Lenovo which until recently was a well known Chinese PC maker has acquired a new identity of a smartphone behemoth after successfully acquiring Motorola Mobility from Google Inc. Lenovo is no longer looked upon as a typical Chinese manufacturer producing just cheap handsets, in fact it’s recent launches like Lenovo Vibe X and Vibe Z might give a good competition to flagship devices of Samsung and Apple as well. Lenovo officially launched it’s flagship device Vibe Z with much fanfare at recently concluded CES 2014 in January. Lenovo Vibe Z is basically the successor of K900 launched last year and it has got the look, feel and the price of a flagship device.
Let us see if Vibe Z can match up with the competition in terms of performance, looks and value for money. Unlike it’s predecessor K900 which was cased inside a steel body Vibe Z has got a poly carbonate cover. However it just doesn’t look plasticky at all, in fact it looks good with that silver metallic finish at the back.
It would be better to call Vibe Z a phablet with it’s massive and beautiful 5.5-inch display which produces natural colors and is among some of the best displays we have see till date. It’s screen radiates with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and has a pixel density of 401 pixels per inch therefore text and images look crisp and clear. At the same time screen shows rich colors and viewing angles are good. Vibe Z could be a treat for people who wish to watch movies and videos while on the move.
The primary camera is a 13 MP snapper which delivery a decent performance. In the default mode pictures clicked in bright daylight were crisp and clear with ample details. In low light conditions pictures quality is fair enough with minimal noise but contrast was missing here.
If you love taking selfie’s then Vibe Z may be the device just made out for you. It’s 5 MP camera manages to capture wider angles and at a much better resolution found in the other smartphones in the same price range. However we feel Vibe Z may not be the perfect device for capturing videos as low contrast levels make videos look dull.
Powerful processor, RAM but low on memory
Vibe Z is powered by a Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 quad core processor with all the cores churning out at 2.2 GHz. Graphics are powered by Adreno 330 GPU chip and a 2 GB RAM is found on the device. Vibe Z however lacks in the on board memory as it only has 16 GB of on board memory which is not not expandable.
Vibe Z draws it’s power from a 3,000 mAh Li polymer or Li-Po battery and considering the massive 5.5 inch display this much power is required. With 3G you can easily get a mixed usage time of 15-16 hours.
OS and other features:
As of now Lenovo is shipping Vibe Z with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and heavily layered it with it’s UI and system tweaks. But we can expect a Kitkat update soon as Motorola is now in Lenovo’s hand and if you remember Moto X and G were probably the initial devices to receive Kitkat update across the world.
While using this phone we found it to be a capable performer with no lag at all while opening resource hungry apps and 3D games like Asphalt 8 at the highest graphics settings. Web browsing is buttery smooth and GPS is fast and reliable. Vibe Z is capable of playing HD as well as full HD videos. Is we compare Nexus 5 with Vibe Z than Vibe Z’s performance is tad below Nexus 5, however the difference is subtle and performance wise it is comparable to other flagship smartphones such as S4, LG G2 and Sony Xperia Z1.
As we have said earlier Vibe Z may be made of poly carbonate but it gives a premium feel with excellent ergonomics. The back cover is non removable and is made of poly carbonate and has faux metal finish. At the same time back cover has a dotted pattern which makes it look good and gives a good grip as well. Power button and volume rocker are metallic. Vibe Z’s rounded corner makes it’s operation smoother and if you have a big hand you can operate it with ease single handed. It weights just 142 grams and this is made possible with the use of plastic.
Vibe Z’s highly customized user interface lacks an app drawer functionality usually found in the android devices and all the applications are available on the home screen as found in the iPhone. It is easy to use but messy at the same time, if you have used android previously you would need some time to get accustomed to new UI.
Vibe Z offers various features like faux glossy finish icons, colorful themes etc but the most noteworthy of them are “USB to go” and “multi window mode”. USB to go feature allows user to access files from a Pen drive or USB flash drive. You should have a microUSB to USB cable in order to use this functionality. Multi window mode allows you to open 2 apps at the same time and resize them on the screen. But only apps that support multi window mode would support this feature.
Apart from these apps Vibe X also has a security app which saves you from online threats like Virus, Malware and spam etc. The problem is that if you cannot disable app and it will keep running in the background. Similarly a power manager app also keeps running in the background.
Vibe Z no doubt is an outstanding gadget however it is not the best. If you want the best Android smartphone better go for Nexus 5 which is available cheaper at Rs. 32,000 or $600. Nexus 5 camera is better at clicking images, will get latest android updates first and boasts of 32 GB on board storage.
That being said if you want a smartphone with bigger display, mightier battery, USB to go and a customized UI Vibe Z is for you. Vibe Z may not be a good device for people looking for simple smartphones but power users can find this device quite interesting with lots of customization and tweaks.
We rate this device 4 on a scale of 5.
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