Lava Mobiles is back in the news with its first 5G smartphone in India, the Lava Agni 5G. This new model has been launched in the sub-Rs. 20,000 segment, which is now bustling with 5G smartphones. From the looks of it, the Lava Agni 5G does seem well spec'd. It is powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 810 SoC and sports a quad camera setup. It also packs in a 5,000mAh battery and supports 30W fast charging. With such powerful hardware, can the Agni 5G set the market on fire? I put the Lava Agni 5G to the test to find out.
The Lava Agni 5G is priced at Rs. 19,999 in India for its lone 8GB RAM, 128GB storage configuration. It's available in only one colour called Fiery Blue.
The Lava Agni 5G is a big smartphone, packing in a 6.78-inch display with a holepunch for the selfie camera. This hole is noticeable and can be distracting. I found the bezels around the display to be sleek, with only the chin being comparatively thicker. The phone has a plastic body, and the frame has a glossy blue finish that shines when light reflects off it. Lava has curved the sides of the frame which makes this phone comfortable to hold. The top and bottom are flat.
The power and volume buttons are on either side, positioned towards the middle of the frame, making them easy to reach. The power button on the right has an integrated capacitive fingerprint scanner to unlock the phone with. Above the volume buttons on the left side is the slot for the hybrid dual-SIM tray. The Lava Agni 5G has a 3.5mm headphone jack, USB Type-C port, and loudspeaker at the bottom, while the top only has the secondary microphone.
Lava has gone with a quad-camera setup at the back, and the module does protrude. It has a two-step design with the dual-LED flash and a single camera sensor in the first step, and the other three camera sensors raised a bit further. The back panel has a glossy finish and picks up smudges rather easily. You get a case in the box, along with a 30W fast charger. The phone weighs 204g, which is noticeable when using it.
The Lava Agni 5G has a 6.78-inch IPS LCD display with a full-HD+ resolution and Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for protection. The Agni 5G is powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 810 SoC, which is also found in the Realme 8s 5G and the recently launched Redmi Note 11T 5G. This processor is matched with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. You can expand storage using a microSD card, but that comes at the cost of the second Nano-SIM because of the hybrid slot.
The Lava Agni 5G houses a 5,000mAh battery and comes with a 30W charger in the box for fast charging. It supports Bluetooth 5.1, dual-band Wi-Fi, dual 5G, and 4G VoLTE connectivity.
In terms of software, the Agni 5G runs stock Android 11 and it was running the October Android security patch. The phone comes with a few Google apps and Facebook preinstalled. The UI feels basic but is easy to navigate, speaking of which, you can choose between traditional three-button navigation and swipe gestures. Lava has implemented a feature it calls Duraspeed, which is claimed to boost app performance by restricting background apps from consuming resources. All features are clubbed into an “Intelligent assistance” section in the Settings app. This section also has a High-speed Refresh toggle for the 90Hz refresh rate, which should have been in the Display section for ease of use.
The Lava Agni 5G offered snappy performance and could multitask between different apps without slowing down. The display has good viewing angles and the single bottom-firing speaker is loud enough to enjoy watching content on the phone. With the high refresh rate enabled, scrolling appeared to be a lot smoother. The side-mounted fingerprint scanner was a little troublesome to set up, but never gave me trouble when unlocking the Agni 5G. The face recognition feature, which the company calls “Face ID”, was also quick to unlock the smartphone.
After testing the Redmi Note 11T 5G recently, I had a fair idea of how the MediaTek Dimensity 810 performs, and I ran a few benchmarks to see how the Lava Agni 5G compares. In the AnTuTu benchmark, the Lava Agni 5G managed to score 380,697 points. It also scored 570 and 1,648 points in Geekbench's single-core and multi-core tests respectively. These are higher than the scores of the Redmi Note 11T 5G. In graphics benchmark GFXBench, the Lava Agni 5G managed 51fps and 13fps in T-Rex and Car Chase tests respectively.
I played Battlegrounds Mobile India on the Lava Agni 5G and it defaulted to HD graphics and High frame rate presets. The game ran at these settings without any stutter. I played for 20 minutes and saw a four percent drop in the battery level. The phone was slightly warm to the touch after gaming. If you are looking for a smartphone in this price segment to game on, the Lava Agni 5G does have the hardware to run popular titles.
As for battery life, the Lava Agni 5G easily lasted beyond a day and a half with my usage. In our HD video loop test, the phone went on for 14 hours and 48 minutes while the display refresh rate was set at 90Hz. Charging time is acceptable with the supplied 30W charger. It got the phone to 46 percent in 30 minutes and 86 percent in an hour.
The Lava Agni 5G has a quad-camera setup consisting of a 64-megapixel primary camera, a 5-megapixel ultra-wide angle camera, a 2-megapixel depth sensor, and a 2-megapixel macro camera. For selfies, it has a 16-megapixel front shooter. The camera app on the Agni 5G was easy to use and had all the different shooting modes well laid out. It has quick toggles for AI scene detection, HDR, and filters. Do note that the phone watermarks photos by default, so you'll need to disable this to avoid it on your photos.
The Lava Agni 5G was quick to detect what it was pointed towards and also enabled HDR automatically when required. Weirdly, it shoots photos at the full 64-megapixel resolution by default, which results in 25MB files for each shot. Photos taken in daylight were good as is, but magnifying them revealed a watercolour-like effect. Shots taken in bright surroundings had aggressive HDR. After switching to the 16-megapixel resolution I did see some improvement in the output. The ultra-wide angle camera's performance was just average – colour tone was slightly off compared to the primary camera, and it did not capture the same level of detail.
Close-up shots fared better and had good detail. The Agni 5G never needed a second attempt to lock focus. It also added a soft blur to the background. Strangely, the Lava Agni 5G also takes portrait shots at the full 64-megapixel resolution by default, and will require you to manually switch to a lower resolution once again. Portrait shots had good edge detection but the background blur was too aggressive. Thankfully, you can tone it down before taking a shot.
Macro shots taken with the dedicated camera had adequate detail, but it is limited to 2 megapixels in resolution.
Low-light shots had decent detail but shadows did appear grainy. Photos shot in Night mode were brighter and grain was under control. The phone takes about 3-4 seconds to capture a photo in this mode.
Selfies from the 16-megapixel camera were good. In daylight the phone managed to capture details very well but the image did appear smoothened. Lowlight selfies with a light source nearby turned out well.
Video recording tops out at 2K and 1080p for the primary and selfie cameras respectively. Footage taken with the primary camera in daylight as well as at night wasn't stabilised. It was shaky, but the quality overall was acceptable.
Lava has been launching smartphones sporadically over the past few years, and the Agni 5G is its latest offering. The Agni 5G is well equipped, with hardware that puts it on par with the competition at this price point. The 90Hz display is smooth, and the single speaker is loud enough to enjoy watching videos with. I found its performance to be adequate for the price it commands. Battery life wasn't the best I've seen at this price point but this phone will still last beyond a day quite easily.
The Agni 5G falls short with its cameras. The output is average, and videos aren't stabilised. It also takes photos at 64-megapixels by default which will fill up the internal memory very quickly if you don't notice and change that.
If you're willing to bear with this level of camera performance, you can go for the Lava Agni 5G. However, before you do that, I'd suggest you take a look at the Realme 8s 5G (Review) and the new Redmi Note 11T 5G (Review) as well.