 2, but offers decent performance to most of the users. Lava should promote more of its Iris series, being India a price sensitive market. (note that Lava Xolo 700 with 4.5″ display, dual core 1GHz processor is selling for Rs 9,000.)

Iris 501 competes directly with Micromax’s widely popular Canvas 2 A110, and I think Lava Iris 501 is not giving any loose ball. If you are thinking about buying Micromax A110, you can think about Lava Iris 501 too. It is nearly 1000 bucks less priced, adds two more sensors (Light sensor and Magnetic sensor).

Lava Iris 501 comes with MRP of Rs 9,999; though Flipkart selling it for Rs 9,499 with a Bluetooth headset. You may get better deals at local stores.


  • 1.2GHz dual core processor
  • Awesome performance
  • Excellent value for money


  • 512 MB RAM
  • Camera can be improved
  • Android 4.0 ICS

Telecomtalk Rating: 8.5/10 

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  • akmangal July 30, 2013 4:53 pm

    Hi Biswas, please tell me if you tried Skype on Lava Iris 501 and what was the experience of video-chatting?

  • Rajaa Rao July 25, 2013 12:34 pm

    Friends; i have been using Lava IRIS 501, for the last few months. I must say for the price under 8K; The performance is awesome. WiFi , Bluetooth connectivity is good. There is no lag on the capacitive screen, The fonts are clear. Radio is a bit ???The battery life is good. Frankly i did not find any use of the sensors , so i will not comment. Camera is so-so indoors. The phone is dual Sim standby hence you will have issues in missing some important calls. The model is now upgraded to Jelly bean 4.1.1, hence browsing is faster. The display is big & good.When charging some times issues of overcharging crop up. I haven’t been able to resolve it.I simply dismiss the issue & it gets charging again.The screen guard provided is of low quality & is not easily available in the market.Social sites are preloaded . The sound quality is good not excellent.Basically the operations are easy & smooth. For under 8K the phone give a run for the money to some big brands.

  • Julia May 29, 2013 6:27 pm

    Lava Iris 501 is a DUAL SIM handset. It has 5.0 inch capacitive touchscreen and runs on Android 4.0. The phablet has a 5.0MP rear camera with LED flash for shutterbugs as well as a 0.3MP VGA front camera for video calling. It has internal storage capacity of 4.0 GB that is expandable upto 32GB via micro SD card.For more info, check out

  • sunny rai April 20, 2013 8:04 pm

    Just bought iris 501 today .. everything running good as required .. only play store apps are not getting downloded . When I try to download it shows error 101 .. looking for whatsapp ..

  • harshit February 27, 2013 11:56 pm

    I use lava although the fone is good but its internal memory not b perfome i should not understand its internal memory can b use bcoz every time I should download app than show memory full but I see I only use 700 mb then its internal storage is why say 2 gb or 4 gb

    • Surbhi Singh April 29, 2013 3:36 pm

      GSM + WCDMA. WCDMA technology is different from CDMA and not an advanced version of CDMA, infact it is an advanced version of GSM and hence cannot be mentioned in CDMA category.

  • cva February 10, 2013 12:50 am

    hello is this specification is correct ? 512 MB RAM, 4 GB ROM; because TT has mentioned 2GB internal storage, please confirm. Thanks.

  • dskushwaha February 9, 2013 7:29 am

    One point I have observed while reading the phone reviews is “preloaded apps”. In my opinion the best device is without any preloaded apps. Why?
    1. preloaded apps are installed on expensive and limited internal memory. Updates for preloaded apps are installed on internal memory thereby further reducing it.
    2. It is your phone and you will decide the way how you want to use it, as a- executive phone, multimedia phone or as a SNS phone.
    3. You will always get some preloaded apps which you will never use and you cannot uninstall those preloaded apps.
    4. If preloaded apps are not there, you can download them free of charge from play store or your dealer may provide them free of charge.

  • yunusa February 9, 2013 1:43 am

    it ok.

  • dskushwaha February 8, 2013 11:17 pm

    Dear RDB,
    Have you tested the connectivity with other devices like PC using bluetooth, USB?
    I am using the first model in iris series of lava. It has connectivity issues with PC as, no drivers are provided by Lava for any of the iris series phone. I tested it on XP and windows 7.
    However if you compare Lava iris within similar price range, (or even), you will never get such a big screen with muxh better resolution.

    • Rudradeep Biswas February 8, 2013 11:27 pm

      Bluetooth is tested several times with file transfer to 3 phones. On win7 it directly opens usb options – turn on usb storage n its bingo.

      • dskushwaha February 9, 2013 7:11 am

        OK! My mistake, I should have elaborated the problem.

        I am not talking about the basic connectivity but connectivity like tethering using USB, FTP server using Bluetooth etc.
        My IRIS 350 shows Advanced settings under Bluetooth (and I hope similar settings are available in IRIS 501). It hosts a bundle of services like FTP server, Remote SIM module, Network Access Point, Group Ad-hock Network, Remote Message Access (SMS & Email). I was able to use internet using Bluetooth but no other services mentioned above worked for me.
        Similarly I was not able to tether using USB (mass storage do works), and phone cannot be connected for USB debugging.

        Moreover there is no PC Suite like application to manage your phone.

        While connecting your phone via Bluetooth or USB (not for File transfer & Mass storage Device), you will always see under Device Management some unrecognized devices are there. Solution to this problem is Drivers. I wrote an email to Lava Customer Care but they never replied back.

      • dskushwaha February 9, 2013 7:14 am

        One more thing: my IRIS 350 works well WiFi

  • sachin February 8, 2013 9:43 pm

    wat about the signal reception and ear volume in this handset ??.the main problem that i found in most of the indian brands like micromax,lava and karbon is that it has a very low ear volume and because of this we cannot hear in a bit noisy area ,signal quality and sound clarity is very low in some models of theses brands.waiting for an update from tt regarding all these very soon.

    • Rudradeep Biswas February 8, 2013 11:30 pm

      On 2g signal reception is good, trsted with bsnl3g reception turns bad indoor, but rcom3g was cool.
      Yes, ear volume is a bit low.

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