Lava is slowly making its presence in its home country after being silent for a while and with the new launches in place, it is ready to compete with the Chinese brands that have been dominating the mid-range and budget market in India. Lava’s latest attempt to capture its share is the Agni 2 5G, which costs Rs 21,999, and after looking at the on-paper specifications, we can say Lava has finally made a smartphone that is a great blend of balanced specifications with close-to-stock software experience.
However, nailing the on-paper specifications doesn’t cut it unless that translates to an equally impressive real-world usage. But can the Lava Agni 2 5G stand against the Chinese competitors? Let’s find out.
Lava Agni 2 5G: Design & Build Quality
While Lava hasn’t been able to identify its own particular identity when it comes to design, the Lava Agni 2 5G is a great example of how phones should be built. The handset has a glass sandwich design with a plastic frame. At no point, you would feel this phone costs just Rs 21,999 while you hold it because the build quality is that much premium.
The glass on the back has a matte finish which makes it slippery but thanks to Lava, it is giving you a silicone case inside the box. The back of the smartphone has this round camera module that houses four cameras and an LED flash. Both the front glass and the back one are curved, resulting in an in-hand feel that seems to be as premium as possible for a phone at this cost.
The buttons on the right are clicky enough and are well-positioned. The phone does attract eyes if you take it outdoors, thanks to the unique look and the subtle green colour. More colour options would be a welcome move but this one doesn’t disappoint by any means. Further, we cannot guarantee as to how strong the glass at the back is as Lava hasn’t confirmed whether it’s Gorilla glass or a regular one. In our usage period of two weeks, we haven’t seen it gather any scratches or cracks.
The Haptics on the smartphone are once again very impressive. I haven’t felt such type of haptics in a smartphone in this price category. They are strong and have that precise click feel when typing. The speaker, on the other hand, is a slight disappointment. While it can get loud, it definitely sounds tinny and muffled at maximum volume. Moreover, a stereo speaker setup would have been the ideal solution to this problem.
Lava Agni 2 5G: Display
The Agni 2 5G display is a 6.78-inch FHD+ panel with a 120 Hz refresh rate. The display comes with 1.07 billion colour depth and supports HDR, HDR 10 and HDR 10+ and Widevine L1. The panel is actually bright and vivid in terms of colours. Each and every colour on the panel pops while it also gets bright enough in outdoor conditions.
The curved edges definitely add to the premium feel and the 120Hz refresh rate, even when set to adaptive, doesn’t drop to 60Hz often as the case is with some smartphones in this range. The viewing angles are also surprisingly decent with no rainbow effect or any tint of sorts.
However, the only three major issues I have with this panel include accidental touch protection for the edges, which is most likely a software issue, the panel’s performance in low brightness, and, thirdly, the auto-brightness feature.
As for the first issue, I often found the display glitch on me and not registering my touches because one of my fingers was touching the edges. This also resulted in accidental touches while typing or playing games, and this is something that is quite annoying. While we’ll talk about software in detail in the next segment, this software bug needs to be fixed as soon as possible.
The second issue is where I could notice some lines in the panel with a grey background in low brightness and the panel flickering a bit. While it isn’t noticeable the majority of the time, I found it a bit odd and guess it could be related to the quality of the display used.
Lastly, the auto-brightness adjustment feature on the Lava Agni 2 5G is very inconsistent. It cannot keep the brightness stable even in the same lighting conditions and was continuously changing the brightness levels which made me turn off the feature the first time I tried to use it. Apart from that, another bug plagued the experience where the brightness went to maximum every time I would use the fingerprint sensor and it won’t come back down on its own, which is why I always had to manually decrease it.
Lava Agni 2 5G: Software & Performance
The Lava Agni 2 5G is powered by an octa-core MediaTek Dimensity 7050 SoC, coupled with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of onboard storage. This is another unique feature of the smartphone which it comes with 256GB of storage while most other options in this price segment offer 128GB max.
The Agni 2 5G is powered by the Dimensity 7050 which is a rebranded Dimensity 1080 processor. In our usage experiences, the Chipset has been a consistent performer for day-to-day usage and that shows here in this handset as well. The Lava Agni 2 5G was able to handle most tasks with ease and smoothness.
The RAM management is also handled well while there’s support for Virtual RAM also. However, you can not expect the smartphone to perform well in the gaming area, as it does start to struggle when you put on heavy games like Call of Duty Mobile. Not so demanding games, such as RL sideswipe, work without any issues.
Talking of the software, the Lava Agni 2 5G runs on Android 13 and comes with a March 2023 security patch out of the box. The OEM hasn’t issued any update at the time of writing this review so we are still stuck on the same patch. As for the experience, we would say it’s a mixed bag. While Lava has tried to build upon the Stock Android OS, it feels like it has picked up elements from other skins and has combined them together.
For instance, the clock and AOD styles look similar to Oppo’ ColorOS and Xiaomi’ MIUI. On the other hand, some Sound & vibration settings seem to have been inspired by Vivo’s FunTouchOS. Furthermore, one of the charging animations is exactly the same as Xiaomi’s stock animation for charging. Then, one of the fingerprint animations has been picked up from FunTouchOS.
Moreover, some elements are from Stock Android, such as the notification panel and the whole monet wallpaper-theming system. Thankfully, most of the animations are from stock Android which makes the whole experience fluid, and also, there’s not a lot of bloatware present. But then there are inconsistencies across the software and some bugs as well, such as the brightness bug we talked about earlier and the Always-on display issue.
Talking about the latter, there’s an issue where the Always-on display doesn’t show up always even when it is turned on. Moreover, the fingerprint scanner also doesn’t appear at times and I then had to wake up the smartphone to unlock it, instead of unlocking it directly from the AOD.
Apart from this, the fingerprint sensor works fine and identifies your print 8 / 10 times, while rarely showing a slight delay. 5G performance on Jio, Wi-Fi 5Ghz, and Bluetooth performance remained optimum. The device also supports 5G VoNR.
Lava Agni 2 5G: Battery Backup
Lava Agni 2 5G is backed by a 4700mAh battery and comes with support for 66W charging. The battery seems to be performing up to the mark in Lava Agni 2 5G as it can easily last a day and sometimes more, without breaking a sweat. While on 5G, the battery backup does decrease a bit but it doesn’t get unmanageable.
With light usage, such as while browsing social media, some calls, chatting and more, the Agni 2 5G can get you through a day without any issues. With a more demanding use, the Agni 2 5G can still get you close to a day but with less juice left. The top-up takes around 40 to 45 minutes with the included 66W fast charger and that is impressive.
However, another bug hit me during the first charge, where the device stopped charging when it reached 74%. That was something unusual and I had to restart the device to get it past 74 percent as even unplugging and plugging in didn’t work. While I didn’t face it after that, I suspect it could be due to the fact how hot the device can get while charging, making it uncomfortable to hold.
Lava Agni 2 5G: Cameras
Lava Agni 2 5G packs a quad rear camera unit, headlined by a 50-megapixel primary lens with the Segment First 1.0-micron (1 um) Pixel sensor, accompanied by an 8MP ultra-wide angle sensor, 2MP depth sensor and a 2MP macro sensor. For selfies, it features a 16-megapixel sensor at the front.
The primary 50MP sensor clicks average shots with okay-ish detailing. The colours are more to the natural side rather than being vibrant and artificial. The sharpness and the dynamic range need more attention and refinement.
The ultra-wide angle sensor is barely usable as the photos are too soft and lack any sorts of details or sharpness. You cannot expect it to perform well even in daylight conditions. There’s a lot of distortion at the edges and the photos are too blurry overall.
The portraits on the other hand are much better with proper EDGE detection and a bokeh effect in the background. The detailing and sharpness of the photo is also on point.
The selfies from the front sensor also aren’t the Agni 2 5G’s strongest point. They are, once again, very soft while the skin tones are all over the place. While edge detection is fine, the colours look faded.
The macro shots from the 2MP sensor have average detailing but the colours are totally off. Snaps under artificial lighting, on the other hand, look above average with good colours and adequate sharpness. The detailing of the photos can see an improvement, though.
Under low-lighting conditions, the photos have a lot of noise while the lack of detailing is quite evident.
The night shots on the Lava Agni 2 5G look decent. While you cannot expect it to look really bright, there are enough details present in the photo. With Night mode turned on, there’s not much of a difference but the exposure does get slightly better.