Features 4.5 / 5
Lenovo has been aggressive enough to expand its portfolio of smartphones in the Indian market since its acquisition of Motorola. It has launched a number of handsets in the budget and mid-range segments over the past year, which have proven successful with Indian consumers. The Lenovo K3 Note, unveiled last year, was a smash hit with budget users. The device wows users with its combination of powerful hardware at an entry-level price. With the Vibe K4 Note, Lenovo wants to raise the bar.
From the name, you would assume the K4 Note is the successor to the K3 Note. However, on closer analysis, this is not entirely true. The Vibe Moniker says it’s actually not a budget smartphone, to begin with. The price is also slightly higher than that of the K3 Note.
Compared to the rather uninspiring square design of the K3 Note, the Vibe K4 Note is alluring. Motorola’s influence is evident in its design. While the K4 Note is a bit thicker than the K3 Note, the curved design is more beautiful. It’s also a bit heavier than the K3 Note but it also houses a bigger battery. There are several design changes, including twin speakers on the front, a fingerprint sensor on the rear, and a backlit capacitive button below the screen. The build quality, while not great, is pretty good for its price and segment.
From the recent crop of Lenovo phones, it’s clear that the company has cracked the code when it comes to the design of the smartphone. The Vibe K4 Note won’t make your heart beat faster, but it’s a decent-looking and decent-built smartphone.
The K3 Note broke a few pitches in terms of hardware considering its price range. The Vibe K4 Note continues the trend, despite its higher price tag. There are some changes and most of them are actually good for users. Lenovo used a MediaTek MT6753 chipset with an octa-core processor running at a speed of 1.3 GHz. It is a direct rival to Qualcomm’s popular Snapdragon 615 processor. The Vibe K4 Note also packs 3GB of RAM, which complements the processor nicely. Besides the built-in 16 GB space, there is a microSD card slot.
The Vibe K4 Note has NFC capability. It also has most of the connectivity options out of the box. It is a 4G LTE compatible device and supports Wi-Fi, A-GPS and Bluetooth. This device also has Dolby Atmos technology on the speakers, making it the best category in the audio department.
There’s no denying that one of the reasons the K3 Note outperformed its rivals was the display it boasts. In the Vibe K4 Note, Lenovo has kept pretty much the same display elements, which is not a bad thing after all!
Lenovo Vibe K4 Note comes with a 5.5 inch FullHD display. The pixel density of 403 PPI is the delight of moviegoers and gamers (not to mention the Dolby speakers, to which we will come back a little later in the test). If you set the brightness level to the maximum level, the readability of the sun will not be a problem. It also has good viewing angles.
One area where the Vibe K4 Note improves on its predecessor is the screen protection department. It’s coated with Corning Gorilla Glass 3. Despite this, you might still want to use a protective layer on the top of the screen. Reason, it is a fingerprint magnet and tends to accumulate stains quite quickly.
As we have already shared with this, the phone comes with an Octa-core processor paired with 3GB of RAM. The combination of these two elements made it easy for us to multitask. Playing some of the popular games like Asphalt 8 is a snap. Another thing to highlight is that we didn’t experience any heating issues on the Lenovo Vibe K4 Note even when playing heavy games or trying to juggle a lot of apps. There was no noticeable lag that we faced in the short amount of time we spent with the phone and the call quality and network reception are also quite good.
As for synthetic benchmarks, the Lenovo Vibe K4 Note ranks quite well.
2016 would be the year of virtual reality and Lenovo with this offer seems to have covered it as well. You can choose to purchase an ANT VR headset (at an additional cost of Rs 1,299) which, along with Theater Max technology, will enhance your viewing experience. The build of the ANT VR headset is better than other VR headsets we’ve seen at this price point and the experience of watching a video clip through Vibe K4 Note was average.
Lenovo Vibe K4 Note comes with Dolby Atmos speakers, which provide great experience. They are quite loud and yet you don’t feel like the sound quality is compromised at any level.
One of the highlights of the K3 Note was the fingerprint scanner, which was also included in the successor. In addition to unlocking the device, the sensor can also be used to take selfies on the Vibe K4 Note. The sensor is responsive and reliable.
The camera setup in the Vibe K4 Note is not much different from that of the predecessor. What we get is a 13MP rear sensor, which is aided by the dual LED CCT flash. On the back we have the 5MP camera without flash and it also lacks autofocus. The rear camera is equipped with features such as phase detection autofocus technology. However, it is not really fast and rivals like Asus Zenfone 2 Laser. LeEco Le1S manages to do a better job here.
The performance of the camera is honestly in the middle of the road. In good lighting conditions, it captures images with detail and sharpness. However, in dark places the noise level skyrockets. The rear camera can also be used to record 1080p video. Lenovo has integrated image stabilization software, which helps reduce shaking.
The front camera manages to work a way of clicking selfies and during video calls.
Examples of camera shots
Battery life continues to be a major concern for most people who use a smartphone these days. The Vibe K4 Note has a 3300mAh Li-Polymer battery, which is a small improvement over the K3 Note. It can last a day and a little longer with general use. However, its battery performance falls short of the huge batteries used by competitors like Asus Zenfone Max and even Lenovo P1M for that matter.
However, when opposed to Moto G 3rd Gen and LeEco 1S, it manages to deliver almost similar results.
In the list of budget smartphones, the Lenovo Vibe K4 Note stands out with its solid construction and excellent performance. It is an awesome multimedia device which boasts of excellent display and impressive sound quality.
Do not like
While we think the Lenovo Vibe K4 Note has a decent look, there are now much sleeker smartphones out there at the same price point.
The main drawback of the Lenovo K4 Note is the camera. The rear camera is insufficient when faced with the competition.
Overall, the Vibe K4 Note is an interesting and promising contender for the budget and mid-range smartphone segment. For its modest price, it packs a lot of features and good hardware. The improvements in RAM, screen protection and the inclusion of the fingerprint sensor are things worth highlighting, but it should not be forgotten that some competitors like LeEco Le 1S and Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 also offer the same.
In addition, Le1S and Redmi Note 3 offer a better design than the Vibe K4 Note. In the camera segment as well, Lenovo Vibe K4 Note is overshadowed by many rivals, including the Le 1S. If you think you can live with such minor hiccups, there’s no reason not to buy this device.
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