Lava Z1, the first India-made military-grade smartphone, for under ₹6,000

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The Lava Z1 is targeted at consumers looking to upgrade from a feature phone, and offers them a chance to customise storage and other specs

India smartphone manufacturer Lava will be the first mobile device manufacturer in the country to sell a ₹5,499 military-grade or ‘rugged’ smartphone.

Slated for release on January 26, the Z1 smartphone is part of a new lineup of recently launched Lava devices that also includes the Z2 (₹6,999), Z4 (₹8,999) and Z6 (₹9,999) smartphones which offer an smartphone entry point for many Indian consumers — particularly those who are construction workers and contractors, hikers and adventurers, motorcycle tourers and more. Essentially the ‘rugged’ construction of these phones — along with their ability to withstand extreme conditions and temperatures — makes them stellar options for non-military use. The Z2, Z4 and Z6 go on sale from January 11.

The Lava Z1 is completely designed in the country by Indian engineers from its industrial design to its hardware and software. The Z1 was tested by Lava using MIL-STD-810H. This is a U.S. Military standard that emphasises tailoring an equipment’s environmental design and test limits to the conditions that it will experience throughout its service life, and establishing chamber test methods that replicate the effects of environments on the equipment rather than imitating the environments themselves.

This dual-SIM smartphone has an all-plastic back and no fingerprint scanner. Expect a 5-inch display, a Media-tek Helio A20 processor with a 2GB RAM and 16GB storage. There is also a 5-magnet speaker and a 3,100mAh battery. Users can expect a 5-megapixel camera sensor and a 5-megapixel selfie camera.

The role of Gorilla Glass

  • A vital part of the military-grade claim made by Lava, Gorilla Glass has been designed into more than eight billion devices by more than 45 major brands, including Samsung, Vivo, and Google. Gorilla Glass 3 is one of Corning’s best-selling device glasses, comprising atomic configuration formulated so that the glass is fundamentally tougher and more damage resistant, even before its unique chemical strengthening. In 2020, Corning launched Gorilla Glass Victus, their strongest screen yet. Having debuted with the Samsung Note20 Ultra, it claimed to be up to four times better than competitive aluminosilicate glasses, surviving drops onto hard, rough surfaces from up to two metres.

“Based on our extensive research on the budget segment customers, we realized that an important aspect they aspire for in their device is durability,” said Tejinder Singh, Head of Product, Lava International Limited. “This device is for consumers who are upgrading from feature phones and hence, consumer expectations of a longer life-cycle are a challenge considering their extreme environmental conditions. Our design engineers worked on that in detail and using Gorilla Glass 3, the Lava Z1 was designed with military-grade toughness to meet unmatched standards of ruggedness in the segment.”

Lava’s comeback into the smartphone industry is marked by two programs: ‘Build MyZ’, in which users can customise specifications from a given set and build their own phone, and ‘Upgrade MyZ’, where they will have the ability to upgrade the RAM and storage on their Z series phone later on. These will be available through a made-to-order model to go live on the Lava e-store.

Lava was also the first brand to launch its ‘Designed in India’ feature phone in 2018. The company has also designed Gorilla Glass across a broad range of its portfolio over the past four years, including its more popular Z81 and Z61 models.

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