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Lenovo has always tried to bring the best technology at affordable prices for smartphones right from the beginning when it forayed into the Android phone market in 2012. The company’s product line-up has featured great budget and mid-range smartphones, like K4 Note, Vibe X3, Vibe Shot, A7000, A7000 Turbo and more, to woo and cater the mass-demand. The Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus is yet another great example of how Lenovo manages to dish out great mobile devices at reasonable prices. The Vibe K5 Plus is yet another addition to the Chinese phone-makers under-10,000 club, a category that has quite a competition from other smartphone makers like Xiaomi, Micromax, Honor and even Samsung lately. The exciting thing is Lenovo launched the Vibe K5 Plus model in India first. This speaks volumes about company’s customer-centricity in the local Indian market.
- Design and Display:
Just similar to its other model, Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus too flaunts a big 5 inch Full HD display with a good 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution that works out to a density of 441 PPI on the screen to give out good image display. The IPS capacitive touchscreen with 16M colours also supports sharp images. The broad borders at the top and bottom edges leaves out 68.4% screen-to-body ratio which makes the viewing screen pretty comparable to few others in the lower mid-range smart phone category.
The look is standard candy bar resembling almost an iPhone look with what Lenovo claims to be an all metal body. The body feels very lighter and fragile failing to give that premium feeling while holding it in the hand. But even so, it still is an improvement compared the K4 Note. The design is mundane and lacks any exciting element. The usual capacitive buttons reside at the front bottom on the border at either side of the home button. The power button and volume rockers reside on the right panel to allow easy single-hand operation, while the USB and power port along with 3.5mm audio jack inlet is put up at the top panel. What’s lacking is any sort of glass protection, leaving it exposed to scratches and breaks.
The display quality is fairly good. The screen is responsive and also pretty bright just as most Lenovo phones. The 441 PPI density makes colours on the screen pretty solid and crisp. The screen avoids reflection to allow easy text reading and watching videos even in bright sunlight. But you may find the experience compromised at certain angles as the screen allows 180 degree viewing angles. Yet the screen display does the job expected at the price range.
- Software and Performance
Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus works with 1.7GHz Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 processor with 64 Bit processing. The smartphone also has 2GB RAM with 16GB internal memory expandable further upto 128GB with a microSD card. The phone runs Android 5.1 Lollipop with Lenovo’s custom interface riding over it.
The octa-core processor can handle the regular operations and functions pretty easily on day-to-day basis, without any known glitch. You will be able to breeze through handling multiple tasks including social media Apps, Image enhancing Apps, Camera, Email, Phone calls and browsing multiple internet pages at a go. Gaming experience is also pretty good with Adreno 405GPU supporting sharp graphics including Temple Run or Subway Surfer. The 1.7GHz octa-core does allow for a pleasant game-play but heavy games like NSF and Asphalt 8 may suffer some lag if you have multiple applications running in the background. The Audio is supported with Dolby ATMOS for a better sound quality to enhance movie-watching or listening to songs. With the in-built TheatreMax technology you can pair Vibe K5 plus with any virtual reality handset to convert the videos and games into a big-screen virtual entertainment.
Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus comes with number of pre-installed applications, some of which may come pretty handy. The signature App Syncit allows for taking a backup of your contacts, SMS and call logs on cloud storage. Tasks like handling complaints, suggestions, software updates and even running diagnostics are taken care of by Lenovo’s Companion App. Theme Centre allows for customisation. The regular jazz of allowing display adjustments, LED alerts for missed calls, unread texts and mails and setting permissions for accessing individual Apps is all put on the plate for a wholesome user experience. However, the fingerprint sensor (available in K4 Note) has been left out.
To compare, Samsung J3 is powered with 1.5 GHz Quad-core processor which is combined with 1.5GB of RAM and Redmi Note 3 comes with a Snapdragon 650 hexa-core processor with 2GB of RAM. Both models do allow for increasing memory with an external microSD card. While Redmi Note 3 ranks pretty good in performance, Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus surely steals the show amongst the three.
Like most phone released lately, the Vibe K5 Plus also carries a higher 2750mAH battery. Understanding the normal usage of most people these days which required higher on-screen time with mails, texts and more, the battery does seem to be decent to last normal working hours with a low-to-moderate usage. But intense gaming or movie-marathons can sap the battery pretty easily. Ofcourse you can resort to power saving mode but if you fail to kill multiple unwanted applications running in the background of the huge memory option provided, you may have the screen go off sooner without enough power.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 aces this game with 4000maH battery that can last you decent hours with all the jazz of gaming, movies, music and online fun without having to run to grab a charger anytime soon. Samsung on the other hand has the lower battery configuration of 2600mAH and presents similar challenges as that of Vibe K5 Plus.
The smartphone carries a decent camera configuration with 13 MP rear camera that has f/2.2 aperture and a 5-piece lens. The daylight shots are very satisfactory with rich and detailed colour reproduction in the images captured. But the low-light images do carry lot of noise and are not so great. The 5 piece lense does allow good HDR shots but the night or low-light shots may still be a problem. Hence make sure you choose the time and angle of the shot that allows for ample light to be captured through the lens. The camera comes with Auto-focus which doesn’t really focus wide in wide shots and the colour contrast looks faded in too-much-light condition. Though there is quite a lag while clicking the shot. The sluggish processing takes a while before you save the shot. The front 5 MP 4 piece camera with f/2.8 aperture however would be a delight for selfie lovers.
Lenovo tries the correct most of the lacking features of K4 in Vibe K5 Plus. The phone doesn’t try to re-invent the game, as it understands that users probably look for more functionality and features in this price range rather than any unique offering. Yet, it packs a great deal (well within the budget) to appeal to a wide audience. Metal body casing (even if it is aluminium), sleek operating device, a very good processor, higher RAM, option for enhancing the storage as needed and a decent camera configuration, all these features are likely to make Vibe K5 Plus an option to consider who is looking for a great phone in the price range. A better battery would have surely up-ed the game, but we still aren’t complaining that much. The phone looks as well as operates pretty well. And guess what it doesn’t burn a hole in the pocket. Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus surely gets a Thumbs up for being a real Smart Budget Phone.
- Good HD Display
- Good configuration at a price range
- Dolby Atmos Support for Speakers
- Dedicated Dual SIM and Micro SD Card
- Standard shelf candy-bar design
- Absence of finger print sensor
- Sub-par aluminium body