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Lava V5 unboxing and first impressions: a solid effort that bets big on photography

|January 28 2016 |Android Phones, Android, First impressions, Lava

“While the V5 comes across as a solid effort from the brand, it faces an uphill task against formidable options”

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In the past few months, Indian smartphone brands have been quiet on the flagship front. Barring Micromax, most companies have been unable to counter the attack from new-age brands, with many of them being of Chinese origin. Homegrown brand Lava, in order to change this situation, has taken the covers off its latest flagship device dubbed the V5. Priced at Rs 11,499, the smartphone is a successor to the Pixel V2 and is betting big on the photography experience.

While only time will tell whether the Lava V5 can take on the competition, let’s check the box contents of its retail packaging along with a sneak peek at its capabilities.

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The Lava V5 comes in a neatly-packaged box with a cardboard sleeve around it, featuring the device's image up front along with its key features. Removing it brings up the actual retail pack, opening which reveals the smartphone itself. Underneath the tray holding it, you’ll find usual set of accessories – a wall charger, a micro-USB cable and a micro-USB cable. There’s also some documentation as well as a screen protector.

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Just like the Lava Pixel V2, the V5 falls into phablet category with a 5.5-inch display. With such a large display, the smartphone just manages to fit in our hand, however you’d need to use both your hands for most actions. The good part however, is the fact that the manufacturer has ensured that it remains slim with its frame measuring 8.3mm.

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Up front, you’ll find an earpiece, a front-facing shooter, a front flash and a few sensors above the display, and a row of capacitive keys below. The handset is crafted out of plastic, however the metallic rim along its edges lends it a premium feel. Towards the right, there’s power button as well as volume rocker, while the 3.5mm audio socket is available up top. 

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The rear panel is removable and features a smooth finish. Sadly, the cover attracts smudges, which is accentuated by its white colour. It also becomes slippery after a few minutes of usage. Removing the back plate exposes the user-replaceable battery, a pair of micro-SIM slots and a micro-SD card slot.

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The 5.5-inch display on the Lava V5 is a 720p affair, resulting in crisp pixel density of 267ppi. While the phone’s display isn’t as sharp as its counterparts which boast full HD resolutions, its decent and offers vivid colours too. A layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protects the display against scratches and minor knocks.

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Ticking inside the Lava V5 is a 1.3GHz processor from MediaTek with four 64-bit cores running at 1.3GHz. The SoC is coupled with beefy 3-gigs of RAM. During our brief usage time, the device seemed to breeze through most tasks, though its actual potential can only be tested once we review it properly. For storage, the V5 sports a 16GB built-in memory, which offers approximately 10GB to the end user. It can also be extended further with the use of a microSD card up to 32GB.

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Lava has made tall claims about the camera performance of the V5, and while we’d like to spend more time with the handset to put that to test, its hardware specs are surely impressive. The company has relied on Samsung’s 13-meg ISOCELL 3M2 sensor for the primary snapper of the device, which is supplemented by dual-LED flash. For locking focus on the subject quickly, the camera features phase detection autofocus. For selfies, the smartphone offers an 8MP camera at the front. Not only the hardware, the brand has also put efforts in the image processing department with features like Beauty-Fi and Night Pro.

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Following the cues of Chinese brands, the company has also made strides is offering its own customised interface, running atop Android OS. It introduced Star OS almost a year back with the Lava Icon (first impressions), and the V5 comes with v2.0 layered on top of 5.1 Lollipop. The UI features colourful icons and supports gestures. While there are pre-defined gestures that can be used when the device is asleep, you can also set new gestures that can initiate a particular action, when you draw them on the gesture panel by swiping from the top left. While the interface is nice, it’s filled with bloatware. There are dozens of demo games such as Modern Combat and Danger Dash, as well as apps such as Amazon, BookMyShow, OLX, Saavn, etc. Thankfully, these titles can be uninstalled.

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The Lava V5 sips juice from a 3,000mAh battery, and you can extend the usage by activating power saver or super power saver modes. The phone supports 4G on the primary support, and will also be compatible with Jio’s VoLTE networks, via a software upgrade. Other connectivity options include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS.

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The V5 comes across as a solid effort from the brand to become relevant again. It has also taken the right approach by focussing on the imaging capabilities. However, at Rs 11,499, it seems a tad pricey, especially when compared against the likes of the Lenovo K4 Note (first impressions) and LeEco Le 1s (review), both of which offer full HD display, with the latter featuring a powerful CPU too. However, what sets it apart from the competition is its wide availability across online and offline channels.



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