NEW DELHI: Redoubling its efforts to promote 4G and 5G democratization, homegrown handset maker Lava has launched the Lava Blaze 2 5G smartphone starting at Rs 9,999 in two variants of 4GB RAM and 6GB RAM. And just a month ago, the brand launched the Blaze Pro 5G at Rs 12,499. So the question is: what is the target audience for the Lava Blaze 2 5G? For starters, this smartphone and the Blaze Pro 5G have several similarities, at least on the hardware side. This includes the octa-core MediaTek Dimensity 6020 chipset, a 50MP AI dual camera setup on the back and a 5000mAh battery that supports 33W fast charging.
But the Lava Blaze 2 5G has a trick up its sleeve, a ‘Ring Light’ which is essentially a ring of blue light that lights up for certain scenarios, such as for notifications or while the phone is charging. You’ll rarely notice it in real life, though, and in my opinion the Ring Light didn’t prove to be very useful. But nonetheless, it’s a decent differentiator.
That being said, I review Lava’s latest 5G smartphone:
Design, display and speaker
My review unit came in ‘Glass Black’ colour. The Lava Blaze 2 comes with a glass back panel that surrounds the raised, circular camera island – a design philosophy that has become mainstream in the sub-Rs 10,000 segment. The phone feels well put together despite the middle frame being plastic. One-handed use is possible, but the back of the glass is extremely smooth, and I would recommend using the included plastic cover.
The right side of the bezel houses the fingerprint-cum-power button and volume rockers, while the left side houses the SIM/microSD card slot. A USB Type-C port, microphone and a single speaker grille are at the bottom. The phone houses a 3.5mm headphone jack, although USB Type-C powered earphones and Bluetooth TWS earphones have become the norm.
Switch on the 6.58-inch HD+ IPS display, though, and it becomes clear that the Lava Blaze 2 isn’t trying to win any races in this department. It has decent levels of brightness, contrast and saturation. Bezels are par for the price. Overall, I feel the screen could see some improvement. The Redmi 12 5G and Poco M6 Pro 5G, which I reviewed earlier, had similar display characteristics, which can be partially attributed to the use of a budget-grade IPS panel.
Lava Blaze 2 supports a 90Hz adaptive refresh rate. I would suggest leaving the refresh rate setting on ‘auto’.
Finally, the single speaker is capable of punching out loud sound, but it sounds flat. Increasing the volume leads to distortion and a sharp drop in quality.
Camera and portrait photography
The 50MP main camera performs decently, although the post-processing is pretty aggressive, bumping the saturation and sharpness by several notches consistently, even with the AI switch turned off. Reds and greens in particular are most affected by oversaturation, which often causes loss of detail in subjects such as red flowers and green leaves.
Interestingly, still images are saved in 12.2MP resolution by default with a generally large size (~4MB). On the other hand, the secondary camera doesn’t seem to serve any major purpose, neither has Lava announced it in the Blaze 2’s launch press release, nor is the module recognized by the AnTuTu mobile application.
Switching to ‘UHD’ mode saves images in 50MP resolution at higher sizes (~20MB-25MB). These images, on the other hand, have a much more natural look to them thanks to toned-down post-processing algorithms, and they have relatively more detail.
The portrait images are passable with good edge recognition. The front camera is capable of clicking decent pictures with prominent sharpness of facial features.
The Blaze 2 can record video in up to 2K resolution at 30 fps, but there is no support for stabilization. There’s also a Pro mode, but it has limited ISO and shutter speed settings, so using tweaks to these parameters won’t necessarily result in better images.
Uncompressed high resolution camera samples can be accessed here.
Performance and battery
The trio of the octa-core Dimensity 6020 chipset paired with a total of 12GB of RAM (6GB+6GB virtual) and near-stock Android 13 OS results in smooth day-to-day performance without any issues. There are no noticeable lags and the phone didn’t freeze even once during my usage period. You can easily run some light games like Subway Surfers or Temple Run, and also occasionally play a round or two of heavy games like Call of Duty: Mobile and PUBG on HD or lower settings. In summary, the performance should not disappoint anyone.
You can squeeze a day’s battery back from the 5000mAh battery. It also supports 33W fast charging.
Software & UI
The nearby Android 13 OS comes with the usual set of Google suite applications – Google Voice Assistant, Google TV, Google Phone and Messages, Google Meet, Photos, Google Drive and others. Additionally, Lava has bundled the phone with apps including FM Radio, LAVA Care, Lava Guide and Game Booster, along with its own ‘Phone’ app that supports silent call recording.
The software and user interface are typical Lava affairs, with a focus on providing a smooth user experience.
The Lava Blaze 2 5G is priced at Rs 9,999 for the 4GB RAM variant, while the 6GB RAM variant is priced at Rs 10,999. Therefore, the latest device on the block from Lava competes with similar smartphones such as Redmi 12 5G, Poco M6 Pro 5G, Samsung Galaxy M13 5G, Nokia G42 5G and others.
If you want a bigger screen, that Redmi 12 is the one to go for, while thePoco M6 Pro will suit your requirements for a unique design. If you can stretch your budget, so be it Tecno Pova 5 Pro 5G priced at Rs 14,999 / Rs 15,999 can also be considered as it comes with a relatively better display, improved camera hardware and powerful internal features such as Dimensity 6080 5G, 16GB RAM (8GB + 8GB virtual) and a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate display. The Tecno smartphone is equipped with light strips that can be configured to light up for notifications, call alerts, etc.
I’m also concerned that equipping the Lava Blaze 2 5G with the same hardware as the slightly expensive Lava Blaze Pro 5G could cannibalize sales of the former, as both phones score relatively similarly in the AnTuTu benchmark. That Blaze Pro gets a larger 6.78-inch display with a faster 120Hz refresh rate, and its cameras perform nicely too. I feel Lava should have made its new 5G smartphone more distinctive.
Blaze 2 as a package shows that Lava is predominantly eyeing penetration in tier-2 cities and beyond with the aim of bringing masses forward to the fifth generation or 5G wave. Notably, both telecom operators Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel are aiming for widespread rollouts of their 5G networks, aiming to complete the rollout within four months.
In addition, the Lava Blaze 2 can also act as a secondary smartphone for use cases such as video conferencing, occasional content streaming and some light gaming. In summary, the phone feels built to last and the specs are up to date.
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