LAVA IRIS 501: Big and better

Bigger screen sizes are becoming popular these days, demonstrated by the success of the 5-inch Samsung Galaxy Note. Sensing the consumer interest, homegrown brand Lava International has entered the phone-cum-tablet segment with Iris 501, priced at R9,999. This device sports a large 5-inch display but sadly runs Android 4.0 (Ice cream Sandwich) instead of the latest Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean).

Let's take a deeper dive to determine how this device will fare in the market. While it might be easy to dismiss the device as "just a big Android phone," there are a few touches that add to its overall value. Users of Lava Iris 501 will have access to a plethora of preloaded apps, such as Saavn, Fusion, and Hike along with high-end games, naming Asphalt and Shark Dash. Consumers can download various other business and utility applications from Lava's own App store in addition to Google's Play store. Lava has collaborated with Hungamato offer its users free music and video content and access to an exclusive customised WAP portal for additional content.

Yet, the Iris is perhaps best defined by its stunning 5-inch screen with a display resolution of 800 x 480. Its large display is ideal for watching videos, browsing the internet and accessing social networking websites such as Facebook or Twitter. The phone has a smooth TFT LCD capacitive multi touch display. Even with its slim 10.5 mm design, the phone comes with a 2,300 mAh battery, which will give users an extended battery life. While the battery is good, it took me almost four hours to fully charge the device.

Iris 501 runs on Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system and is powered by a 1 Ghz dual core processor, which should ensure that the smartphone functions smoothly. The device comes with an 5 MP rear camera and a 0.3 MP front-facing shooter for video calling. On the storage-front, it comes with 4 GB internal storage and expandable up to 32 GB. It has built-in 3G connectivity, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0 and GPS.

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