Lava mobile has formally risen up as a mobile phone brand that has churned out a variety of handsets from the basic candy bar phone to the QWERTY keypad option and lastly evens a handful of budget touch screen phones. Unfortunately, none of Lava’s phones has been able to make a lasting impression in the Indian mobile phone market. Following Micromax and Spice, now Lava joins the wide array of budget Android phone brands with their S12, an Android Froyo powered mobile.
The Qualcomm 7227 chipset has performed well in LG Optimus one, and similarly there are many other phones running off of the same chipset and that do not perform as per expectations. Considering the fact that this is Lava’s first Android offering, you should not expect miracles. Even with its modest hardware and a taxing 3D user interface, the phone performed admirably well. The 3D interface of this phone is gorgeous. The homescreens form a cylinder and switching between them requires you to swipe the screen to set the cylinder in motion. The 3D version of the interface drains the battery fast so it would be better to switch to 2D for a more bland yet power efficient display. The 3.2 inch screen is a capacitive touch screen and is thus very responsive. Color reproduction, contrast and display sharpness are quite good. The 5 megapixel camera is seriously hit by the absence of auto focus and a flash. Yet it still manages to capture decent pictures in bright places. With a 1300 mAH Lithium Ion battery, the phone gives usage for a day with under medium use. Though the phone does not show any lag or stutter, it does get slow when multitasking, so a bit more RAM would have been better.
The phone comes pre-loaded with a decent number of useful apps which are extremely helpful for newbies to the Android operating system. The S12 has its own 3D user interface built into the phone (alongside Android 2.2 Froyo). With 16 customizable home screens, they look like a nice 3D virtual environment. Users can further customize the user interface by animated 3D widgets and with the help of smart folders. Some of the pre-loaded apps on the Lava S12 include Advanced Task Killer, Saavn, Zenga TV (with 1 year free subscription, Office Suite, TuneWiki and MoneyControl. Rest of the standard features are also present like WiFi, AGPS, Accelerometer, and others.
On first impression, the S12 looks like a cross between an HTC handset and the Sony Ericsson Arc series. The build quality is fairly robust, although it is made of plastic. The phone looks decently stylish and professional. The 3.2 inch touch screen has an HVGA resolution of 480 x 320 pixels. Just like the HTC phones, there are four standard Android navigation and menu capacitive buttons that can be found below the screen. The plastic on the back and near the bottom of the front of the phone has a leather texture that gives the user a good grip. The back and sides also have a matte finish which makes the phone avoid scratches. The phone weighs 120 grams which is a bit too heavy for comfort. Though it looks good, its closest rivals are far more sleeker and lighter.
It is really too bad that the competition for this phone is too furious. Giants like Dell XCD 35, Motorola Fire, LG OPtimus One and Samsung Galaxy Pop overshadow this first Android model from an Indian brand. However, it is definitely a good phone for people who want to foray into the Android world for the first time.