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Lava Iris Fuel 60 unboxing and first impressions: an affordable phone that aims to go on and on

|December 16 2014 |Android Phones, Android, First impressions, Lava, Unboxing

“With a 4,000mAh battery, the Iris Fuel 60 aims to be your long-lasting companion”

The smartphone industry seems to be going in two opposite directions. While on one hand, we are seeing wafer-thin smartphones such as the vivo X5Max (first impressions), Oppo R5 (first impressions) which compromise on battery life to achieve their slim construction, and at the same time, we have devices like the Gionee Marathon M3 (first impressions) which focus on the battery life. Indian smartphone maker Lava is also aiming to focus on the latter segment with its Iris Fuel series.

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At the launch event in New Delhi today, the company took the curtains off of the second offering in this series, the Iris Fuel 60. We were able to play with it for a while and here’s a look at its box contents along with the hands-on experience.

The Lava Iris Fuel 60 comes enclosed in a flat rectangular box which is quite thin. Opening the box reveals the phone itself. Below the tray holding the smartphone, the contents are neatly packed in different boxes. In terms of accessories, you will get the usual ones which include a charging adapter, a micro-USB cable and a pair of earphones.

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For the protection of the display, consumers will also get a screen protector. A flip cover with window at the front is also bundled, and can be used with the handset by replacing the back panel.

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Bulky and thick as a brick… that’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you pick the device for the first time. However, as we said earlier, these design elements help the phone to house a massive battery, so we aren’t complaining. Add to it the fact that the device gives a reassuring feel in the hand. The Lava Iris Fuel 60 features rounded corners and edges, nestling in the palms ergonomically.

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The display panel is the centrepiece at the front, and is surrounded by noticeable amount of bezel. Above the display, you’ll find an earpiece, a front snapper and a couple of sensors, whereas backlit capacitive keys are available below.

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The right spine is home to the power button and volume keys, whereas both the 3.5mm socket and micro-USB port are available up top, leaving left and bottom completely bereft of any element.

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The rear panel sports a rubberised finish offering good grip and sports the primary shooter along with an LED flash. Along with the branding, a speaker grille is also available at the back of the Iris Fuel 60. Hidden beneath the removable back cover is a sealed battery unit, a pair of SIM card slots and a microSD card slot.

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The 5-inch display on the Lava Iris Fuel 60 gets Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3 for safeguarding against scratches and knocks. With its HD resolution, the display might not be the best out there, but it’s quite sharp and reproduces good colours. However, we felt that it was slightly reflective.

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Powering the Lava Iris Fuel 60 is the trusted MediaTek MT6582 quad-core chipset running at 1.3GHz. The processor is paired with a gigabyte of RAM. In our brief usage, the smartphone ran well and there were no lags. However, we are unsure if the processing combination can handle heavy games well, such as Riptide GP2 and Asphalt 8. For storage purposes, the device offers 8GB flash memory, which is divided in two separate chunks. As we have said time and again, it’s really odd since the apps can be installed on one of the chunks only, which isn’t that much, while the other partition can be used for storing files. Though, users can expand the storage by sliding in a microSD card of up to 32GB or using their flash drives, since the phone supports USB OTG.

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The dual-SIM smartphone 3G connectivity, along with the usual options such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS. The Iris Fuel 50 also comes with MediaTek’s HotKnot technology, which works similar to NFC and allow two compatible phones to share content with each other instantly by a simple tap.

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The Lava Iris Fuel 60 comes with Android 4.4 KitKat in its stock form, which means that the interface is almost untouched with a few preinstalled apps such as OfficeSuite and WhatsApp. The handset also has support for several gesture-based actions such as going to the next image in the gallery or playing next song in the music player by waving your hand over the front camera.

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In the camera department, the Lava Iris Fuel 60 boasts a 10-megapixel autofocus camera at its back that’s supplemented by an LED flash. On the front, it has a 2MP fixed-focus shooter.

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Coming to the calling card of the Lava Iris Fuel 60, it is its massive 4,000mAh battery. The phone can't power up other devices, but the brand claims that the battery can help device offer an impressive 2G talktime of up to 32 hours. Though we weren't able to put it to test in such a short while, the device definitely seems like a long-lasting companion with this battery rating. Even though it has a beefy battery, it can charge quickly since the phone supports charging by higher amperage adapter.

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Lava has priced the Iris Fuel 60 affordably at Rs 8,888 and it’ll be available to buy starting December 25th. The smartphone does come off as an interesting proposition, and solves the actual consumer pain-point. However, it’ll be up against the likes of the ASUS Zenfone 5 (review) and Xiaomi Redmi Note (review | cheatsheet), which are more powerful. Intex’s recent launch, the Aqua Power (first impressions) is also equipped with a beefy 4,000mAh battery and draws power from an octa-core chipset, even though it’s priced slightly lower.

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