Smartphones with quad-core processors seem to be presently the most desired handsets while the ones with single core processors are almost obsolete. As a result of this changing scenario, manufacturers bringing newer dual-core models have to make sure that their product is different from the already available ones. LAVA has a new dual-core smartphone for its consumers and we take a look at what differentiates it from the rest.
Android Jelly Bean v4.1.1 on a dual-core 1GHz processor
Design and build quality
With most smartphone manufacturers trying their best to be ahead of the competition, they seem to be concentrating on the display types and sizes. While some are larger, others sport a better quality (Super AMOLED or IPS panels). As per our short informal (internal) survey, a display at 5-inches or higher is inconvenient to handle, needs two hands to operate and is usually prone to accidental falls. A display screen between 4-inches to 4.7-inches seems like an ideal size, which also makes the chassis slimmer and with a comfortable grip. It also makes it easier to operate with just one hand. Similar is the case with the iris 455. Sporting a 4.5-inch display, the phone has a comfortable size and grip. The chassis is made from tough polycarbonate and is very firm. The matte-finish exterior – with dual-tone black and steel-grey shade and a silver trim along the edges – gives a good aesthetic touch. The rear panel is removable and can be replaced with a black one that comes free with the package.
512MB RAM, PowerVR SGX531 GPU, 4GB internal storage
The front panel is an all-glass display with three backlit capacitive buttons at the bottom and the earpiece and front camera on the top. The backlit buttons are a bit dull during the day, but they are clearly visible during night time. A unique feature seen for the first time on any smartphone yet is the charging LED notification. The moment you connect the charger to the phone, the Home button glows red till the time the phone is charging and turns green when the battery is full.
4.5-inch LCD display with a resolution of 940 x 560
The left side sports the power switch and volume rocker while the top features the microUSB interface and the 3.5 mm audio jack. The rear panel highlights the 5MP camera with an LED flash and a speaker grille towards the bottom. Below the rear panel are the slots for the two SIM cards and the microSD card. Behind the rear panel is a strange black sticker (below the camera window) coated with metal; it seems like some type of a radiation shielding material for the SIM cards. Overall, LAVA seems to have done a good job with the looks and build of the iris 455.
5MP camera with LED flash, 1500 mAH battery, extra replaceable back cover
The iris 455 is an extended version of the iris 454. It is a dual-SIM (GSM + WCDMA/GSM) Android smartphone and is built around the MT6577 chipset that features a dual-core 1GHz processor along with a PowerVR SGX531 graphics processor along with 512MB of RAM. The internal storage is 4GB, which can be extended to 32GB via the microSD card. The display is a regular 4.5-inch capacitive one with a resolution of 960 x 540 (qHD), unlike the older sibling, the iris 454, which had the same specs on an IPS display. The main shooter is a 5MP camera with AF and an LED flash, whereas the front camera is a simple VGA. The phone is powered using a 1500 mAh battery and the operating system installed is the latest Android Jelly Bean v4.1. We do not have any confirmation of the update for v4.2 on the iris 455 as yet. Lastly, the entire handset weighs just 120 grams and the thickness stays at 9.9 mm.
Black and silver matte-finish rear panels bundled with the phone
We ran our usual benchmarking tests to know the core strength of the internal hardware. AnTuTu scored 5426, Quadrant scored 2352 while Nenamark2 scored 24.1 fps. Linpack gave us results of 39.6 MFLOPS and 62.6 MFLOPS in single-thread and multi-thread tests respectively. Sporting just 512MB of RAM, the phone seems to run sluggish at times. Regular users installing multiple apps might get to see this slowdown a few times a day.
The top sports the micro USB PC interface and 3.5 mm audio jack
The iris 455 runs on Google’s Android Jelly Bean v4.1 operating system but with a custom user interface and launcher. The icons are a bit funky and rounded, and tend to confuse the regular Android user with the look. The manufacturer has bundled a few free apps for entertainment with the operating system, namely, Saavn, Pandit.Ji, Shark Dash, Cricket Fever and a few others.
9.9 mm thick, left side highlights the power and volume rocker
Display and media
Being non-IPS, the display tends to lose visibility when seen from the top. This makes watching a movie or viewing pictures and text difficult when using the phone in landscape position. To test the video playback quality and the quality of the display, we ran a few HD and full HD videos on the handset. The stock video player could handle 720p and 1080p videos quite well except for a few formats such as MKV files, which were framing badly. This can be sorted out by installing a third-party video player such as MXplayer or Moboplayer set to software decoding. The video quality is flawless except for the viewing angles as the display is a non-IPS type. The quality of the videos is crisp and clear with a good balance of colour and brightness.
Custom launcher on Android Jelly Bean v4.1.1
The onboard speaker is pretty loud and very clear. Playback of audio from music and videos is good enough for a small crowd. However, one might miss out on calls and message notifications/alerts as the speaker is at the back and sounds tends to be muffled, if it is covered up. This tends to happen especially when the phone is in the pocket. Apart from this small issue, we had no other complaints.
The bundled earphones are in-ear type and look good. They have a glossy white flat ribbon cable, but sport a below average quality. They seem a bit feeble and can possibly break if excess tension is applied, but the audio quality is surprisingly good. The trebles are pleasant and the bass is excellent; the audio volume is also loud enough.
System information according to AnTuTu
The 5MP rear shooter was a disappointment. Shots taken in broad daylight lacked proper exposure levels, making the photos look either too dark or highly washed out in low lit and bright areas, respectively. When zoomed in, the images are slightly smudged and lack sharpness. Indoor photos are no good either—we found similar results here too, with grainy images. Close-up shots are better because of the flash. Overall, the camera performance could have been better.
Outdoor shots lack contrast and exposure levels
The battery powering the iris 455 is of the 1500 mAH variety and we managed to squeeze out a maximum of 6 hours and 20 minutes in our tests comprising two hours of video, two hours of music playback and two hours of talk time. This states that the battery life is pretty short and you would have to compromise on your usage if you are to use this on a day-long field trip. Stick to short calls, messaging and emails if you want a longer battery life. Restrict gaming and video entertainment if you are going to be away from the charger for a longer time.
Indoor shots are grainy and lack exposure levels
Verdict and Price in India
Priced at Rs 7,999, the iris 455 seems like a good deal for an Android Jelly Bean-based smartphone with a dual-core processor. But the low battery life, non-IPS display panel and the poor camera performance are the downsides you will have to cope up with. We recommend this phone if you want a low budget Android smartphone with dual-core processor and a sufficiently large display along with good build quality.
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