Lava launched a new smartphone in India in December last year called the Storm 5G. The new Lava handset tries to replicate the success of some of the brand’s other smartphones of 2023, such as the Agni 2 5G. The formula remains simple, to launch a value for money smartphone on the lower end of the price spectrum. The only way to find out whether Lava was successful in doing so with its Storm 5G is by going hands-on with the device. As a result, here’s our review of the Lava Storm 5G, where we decode the strengths and weaknesses of the smartphone.
Lava Storm 5G: Design & Display
The Lava Storm 5G comes in two colours, including Green and Black. The green model of the Storm 5G we got for review looks minimalistic. It isn’t too flashy and is for those who prefer subtle designs. It did remind me of the Galaxy A54 5G to some extent, thanks to similar looking camera Sensors and their positioning, but that did work for Lava.
The phone is slightly on the thicker and heavier side. On the positive side, the glass sandwich design for Rs 13,499 is a bullseye in terms of premium feel. The frame is plastic, but we aren’t complaining about it, considering the overall in-hand feel of the smartphone, which is quite impressive. The fingerprint-integrated power button on the right side of the Storm 5G works without any issues. There’s also a 3.5mm Audio Jack at the bottom, which is difficult to find in smartphones nowadays.
The Haptics are good as compared to other devices in the Rs 1500 price range. There’s a single speaker at the bottom that is adequately loud but sounds distorted and tinny at high volumes.
The display on the handset is a 6.78-inch FHD+ IPS display with a 120Hz Refresh Rate and a Resolution of 1080 x 2460 pixels. It’s a sharp panel that has high levels of contrast, making the colours look vivid. The viewing angles are surprisingly good. My only complaints with the panel include the brightness level, which appears quite low when sunny outside, making readability inconvenient. The second one is the ghosting issue that becomes evident while scrolling on dark backgrounds.
Lava Storm 5G: Performance & Software
The Storm 5G gets 8GB of LPDDR4x RAM with up to 8GB of Virtual RAM support. Further, there’s 128GB of UFS 2.2 ROM. The handset draws power from a MediaTek Dimensity 6080 chipset, which is more than enough for a smartphone of this price. During the review period, the Lava Storm 5G performed really well in daily usage. The phone was snappy more than smooth because the animation speeds are set to .5x by default.
Once you change them to 1x via the developer settings, the experience becomes slightly better as it tilts more towards the fluid side rather than being too snappy and unnatural. It still lacks a character, as most of the animation styles and UI elements look borrowed from other Android skins, but at least the overall performance experience wasn’t lackluster and made up for it. As long as you don’t go gaming on the handset with titles like Call of Duty: Mobile, the device should mostly be able to stand up to your expectations.
The Android 13 OS-based skin on Storm 5G is feature-packed as well. Features like Smart touch, smart answer for calls, three-finger screenshot, flip to silent, App lock, etc., are all present. Customisation options such as wallpaper-based colours for the user interface can also be applied.
Security-wise, it comes with the November 2023 security patch and at the time of writing this review in January 2024, it still hasn’t received any updates with the latest patches. Connectivity performance of the handset, on the other hand, had no problems.
Lava Storm 5G: Battery
In most scenarios, the Lava Storm 5G’s 5000mAh battery is a solid performer. It can easily get you through more than a day with around 6 to 7 hours of screen-on time with usage such as light browsing, streaming videos, calling, and going through your social media. It also slightly crossed the 7-hour mark at one point. With heavy usage involving navigation and photography, the backup will obviously dip, bringing the screen-on time to less than 6 hours or sometimes 5.
As for the charging speeds, Lava claims that the handset supports 33w fast charging. It took around 1.5 hours to charge the Lava Storm 5G from 15 to 100% during my review, which is decent but not the best.
Lava Storm 5G: Cameras
The Storm 5G has a dual rear camera setup, including a 50MP main sensor, an 8MP ultra-wide dual rear camera setup, and a 16MP front camera. The camera app is decent in terms of functionality, and the shutter lag has been well-contained. However, there were some focusing issues that sometimes resulted in a blurry shot. However, The dynamic range could have been better as it often blows out areas in the photos with high brightness.
When shooting outdoors, the handset maintained a natural colour tone, while the details in the shot were also impressive. Surprisingly, there wasn’t a lot of colour shift when shooting ultra-wide angle photos. But there was a good amount of distortion at the edges as the field of view was way too wide, which caused the sharpness to take a hit in those areas.
Indoors, the Lava Storm 5G captured photos with decent colour reproduction. The level of detailing was notably high, resulting in an overall impressive image. When shooting portraits, the EDGE detection was also on point, and so were the colours.
When shooting under low light, the device does show some signs of struggle, as the photo has some noise. However, the device still doesn’t give up on details. Coming to selfies, the photos were slightly soft with average skin tones. The detailing in selfie shots could have been much better.