"The Iris Pro 20 looks stylish, but remains a notch lower than its sibling, the Iris Pro 30"
The Lava Iris Pro 20 marks the expansion of domestic brand’s premium ‘Pro’ series after the debut of Iris Pro 30 a couple of months ago. Priced slightly below the Iris Pro 30, the new device looks strikingly similar to its elder sibling. Not just the design, the hardware under the hood is also the same. This means that the brand is again playing on the design aspect of the Iris Pro 20 to market it. But as they say, good looks are only half the story. Here’s how the smartphone fares in daily usage.
|Short on time? Take a visual tour of Lava Iris Pro 20 review in pictures|
In our review of the Lava Iris Pro 30, we regarded it as a device that should be considered as a design benchmark for Indian vendors while designing their offerings. With the Iris Pro 20, the brand takes it a notch above, though you won’t be able to discern any differences between the two from the front. The fascia is mainly dominated by the display with an array of keys below it and sensors above. The capacitive keys towards the bottom light up only when clicked upon and help in navigation with the menu, home and back options.
The edges of the smartphone have a metallic finish. The left side is completely bereft of any elements and the right side houses a power button and a volume rocker. The standard 3.5mm audio slot can be found on the top, and a microUSB port for charging and data transfers is available on the bottom.
Turn the device around, and you’ll see why we liked it more than the Iris Pro 30. Though it might be a matter of personal taste, but the royal blue colour of the rear panel definitely gives it a distinct look in contrast to the plain Jane grey rear cover of its sibling. The back has a smooth finish and is home to the camera with a dual LED flash, along with the secondary microphone and a speaker mesh. However, the downside of the smooth finish is that it makes the Iris Pro 20 slippery within just minutes of usage, and attracts fingerprints like moths to a flame. Prying the cover open, you’ll find a non-removable battery and slots for a regular SIM and a micro-SIM card along with a microSD slot. The micro-SIM and microSD card slots seem flimsy, and you will have to fiddle around for inserting the cards. Just like the Iris Pro 30, the back cover of the handset is extremely thin and flexible too.
Taking the crown of lightest smartphone in its category from its brother, the Iris Pro 20 weighs just 112g. The slimness of 7.7mm also adds to its looks. The device nestles into the hand perfectly, and its size is apt for not just single-hand usage but comfortable typing as well.
The company has also bundled a screen guard for protection of the display along with a flip cover. Unlike the usual flip covers which replace the back cover, this needs to be glued on the rear panel itself. However, this implementation is somewhat tacky since it not only spoils the distinction offered by the blue back panel, but is also difficult to remove afterwards.
Similar to the Iris Pro 30, the Pro 20 also bears a 4.7-inch display, albeit with a lower resolution of 540 x 960 pixels in contrast to the 720p resolution offered by its sibling. This is one of the very few differences between these two devices which are similar in most other aspects. But the lower resolution doesn’t mean that the display is bad in any way. It outputs bright and vivid colours with good viewing angles. The display is also legible outdoors, though you might have to max up the brightness. The thinness of the smartphone is also due the fact that the screen uses OGS technology, minimising the space between the touchscreen and display. There’s also a layer of Corning’s Gorilla Glass to ensure that the display can handle minor scratches.
The touch response of the device is also good and it can recognise multi-touch (five fingers at any point of time) input.
The smartphone features an 8-megapixel camera at the back, complemented by a dual LED flash to help shoot in low-light conditions. This configuration is the same as the Iris Pro 30. The camera captured accurate colours, though image quality isn’t extremely impressive. The camera app has a stock interface offering features like panorama, multi-angle view, and HDR mode along with best shot and smile detection options.
The rear camera is capable of recording videos in HD resolution. For Skyping and sefies, the device comes equipped with a VGA camera at the front. This is another difference between the Lava Iris Pro 20 and 30 since the latter gets a 2-megapixel front-facing camera.
Click on the following samples to get a drift of the Iris Pro 20's camera:
The Lava Iris Pro 20 runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean without any major changes in the interface department. You’d get the stock Android home screen and app launcher along with the Google’s suite of apps. One useful addition is the graph displaying memory, CPU, battery and network strength in the notification drawer, which was also found in its brother. The device also comes with apps such as Lava Care listing the service centers in various cities and Office Suite for viewing documents. Additionally, there are some useful call-related features such as Flip to Mute, Smart Answer and Direct Call.
In the hardware department, the smartphone is a replica of its elder brother. Inside the chassis is a 1.2GHz MediaTek MT6589 quad-core processor coupled with a PowerVR SGX544 GPU. This combination is paired with a 1GB of RAM. The device handles most tasks fairly well, be it navigating the menus or browsing the web. Even basic games like Angry Birds and Cut the Rope run brilliantly, but graphic-intensive games like Riptide GP2 are a different story altogether. There were frequent slowdowns while playing such titles, marring the gaming experience. Many a times, the app or game didn’t run at all. On a positive side, the mobile doesn’t heat up after constant usage, as compared to most of the smartphones these days.
In terms of memory, it’s equipped with a paltry 4GB of onboard storage. Most of it is utilised by the OS, leaving only 1.48GB space for installing apps and around 0.90GB for user files. This means that you can forget playing games like Asphalt 8 and GT Racing 2 on the device since they have considerable download sizes. You also have to install apps judiciously since too many apps will fill the storage quickly. Thankfully, you can supplement the storage by addition of a microSD card of up to 32GB, which can be used to store images and multimedia files. Additionally, you can make use of OTG capabilities to plug in a USB drive to the device and access its contents.
For connectivity, the Lava Iris Pro 20 offers most of the options including 2G / 3G (on both the SIM cards), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS.
The device sips power from the sealed 2,000mAh Li-Po battery which should be enough to get you through a day. In our regular usage, we got a backup of more than a day before we had to hunt for the charger, although heavy usage of 3G and GPS drains the battery like anything. During our battery rundown test, the Iris Pro 20 gave pretty good results by playing back a 720p video on a loop for eight hours. Like most of the devices these days, the handset comes with a battery-saving mode which comes into play whenever the battery drops below a certain percentage and shuts down non-core features.
The Iris Pro 20 is also a good device for multimedia addicts thanks to its loud speakers. However, don’t expect them to deliver great sound quality.
With the Lava Iris Pro 20, the brand is again staking a claim in the sub-Rs 15,000 segment offering a great design and decent specs. Though it seems to be very similar to the Iris Pro 30, there are some areas where the brand has made changes to price it lower at around Rs 13,999.
However, the Iris Pro 20 is not really a compelling option against the device that is reigning in this category. No prizes for guessing its biggest competitor – the Moto G, which has shaken up the segment by offering an unparalleled combination of hardware and the latest Android version packed inside a robust body. Comparing the two devices, the Iris Pro 20 only gets a better camera (in megapixel count, not necessarily in quality) and a slightly larger screen (4.7-inch vs 4.5-inch). But when it comes to an all-round package, it’s difficult to recommend the Lava Iris Pro 20.
Editor’s rating: 7 / 10
|Dimensions||138 x 67.5 x 7.7mm|
|Display resolution||960 x 540 pixels, 234 ppi|
|Primary camera||8-megapixel with dual-LED flash|
|Secondary camera||VGA camera|
|External memory||up to 32GB via microSD card|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and GPS|
|Operating system||Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean|