Lava, one of the many upcoming mobile phone companies in India has recently launched the Lava B8. The company is known for its mobile phones which are friendly on the pocket, yet suit users from all walks of life. The Lava B8 is no different from this with its QWERTY keypad, push messaging capabilities and a high resolution screen (for price). Read on to find out what we think about the Lava B8.

Stylish business Phone looks

Stylish business Phone looks

Design and Build Quality
It was hard not to be impressed when we unboxed the Lava B8; the design of this handset is beautiful, to say the least. This full QWERTY handset looks and feels really amazing with its smooth gun metal exterior, high resolution 2.3-inch screen, 3.2 MP camera and LED flashlight. There are shortcut keys for most features on this mobile by way of their stylishly designed volume keys which are neatly flushed on the right side of the handset; above it has a mini USB slot. On the face of the handset above the QWERTY keyboard is a super sensitive trackpad with a four-way scroll button around it.

Slim in design and very attractive

There are also designated keys for mail, home and one to make calls and end calls. The end call key doubles up as a power on / off button. In addition to this there are also two designated keys on the QWERTY keypad for Wi-Fi and the Rupee symbol. The contents of the box include a USB cable, a headset, phone charger and a user manual. Over all the design and build quality of the Lava B8 is exceptional and feels very sturdy. A noteworthy mention has to be given to the keypad that it superseded our expectations in design and input quality.
 
Features and Performance
Interface
The high resolution 2.3-inch screen was a welcome sight on the Java enabled B8. With Java capabilities various mobile applications can be downloaded on this mobile handset, thereby giving more user specific options. The main screen can be set with five customizable icons and in the main menu comes preloaded with various apps. The trackpad though being super sensitive can sometimes act a little buggy and not hit the desired option you choose. One thing that struck me as odd was the Android icons on the Lava B8; mind you this is in no way an Android handset. Overall, the user interface of this phone is average because it is a little bit slow and the icon labels are not specified. Though it is marketed with a USP as 'having a business phone look'. While it may not be as fucntional as a Nokia E-5 or even a BlackBerry 8520, it's built to look as business-like as a phone can be. The Interface though could have used a little more polish.

The Lava B8 has a dual SIM capability and the performance is average in terms of call quality – there was some noticeable distortion. While on a call, I noticed that the outgoing audio was low and the person on the other end could not hear clearly even though the cellular network reception where it was tested was good. This attribute however, could be only with the handset I received.

High resolution screen an added advantage

High resolution screen an added advantage

Multimedia
As mentioned earlier, the 2.3 inch high resolution screen is a great feature which the B8 possesses thus giving a good quality video output. I ran 320 x 240 resolutions Mp4, 3GP and flv videos on this phone and the quality was good. The videos played smoothly and did not take long to load. I fast forwarded the files and there was no stuttering and the playback time was quick. However, I noticed that I was unable to make use of the entire screen;Videos kept being centralised and refused to get strtech to fit the entire display, irrespective of what buttons I pressed. The option for stretching to fit didn't seem to be available.

The clarity of the audio playback on the Lava B8 is good and it can play MP3 as well as MP4  files. The audio settings can be altered through an in-built equalizer with presets as well as a customizable option that lets you adjust the bass, treble and other frequencies. There is also an option to shuffle music on this nifty handset. The Lava B8 comes with a standard 3.5 mm audio jack that lets you easily connect headphones or speakers to it.

Connectivity
Data connection on the Lava B8 can be used Wi-Fi, EDGE, Bluetooth, GPRS and a mini USB cable.I tried using the phone on Airtel, Loop and Vodafone networks separately and later using two SIMs at the same time. On both occasions, I faced major issues getting the data connection to work. As if that wasn’t bad enough, we even had issues connecting to the Wi-Fi network. While the Lava B8 has tons of features for online web services, it can’t seem to connect to any internet access point, thus defeating Lava’s marketing strategy. The phone has an Opera mini browser, Facebook, POP and push email capabilities, however, these were unable to be used over a Wi-Fi connection but worked satisfactorily over GPRS but only through the WAP browser.

Miscellaneous Features
The phone comes preloaded with a plethora of diverse features such as dual SIM, push email and various social networking sites like Nimbuzz, Skype, Facebook chat, Opera browser, MSN and Yahoo! Chat. There is a motion sensor on the Lava B8 where you can shake the phone to change songs and can also be used while playing the preloaded game Balance Ball. Snaptu is also another application set in this phone where all Java based mobile applications can be downloaded. An ebook reader, a torch and a photo editer as well are loaded on the B8

Camera
This B8 comes with a 3.2 megapixel fixed focus camera and an LED flash. The camera can shoot at a resolution of up to 2048 x 1536 pixels. However, I did notice that the processing time of the camera was a bit slow. The quality of the photo shot outdoors is bad. Also, when I clicked a picture in a slightly excessive sunlit area the lower part of the picture got greyed out. The differences can be seen below.

Faulty processing in excessive sunlit area

Faulty processing in excessive sunlit area

And then

Works fine in a somewhat shady area

Works fine in a somewhat shady area

The indoor picture was of an average quality and performed as expected with all camera phones in low light areas.

Indoor photo capture was decent

Indoor photo capture was decent

Battery
The Lava B8 comes with a 1400 mAh Lithium ion battery which performed quite well. After a full charge the battery lasted for a whole day and a half even with considerable usage whether it was calls, browsing the web through GPRS or listening to a little music. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth usage will of cousre drain the battery a lot quicker so if you're surfing the net using Wi-Fi expect the bar to drop a lot faster.

Gun metal finish adds to the phones attractiveness

Gun metal finish adds to the phones attractiveness

Verdict
The Lava B8 is designed to look like a business phone; however, it does not possess all the features required to support that sentiment. It is priced at Rs.4,000 (MOP), but I wouldn’t recommend this mobile phone especially,  since there are other QWERTY, business looking phones in the market in the same price bracket; prime example being the Nokia C3 which offers as much as this one and more with a slightly more stable UI.

As with all the reviews we do, please let us know your take on the products in the comments section below.

Publish date: April 21, 2011 9:53 am| Modified date: December 18, 2013 7:39 pm

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