Lava’s latest octa-core smartphone, the Iris X8 is priced perfectly, for the given specs. The company faces huge competition, not just from the well known top-tier brands, but from the new Chinese entrants in the Indian market, although Lava is quite well known in India already. The Lava Iris X8, very much similar to the Iris X1 from the company and these resemble the previous iPhone from the sides. But that isn’t what we are putting focus on, because it is more about the “X8”, tag that the device carries for having an octa-core processor power.
A quick look at the specs of the Iris X8, it comes with a 5-inch IPS display with ASAHI glass on the top, while having a 720p resolution. Under that, there is an octa-core processor from Mediatek, clocking at 1.4GHz, along with 2GB RAM. The device running Android 4.4 KitKat, has a 2500 mAh battery packed in, with a camera combination of 8MP and 3MP shooters. Overall, a well packed device for the price of Rs. 8999, a point where there are several ones competing with their own USPs.
Before we get into the detailing, one quick question – is having an octa-core processor enough for a smartphone to be called smart and quick? would someone buy a device based on the number of cores in the chipset? Still, when we talk of the actual performance of the phone, the processor is taken into account, and it isn’t easy to find a well performing smartphone in budget price range.
Design, Form Factor
While I would say, and many might echo, that the Lava Iris X8 is somewhat inspired by the Apple iPhone 4/4s with the design on the side, we’d stop the comparison here. It’s a budget device and we better put a focus on how it feels in the hand rather than where the design is derived from. The 5-inch device feels heavy, and easily heavier than the larger Yu Yureka.
The metallic colored rim circles the entire side frame of the device, and it is a bit raised from both the sides, front and back. The physical buttons, i.e. the volume rocker and power button are on the right side, while the slots for SIM and MicroSD card are under the removable back cover, which also gives an access to the non-replaceable 2500 mAh battery. The two SIM card slots house MicroSIM cards, and Lava has given a Reset button in case something goes wrong and you have no option left than to perform a reset manually with no access to the interface.
On the back of the phone, is an 8-megapixel camera with Dual LED flash, and towards the bottom, a speaker grill, half of which gives the access to sound output, and the other half is just aesthetically a dimpled surface. The screen is a fingerprint magnet, and the plastic back with a smooth finish is prone to take some smudges, though they aren’t much noticeable.
The 5-inch screen has an IPS display with 720p resolution. Really neat on the first look though, but not everything is worth appreciating. The colors seem oversaturated, and it looks unnatural when the brightness is set at high.
The display has the ASAHI glass protection to keep the scratches away, though it isn’t sturdy enough to withstand falls. After a couple weeks of regular use with sharp objects alongside in the pocket, there isn’t a single scratch seen on the screen, though as mentioned earlier, the screen retains fingerprints a lot.
Viewing angles are good, and although the screen is reflective and won’t give the best experience in reading with light sources around, the display is well readable under the sunlight, on full brightness.
OS, User Interface
The Iris X8 runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat with the stock interface, and it is always good to have the standard UI than useless graphics that might take a hit on the performance of the device. The lock screen has the time and date info, with a swipe from right corner to the left opening the camera app. A total of five home screens, the placement of which cannot be changed, and the standard notification panel with quick settings screen.
The pre-installed apps in the device include Backup and Restore, Calendar, File Manager, Flashlight, FM Radio, OfficeSuite, My Notes and all the Google Play services apps. Google Now with voice commands works perfectly, and under the settings, there are Smart Gestures, such as Smart wake up and Air shuffle. These gestures really come handy on the turned off screen, as drawing alphabets directly open the applications without the user having to unlock the screen and then finding the app icon to open it.
The interface has a shortcut button that sits on the edge of the screen, and hosts a lot of shortcuts. Called as Float Task, it did come handy and just like the Multi Window feature we see in Samsung, this can be activated by long pressing the Back button. There are three sections – Favorites, Media and Tools. You can choose the apps that show up there, and the entire position of rainbow can be changed. Very neat indeed, to enhance the user experience and get easy access to few functions and apps.
Let’s talk about the performance. The Lava Iris X8 has its processor as the main USP, and why not, the performance is impressive. We took the device for a toss with different functions, high-end games and heavy usage as well. To quickly list them, we played Asphalt 8, Riptide GP2, Need for Speed, GTA Vice City and even Dead Trigger 2. The performance seemed top notch, with both, gaming as well as interface response.
While benchmark scores are never a final decider, here are the scores for those who give an importance to it.
The device is powered by Mediatek 6592M Octa-core processor with ARM Cortex-A7 CPU, clocking at 1.4 GHz, and Mali 450 MP GPU gives the graphics output support. Out of the 2GB RAM, 1.4GB was available when no apps were running. All good with the performance, and that is unlike what one usually expects from Mediatek chipsets in devices that come with budget pricing.
The camera given on the back of the device is an 8-megapixel sensor, which is very decent and doesn’t just boast the numbers. For a budget device at this price, having these two cameras – 8MP on back, 3MP on front is a good deal. The camera app as well is well modified with several options, but at times, they seem to be annoying. Read below for the options you get in the camera app.
The camera app has a plethora of options, including modes like Live Photo, Face Beauty, Panorama and under the effects, there are some common ones including Night, Sunset, Party, Portrait, Landscape, Night portrait, Theatre, Beach, Snow, Steady photo, Fireworks, Sports and Candle light.
Under the other options, the white balance, brightness, ISO (max. 1600) and self timer can be manually set. HDR mode and gesture functions are included as well.
HDR Mode Captures
Now, the capture quality. It is, in simple words, a very good capture quality for an 8MP camera. The high ISO sensitivity does help a little in low light captures, but they become grainy and the use of Dual LED flash comes handy, because it doesn’t throw the light unnaturally. The bright light captures were natural, with good color reproduction and the HDR mode was even better, except for making green more than what one would like it to be.
Low Light Captures
Video recording is decent as well, though the shakes were pretty much evident. Zooming into the object makes it worse, though the standard recording without much experimenting will not disappoint. The 3-megapixel front-facing camera is decent enough, and although there is a Face Beauty feature, it won’t help much in making the captures any better.
The 2500 mAh battery in the Iris X8 is something that doesn’t impress much, when we talk of heavy usage or gaming. The battery isn’t replaceable, and it does enough to help the phone last for about a day but you cannot expect much when you start using the 3G data network and browse the web. On active data network but screen not kept active for long, it still could give it about four hours of extra usage.
The device standby consumed some battery, though no background apps were running. The very reason that the battery isn’t stable always, sometimes gets you throughout the day with ease, and sometimes might want you to run for the charger. Average, is what we could conclude about the battery life of the Iris X8.
Other important points:
- The speaker on the back of the Iris X8 isn’t great with the output, and it is only decent with the quality. There is some distortion on heavy beat music, while the call on speaker seemed very good on quality.
- Call quality is very good, the other end received the call voice without background noise, which could have been disturbing enough without the secondary microphone.
- The gesture functions were smooth, except for sometimes when although there was a response, it was a wrong one, opening the app which we didn’t intend to open.
There are several competitors to the Lava Iris X8, in the given price range. Even more interesting, there would be a war of Qualcomm and Mediatek where it is more about how well the interface is optimized. The Iris X8 is brilliant with the performance, has a good camera on the back, and the overall build quality making it look more than just a budget phone. If you are someone looking for a great battery life, a good display, the Iris X8 isn’t the one you should be looking for. We felt the Xiaomi Redmi Note and Asus ZenFone 5 to have a better display, and the battery in Redmi Note is easily the winner, but as an overall package, the Lava Iris X8 is totally worth the price.