When smartphones are being launched with a flashlight beside the front camera, and not just on the back of the device, you know it is the trend of selfies that has taken over everything else. In comes the Lava Iris X5, with that we see only the front-facing camera as the USP, though we aren’t sure if people would buy a phone with only a good selfie camera.
The Lava Iris X5 looks very decent, and feels very comfortable. The back panel is made of plastic, and is a smooth one, on the device we reviewed while there is a matte cover as well for black variant. The phone looks quite similar to the X1 but the difference is with the camera configuration, and some hardware differences are there as well. The back cover extends itself almost upto the front, and it is removable.
On the top of the device, there is a 3.5mm headset jack and the MicroUSB port, and there’s a microphone in the bottom. The physical keys on the sides are at the most common spots – left panel having the volume rocker button, and the right panel having the power/lock button. On the front, as we said, is a 5-megapixel shooter with a flash, and on the back, a Dual LED flash combination assists the 8-megapixel camera, and there is a secondary mic as well.
Pulling the back cover out, you see a thin and wide 2100 mAh battery, which can be popped out as well. Above that, are two slots for SIM cards, and a MicroSD card slot. Towards the bottom on the back, the speakers are located.
On the front, the Lava Iris X5 has a 5-inch 720p display, which although doesn’t have a great brightness and good viewing angles, it is quite decent. The touch is smooth and responsive, but the performance makes it not the best in response. There are sensors above the display, for light detection and automatic brightness.
The Iris X5 runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat OS and it is the stock ROM experience the users would get on it. While the 1GB RAM could be sufficient for some multitasking (about 550MB RAM available), the storage is good with 8GB internal storage and a MicroSD card storage option to a maximum of 32GB. About 3.5GB of storage is available for the apps, from the internal storage. Another advantage for the users, is the USB OTG compatibility.
The pre-installed apps include Google Play based apps, including Google Chrome, Drive, Gmail, Google+, Hangouts, Maps, Photos, Youtube and a few Play apps, and apart from these, there is a Touch app, OfficeSuite, SoundRecorder, FM Radio and Backup app.
The large screen and display does put some extra pressure, on both the performance and the battery of the Lava Iris X5, as we experience a few lags sometimes while using the phone continuously, but it isn’t snail slow in responding to the touch commands. The internal power is given by a 1.2GHz quad-core processor and VideoCore IV HW GPU.
The benchmarks don’t speak much as well, just as one should have expected for that internal config. The phone doesn’t break a sweat on normal gaming and usage, but try a high-end game with fully loaded graphics, and you can see it getting heated and the game too lagging a bit. There are some graphical issues as well, but they won’t be noticed on normal usage. With regards to the video playback, the Lava Iris X5 plays 1080p videos without any problem.
On the connectivity front, the device does have all the basic options such as Wi-Fi, 3G, Bluetooth and GPS, and you need a normal SIM card for the 3G network, in the first SIM slot, while second one is a MicroSIM slot where the connectivity is limited to 2G.
The 8-megapixel camera on the back is quite decent but it isn’t better than the 8-megapixel shooters given in Xiaomi Redmi 1s and the Asus Zenfone 5, the best competitors in this price range. The low light captures show a lot of grains, and the bright light ones are decent enough. The Dual LED flash don’t do good justice always, because while in low light, if you don’t focus and directly tap the shutter button, you would see out of focus and highly-lit pictures.
Captures with / without using flash
We’d be sharing a few selfie captures as well, but for now, the conclusion is that the camera doesn’t do much justice except when you are taking a picture in extreme low light. But, selfies are meant to be taken at special moments usually, right? that’s where the the flash brightens only the face and everything else looks dark.
If we are to talk about the quality, it is definitely better than the 2-megapixel shooters on most of the smartphones in the similar price range, but we are talking about the front camera here. The rear camera is not up to the mark, and there is a reason why Lava is calling this a selfie phone.
The 2100 mAh battery in the Lava Iris X5 is good enough to last for a day, and the best part is its standby, where the battery drain was not much. On mild to heavy usage, you cannot expect the phone to last for more than 5-6 hours.
The Lava Iris X5 is not the best at performance, but this definitely is one of the budget smartphones with a smart selfie camera assisted by a flash. Having tested this alongside the same company’s Iris X1, the latter seemed to give a better performance, but the X5 has a better camera configuration.
In the price range around this, there are better options like the Xiaomi Redmi 1s, the Moto X, Asus Zenfone 5 and the Android One series and each one of them have a better overall performance, and it is only the camera that can be called a USP here.