Review: Lava Z25 lacks the power to take on rivals
Lava is trying to make a mark in the heavily contested sub-Rs20,000 segment with the new Z25, but falls short
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Indian phonemaker Lava is trying to shrug off the budget phonemaker’s label with the new Z25. Priced at Rs18,000, the new smartphone’s prime attraction is its good design and premium looks. We take a look at it to see how it fares in other areas and against rivals such as Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (Rs12,999) and LeEco LeMax 2 (Rs19,999).
Design: Handy and light
The Z25 looks well-placed to take on rivals. The metal finish gives it the aura of a flagship smartphone. Its light form factor (163g) and curved edges provides a nice grip. The fingerprint sensor is placed on the back, while the navigation keys are integrated within the interface. The volume and power buttons are placed along the middle of the side panel, which makes them easily accessible. They are made of metal too but are quite responsive. The Redmi Note 4 has a metal body too but at 175g it feels a bit heavier in comparison.
Display: Big but a bit dull
The Z25 is a big-screen smartphone with a 5.5-inch display and resolution of 1,920x1,080p. The colours feel subdued, giving the overall screen a slightly dull look. It is not that noticeable in ebooks and webpages but is clearly visible during movies and games. The LeEco Le Max 2’s 5.7-inch (2,560x1,440p) AMOLED display looks richer in comparison.
Software: Old Android with a simple UI
The smartphone runs a slightly older Android 6.0 with Lava’s custom UI called Star OS. For a custom UI, the options to tinker with the software are very limited. The smartphone has very few themes, and there are no options to customise colour in display settings. However, the interface looks neat and easy to navigate. The settings panel has been split into three parts— general, sound, and display—for the convenience of users. You can shift the position of the navigation keys and the back button or multi-tasking button on right or left of the home button. Both the Redmi Note 4 and LeMax 2 run Android 6.0 with their proprietary UIs.
Driven by MediaTek’s MT6750 octa-core chip clocking at 1.5GHz and paired with 4GB of RAM, the Z25 can handle most everyday tasks without any hiccups. Apps open quickly, multi-tasking was smooth and there was no sign of overheating with games.
Though capable, this chip is not in the same league as the 2.0GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 octa-core chip driving the Redmi Note 4 or the 2.1 GHz Snapdragon 820 chip used in the LeEco Le Max 2. Both have higher clock speeds and can handle heavy tasks and games better.
The Z25 offers 32GB internal storage and can accommodate 128GB via microSD card. The only issue here is that the microSD slot is built on one of the SIM slots. So you can’t use two SIM cards and micro simultaneously. Its 3,020mAh battery is adequate for modest users and can muster a day’s back-up with ease.
Camera: Impresses in closeups
The 13-megapixel primary camera has a Sony IMX 258 sensor with an aperture of f/2.0. While colours look realistic, the level of detailing in landscape shots is poor. Close-up shots still look a lot better even in indoor conditions with limited light. Colours in low-light shots look good but the level of noise is high. There is a Night Pro mode which lights up darker areas very well. The camera offers a number of interesting modes such as Bokeh, Sound in picture, Beauty and Filter. The front camera delivers good enough selfie shots for social media posts.
The Redmi Note 4’s 13-megapixel camera tends to oversaturate colours a little but is better with detailing.
You can consider the Lava Z25 for its good looks, ergonomic design, good camera and steady performance. However, it pales in comparison to the likes of Redmi Note 4, which offers a brighter display, better battery, superior hardware and more storage at a much lower price. The LeEco Le Max 2 is an even better bet for gamers and movie buffs on account of its richer and slightly bigger display, more powerful processor and lossless audio output in the headphones.