Lenovo has finally launched its Vibe K5 Note smartphone in India. The company has introduced two variants of the smartphone, the one with 3GB of RAM is priced at Rs 11,999 and the other with 4GB of RAM for Rs 13,499. The Lenovo Vibe K5 Note will take on the likes of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, Motorola G4 Plus and LeEco Le2 among other popular smartphones priced between Rs 10,000 and Rs 15,000. We briefly spent some time with the smartphone at the launch event today, and here are our first impressions.
From design point of view, the Lenovo Vibe K5 Note is a serious upgrade over the Lenovo K4 Note, which had launched earlier this year. While the K4 Note had a removable plastic back panel, the Vibe K5 Note looks more contemporary with metal unibody, curved edges and fingerprint scanner on the back like you have on the LeEco Le 2 and Xiaomi Redmi Note 3. It is slimmer and feels more compact when compared to the Vibe K4 Note. In fact, it’s sort of a doppelganger of the Redmi Note 3.
The front is dominated by the display, front camera on the top and touch buttons for navigation on the bottom. While the rounded corners add to aesthetics, the metal trim on the sides is slightly protruding. The volume rockers and power button, placed on the right edge, are comfortably within reach. There’s a hybrid SIM slot on the left edge that houses microSD/nano SIM and nano SIM. The fingerprint scanner is also easily within the reach. Along with unlocking, the fingerprint scanner also be used for taking selfies. While the top has the 3.5mm audio port, the bottom houses the micro-USB slot.
Besides the design changes, the Vibe K5 Note carries a lot of elements from the predecessor such as the same rear and front camera combination, TheatreMax VR technology among others. The display continues to be the 5.5-inch with full HD IPS panel and 178 degree wide view. During our brief usage, the display seemed a bit reflective outdoors despite being set to full brightness. Indoors, the display felt alright. Users can also tweak the temperature, color and contrast of the display to suit their preferences.
The Android 6.0-based Vibe UI however feels a lot neater than what we had experienced on the older Vibe K4 Note. Though it remains another highly customized version of Android. During our brief usage, the UI felt quite fluid and easy to use.
We also tried out clicking a few photos from the Vibe K5 Note. The 13-megapixel rear camera on the Vibe K5 Note seemed okayish for now. The image processing was bit slower on the smartphone, but we can overlook that for now, as these could be prototypes. The 8-megapixel front facing camera isn’t really mind blowing, but is good enough for taking selfies. It comes preloaded with beauty mode, which is likely to woo the selfie enthusiasts. But again, we’d like to reserve our verdict on the camera until our final review.
The Lenovo Vibe K5 Note comes with 32GB of onboard storage, and supports expandable storage up to 128GB via microSD card. For performance, Lenovo is also banking on the MediaTek Helio P10 processor, which we have seen on similarly priced Meizu m3 Note and Yu Yunicorn. It will be interesting to see how the Helio P10 stacks up against the Snapdragon 650-powered Redmi Note 3 or the Snapdragon 652 running LeEco Le 2. arguably the best performer in this price category.
Like Xiaomi, Lenovo is too offering two variants of the smartphone. But Lenovo’s two variants only differ in terms of RAM size, and most likely the 4GB of RAM variant will more interest the users. But for Rs 1,500 lesser, you can settle with 1GB of lesser RAM, but with the same processor, and set of specifications and features. Overall, the Lenovo Vibe K5 Note looks like a promising smartphone that can take on the Redmi Note 3 or the LeEco Le 2. However, the stumbling block could be the Helio P10 processor.