This review is based on a set courtesy from GEARBEST . Gearbest is an online retailer selling a wide range of electronic, home, gardening, clothing, computers etc. You can see details of them here HERE
The unit came in a plain front light beige/brown box and all the phone details are in Chinese characters. The phone was sent from Hong Kong and is a China based set but phone was rooted and Google Playstore and services were preinstalled
The phone came with 16 GB internal memory ( user available was 10.39 GB) and 2 GB ram. Operating system is Android 5.0
Full phone specifications : GSMArena
• CPU: MediaTek MT6752 64bit 1.7GHz octa-core high-speed processing platform
• GPU: ARM MALI-T760
• OS: Android 5.0
• RAM+ROM: 2GB+16GB
• Camera: Dual cameras back-13MP, front-5.0MP
• Screen: 5.5 inch IPS capacitive screen, FHD 1920 x 1080 pixels
• SIM Card: Dual SIM card dual standby, dual Micro SIM
• Support Wifi/3G/4G/GPS/Gravity/Gesture /FM/MP3/MP4
2G: GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz
3G: WCDMA 850/900/1900/2100MHz
4G: FDD-LTE 1800/2100/2600MHz
Unlocked for Worldwide use.
In this review I will use a score of 1 ( worst) to 10 ( excellent) to rate the various features. These scoring are personal and might differ with different user. I will approach this from any normal non tech user. I will point out some differences with other phones I had used. This is my first Lenovo experience !!
BUILD QUALITY : 9
The phone build is good and sturdy. It comes with a plastic back cover which is very well fitted in. The quality of the back cover is nothing outstanding as it is just a piece of plastic. The feel of it is smooth and good and its best advantage is not a finger print magnet. There is no obvious signs of it being a cover as there are no slots to open it. One would need the fingers to feel around the edge and lift the cover up. It comes up easily and closing it back was easy too with a clicking sound.
HARDWARE : 8
It comes with MediaTek MT6752 64bit 1.7GHz octa-core processor cum an Arm Mali T760 GPU. These are not high specs and I’d consider it as mid range specs. Details of its performance is reviewed below. The back camera is a 13 MP ( 4128 x 3096 pixels ) with dual LED flash. The front camera for selfies shots is sufficiently good at 5 MP. On the right hand side are the power and volume control buttons. These buttons are very tactile and has a good feel using them. The left hand side is plain. At the bottom right hand side is the microphone. The top has the micro USB port and 3.5mm headphone jack. I do not quite like the position of the USB port and would much prefer it to be at the bottom instead. The phone speaker ( only a single unit) is located at a well positioned top part of the back. Handling the phone is unlikely to have this speaker covered up unnecessary.
The display is 5.5 inches IPS capacitative touchscreen and the phone is definitely not for a single handed user. The glass quality apparently is not Gorilla type quality and has a 71.7% screen to body ratio. Its resolution is 1080X1920 pixels with a pixel density of 401 ppi. Display quality is close to excellent. Colors are bright and quite saturated and I felt is better than Samsung’s Amoleds.
Opening the back cover reveals 2 dual sim slot ( both are micro sim) . One is 4G/3G/2G while the other is only 2G. I read those sets for India market, both sim slots are 4G capable. The battery size is sufficiently good size at 2900 mAh. The battery is extremely very difficult to take out. One would need to use a flat tip tool to lodge in the slot to lift it up. Trying to use one’s finger nails to do it is a tough job !! One would need to take off the battery to insert the simcards and ext sdcard. On the left of the simcard slot is the slot for external micro SDcard ( supports up to 128GB)
Accessories that comes with the phone are a 2 pin ( USA type) charger and a set of USB micro cable. The charger input is surprisingly low at only 0.5A. Charging from about 5% to full takes about 2.34 hours
USB-OTG works successfully and i have no issues connecting it directly to a 128GB thumb drive
Even though many users will find the phone being too large, I am perfectly comfortable using it. It feels very good in the hands.
SOFTWARE : 8
The default Android OS is 5.0 and phone has its own user interface VibeUI 2.5. Overall it is quite smooth and slick and I did not feel any lag moving among homescreens and opening apps. I am quite impressed with it ! The slickness and smoothness can easily match LG G4, Nexus 6 and Note 4. However I noted some differences of the phone software vs the Indian sets – there is lacking a Character Settings and Smart Scene settings ( see below) . These would have added more value to the phone with these additional features
One weakness of the default VibeUI is : it disallows other 3rd party launchers ( eg Nova, Action, Google Now) to add widgets to its homescreen ! All such additions will force close Settings. So I had no choice but to use the default Lenovo Launcher. There is no separate app drawer and all apps are displayed in the several homescreens . There is also no way to sort the apps in alphabetical order. So the best way to organize the apps was to create folders for easier access and reduce the number of homescreens showing them.The phone default apps : I do consider some of the apps are bloatware and I could easily freeze/uninstalled it through Titanium Backup since phone is rooted
Upon signing in to Lenovo account, the phone auto download more bloatware apps and I stopped it after downloading several of them. These are examples of the “useless” apps :
The pull down notification bar has a nice display of various toggles available :
I dot not quite like the 3 soft capacitative buttons at the bottom mainly due to it is not even slightly back lit. One would have to get used to it tapping left, center and right to access these !
There is quite a good shortcut by tapping down on the RHS button and it launches a quick shortcut screen for some features :
Its settings menu has a wide range of functions and this is commonly seen in most other Android phones too :
PHONE CALLS and SMS : 9
Phone calls audio is good – is clear and sufficiently loud. The dual sim is both active but only one sim can be chosen as 4G enabled. Dialing through either sim is easily chosen from dialpad itself. SMS window similarly allows one to choose either sim for messaging purposes. However if one wishes to use USSD codes dialing on the second sim, it works only on a single entry. If the process returns a menu listing, I was unable to key in at all any of the choices ! Data downloads through 4G ( tested on Celcom postpaid) is just above average and is lower by about 20-30% versus similar telco postpaid on my other phones ( Mate 7, LG G4)
PERFORMANCE : 9
For a phone with its mid range price and its amazing price ( US$ 159 from GEARBEST ) I would say this phone performance is close to excellent. General day to day use was smooth, efficient and sufficiently fast. Gaming however is not outstanding – I’d rate it as average to above average only. High performance games such as Asphalt 8 will cause noticeable lag and framedrops. This phone is sufficiently good for browsing, email, whatsapp, Facebook, Newsfeed, Tweeter etc
These are some benchmarks I had taken. Benchmarks are just numbers and DOESN’T really reflect true potential of phone performance. I will indicate other phones figures as a comparison too
ANTUTU : It is one of the most popular benchmark apps for Android devices. It tests many parts of your device and assigns an overall score. AnTuTu gives your device an overall numerical score as well as individual scores for each test it performs.
Its score of 46008 is even better than several Snapdragon 801 units
QUADRANT : Quadrant is a CPU, I/O and 3D graphics benchmark.
GEEKBENCH 3 : Geekbench 3 is Primate Labs’ cross-platform processor benchmark, with a new scoring system that
3DMark : A gamer’s benchmark. Score ( on IceStorm Extreme) is just average vs commonly reported 20-30K scores for other phones
AUDIO an VIDEO : 6
The phone speakers are average quality only. Its default ringtones are mostly soft and quite difficult to catch in noisy environments. I had chosen 3rd party ringtones as a better alternative. Its audio volume on music and video player is too weak and soft versus say LG G4, S6 Edge, Note 4, Nexus 6. Its main advantage lies in its speakers position which luckily is not at bottom of back which will commonly be blocked . Video playback is decent enough for most of the movies I had tested with good smoothness and minimal stuttering.
CAMERA : 7
Camera shots are average. The camera offers only basic features with aspect ratios of either 16:9 or 4:3 and a range of Scene modes ( Auto, Night, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset, Party, Motion, Beach, Firework, Candlelight ). Shutter speed is slow and often takes about a second to take a shot. Lowlight photography will take even slightly longer , probably at least another second more. Hands must be steady too to avoid blurry shots. Most shots I had taken the colors are not as accurate as actual and generally looks paler. Video shot quality is comparatively better – the colors are more accurate and details are sharper. One can choose either 720p or 1080p recording
All shots taken with phone default settings !
I’d say the camera shots are decent enough for social media posting purposes
Video : taken at mid morning with medium sunlight
BATTERY LIFE : 8.5
The phone can easily last a 10 to 12 hour working day usage. I could achieve at least a 4 to 5 hours SOT on a mix of 4G/Wifi usage on 80% internet based stuffs ( browsing, email, tweeter, whatsapp, Facebook, tweeter and several youtubes playing ). I would rate its battery life as sufficiently good
For a phone with its budget price of merely US$159, I would say is a good buy. Its performance is good and smooth. Apps open up fast and with minimal problems. Only weakness is its average camera performance. Overall I would rate a score of 8 to this phone while value for money a 9.
Blogs discussion on this phone
Modding the K3 Note : Forum XDA