The smartphone market in India has matured considerably over the past two years. Earlier most smartphones in the sub Rs 12,000 price-range were exclusively plastic devices with HD displays, and running pretty old versions of the Android OS.
In India, every manufacturer is targeting this band if you go by the recent launches. Micromax and YU launched three smartphones in this price-range: Canvas 6, Canvas 6 Pro, and Yu Yunicorn.
Now Lava has introduced the Lava X81 smartphone with Android Marshmallow OS at a price of Rs 11,500. So is the Lava X81 a worthy contender in this list of smartphones within this price band? Here’s our review.
Specs: 5-inch HD display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 | MediaTek MT6735 quad-core processor (64-bit) at 1.3 Ghz | 3GB RAM+ 16GB ROM (expandable to 64GB) | 13 mp rear camera +5 MP front camera 2700 mAh battery | Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Price: Rs 11,500
With the Lava X81, the company improves on the design part, even if this smartphone doesn’t come with a metal unibody design. The metal finish on the back, the drilled speakers at the bottom, camera on the right corner which doesn’t jut out from the rest of the body; the Lava X81 looks like a compact device at first glance.
Sure it’s not quite in the range of some of the latest phones from Chinese players, but the 5-inch screen size means it is more suited to those who don’t care for big screens. It fits easily in your hand or jeans pocket, and using it with one-hand is not a problem.
So what’s good?
The compact design of the Lava X81 is appealing. The black and grey version of the smartphone looks stylish. The 5-inch HD display behind the 2.5D glass works well, although at this price HD seems underwhelming.
The 3GB RAM and MediaTek processor ensure the Lava X81 is more than capable of handling your daily tasks. Browsing the web, watching videos, even gaming should not be a problem on this device. Graphics heavy games like Asphalt 8 ran smoothly on the device.
Lava X81 runs Android 6.0, which is good. Not too many Indian smartphone manufacturers are known to sell phones with the latest version of the Android OS. Android 6.0 features like Google Now on Tap, Doze Mode, Permissions are all active on the smartphone, which is again a plus point.
What’s not so good?
Honestly for this price band, the camera is just unimpressive. The 13 mp camera doesn’t take pictures which are particularly detailed or sharp, and the selfie camera is likewise. On the camera front, Lava continues to struggle.
The battery is the other weak bit in the smartphone. In our tests, it lasted only six hours, which is again not a good sign, considering there are options with full-day battery available in the same price-range.
Also Lava X81 takes forever to charge; at one point it seems like eternity had passed as the phone moved from 13 to 14 per cent charge.
I’d also suggest getting a screen guard for this device as I noted some deep scratch marks on the display appear in just two days.
Should you buy?
Lava X81 has Android M, a decent design and is definitely more compact than some of the competition in the price range. But camera and battery, both of which matter significantly for users, are a serious letdown in this smartphone.
If the Lava X81 were priced around Rs 8,000 or under, it would be a good phone in the category. However, at Rs 11,500, the X81 seems overpriced.