Lava Iris 402 features a 4-inch display, with a dual-core processor but a measly 256MB RAM. We were quite impressed with the build quality of the device when we unboxed it. The phone has good build quality, but is the 256MB RAM too less for gaming or even general usage? Is a dual-core processor a boon or a bane? Read the full review of the Lava Iris 402 to find out.
- Good Build Quality
- Decent Display
- 256MB RAM is not enough
- Apps/Games close without any reason
- Phone becomes sluggish after using it for some time
- Music Playback is also not upto the mark
- 720p videos stutter
The Lava Iris 402 has a 4-inch WVGA (800 x 480 pixels) display and is powered by a 1.3 GHZ dual-core MediaTek MT6572 chipset alongwith 256MB RAM. There are 3 capacitive buttons at the bottom of the display alongwith the primary microphone. There's also the main earpiece and the VGA front-facing camera at the top of the display as well, along with the proximity sensor.
At the top of the Iris 402 you have the micro USB data and charging port, as well as the 3.5mm headphone jack. On the left you have a very sturdy volume rocker and the power button on the right, both of which don't make any clicking noises and provide decent feedback. There's a 3MP primary camera, while the front-facing camera is adequate for video chatting. If you open the backcover, you are greeted to two full-size SIM card slots and a micro SD card slot as well. Then there's the battery compartment which houses the 1500 mAh battery.
There are three sensors available in the Iris 402:
- 3-axis Accelerometer
- Proximity Sensor
- Light Sensor (disabled)
The 256MB RAM of the device is quite low for playing games and even apps close out of the blue for no specific reason.
The build quality is better than what we expected with the Lava Iris 402. The front facia is covered with glass, and there is a silver trim which runs along the entire device on its sides. The phone looks quite good. The backcover too is quite solid, and there is no flexing even on application of pressure. The volume and power button are very sturdy and don't make any creaking noise.
The camera as well as the display is protected from scratches. The display has a beveled outline which protects it and the camera too has a metallic enclosure that saves it from scratches. The Iris 402 feels solid in the hand, is quite light and the slightly textured backcover helps in gripping it as well. The size is perfect for a phone with a 4-inch display.
Network and Call Quality
The dialer is stock as well as the call log screen, in-fact there is very little customization done by Lava on the Iris 402. Talking about Network, the phone was able to keep network on both SIM cards during general usage but we did see the network drop a few times. We had one dropped call, but this was a one-off issue and we didn't face it again. The earpiece is quite clear as well as the main microphone. There were no issues with call quality, both parties were able to hear each other clearly.
3G speeds too are acceptable given that the network here in India is still in its infancy and moving between cell towers does degrade performance quite a bit. GPS too works fine when you are outdoors under the clear sky, and the phone easily locks onto your location in a matter of seconds.
As we've already said that the display is quite sharp but has poor viewing angles and generally seems to favor the blue color a little bit. Then there's the touch response which is both a hit and a miss most of the time. Generally single taps do work fine, but long touch misses the beat a few times in our review. Even while gaming the laggy touch response can create a nuisance.
Camera and the LED flash
The camera on the Lava Iris 402 is nothing to write home about, the 3-megapixel unit is capable of shooting 720p videos at a measly 10 FPS. The image quality is acceptable if you have decent lighting although colors seem a bit faded and photos seem fuzzy due to over-processing going on in the background which is why images are taken a short while later after tapping the shutter button.
If you want to take a picture with the Iris 402, just wait till you hear the shutter sound and stay on the object or you'll end up taking close-up shots of your feet. But things get bad really fast when you move indoors, low light photography is abysmal but I think we shouldn't expect much from a 3MP sensor on a Rs. 5000 device.
The LED flash is laughable, it literally does nothing until you are in absolute dark and I mean absolute dark without a ray of light and then too due to the poor image sensor you get an image that's just noise with very little of the subject thrown in just to make sure its not all black.
The only redeeming quality of the speakerphone is that its loud, other than that it produces a very tinny sound, expecting any hint of bass from it would be expecting Shyamalan to finally make a hit.
Overall too the music output from the Iris 402 in terms of quality is quite poor, and we can't say that you get what you pay for as even lower-end models from Micromax, the Samsung Galaxy Star and Nokia 501 have way better sound quality.
Gaming on the Iris 402 is extremely horrendous, and yes the adjective is justified. If you think a dual-core processor, coupled with a capable Mali 400 GPU would be able to play basic games like Temple Run without a hitch, you would be absolutely wrong. Whether its Temple Run, Temple Run 2, Subway Surfers or Fruit Ninja the Iris 402 simply can't play them at acceptable frame rates.
But yes, we were able to find some games on the Play Store that run on the device, including NinJump, Raging Thunder, Angry Birds among a few others. This is not what we had in mind while doing the benchmarks of the Iris 402, where the phone got good scores in both AnTuTu and Quadrant, which just goes to show that raw benchmark scores can be the scale to measure real-world performance.
Music and Bundled Earphones
This section usually starts with me saying that the bundled earphones are bad and that you should get good ones if you want to listen to music. Well that's partly true for the Iris 402, see the bundled headset are really bad but even if you get good quality headsets they sound awful too. The reason is the Iris 402 has a crappy DAC, which cannot differentiate between low and mid frequencies, resulting in muddled audio and you don't have to be an Audiophile to understand something ain't right.
FM Radio reception is quite clear and you also have the option to record via FM, along with RDS to display channel information.
Video playback is acceptable, the phone can play 720p videos without much of a stutter. Although occasionally we did see a drop in framerate and audio syncing issues with high bitrate videos. Streaming videos also work fine with no issues playing HQ YouTube videos which run on the native 480p resolution.
Software & Apps
On the software front just like almost every other Indian smartphone manufacturer, the Iris 402 too runs almost stock Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. There is some customization in the form of a gaudy wallpaper as the app drawer's background, option to uninstall or hide apps directly from within the app drawer as well.
You also have Mint, Mocha and Raspberry themes in display options using which you can change the default layout colors. Lava has made OTA updates option available on the Iris 402, which we already know they have the infrastructure for as XOLO phones have received various OTA updates over time.
You also get lockscreen notifications, as well as notifications on the Message and Phone icons in the Launcher dock. Google Now does work on the phone, but for some reason voice replies get cut off in between. Its quite strange, but voice search works fine.
It comes with very few apps installed which is a good thing since the Iris 402 only has 165MB of internal memory available to the user, nevertheless you can move apps to the SD card. Talking about browsing performance, the phone comes loaded with Opera Mini web browser as well as the default Android web browser. We tested the default Android web browser which provided consistent performance through our tests, where large websites with many images too loaded without issue. But sometimes the browser too closed just like it did with every other app when used for a long time.
Apps/games seem to close themselves out of nowhere when you are in the middle of using them. This was not an occasional occurrence, this happened very frequently. Apps like Flipboard, WhatsApp, Facebook and Skype all work on the Iris 402, apart from the fact that apps do close themselves out of low memory, a poor garbage collection policy or a possible ROM issue. Just to be clear, apps don't force close or stop responding, they just close/disappear and you'd have to open them again.
There are no new options for security, just the general ones where you can choose a Pattern, Pin or Password to lock your screen. The option to encrypt your SD card is missing from the Iris 402, but let's face it nobody uses that other than a paranoid few.
Performance and Battery Life
Real world performance of the Iris 402 is not upto the mark, the phone becomes sluggish after prolonged use, apps close themselves and the touch response too seems to waiver over time. The phone sometimes gets painfully slow, when even opening an app seems like a tiresome job for the dual-core processor. Although the benchmark scores didn't prepare us for this, we hoped the Iris 402 would perform much better than what it does.
Gaming as we've already said was almost impossible on the phone, and if you are planning to buy this phone for playing games don't buy it. Battery life is decent with more than a day's worth on regular usage and about a day of heavy usage. Our regular day parameter consists of voice calls for about 1 hour, 1-2 hours of web browsing on Wi-Fi, watching videos and listening to music for about an hour, gaming for about 30 - 40 mins, and using other miscellaneous apps for about an hour or so, all the while screen brightness turned to about 30% or more if required and sync on 2G data always on with Google, Facebook and WhatsApp accounts.
Our final verdict on the Lava Iris 402 is a incontrovertible "DONT BUY". Yes, the phone ticks a variety of points on our parameters, good build quality-check, decent display-check, good battery life and performance-double check, 3G and GPS-double check again, but misses out on the most important factor, usability. The Iris 402 becomes quite unusable when you can't even go to your app drawer and open your Mail app to check new messages, or the app you are currently using just closes midway when you are sending or reading an important message or when just about anything you are doing on the phone stops responding, not once nor twice but more often than not.
That's where Lava gets it wrong, 3G, GPS, dual-core processor are all great features which if available within a Rs. 5000 price range are awesome but that doesn't mean you should compromise on usability. What's the use of a dual-core processor when it can't run a single app for prolonged use, or a finicky touch screen which is never sure whether its being touched? 256MB RAM doesn't cut it anymore, especially on a dual-core device running Android 4.2.2, if the Iris 402 would have had 512MB RAM and a higher price point or a single core processor with 512 MB RAM at the same price point it would have been a sure winner. Alas! Its not, what we get here is a wannabe device which promises everything and delivers nothing. Its a two thumbs down and a don't ever think about buying this phone recommendation for the Lava Iris 402.