Lava's Blaze Curve: A budget-friendly curved smartphone with premium features

Bridging the gap between style and affordability

lava blaze curve

Curved smartphones have been available for many years, with options ranging from flagships to mid-range and high-end smartphones. However, finding one for under Rs. 20,000 isn’t common. Lava’s new Blaze Curve comes with a curved display and a curved back, aiming to provide a premium look. Does it justify its base price of Rs. 17,999 (and Rs. 18,999 for the higher variant)? Let’s explore and find out.

The phone has a matte glass back with three protruding rings for the camera system and curved sides. The back doesn’t catch any smudges and fingerprints. On the front, the 6.67-inch display has Gorilla Glass 3 on top for protection and also houses a punch-hole designed front camera next to the ear-speaker grille, which doesn’t collect lint too quickly from what I have seen. The sides are all plastic and they do catch onto dust and fingerprints quite quickly. The top houses one outlet for loudspeakers and a secondary mic, while the bottom houses the dual SIM card tray, primary mic, USB Type-C port, and another outlet for loudspeakers. The left side is left plain, while the right side has the volume buttons as well as the power/lock key – these keys feel a little too narrow to use at first. The phone weighs under 190 grams and sort of reminds me of Samsung Galaxy S series and OnePlus phones from 4-5 years back. It does appear sturdy and premium-looking, standing out a bit from phones around this price range.

The phone’s highlight is the 6.67-inch full HD (2400x1080) AMOLED display, which supports up to 120Hz refresh rates and HDR content. The display is sufficiently bright for outdoor usage and has punchy colors, making text sharp and easy to read. It does a decent job of handling high-resolution videos and images, but struggles a bit with contrast and overall colors for HDR, which isn’t surprising given its price tag. Other than that, this is a pretty good display that doesn’t disappoint when it comes to watching standard videos.

The phone features a triple rear camera system – a 64MP (f/1.9) main camera, an 8MP (f/2.2) ultra-wide camera, and a 2MP macro camera. By default, the phone takes photos in 16MP from the main camera, and the performance is just about okay. At times, the phone tries to make highlights too punchy with HDR and struggles with the subject, even if it's still, in low-light shots. You can take decent and detailed shots if the light is adequate and your subject is still, but don’t expect much else from the camera performance here. The front-facing 32MP (f/2.5) camera does a fine job for taking selfie shots and making video calls, if you aren’t pixel peeping much in your photos.

The Lava Blaze Curve is powered by MediaTek’s 7050 chipset (up to 2.6GHz octa-core processor, MaliG68 MC4 GPU) with 8GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 128GB (also available in 256GB) UFS3.1 internal storage. The internal hardware is not lacking much for this price segment, but what’s missing is the latest Android OS – it runs on Android 13 with very little changed from vanilla stock Android. There are hardly any third-party apps, and Lava has added a couple of useful features, such as call recording and the ability to stream YouTube in the background even if you don’t have a YouTube Premium subscription.

There are some odd choices that have been made, such as the absence of an option to have the back button on the left side when using navigation buttons instead of gestures. Another thing I noticed is that the icons, such as 5G and VoLTE in the status bar, look a little off in terms of their pixel and alignment, but it's probably nitpicking here. You can expect the phone to handle social media apps, multiple messaging apps, watching YouTube videos, or playing music in the background without any issues. For gaming, it can handle BGMI and CoD at low to medium settings pretty well, but starts to drop frames and show stuttering for higher-end graphic-intensive games.

The phone comes with a 5,000mAh battery unit and a 33-watt power delivery charger, which charges the phone in about 70 minutes. I observed the phone to last a full day more often than not under medium to heavy usage. It didn’t show any heating issues either.

The loudspeakers on this phone are really loud and have decent depth to them for playing games or for music needs if you aren’t around many people. GPS, WiFi, and Bluetooth performance also didn’t show any troubles. There’s also Quick Share for sharing files with other Android phones quickly, and it worked fine. The 5G performance of the phone is okay for usage on the go. I wouldn’t say it’s the best in the segment compared to realme and OnePlus, but it’s still good enough to not be a deal breake

Verdict:  Lava has tried to keep this device look different from other devices under Rs. 20,000, and it seems to have done a good job in terms of design and build quality. While the camera performance isn’t satisfactory, the loudspeakers, display quality, and battery experience generally don’t disappoint. The company promises two years of Android OS updates and three years of security patches, and hopefully continues to add useful features and refine the software.

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