The Iris 450 Colour was launched in a segment which has become over-crowded with with the Tom, Dick and Harry's of the mobile world. It tries to differentiate itself from the crowd with a large 4.5-inch display we last saw on the Canvas Fun A74, and replaceable back-panels. Plus you get quite a lot of goodies inside the box for a very reasonable price. Is the Lava Iris 450 Colour the quintessential smartphone in the entry-level segment ? Let's have a look in our Full Review.
- Good Build Quality
- Larger Display, Wide Viewing Angles
- Replaceable Back-Panels
- Good Overall Performance
- Free Accessories
- No Autofocus, Useless Flash
- Display is a bit under-saturated
- Laggy Gameplay
- Speakerphone could've been louder
The Lava Iris 450 Colour runs on the MediaTek MT6572 chipset featuring a 1.3 GHz dual-core processor , Mali-400MP GPU with 512 MB RAM and a 4.5-inch FWVGA IPS display. There's 4 GB of internal storage out of which about 2.5 GB is available to the user. App and app-data are movable to the SD card but USB OTG is not supported.
This is a dual-SIM dual-standby phone and uses two full-size SIM card slots. You also have GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth and FM Radio. GPS works well, it is able to triangulate your location within seconds when outside. Connectivity options also include Bluetooth and USB Tethering as well as WiFi Hotspots.
There's a 5 MP fixed-focus camera at the back with a LED flash and a VGA front-facing camera. There are three capacitive buttons at the bottom of the display which are quite literally invisible until you tap on them, which I felt was a great addition, a lot less distracting.
Even with the same chipset, we have seen quite a huge difference when it comes to benchmarks. The Iris 450 Colour topped a few benchmarks in scores:
- Antutu 11228
- Quadrant 4235
- Vellamo HTML5 1705
- Vellamo Metal 513
- NenaMark 2 40 FPS
The Iris 450 Colour has GPS with aGPS and EPO support. It triangulates location quickly especially when you are outside. But you do need a working data connection to get triangulate location faster.
You just have the regular sensors, an accelerometer, a proximity sensor and a light sensor on the phone. The Lava Iris 450 Colour comes with a large 1800 mAh battery which gives it more than a day's usage with mixed usage.
We got the white color for you which has a glossy backpanel. In the front you have the bright 4.5-inch display, which is covered in a hardened plastic sheet with the proximity and light sensors right up top with the main earpiece and VGA front-camera. There are three capacitive buttons just below the display, which don't show up until tapped. The top and bottom bezels could have bit thinner, like the side bezels which are quite thin.
The volume rocker can be found on the left and is a bit mushy and wobbly, same goes for the power button on the right. The rest of the build is quite solid, especially the back-panel which is removable. You get a turquoise back panel free within the box which makes a striking contrast with the white front and sides.
The sides and back have a triangular edge which fits perfectly in your palm without digging into them. If you look at the back the phone has a wedge shaped design with the middle being the thickest while the top and bottom are the phone's thinnest parts. Again adding to the overall usability of the phone.
The 3.5 mm audio jack and the microUSB data-syncing/charging port are at the top while at the bottom you have a space to open the back-cover.
Moving to the back you have the 5 MP FF camera alongwith the LED flash light up top inside a black oval which is again very well made and designed. Then you have an engraved Lava logo as well as the Iris 450 branding with the speakerphone just below it.
Inside you find two full size SIM card slots, where 1st SIM card slot accepts 3G SIM cards, while the 2nd one is your regular 2G slot. MicroSD card slot is in the middle which accepts upto a maximum of 32 GB storage. You have the battery compartment just below the SIM card slots.
There is no flex or creaking anywhere on the device. The backcover fits in great giving rigidity to the device making it feel good to hold in the hand. The volume rocker and power button too are placed just right for single-handed use.
You get a free turquoise back-panel within the box which provides a stark contrast to the white colored phone. You also get a free magnetic flip-cover within the box, but it needs to be stuck on the back-cover. So you can use the white one with the white flip-cover.
Both the covers are excellent in quality, the free back-panel has a matte finish which is always welcome.
You can have a look at what we get inside the box in our Unboxing of the Iris 450.
There's a 4.5-inch FWVGA IPS display on the Iris 450 Colour which has good viewing angles. But it is a bit washed out. Color reproduction is generally accurate but still seems under-saturated. Sunlight visibility is a bit low.
The touch-response is quite good, there is no ghosting or freezing even during gaming.
Network & Call Quality
We didn't have any issues with network on the Iris 450 Colour. Cellular Network and WiFi reception is good. The speakerphone could have been a bit louder on calls, but the earpiece is loud and clear. Voice quality is acceptable.
In the dialer you have an automatic call-recorder, which if enabled will record the entire conversation and save it to the default write disk. You can stop the recording at any time through the menu option during a call. You also get access to the Note app from the dialer interface, there is a round dial on the left, if you drag it left you get into the notes app and you can quickly jot down a number or address. Very handy.
You have 3G Video calling, WiFi Hotspots, Bluetooth and USB Tethering available on the phone as well. This is a dual-SIM phone and you can use 3G network on SIM 1.
There's a 5 MP fixed-focus camera at the back with LED flash as well as a VGA front-facing camera. The flash is quite useless for night shots but can be used more as a torch.
The camera interface is same as any other MediaTek based smartphone, you do have HDR mode which is a bit better than normal mode where images turn out over-saturated.
Since there is no auto-focus or touch-focus, near shots turn out to be blurry and even with the littlest movement of you hand distant shots fare no well. Even the videos turn out quite blurry.
Here are some of the image samples taken with the camera of the Lava Iris 450 Colour, you can see more at our Google+ page.
720p Video Sample of the Iris 450 Colour recorded at 21 FPS, maximum resolution supported.
The speakerphone is clear but it could have been a bit louder. There is no added distortion and it doesn't get muffled due to the wedge shaped design.
It doesn't crackle at full volume.
Music Playback & Bundled Headset
There a no issues with music playback, high-bitrate content plays well. You can jump through, skip tracks or let music play in the background without any hiccups.
Audio quality from the headphone-jack is average as is with the MT6572 chipset. The good thing here is that there is no added distortion, sound is generally a bit tinny from both the speakerphone and the headphone jack. You can however, get a better headset since the bundled ones are just good for attending calls.
There is an inbuilt equalizer which does help a bit with sound quality.
720p HD videos play smooth in the default video player or through the gallery. By default MP4, 3GP, MKV, AVI and several other formats are supported but you can always install MXPlayer or VLC for Android to play almost any video formats out there.
There are three motion gestures available on the Lava Iris 450 Colour which are actually add value.
- Turn to silence: As the name suggests you turn the phone to make the ringer or alarm silent.
- Smart answer: If you put the phone close to your ear when getting a call it will automatically be answered.
- Answer by swing: Shake the phone a bit to answer a call.
The first two work well, but the swing part is a bit janky.
Software & Apps
There is not much customization on the Iris 450 Colour, it runs an almost stock build of Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean which is now becoming quite old. It also uses a stock launcher, so no sorting apps there. But being stock it runs quite well, there is no lag in the UI.
You have lockscreen notifications for missed calls and messages alongwith total number of such notifications displayed on the top of icons at the homescreen. Since the Iris 450 is running Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean you also get lockscreen widgets and the ability to launch the camera and at the same time unlocking the phone by swiping from the right. You can also open your messages, dialer and also the camera again by long tapping on the lock icon and dragging it to the app you want to open. But its not customizable, you can only choose from the above options.
In display settings you have two customization options. You can change the Scene of the phone, which essentially means having two separate work spaces on your phone. One for home where you can have your child's wallpaper, Facebook and Twitter widgets while on the other you can have your work apps, a gloomy wallpaper and any other work-related stuff. Although in theory it should work great, but sadly, it doesn't. Everything is reset to default when you switch to a different scene. However, you can change the accent color of the interface from default blue to mint, mocha or raspberry.
All the apps we tried worked fine including Facebook, WhatsApp as well as all major Google apps including YouTube.
We tested web-browsing with Chrome on the Iris 450 Colour and found that performance is a bit sluggish. Pinch-to-zoom too is jerky and so is scrolling with heavy websites. But there are no major hiccups with less image heavy websites.
Apart from the regular options including pattern, pin and password you also get Voice Unlock and Face Unlock. Both work well and default to pin or password set by you. You also have Android Device Manager to locate, ring and lock your lost phone.
Gaming is a bit laggy on the Iris 450 Colour. Framerate is inconsistent, leading to jerky gameplay. MC4 and Real Racing 3 didn't even want to start on the Iris 450, it could be due to a very conservative RAM management policy, which might be good for Apps but not necessarily good for games.
In general, with high-end games and some basic ones as well framerate is low.
Performance & Battery-life
General performance is smooth, there is no lag in the interface. Apps open up quickly, but too many open apps do degrade performance.
You can see in our Benchmarking review that the Iris 450 scored quite well even beating the likes of the XOLO A510s which comes with 1 GB RAM. But web-browsing as I said earlier is sluggish and so is gameplay.
You can easily get a day's worth of battery-life with moderate usage and quite a bit more without gaming or videos. The 1800 mAh battery is quite large for a phone in this segment and considering its powering a dual-core processor, good battery-life was a given.
The Iris 450 Colour entered into a overcrowded segment with some advantage including a larger display and battery. Then you also get a lot of free accessories in the box including a screenguard, a free flip-cover and an extra back-panel. All this for about Rs. 7500 with good build quality to boot.
The Iris 450 Colour may not change the scene in this segment but its better than average in every aspect other than gaming. Its certainly worth a second look if you are fishing for an Android smartphone on a budget.