Technophile

Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus review: Nothing new in this pretty package

VISVAKSEN P | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on April 06, 2016

Lenovo’s Vibe K5 Plus

Lenovo’s Vibe K5 Plus mobile

Lenovo’s Vibe K5 Plus mobile

Lenovo’s Vibe K5 Plus isn’t making any waves, but it doesn’t get too much wrong, either



Lenovo, the undisputed leader in the personal computing market, entered the smartphone industry a few years ago and is now chasing significant market share. Its acquisition of Motorola gave it an instant entry in to the midrange and high-end. But the budget segment, which offers the most direct route to volume sales, is also stuffed to the brim with competition. Reputation is a big differentiating factor in this space and the recently launched Vibe K5 Plus is the latest in a long line of budget phones with strong credentials from the Chinese manufacturer. Its predecessors’ status as no-nonsense devices with strong battery life, decent performance and solid build is sure to give it a soft landing. Technophile puts it through the gauntlet to find out whether it goes beyond that and makes a big impact.

Design

The K5 Plus is a rarity among smartphones these days thanks to its detachable back panel and removable battery. Luddites who fondly remember the days of punishing a misbehaving phone by removing its powerpack will love the ease with which its rear pops off. The dual SIM and microSD slots are also under the rear hood, but the positioning of the battery means that they are not hot-swappable. Dual speaker grilles certified by Dolby are also towards the bottom.

Built entirely out of plastic, the K5 Plus is extremely light but still feels manages to exude a premium feel thanks to the classy matte finish. The display is a standard 5-inch Full HD panel that, with a pixel density of 441 ppi, is sharper and brighter than most competitors in the same price bracket.

Performance

The Snapdragon 616 that powers the K5 Plus appears set to be the standard chipset for phones in the budget category. With four Cortex A53 cores clocked at 1.5 GHz and four more cores at a slightly lower frequency, the K5 Plus has a fair bit of power. It may not be a speed demon, but it handles most ordinary tasks efficiently and with 2 GB of RAM, multitasking is also quite fluid. Despite their positioning in the rear, the dual speakers are a real treat and together with the excellent display, they ensure that the K5 Plus is a handy multimedia consumption device. However, the drawback is the 2750 mAh battery, which is only good enough for a full day, if used sparingly. So if you’re going to attempt to watch a full movie on the K5 Plus, a charger is mandatory. This is a real letdown considering one of the most important cogs of Lenovo’s success story in the budget segment has been the emphasis it laid on essentials such as battery life.

The 13 MP rear and 5 MP front cameras are bog standard units that appear to be complete afterthoughts in terms of the quality and features they offer. You might manage a few half-decent pictures under ideal conditions, but in the photography department, it is best to expect very little of this kind of device and be pleasantly surprised on the rare occasion that it surprises you.

Software

The K5 Plus doesn’t get the revamped Vibe UI that debuted on the much more expensive Vibe X3. Instead it continues to soldier on with an older custom UI that Lenovo slapped on to Android Lollipop. This software stack has an interesting mix of positive and negative features.

The customizable quick settings are useful; the lack of an app drawer will take some getting used to but is hardly the end of the world, however, the decision to tinker with the functioning of the multitasking button is downright stupid.

Verdict

The Vibe K5 Plus is a well-built handset that offers great performance for its price. With a TheatreMax certified display and dual Dolby speakers, its multimedia credentials are rock solid. With a larger battery and a better camera, it could have been unassailable.

But budget phones demand compromises and these are the departments in which corners have been cut. The device isn’t bad enough to dent Lenovo’s rising stock, but it is only going to appeal to a certain niche within the target market.

Price: ₹8,499

Love: Display, Sound, Performance

Hate: Battery, Camera

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Published on April 06, 2016
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