To take on the Chinese OEMs in the budget segment, domestic phonemaker Lava has introduced a new smartphone called Lava Blaze in India. The handset is part of the company’s #ProudlyIndian campaign and packs some interesting features such as a MediaTek Helio A22 chipset, a 5,000mAh battery, and triple rear cameras. The phone also touts a premium design with a glass finish at the back, a 100-day free screen replacement policy, and free service at home. Do these things make the Lava Blaze worth buying? Let’s find out in this review:
The Lava Blaze makes for a compelling device with its design, clean software, and battery life. However, for anyone looking for a powerful smartphone with a dependable camera setup in the budget segment, this is not the device to get.
- The Lava Blaze is among the most stylish phones I have seen in the budget segment so far. The handset comes with a glass sandwich design with a plastic mid-frame. The frame is chamfered and has a matte finish for a comfortable and solid grip. Another fringe benefit of the design is that it doesn’t attract fingerprints and smudges. While the phone has a good in-hand feel, I found its weight to be a bit on the higher side. The handset tips the scale at 196 grams.
- The Lava Blaze comes with a centred-fingerprint scanner around the back, which also has a rectangular camera module in the top left corner. The module houses triple sensors with an LED flash and the main camera’s specs etched on it. The volume rocker and power button are on the right edge of the phone, while the Type-C port is at the bottom edge along with a speaker grille and 3.5mm headphone jack. The SIM ejector tray, which has a dedicated slot for a microSD card, is on the left spine of the Lava Blaze.
- The handset sports a 6.5-inch display that bears HD+ resolution and a waterdrop notch atop for the selfie camera. It is an LCD panel that offers punchy colours, with decent viewing angles and brightness levels. That said, I wish the phone had slimmer bezels. There is a wide chin at the bottom and some bezels around the edges of the screen, which spoil the overall viewing experience. The screen offers a 60Hz refresh rate, which is acceptable for a device meant for basic tasks. The handset is Widevine L3 certified, which means the maximum playback resolution that it supports is SD (480p).
- Coming to the performance, the Lava Blaze is powered by MediaTek Helio A22 chipset. It’s not the most powerful chipset in the price segment and this is reflected in both synthetic benchmark scores and real-life performance. On Geekbench v5.4.4, the handset scored 157 and 584 points in the single-core and multi-core tests respectively. In the real world, the phone struggled and showed signs of weakness while running even the most basic apps such as messages and Gmail. Additionally, there were some noticeable lags during multitasking and frame drops while playing games such as Hill Climb 2. As for the storage, the Lava Blaze is equipped with 64GB ROM, which is further expandable up to 256GB using a microSD card. The phone comes with 3GB of built-in and 3GB of virtual RAM. The latter uses the phone’s storage to add more memory to store the app information.
- Moving to the optics, Lava Blaze offers a triple rear camera setup, which comprises a 13MP primary sensor, a 2MP macro sensor, and a VGA lens. The camera setup delivers okayish results in daylight. The 13MP primary sensor captures images with natural colours and ample details. It is aided by HDR mode for some dynamic range. However, the sensor is slow to focus and takes a few seconds to process an image. The same can be said for the 2MP macro sensor, which may churn out blurry images if your hands aren’t stable enough. The VGA lens doesn’t seem to serve any real purpose here. There is a portrait mode as well, which only works on human subjects and lacks proper edge detection.
- As for the low-light camera performance of the Lava Blaze, it produces soft photos with fewer details and a lot of noise. The night mode doesn’t do much to retain the highlights and detail in dark scenarios either. The 8MP front camera offers similar results. It can capture selfies with ample details and natural skin tone in broad daylight. That said, the camera has some overexposure issues that can blow out the background at times.
- The battery life on the Lava Blaze is right on the money. I was consistently getting at least an entire work day of use on a single charge. On the flip side though, the handset supports 10W charging via the Type-C, which may take anywhere between 2-3 hours for a full charge. The Lava Blaze runs Android 12 out of the box. It’s a near-stock version of Android, with no bloatware and minimal value-added customisation. The rear-mounted fingerprint scanner of the phone is aptly placed, but it’s slightly inconsistent and slow. I was happy to resort to PIN to unlock the Lava Blaze. The 4G LTE connectivity and bottom firing mono speaker of the device are up to the mark.
The Lava Blaze has some performance issues, while the cameras could have been better. Since the Lava Blaze comes with a price tag of Rs 9,699, the phone goes up against the likes of Infinix Hot 12 Play (review) and Moto E32s and those are strong rivals for the new Lava device. That said, the smartphone does offer a unique proposition with its glass sandwich design which is hard to find in the segment, a clean and minimalistic OS, and good battery life. The Blaze can be considered for its design and ease of use.
- Clean software
- Nice design
- Good battery life
- Performance could have been better
- Inconsistent fingerprint scanner