The famous Chinese company Lenovo has always been very careful in the design and positioning of its devices. Sometimes the spirit of experimentation could lead designers and developers so far that truly original and worthy of attention gadgets appeared on the market. In 2015, at the MWC exhibition in Barcelona, the world introduced the new smartphone of the company under the loud name Lenovo Vibe Shot.
In fact, Vibe Shot is a mid-budget smartphone, but with a clear emphasis on photo capabilities, as its name says quite directly. The smartphone turned out to be very unusual from a design point of view and immediately attracted a lot of attention. However, we all perfectly understand that beautiful and bright does not mean convenient and practical. In this article, we offer you our Lenovo Vibe Shot review. Let’s try to understand all the advantages and disadvantages of this device, as well as tell you about its capabilities as a camera phone. Sit back, and we begin.
First of all, let’s look at the technical characteristics of the smartphone, so that later it would be much easier for us to navigate its capabilities:
- operating system: Android 5.1 plus proprietary shell Lenovo Vibe;
- Single chip system: eight-core, 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor with the frequency formula “4 cores ARM Cortex-A53 1.7 GHz plus 4 cores ARM Cortex-A53 1.0 GHz”; graphics core. Adreno 405 with a clock frequency of 550 MHz;
- RAM: 3 GB, single-channel LPDDR3 with a frequency of 800 MHz;
- Persistent flash memory: 32 GB plus a slot for microSD memory cards up to 128 GB;
- Display: capacitive, IPS-matrix, diagonal of 5 inches, resolution 1920 × 1080 pixels, pixel density per inch 441 ppi, protective glass Corning Gorilla Glass 3;
- Cameras: main. 16 MP, 6-lens optics, f / 2.2 aperture, optical stabilization, infrared autofocus, triple three-color LED flash, 1080p recording at 30 frames per second; frontal. 8 MP, fixed focus, no flash;
- Interfaces: Wi-Fi 802.11 b / g / n (2.4 GHz), Bluetooth 4.1, microUSB, 3.5 mm headphone jack;
- Networks: 2G, 3G (HSPA, up to 42 Mbps), 4G Cat.4 (up to 150 Mbps) LTE-FDD: b1, b3, b7, b8, b20; LTE-TDD: b40;
- Navigation: GPS, GLONASS, A-GPS;
- Sensors: accelerometer, light and proximity sensors, digital compass;
- Battery: fixed, lithium polymer, 2900 milliampere-hours;
- Dimensions: 143 × 70 × 7.6 mm, weight. 143 grams.
As you can see, the smartphone is fully consistent with its mid-budget category and only in terms of the main camera is much better than its competitors from the same price segment. However, do not forget that because of the camera, this phone also costs a little more. Whether photo capabilities are a powerful argument in favor of Vibe Shot or a smartphone can surprise us with something else, we will find out very soon.
Honestly, the Lenovo Vibe Shot z90a40 package bundle was able to amaze us, of course, in the pleasant sense of the word. The bundles of other Lenovo phones are also not poor, but this time they seem to have surpassed themselves. The smartphone comes in a flat, long, two-tone box made of solid quality cardboard. As soon as you take it in your hands, you immediately begin to receive pleasant emotions and understand that there is really a good thing in front of you, or rather, inside the package. Inside the box, all the delivery elements are located in one plane, so the box itself has an unusual shape: it is quite long, but very small in thickness.
In addition to the smartphone itself and the standard complete documentation in the box, we also found:
- 1.5 amp charger;
- MicroUSB cable for charging and synchronization;
- Wired headset of an intra-channel type with a flat, non-tangled wire;
- A clip for removing card trays;
- Screen protector;
- Hard translucent plastic bumper on the back cover.
Agree: this configuration is very worthy of a flagship. However, nowadays it is rarely possible to find such a rich bundle even in expensive phones. Therefore, when you open the Vibe Shot box, you get a good mood and a feeling that you as a client are really important for the manufacturing company. After reviewing the complete filling and evaluating its very high quality, we immediately went on to study the features of the smartphone itself.
Yes, it’s worth a little twist Lenovo Vibe Shot in your hands to understand what it is still a stylish gadget. The phone is an all-metal all-in-one, back and front covered with protective tempered glass. The smartphone comes in three colors: pure white, black and red-black. In our case, it was the last and, in our opinion, the most attractive red version that got into the review. On the reverse side, Lenovo Vibe Shot resembles a real camera, or, as the people say, a “soap box”. Such a design is very original and we have never seen before, nevertheless, in this regard, Lenovo designers tried and failed. This effect is achieved due to the two-color design of the back cover (gray with black in our case) and the location of the camera in the upper corner. Also on the thin gray frame we have the inscription “Lenovo Vibe”, a three-color LED flash and a laser focus module.
The entire front side of the device when turned off seems completely black and noble matte, while on the perimeter of the smartphone surrounds an all-metal frame. In our case, the frame is red, it also has a matte shade, and thanks to it, the smartphone confidently holds in your hand and does not slip at all. The phone really feels like all-metal in the hands, it is monolithic, does not creak, does not play and does not squeeze through. In terms of assembly, it is very difficult to find fault with Vibe Shot, and there is no special reason for this, as they say.
But for what it is worth scolding Lenovo Vibe, it is because the back panel is already very easily soiled. It is almost glossy, and in this case a high-quality oleophobic coating should have been applied. However, unfortunately, in this Lenovo device, the grease-repellent coating does not shine with high quality. The prints on the cover are collected very quickly, and when you try to remove them in one motion, ugly stains form. Phone owners will have to constantly wipe it, which creates a certain discomfort during its operation.
But one way or another, Vibe has significantly more advantages, for example, I want to highlight the rather compact dimensions of the smartphone, which are only 143 × 70 × 7.6 millimeters. Lenovo may not have turned out to be the most compact five-inch device in its class, but as far as ergonomics is concerned, the phone is all right. The phone easily fits in your pocket even in tight jeans and, despite the rather sharp corners, it does not cause any discomfort when walking. Also, due to the small size, this smartphone is very easy to use with one hand. With your thumb you can reach almost anywhere on the screen, and the functional elements are conveniently and easily groped.
Well, at the end of the block about the design, we will talk a little about the very functional elements and connectors that are located on the smartphone case. This is usually one of the most boring parts of the review, but in the case of Lenovo Vibe Shot there really is something to talk about. Everything is standard on the front panel: the earpiece and front camera are on top, and three navigation touch buttons are on the bottom. The buttons are invisible when the phone is in standby mode, and give it a more austere look. When the screen is on, they are highlighted, however, the backlight is not too bright and is poorly visible in the sun. At the top of the phone is a 3.5 mm jack for headphones and an active noise canceling microphone. At the bottom there is a microUSB port for charging and synchronization, as well as a speaker grill, one of which is purely decorative. Also in the lower left corner is a special loop for a wrist strap. It is rarely necessary to observe such an element in smartphones, however, since the designers decided to focus on the similarities with the camera, then it will obviously not be superfluous.
Now we pass to the most interesting. Firstly, on the left side there are two hidden trays, one for two micro SIM cards of the micro format, the second for a microSD memory card. Yes, you understood correctly. Vibe Shot is one of those few unibody smartphones in which you do not have to compromise when choosing between a memory card and a second SIM card, and that’s great. It is also worth mentioning that the left side is very flat, the phone is stable enough on it, so you do not need to purchase a tripod. It will be enough for you to simply put the smartphone on a flat surface, and you can already conduct remote shooting. Secondly, on the right side we also have a lot of very original elements. In addition to the already familiar lock keys and volume rocker, Vib Shot also has a dedicated physical switch between automatic and professional shooting modes, as well as the camera shutter button itself. When you lightly press the shutter button, the camera focuses on the subject, when fully pressed, photographing is performed. The capabilities of the device as a camera phone are really well emphasized, and most importantly, all these elements are quite convenient to use, which is very, very pleasing.
A review of the Lenovo Vibe Shot smartphone, of course, would be completely incomplete, if we hadn’t told you about the display of this device. Before us is a five-inch screen equipped with an IPS matrix with a resolution of 1920 × 1080 pixels and a pixel density of 441 ppi. The display is closed with a special protective glass Gorilla Glass 3, which very well protects it from minor scratches and scuffs. Also at the Lenovo screen there is a high-quality oleophobic coating. Prints are practically not collected and, if desired, are very easily removed with a napkin.
The IPS matrix of the smartphone is very pleasing. The balance and purity of white at a high level, the saturation of black is pretty good, but the black uniformity at the edges of the screen suffers a little. At an acute angle, the picture practically does not fade and is not inverted, however, the contrast drops exactly a bit relative to the perpendicular look, just like the overall brightness, therefore, the result is not perfect. By default, colors in Lenovo are rather oversaturated and unnatural, however, there is an option in the settings “True color”, which makes the colors almost perfect, making the color range as close to RGB as possible.
The maximum brightness of the Vibe Shot screen is not the largest and is 425 cd / m². However, due to the high-quality anti-reflective coating and the absence of an air gap between the matrix and the glass, even in bright daylight, the display remains readable. It is also provided in the device “High brightness mode”, which can increase the brightness of the screen even more than can be done manually, namely up to 435 cd / m². As the saying goes, a trifle, but nice. In addition, there is also “Auto tuning mode” brightness depending on the lighting. It works pretty well and practically does not annoy, the brightness is selected very optimally for current conditions, and switching occurs quickly, without much braking.
In general, the screen at Lenovo Vibe Shot turned out to be of high quality, without any serious drawbacks. Yes, the IPS matrix here, although high-quality, is not the best possible. But the rest of the display boasts very impressive features and solid performance. The screen does not flicker, does not flicker, the sensor sensitivity is good, the phone responds well to gestures and supports up to ten touches at the same time. In a word. not bad.
Although Vibe Shot is not at all positioned as a music phone, but if you compare it with other mid-budget models, it sounds very good. From external speakers, the sound traditionally tends to the high-frequency range, but the middle ones are quite enough, which is very unexpected for this class of smartphones. Lenovo’s sound is clear, juicy and quite interesting, listening to music on it is very pleasant and completely unobtrusive.
But when you connect the headphones, the device transforms and surprises even more. The sound becomes even cleaner and brighter, the smartphone begins to cover the entire possible sound range. In addition to the usual high and medium music tracks also get very distinct low, the sound becomes much deeper. The volume of the phone, although not excessive, is more than enough, we think fans who listen to music louder will be satisfied.
To play music on the phone, the standard Google Play Music player is used, the radio is also present, but it works only when the headphones are connected. As for the spoken speaker, the interlocutor is heard very well, his voice is quite recognizable.
Now let’s see how Lenovo Vibe Shot matches its proud title of camera phone. Indeed, if you look at the characteristics of the main camera, you understand that the developers really tried to correspond to the chosen direction. Before us is a 16-megapixel camera equipped with a lens with a six-component lens. Other features include: f / 2.2 aperture, tri-color LED flash, fast laser autofocus, and optical image stabilization. It would seem that what else does an amateur photographer need for happiness? But the characteristics are characteristics, and you need to look at the final result, which we will do right now.
You can start the camera either from the screen, or by pressing the shutter button on the right side. At the same time, if you press the shutter twice in the locked screen mode, the camera will immediately take a quick shot. The camera application starts very quickly, literally within a second. By default, the phone is set to shooting mode “Auto”. In this mode, the camera interface is not overloaded with unnecessary elements, and the smartphone selects the basic settings on its own, however, the adjustment does not occur within very wide limits.
When putting the slider into mode “Pro” All camera settings in manual mode become available to the user. In Pro-mode, the owner can adjust: shutter speed, exposure compensation, white balance, focal length and ISO. The adjustment range is quite wide, but not too detailed, in our opinion. Also in this mode, access to various ready-made shooting scenarios is opened, including: “Panorama”, Blurred Background, Art Knight, “Artistic HDR” and “Panoramic self portrait”. In general, with regard to manual adjustment, we were satisfied, although the “camera phone” could have expected wider possibilities for customization.
The quality of the pictures is very pleasing. The clarity is good, the detail is also on top, but with the drawing of the shaded areas, everything is somewhat worse and noise is clearly noticeable. The camera copes with long-range plans and macro photography very well, when looking at “infinity” the distant objects are detailed, and when shooting very close objects, a very beautiful background blur effect is added. The smartphone’s focus is very fast and clear, and optical stabilization allows you to confidently shoot while driving, in this regard, Lenovo has everything in order. The flash is not very bright, but at the same time it works well on objects and does not overexposure the frame, that is, it works quite softly. When shooting nightly, digital noise is not observed, but the noise cancellation robot is clearly visible, which in some pictures can blur some small details. But what I definitely didn’t like was the work of the regime “HDR”. In fact, he copes with his task, but all the colors at the same time become too bright and unnatural, which greatly discourages the desire to ever turn on this mode.
Lenovo Vibe Shot can shoot in Full HD at a speed of 30 frames per second. We have no complaints about the quality of the shooting. The image is clear, detailed, the colors are transmitted well, the optical stabilization pretty well eliminates the picture from shaking, and the sound is recorded soft without any parasitic noise. In general, shooting is a pleasure. The question is different: where is 4K? If it were any other smartphone, then we would not have any complaints at all, only delight. But in this case, we have a phone with a focus on the camera, and the fact that he does not know how to write in a format that is rapidly gaining popularity is a clear omission of the developers.
As for the front camera, it is very good, but there is nothing unusual in it. This is an eight megapixel module with an aperture of F / 2.2 and a fixed focal length. The camera does not have its own flash, but there is a function “Filling the image with light”. Various embellishments are also available, such as the ability to finely adjust the skin smoothing parameter. The pictures are very detailed and clear, in general, for a selfie, this camera works very well.
Summing up the results, I want to say that the camera turned out very, very worthy. In fact, when you buy a mid-range device, you get a higher class camera as a reward, and this is very nice. However, if you call Lenovo Vibe Shot a camera phone, then a very large number of questions arise from the category “Why not, why not that?”. Still, Lenovo didn’t get to the level of real giants of shooting, and this mainly concerns, of course, the software part, but the attempt is worthy anyway.
Memory and memory card
Lenovo Vibe Shot z90 is equipped with 32 gigabytes of main flash memory and 3 gigabytes of RAM class LPDDR3. In this regard, the smartphone from Lenovo is a real middling. To date, this combination of RAM and main memory is the most optimal in terms of relevance and cost. So in general, the smartphone is quite happy with its parameters.
Lenovo also supports microSD memory cards up to 128 gigabytes. As we said earlier, Vib Shot has a separate tray for a memory card, so the owner will not have to sacrifice one of his SIM cards to expand the phone’s memory. To date, such an option is offered by very few all-metal phones, so it is necessary to record this feature of the Lenovo smartphone as a clear plus.
Regarding communications, Lenovo Vyb is also in order. The phone supports almost all currently relevant networks, including: GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, WCDMA 850/900/1900/2100 MHz, LTE Cat4 (FDD Band 1/3/7/8/20, LTE TDD Band 40).
Among the wireless interfaces of the smartphone are also present: Wi-Fi 802.11b / g / n 2.4 GHz, Bluetooth 4.1 LE, there is OTG, but there is, unfortunately, the popular NFC module today. There is navigation in the phone; popular GPS, A-GPS, GLONNAS and BDS systems are supported. The first satellites are searched pretty quickly. within about ten to fifteen seconds. When you restart it, it takes only a few seconds to find the same number of satellites.
Battery Life and Performance
Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 is installed as a single-chip system in Lenovo’s camera phone. It is an eight-core 64-bit processor with the frequency formula “4 cores of ARM Cortex-A53 1.7 GHz plus 4 cores of ARM Cortex-A53 1.0 GHz” and dedicated Adreno graphics core 405 with a clock frequency of 550 MHz.
This chipset was once one of the leaders in the mid-budget category of single-chip systems, but with the release of the newer Qualcomm Snapdragon 625, it is already considered obsolete and is actively leaving the market. To date, the 615th is still quite able to cope with the daily tasks set before it, such as watching high-quality or surfing the Internet, but there is no question of a reserve for the future. In the AnTuTu benchmark, this processor gains about 39 thousand points and quite confidently competes with the Mediatek MT6752, however, see for yourself: