Last year Google launched its Android One initiative, which was meant to bring usable smartphones at affordable prices. The idea was to provide pure Google Android experience to mass market smartphones and ensuring the user experience isn’t marred by bloatware and custom UI. However, the hardware wasn’t exciting and the pricing wasn’t competitive either. Today Google and Lava announced the second-generation Android One smartphone, the Pixel V1, which attempts to focus more on the user experience than just pricing and specifications. I spent some time with the smartphone and here are my first impressions.
The first thing I noticed is the build quality. Unlike the first generation Android One smartphones, the Pixel V1 has a premium build quality. The phone looks and feels sturdy, with the metallic finish back panel, which is actually plastic and removable.
The 5.5-inch display dominates the front with very thin bezels on the side. The 720p display provides good viewing angles. However, the 720p display doesn’t dazzle especially on such a big display when smartphones at this price range are coming with 1080p full HD displays.
Like all Android One smartphones, even the Pixel V1 comes with stock Android Lollipop 5.1.1. Even though it uses the old Mediatek MTK6582 quad-core processor clocked at 1.3GHz, I didn’t encounter any lag or stutter during the brief period I used it. It comes with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, of which less than 25GB is available for users. There is also a microSD card slot and dual-SIM card slots which can be accessed under the removable back cover.
Lava has made a big deal about the camera on the Pixel V1. The rear 13-megapixel camera actually has a 8-megapixel sensor, which is software enhanced to get the 13-megapixel resolution. Similarly, the front camera has a 5-megapixel sensor, which has been enhanced via software to get the 8-megapixel resolution.I clicked a couple of shots but the lighting was far from ideal to get a fair evaluation of the camera.
Overall, it is hard to be impressed with the Lava Pixel V1, especially given the price and features. At Rs 11,350, there are smartphones like the Yu Yureka Plus and the Lenovo Note K3 that offer better bang for the buck. The lack of 4G connectivity, a full HD display and a relatively low-end processor, is difficult to justify the price. Lava seems to be banking on Google and Android One branding to justify the premium. However, it is going to be a hard sell.