Lenovo Vibe Z review : What’s your Vibe?

Lenovo Vibe Z K910

Lenovo entered the Smartphone market very recently and have launched few if not many interesting phones. The K800 and the K900 were one the first few phones to be running on Intel’s Atom processor. In January 2014 the company bought Motorola from Google. The company was also recently listed as the world’s fourth largest Smartphone manufacturer. The future for world’s largest PC maker in the Smartphone market is, I must say, looking very bright.

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The company’s flagship model the Lenovo Vibe Z was announced last year and comes with all bells and whistles to battle the likes of the Samsung S4 and the HTC One. So let’s find if this flagship will match up to the segment leaders.

Quick look at the specs

  • Operating System – Android 4.3
  • Dimension – 149.1 x 77 x 7.9 mm, 145.2 g.
  • Camera – Sony IMX13513 MP f1/1.8, 4128 x 3096 pixels, autofocus, LED flash, 1080p video at 30fps. 5 MP front facing camera.
  • Display – IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors. 1080 x 1920 pixels, 5.5 inches with 401 ppi pixel density.
  • Processor – QualcommSnapdragon 800.
  • Memory & Storage – 2 GB RAM + 16GB storage. Non-expandable.
  • Battery – 3000 mAh Li-Po, i.e Lithium Polymer, battery rated for 33 hours of talk time on 3G and up to  26 days stand by on 3G.
  • Colours – Silver and Titanium.

Design and Handling

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The Lenovo Vibe Z has a massive 5.5” 1080×1920 display and is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The phone is pretty large and is not comfortable for one handed use. The bezels on the sides and the bottom could have been a little thinner for better handling. But this is not really a deal breaker. The phone is really light for its size at just 145.2 g, other 5.5” phones like the Galaxy Note 3 weighs 168g and the LG G Pro weighs in at 172g. Some of its weight can be credited to its battery, Li-Po batteries are believed to be thinner and lighter when compared to standard Li ion batteries.

Lenovo have put in a lot of effort to make the phone look good and we really appreciate the effort. The back panel is finished either in Titanium or Black and I should say that both feel really good and premium.

Lenovo VibeZ Back With Camera

The power button is placed on the top right hand corner and the volume rocker is on the left hand side. The phone uses a micro SIM and the tray for the same has been placed on the right hand side. The microphone is at the bottom of the screen, just below the glass area. The 3.5 mm headset jack is placed on the top left corner and the micro USB charging port is placed at the bottom. All in all, the phone feels really good to hold and gives you a premium and expensive feeling. A micro SD port will be sorely missed.

There are three capacitive keys placed at the bottom for navigation. The home button is placed at the center, the back button to the right and the options menu to the left.

Display and User Interface

The 5.5” display has a resolution of 1080×1920 with a pixel density of 401 ppi . While, this may not be on par with the 441 ppi of the Galaxy S4, the difference is minimal. The fonts in the browser look very crisp and so do the pictures.

The phone comes bundled with a heavily modified Android 4.3 and the layout is clean and simple. The colors of the icons and the system wide features are pleasing to the eyes. There are a lot of customizable options to make your phone distinguishable. The phone comes inbuilt with a Theme Center, where one can choose from an array of themes. Each theme comes with its own set of icons and widget designs, to suit everyone’s taste.

Theme Center

Once you switch on the phone, it’s not difficult to notice that the App Drawer is missing. This means that every app installed will be added on to the desktop and as apps increase in number it becomes a must to sort out your apps into folders.

Multi-Tasking-Lenovo-VibeZ

The Multi Window feature enables one to make full use of the 5.5” screen and toggle between two apps on the home screen. This lets you read a book and browse the internet in parallel without having to switch between the apps. Lenovo have included a lot nice features to play around with, Smart Answer automatically answers an incoming call when placed near your ear. Smart Call, makes a call to the person whose contact or message you are viewing without having to hit the dial button. Smart Dial is a feature which alters the size of the dialer keys based on the angle of the phone to favor one handed use, a useful feature considering the size of the phone.

Wide Touch is a one-shortcut access to all your favorite apps and system toggles. It basically provides you with an ease of access shortcut window where you can organize all your favorite and frequently used apps. As mentioned it also provides you with a shortcut to all the system toggles like wifi, Bluetooth etc. It is similar to Apple’s own AssistiveTouch feature.

The phone comes inbuilt with a lot of Lenovo proprietary apps, Lenovo calls it the DOit series of apps. The SHAREit enables you the share photos, videos, apps and other data to a paired devices or a group of devices. The CLONEit feature in this app lets you import all your files to a selected device. This is a nice addition provided the receiver device also has SHAREit installed which is available in the Google Play Store. We tried SHAREit with a Lenovo – Non Lenovo pairing we found data transfer to be considerably faster than normal bluetooth transfer.

SECUREit protects your phone from viruses, spam and malware. SYNCit helps you backup or restore your contacts, messages and call logs. SNAPit is your Camera and SEEit is your Gallery. Although on our device, SNAPit and SEEit came preinstalled as Camera and Gallery.

Lenovo have tied up with Gameloft to provide some very popular paid games at a discounted price. The Amazing Spiderman 2 for instance regularly available at Rs 390 is available for Rs 20 in the Gameloft store.

The phone has an inbuilt FM radio with a recording option. We did record a song over the radio and the quality of the recording was far from impressive.

Driving Apps

Drive mode gives users only those essential apps that one might need while driving, without the use of hands ofcourse. The user interface is pretty simple and and gives you access only to Navigation, Messages, Music and Telephone. Voice recognition is not upto the mark, but we were able to get what we needed after certain trials.

Battery

The 3000 mAh battery that powers the Lenovo Vibe Z is pretty powerful. We threw everything possible at it, gaming, browsing, extensive camera use and we were still able to manage more than day’s usage on a single charge. The Power Manager lets you toggle between various settings to squeeze the most out your battery.

Battery

Running really low on charge? Don’t fret, the Ultimate Saving Mode, will turn off all data connections making available only messaging, dialer, contacts and clock to access the screen also turns mostly black with white and blue to conserve power.

Camera

The Camera unit is a Sony IMX13513 MP f1/1.8, as you can see it is a pretty fast lens. The camera is pretty quick to take photos. Though it is a 13 MP unit, you will be able to capture a maximum of 12 MP at 4160×3120 pixels at a 4:3 ratio. For a 16:9 ratio one will have to settle for a maximum of 9 MP at 4160×2340 pixels. The volume keys can be used for digital zoom.

The camera offers a lot in terms of feature, if you are not an auto camera mode kind of person there are options to alter ISO, White Balance, Metering and the likes. Here is a list of other features available.

  • HDR for photos
  • Dual shot mode with the front and the rear camera.
  • Macro mode.
  • Smile shot.
  • Super night mode, for nice night shots.
  • Burst mode.
  • Self-timer.

There are also other useful features like

  • Eraser – This erases unwanted objects in your picture.
  • Group
  • Normal Gif
  • Magic GIF – Capture a GIF and make edits with some coloured markers.

Apart from these there is huge list of filters available at your fingertip. Oh and by the way they give you a live preview too.

The HDR mode works pretty well for those pictures where the light hits the lens directly. In the attached pic you can see that the detail captured around Jerry is pretty commendable, the colors look natural too. We also captured an outdoor picture in HDR, in the picture 2 you can clearly see that we get more blues in the sky but the reds and the greens don’t look natural.

The Camera is capable to capturing full HD videos at 30 fps. Sadly, there is nothing more to write about the video capture, unlike the Galaxy S4 you don’t get an option to shoot at 60 fps, neither there are any slow motion options. There is no HDR mode for the video either. So all you get is a straight forward 1080p video at 30fps.

The 5MP front facing camera can be described as selfie oriented and why not? We were really impressed by the detail and the quality of the photos taken by the front camera. The lens fills in enough light and is quick to capture photos. The front snapper is also capable to capturing full HD videos. We have to say that it is one of the best front facing cameras we have ever used.

Performance

The Snapdragon 800 processor is a tried and tested processor and we didn’t encounter any lags or glitches in heavy usage. The onboard 2GB RAM does help smooth and speedy performance. We were able to comfortably able to switch between applications while playing games. One problem we encounter though is that the phone does heat up when subjected to heavy usage. This is not that uncomfortable, but it is definitely noticeable.

The graphics are pretty impressive, we threw a couple of action games like Frontline Commander and Real Steel and the detail of the imaging were on par with its competitors.

Connectivity and Browser

The default browser was satisfactory in all aspects. We threw whatever possible at it and it renders content smooth and fast. Zooming into content renders smooth and crisp fonts and images, thanks to the 1080p screen. Videos too ran smooth and we didn’t encounter any sorts of lag during browsing.

Telephony , Gallery and Music player

The phone comes with Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic and does a really good job of cutting out noise. We didn’t encounter any voice related problems or disturbance on either side of a call.

The Gallery is given a really nice touch. You can view photos and videos either through albums or all at once. The photos are nicely spaced out and thumbnails appear as squares or rectangles. These thumbnails also act as live tiles, which is really nice touch.

Jigsaw is an inbuilt gallery extension where you can choose photos and arrange them in predefined collage templates.

There is a very clever option to view only portraits or landscape photos. The gallery automatically filters out only portraits or landscapes based on option chosen.

The phone doesn’t come with any proprietary Lenovo music player. We tested its music capabilities with the Play music app. We were really blown away with the performance of the bundled earphones, the sound is crisp and clear. The bass boost is accurate and not overdone. We also like the build quality of the earphones, they are definitely built to last. The loudspeaker is placed at the back at the bottom, the surface of the phone is slightly curved here making sure the speaker is not blocked when placed on its back. This also helps in reflecting sound and the final result is pretty good.

Conclusion

The Lenovo Vibe Z definitely has the vibe of a flagship smartphone, there’s not really much to not like about the phone. The build quality is excellent, though the camera has its downsides it still performs well for everyday use. It’s also priced pretty well at around Rs 30,000, the Exynos Galaxy S4 is priced about the same, but it’s not a Snapdragon. There is a lot to like about the phone, we really loved the 5 MP front facing camera, the sound clarity is crisp. All in all, the Lenovo Vibe Z gets a big Thumbs Up from My Portable World.

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Lenovo Launches 6 new Android phones in India

Last weekend we caught up with the Lenovo team, and got a preview of some of their new devices which are hitting the Indian shores. They announced 6 new Android devices running on Intel processors ranging from around Rs. 8700 for the starting range up to Rs. 33,000 for their premium phablet phone the K900.

One phone to look out for is the P780, which comes with a whopping 4000mAH battery, which you can also hook up to other devices via USB OTG and charge them as well!

Lenovo says,

We met up with the Lenovo folks including Nick Reynolds, who is the Executive Director for Worldwide Product Launch in Lenovo Product Group. He took up though the line up and answered quite a few question which we had as well.

When asked about the customizations that Lenovo puts on top of Stock Android, Nick had told us that Lenovo doesn’t layer Android too heavily, they just put in a light layer of UI skin, which is light enough so that they can get updates out much faster.

We also asked Nick about why they decided to go with Intel processors, and if these phones would have lower battery life due to that choice. Nick answered that the latest Intel processors are much better in battery efficiency than their predecessors  so these should give comparable battery life as their ARM based cousins.

The Lenovo folks also mentioned that according to current plans, they’d be refreshing their product line every 6 months, instead of the 1 year cycle which most other manufacturers follow.

Product Overview

Let’s get an overview of the 6 devices and their Maximum Retail Prices for India now:

 

lenovo-smartphone-k900

K900: The powerful and elegant smartphone

  • Processor: Lenovo K900 is the first smartphone in the world to leverage the latest Intel® Z2580 processor, a dual core chip, which runs up to 2.0 GHz and utilizes Intel® Hyper-Threading technology to boost performance efficiency
  • Display: The K900 is one of the first smartphones in the world to combine a 5.5” IPS display with 1080p high-definition resolution performance at 400+ pixels-per-inch, all under the latest, touch-capacitive Gorilla Glass 2
  • Camera: The phone is equipped with a 13 MP camera and an industry-leading Sony® Exmor BSI sensor. Moreover, the camera has an F1.8 focal length lens, making it the first smartphone to offer such a wide aperture on its camera. The front camera has also been widened to an 88⁰ viewing angle, the widest available on a smartphone front camera for convenient self-photos and video calls.

Retail price for the K900 is Rs. 32999.

Lenovo P780

P780: A smartphone for professionals with a high powered 4000mAh battery

  • Battery: The P780 has the best battery life of all smartphones in the market today and boasts 25 hours of active standby thanks to Lenovo Smart Energy and a 4000mAH battery, the largest in its class
  • Processor: The P780 is equipped with a 1.2GHz quad-core processor for a smooth experience
  • IPS screen: The P780 has a large, high-resolution IPS Screen offering clearer images, better refresh rates and show accurate colors from all viewing angles (178 Degrees)

Retail price for the P780 is Rs. 22529.

S920 Lenovo

S920: A super slim, large screen entertainment phone 

  • IPS screen: Fronted by a 5.3” (1280 x 720) IPS display, and framed in a smooth, rounded chassis, the Lenovo S920 smartphone is eye-grabbing, either when viewing the 16M-color screen or admiring it from afar.
  • Camera: The S920’s rear-mounted “super camera” shoots at 8MP for clearer images, and allows for up to 100 consecutive shots in burst mode, capturing still shots within video and advanced photo editing functions.
  • Processor: Backed by a 1.2GHz, quad-core processor, the S920 handles videos and demanding game graphics with ease
  • Size & Weight: The phone weighs only 159g and has a depth of merely 7.9mm, with a unique “hourglass” design that gives it an even slimmer feel

Retail price for the S920 is Rs. 26399

 

S820: A sleek, ergonomically designed multimedia phone

  • Processor: The phone is powered by a powerful 1.2 Ghz Quadcore processor for ultra-smooth Android experience.
  • Camera: A high-res 12MP camera captures ultra-fine images and a 2MP front camera. It is also equipped with SuperCamera software allowing you to take 100 photos in burst mode, take stills while video recording et al

Retail price for the S820 is Rs. 19599.

Lenovo A706

A706: A high performance phone

  • Processor: The phone is backed by a 1.0GHz, quad-core processor and 1GB RAM
  • Sound Quality: The Dolby Digital Plus technology lets you get the best audio experience from headphones or built-in speakers
  • Display: The phone has a 4.5” IPS display for a better experience when gaming, watching videos or surfing the net. A higher resolution means sharper images.

Retail price for the A706 is Rs. 15949.

Lenovo A390

A390: A value smartphone with substance

  • Processor: The phone has a 4” Capacitive Display with 480 x 800 resolution for a better experience when gaming, watching videos  or surfing the net. A higher resolution means sharper images
  • Storage: The A390 offers 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage expandable up to 32GB, and handles mobile gaming with ease
  • Camera: With a 5.0MP camera for capturing and sharing photos of friends, the A390 is the perfect solution for customers needing a solid performer that doesn’t break the budget

Retail price for the A390 is Rs. 8689.

Product Factsheets (links to PDF)

Find The Perfect Business Laptop – Here’s a Shortlist.

Laptops have become a part of our lives. Be it business or personal use, just like a smartphone, everyone wants to have a laptop of their own and consider it as a personal possession – and have it totally customized to their taste. Thanks to the technological advancement and the healthy competition among the top laptop manufacturing companies, we have a wide variety of laptops to choose from as per our needs.

When we choose a laptop for our business we go for certain special features as opposed to choosing a laptop for personal use. Yes, business laptops have to be durable, portable and powerful. They need to be stable given the fact that they will be used for extended hours (compared to a personal laptop), easy to carry for meetings, sometimes abroad, and should be able to withstand the intense usage and still respond fast!

Finding the perfect laptop for your business could be challenging taking into consideration these two facts –

1. You have specific requirements that demand a strong and powerful laptop when it comes to your business usage.
2. You have a wide variety of laptops to choose from.

Here is the deal – if you have point 1 ready, I am going to help you with point 2. Below is a shortlist of the best laptops that will suit your business requirements –

Toshiba Portege R935-P322 – This laptop comes under the ultra-portable category and is priced fairly lesser compared to the other laptops in this category. The laptop overtakes the past ultra-portables with a mobile processor which is certainly a plus; this reflects in the increased processing speed (especially with the multimedia tasks). The laptop has a battery life of 9+ hours. If you are after the ultra portability and fast processing speed that comes at a reasonably lower price, this is your piece.

Dell Latitude E6220 – This laptop also comes in the ultra-portable category but is a bit pricey for a 12.5 inch laptop. One of the coolest things about this laptop is that you can choose the battery settings that will allow you to travel light or use your laptop for computational purposes even for a day. I must admit that the laptop is not eye-catching or sleek, but it has a fast performance, the necessary components that a business will normally require and more importantly, warranty and service options that are expected by large business companies.

Lenovo Thinkpad T420 – Again, not a stylish-looking laptop but a workhorse that does the job. You can call it an all-purpose laptop with a solid build and a race horse performance. The laptop comes with multiple warranty options that are usually expected by business organizations. This piece is known for its rigid build, and robust performance. So if that’s what you need, go get it.

Vizio CT14-A2 Ultrabook – This one is elegant, has a metallic build and thin. When it comes to performance, it comes very close to its competitor (in performance) Acer Aspire S5 but is fairly low-priced that the Acer. The laptop lacks certain outward features – an in-built memory card reader, Ethernet jack, backlit keyboard, speaker sound quality, one more USB port (it has 2) etc. But certainly these are not a big deal if your business doesn’t require these features. I’d call it a minimalist performer.

Apple Macbook Pro (15-inch, Retina Display) – How can I complete this list without mentioning the Macbook Pro? If you are into a business laptop which has a robust performance, longer battery life and a great look that you can boast in your business meetings or conferences, yes, you should go for it. Retina display makes great resolution screen on a small-sized laptop possible. The machine boots and is ready in about a few seconds; wakes instantaneously from sleep and can stay asleep for 30 days with your work intact. The battery life is amazing (do I have to say this?) and yes it has a backlit keyboard. The only thing is that some of  your apps may have to be updated to be compatible with the retina display.

Top 5 Windows 8 tablets – A new dawn for the Post-PC Age

Microsoft Trusts its Competitors with its Future – A new dawn for the Post-PC Age

Windows 8 tablet PCs will shortly be hitting the shelves. So, which is model is going to blow the market away? The prices are out, so let the game commence! Here are our top 5. Keep an eye out for a desktop touting as a tablet.

Microsoft’s Surface
Microsoft’s Surface tablet PC completely changes the way we think about keyboards…kinda

1. Microsoft Surface. A beautiful piece of kit, the Surface is Microsoft’s best attempt at revolutionizing the tablet so far. With a magnesium chassis, a ClearType HD display and an awesome fold-out reimagining of that most archaic of peripherals, the keyboard, Microsoft may have played a blinder. Reviews are positive, and pricing seems competitive, starting at $599 for the basic 32GB model. Unlike Apple’s iPad, the Surface has upgradeable memory —you can whack an SD card in the back and boost your memory straight out. Brilliant.

The HP Envy x2 is pretty, but somehow familiar

2. HP Envy x2. The first hybrid tablet-cum-ultrabook device on our list, the HP Envy x2 is clearly designed to provoke a deadly sin in all who behold it. With a massive 64GB starting SSD, HP’s sleek new machine has been accused of copying the Apple MacBook Air, with its brushed aluminium shell and rounded corners. The Envy x2 looks like a strong competitor: boasting Beats Audio speakers, NFC support and a gorgeous IPS display. There’s always the fear, though, that HP may fall foul of the Cupertino patent machine. One for a wait-and-see approach.

Lenovo’s ThinkPad is designed with business and travel in mind

3. Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2. Showcasing Intel’s signature tablet PC processor, the Atom Clover Trail, Lenovo’s ThinkPad has met with critical acclaim. It’s solidly built, spec-ed up to the rim, and includes a full version of Office 2013 at launch. Though the price tag puts it at the upper end of the category, it would not be paying over the odds for this extremely powerful tablet

The Vivo Tab RT is a mere 10.6” across

4. Asus Vivo Tab RT. We’ve not yet mentioned a Windows RT tablet PC in this run-down, but here’s one worth the mention. The little brother to the Asus Vivo Tab, the Vivo Tab RT features a fairly standard hybrid ultrabook detachable keyboard, an Nvidia Tegra 3 graphics chip and a Super IPS+ panel with a resolution of 1366×768, just tipping it into the ‘HD Ready’ category. And, because, it’s ARM-powered and running RT, the Vivo Tab RT comes bundled with Office 2013. Priced to sell at $599.99
This is one of the most interesting Windows RT machines to watch. Its success or failure may well be depend on Microsoft’s ability to acquire a mobile ecosystem full of customers.

The VAIO Tap 20 can be angled to virtually any inclination you want

5. Sony VAIO Tap 20. Perhaps unimpressed with the competition’s attempts to combine tablet and laptop into hybrid ultrabooks, Sony have instead tried to create and all-in-one desktop computer in a single touch-screen device. It’s got a cool stand – there’s something you don’t hear often in computer reviews – and it is a big old piece of kit that could easily serve as a family media hub. The 1TB hard drive it packs is, therefore, to be expected. But, is its lack of mobility stuck just a little too far in the past?


Author Bio:

This article is written by Louise Miller. Louise graduated from LSE in 2011 with an MA in engineering and is now working as a freelance web designer. She loves blogging about tech and social media in her free time, especially all things Android.