Lava pixel V1 first impressions

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NEW DELHI: When Google announced its Android One initiative last year, it was expected to be a game-changer that would democratize the smartphone market. However, the programme failed to take off as the likes of Motorola, Xiaomi and Micromax offered handsets with similar or better features at approximately the same price.

Now, Google is giving Android One a reboot in the country, with Lava launching the first of these smartphones. We go hands-on with the new Lava pixel V1 Android One phone, which is priced at Rs 11,349 and exclusively available on Flipkart, to see where it stands in the ultra-competitive segment…

Design
The first thing you will notice about Lava’s first Android One smartphone is the increase in screen size: while the first-generation Android One models have 4.5-inch displays, the new model sports a much-bigger 5.5-inch screen. The display of Lava pixel V1 sports HD (720p) resolution, is protected by Asahi Dragon Trail Glass, and is surrounded by thin bezels.

The build of Lava pixel V1 is predominantly plastic, with only the frame around the sides, the Volume and Power buttons and the ring around the camera made of metal. The back panel sports metallic finish, but is actually made of plastic.

Click here for full specs of Lava pixel V1

Lava pixel V1 features rounded edges that make it easy to handle, while its metallic frame give it a solid feel. The smartphone comes without any hardware capacitive keys for navigation. The front panel also features an 8MP camera along with the usual sensor array and speaker grille.

The metallic keys for volume control and power are located at the right edge and offer good tactile feedback. The 3.5mm headset and micro-USB port jack sit at the top.

The metallic-finish plastic back cover sports the Lava logo in the middle and Android One branding at the bottom. The back also has the protruding 13MP rear camera on the left corner and the and loudspeaker grille just below the Android One logo.

The back cover hides two micro-sim slots (one mini-sim and the other micro-sim), a microSD card and a removable 2,560Ah battery.

Display
The display offers good viewing angles and the colours tend to be on the warmer side and the white balance is very much off the mark and has a pinkinsh tinge to it. Though the display panel is quite reflective, Lava pixel V1 manages to deliver decent sunlight legibility at full brightness. However, we found the screen to be a little prone to smudges.

Hardware and software
In terms of hardware, Lava pixel V1 smartphone packs a 1.3GHz quad-core Mediatek MT6582 processor, which was launched in 2013. This is a pretty old chipset compared to the 2014- and 2015-processors offered by Lenovo, Xiaomi and other main rivals.

The chipset is backed by 2GB RAM and 32GB of internal storage, of which over 25GB is available to users. For additional storage, users can slip in microSD cards of up to 32GB capacity.

The new Android One smartphone is powered by a 2,600mAh battery that should last about one day, though we have not had sufficient time to use the handset in order to verify this expectation.

At a time when India is at the cusp of 4G proliferation, Lava pixel V1 is limited to 3G networks. This may be a deal-breaker for many, considering most of its rivals support India’s 4G bands.

Software
Like the Android One phones before it, the new Lava pixel V1 runs on stock Android 5.1 (Lollipop) software. However, it comes with two pre-loaded apps — Flipkart and Myntra — that cannot be uninstalled.

While we did not experience any lag, stutter or heating issues in our brief use, we’ll have a detailed review of the phone’s performance very soon.

Camera
Lava pixel V1 comes with a 13MP rear camera and (f2.0 aperture, capable of 1080p video capture) with LED flash and a 8MP front camera (f2.4 aperture and 4P lens)

In our short time with the phone, we did not observe any shutter lag and found that the camera takes decent pictures even in low light. We’ll have a detailed look at the camera in our full review.

The competition
At Rs 11,349, Lava pixel V1 rivals Lenovo K3 Note, Asus Zenfone 2 and Xiaomi Mi 4i; the upcoming Moto G (Gen 3) is also expected to cost approximately the same. We’ll have a detailed review of the latest Android One phone soon to find out if it has the potential to become the undisputed leader of the budget segment and a better buy than the competition.

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