Touchscreen phones have become a sort of rage in India which is palpable from the fact that all most all handset manufacturers in India launching such mobile phones in different price bracket. A touchscreen phone could cost as little as Rs 2,500-3,000, though the quality of display may vary.
Lava, an Indian handset maker, had also launched a dual SIM, touchscreen music phone — M70 for Rs 5,999some time back. Within days of its launch, however, it is available for Rs 4,350. Let’s check out the phone:
Display and design
It is a decent looking phone with a bar design, curved at the edges and comes in two colours — silver and black. We got the black colour handset, which has a matte finish with blue strip around its sides which gives it a cute look. The phone is also quite thick, with a comfortable grip, and the matte finish ensures that it does not slip out of your hand. Lava has made M70 quite sturdy so it can endure occasional falls. But that does not mean the touchscreen won’t be affected if you drop it on a hard surface with the display facing down.
There is one physical button at the bottom of the display which acts as a home/return key. On the top right hand side rests the volume rocker while at the bottom is a dedicated camera key. The charging port, power/lock button and 3.5 mm jack are on top. To access and control music/FM, Lava has three physical buttons on the left of the handset. Lava has used a 3D user interface in M70, and it is quite a pleasure.
The USB charging port is well covered but removing the cap from it is tricky. Also, you have to remove the back cover of the M70 to access the SD slot, and that is not convenient.
The 3.2 inch screen is made using IPS (In-Plane Switching) technology and, as Lava claims, it produces very bright images. But the display is of a resistive type so a person who’s had a capacitive touchscreen might hate it. It isn’t that resistive screens aren’t good but the one on the M70 is not up to the mark. It would take days of get used to.
A couple of times I could not even disconnect calls — either using the touchscreen or the key lock, which is meant for the purpose. During some uses, the screen takes a couple of seconds to respond as well. But, if you spend some time with the screen, you will learn to use it quite smoothly.
At any rate, the music/FM key on the left is an excellent one. It worked smoothly throughout the review period. The dedicated camera button worked well too.
The handset comes with a charger, a headset, and a 2 GB SD card. The supplied headset looks like a costly one with one FM/call receiver button, two FM channel/song changers and a volume controller. However, the buttons are of very poor quality and almost non functional. Even when I pressed them using all my energy, they did not work.
There is a Shortcut Widget, using which you can add widgets like different types of clocks, calendars, songs etc. to the homepage. There is space for four slots just above the Home button on the display, which you can use to quickly access any app. Other than the home button, the others can be associated with any app you like.
There is one breathing light just below the Home button which keeps blinking if you get messages, miss calls etc.
Multimedia and camera
Lava has given a tag line — Life Gungunaaye — to M70 and there’s a good reason why.
M70 comes with dual speakers with metallic diaphragm that, as the company says, deliver crystal clear sound. The headset too provides good sound output. In short, the phone is quite loud, which would appeal to Indian users. With the help of SRS Wow HD and Yamaha codec (PA + Codec), you can customise the 16 built in music effects as per your choice.
The device also has an FM radio. You can record your favourite programmes as well. Since M70 allows 186 hours of recording through its dedicated Voice Recorder, we assume that you can also record FM radio programmes for up to 186 hours. Though the reception was good overall, while unlocking the phone, the FM radio stopped operating due to some unknown reason and the problem persisted throughout the review period.
The best feature of M70 is its camera. The 5 megapixel camera comes with dual LED flash which does a very nice job. Its smile and blink detection would definitely please many and these are very unique features for an entry level handset. You can also record videos with the camera. There is a Live Effect app as well which allows users to take pictures in 24 different effects.
One can use M70 as a webcam by connecting it with a PC.
M70 well justifies its ‘feature phone’ tag — it has plenty of features to talk about.
It is a dual SIM phone with dual standby functionalities. Hence, both the SIMs remain active all the time. . For instant messaging it has Skype, Yahoo and MSN preinstalled. Its chat style messaging also adds to the fun and it comes preloaded with Facebook and Twitter for social network enthusiasts. Besides, users can use Opera Mini and Ngpay.
M70 comes with a Gravity Sensor which works well too. Other useful features include a Voice Recorder, Calculator, Converter, Alarm, Notes, Tasks app, Torch etc. The device has 30 MB of internal memory and up to 8 GB of expandable memory. Lava supplies a 2 GB micro SD card with the handset.
You can also configure its data connection by dedicating one network for cheap calls and the other for data consumption. As for connectivity, M70 has Bluetooth, USB, GPRS, and Edge. Sadly the phone misses on WiFi, which should have been there considering the price.
For privacy, Lava M70 comes with a lock feature with which you can lock your phone book, call logs and messages. Its 1200 mAh battery provides good battery back up, and with medium usage of a few hours of music/FM, calls and games, it can last a whole day. It comes with four games preloaded but you can download more games from Lava Zone.
Most importantly, the processor is fast so as soon as you press a button, the phone shows that particular application. However, the touchscreen mars the processor speed as it just refuses to take commands.
Seeing its maximum retail price of Rs 5,999, one can easily say that it is not a good buy as you can get even a low cost Android smartphone for that price. Even better feature phones than M70 can be had for this price. However, the Lava M70 is available in the market much below this price, for a reasonable Rs 4,350, though a further reduction of about Rs 500 would make the device all the more appealing.
Lava M70 is a fine feature phone with a very smooth operating system with loads of features. If you can take the pain to tolerate it for the first few days, and adjust to its touchscreen, then it is recommended for you. Feature-wise, it is one of the best, with an excellent 5 megapixel camera.