Few 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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