Once a popular Indian smartphone brand, Lava faded into the background over the past couple of years as industry heavyweights such as Samsung and cash-loaded Chinese brands such as Realme and Redmi pretty took over the mainstream smartphone landscape. However, Lava marked its resurgence in 2021 with the Lava Z series. Last year, the company also launched its first 5G smartphone in India called the Lava Agni 5G (Review). Now that the 5G rollout is in place, Lava wants to attract buyers who want the 5G experience by spending the least amount of money. For such customers, the company has launched the Lava Blaze 5G.
The Lava Blaze 5G currently holds the title of the ‘most affordable 5G smartphone’ in India. The smartphone comes with a MediaTek Dimensity 700 SoC, a “glass-back design”, and a triple-camera setup. Should you consider getting the Lava Blaze 5G? Here is our review to help you find out.
Lava Blaze 5G price in India
The Lava Blaze 5G is available for purchase in a single 4GB RAM + 128GB storage option. The device comes in two colours — Glass Blue and Glass Green. It was available for an introductory price of Rs. 9,999 in India when it launched, but it is currently listed for Rs 10,999.
Lava Blaze 5G design
Despite being a budget smartphone, the back of the Lava Blaze 5G is made of glass which is quite impressive. The device feels nice to hold but it does feel a bit heavy at 207g. The Glass Green colour that Lava sent us also features a matte finish. If you are someone who likes a pastel shade, you should like this colour. While the rear panel is made of glass, the flat frame around the phone uses plastic materials.
The Lava Blaze 5G comes with a USB Type-C port which is sandwiched between the bottom-firing single speaker and the headphone jack. On the right edge is the power button that also doubles up as a fingerprint scanner. The volume buttons on the left edge offer good feedback. The phone comes with a hybrid-SIM slot, with support for up to 1TB of expandable storage via a microSD card.
The Lava Blaze 5G comes with a dual-tone rectangular camera module on the back which does not protrude as much. On the front, the Blaze 5G sports a water-drop notch at the top of the display. While the side and top bezels are fairly thin, the device gets the typical budget treatment with a thick chin bezel.
The Lava Blaze 5G comes with a 6.5-inch IPS LCD with an HD+ resolution (720×1600 pixels). The screen also supports a 90Hz refresh rate for slightly smoother animations and scrolling experience. The viewing angles are surprisingly quite good. The screen is fairly bright and is legible outdoors in daylight, provided you push the brightness to its max setting. The Lava Blaze 5G comes with a WideVine L1 certification but on our unit, Netflix detected a WideVine L3 certification.
Lava Blaze 5G specifications and software
The Lava Blaze 5G’s highlight feature is in its name. With support for eight 5G bands, the device is currently the most affordable 5G smartphone in India, and comes with a MediaTek Dimensity 700 SoC. We have seen the chipset in other budget smartphones under Rs. 15,000 in India, including the recently launched Redmi 11 Prime 5G (Review). The phone also comes with a 5000mAh battery. While it supports 15W fast charging, the Blaze 5G comes with a 12W dual-USB port charger in the box. In terms of connectivity, the phone supports Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, Bluetooth 5.1, GPS, etc.
The Lava Blaze 5G offers a clean, bloatware-free software experience with Android 12. There was no lag as such and the overall experience for day-to-day tasks was quite good. The company has promised to roll out the Android 13 update but the timeline remains unknown. Lava has also promised to provide quarterly security updates for two years. At the time of writing this, our review unit had the September 2022 Android security patch.
Lava Blaze 5G performance and battery life
The Lava Blaze 5G did not have any issues while performing basic, day-to-day tasks. Be it scrolling through social media or switching between apps, the phone did a decent job. RAM management was not as aggressive but some heavy apps running in the background did reload when I switched back to them. This is despite the multitasking window showing that the phone had about 2GB of RAM available.
When it comes to benchmark tests, the Lava Blaze 5G scored 507 and 1588 points in Geekbench’s single-core and multi-core tests. In comparison, the Redmi 11 Prime 5G, which comes with the same SoC, scored 521 and 1757 points. In AnTuTu, the Lava Blaze 5G scored 2,69,416 points which was much lower than the Redmi 11 Prime 5G’s score of 3,37,683 points.
I also played a few games on the Lava Blaze 5G. Call of Duty: Mobile, for reasons unknown, took slightly longer than usual to load. The game supported ‘Medium’ graphics and ‘High’ frame rate settings, which resulted in an average framerate of about 40fps. The overall gaming experience was decent but there were some stutters at times. For those who want a casual gaming experience, the Lava Blaze 5G can do a decent job.
The 5000mAh battery lasted for more than a day easily, courtesy of the not-so-hungry SoC and HD+ display resolution. In our battery loop test, the Lava Blaze 5G ran for just 11 hours and 56 minutes, which was surprisingly below-average. The bundled charger took over three hours to charge the phone from zero to 100 percent.
For biometrics, the Lava Blaze 5G has a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, which is quick at authentication. It also supports AI face unlock which although is snappy to unlock the device, is less secure compared to the physical scanner.
Lava Blaze 5G cameras
The Lava Blaze 5G has a triple-camera setup on the back. However, only one of them is actually useful. There is a 50-megapixel main camera sensor, along with a 2-megapixel macro camera and a VGA sensor. For selfies, the phone comes with an 8-megapixel front camera.
The main camera on the back does a good job when it comes to capturing daylight photos. While the dynamic range is poor, the sensor manages to capture good details. It does tend to boost colours though. Another thing to note is that the highlights are usually blown out in a bid to get some details in the shadows. In low light, the main camera gets decent photos, provided there is some ambient light. However, the lack of any form of stabilisation results in shaky images with some loss of details.
I liked the front camera more, which was very accurate in capturing the actual skin tone. It does smoothen the skin textures a bit though. Portrait mode performance was also quite good for a phone priced at Rs. 10,999.
The Lava Blaze 5G can record up to 2K videos using the rear camera, whereas the front camera can capture 1080p videos. Overall, the videos shot on the Lava Blaze 5G offer a bit of boosted colours with decent details. The dynamic range is also quite good, something which I did not expect from the device.
The Lava Blaze 5G gets it right in many areas when it comes to a budget 5G smartphone. While the camera performance is its weakest link, it scores points for its design and performance. Battery life, while decent with actual usage, underperformed in our video drain test. The device also provides as many as eight 5G bands in India. The display experience is also above average for a smartphone in this price segment.
Lava’s target customer for the Blaze 5G is someone who wants to try 5G without having to spend too much. There are a few shortcomings but when you look at the price tag, it’s hard to complain too much