Lenovo has been making headlines for some time now. The Chinese technology company, together with Samsung, was responsible for more than half of the 4G smartphone volumes in the world. fourth quarter 2015. Fast forward to 2016 and the company has already released the budget Note Vibe K4, which is giving a tough fight to other popular smartphones in the sub Rs 15,000 segment and then there is the A7000 Turbowhich is being sold for Rs 10,990.
However, the company does not want to limit itself only to the budget category and is gradually delivering performance-oriented smartphones in the mid-range segment as well. The company’s Vibe series is made up of a range of handsets that cater to the audience that wants a premium smartphone experience but at an affordable price. Some of Lenovo’s popular phones in this segment include vibe shot, Vibe S1, P1 vibe, etc.
That said, today we are going to talk about the latest Vibe X3 smartphone in our review, which is priced at Rs 19,999 and is loaded with high-end features. The smartphone has a fingerprint sensor, Dolby ATMOS audio, Snapdragon 808 and a full HD screen. Let’s find out more about it.
Display: 5.5 inch Full HD 1920x1080p display, 403ppi
OS: Android Lollipop 5.1.1 with Lenovo Vibe UI
CPU: 1.2GHz hexa-core Snapdragon 808 SoC, 3GB
Storage: 32GB built-in storage, expandable to 128GB via microSD
Cameras: 21MP (rear with dual-tone LED flash), 8MP (front), 4K recording
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, 3G/4G/2G, GPS, Bluetooth, microUSB charging port, infrared
Dimensions: 154 x 76 x 9.3 mm
Weight: 175 grams
Price: 19,999 rupees
The Lenovo Vibe X3 is nothing like its predecessor Vibe X2, which has a unique layered design. But by that we don’t mean to suggest that the Vibe X3 is a boring device in terms of looks. The phablet has an aluminum unibody design and looks quite premium, especially when viewed from the rear.
The front has the large 5.5-inch full HD display with three capacitive touch buttons at the bottom, an 8MP camera at the top and two large speakers at the top and bottom of the screen. A chrome wrist strap sits on top and houses the camera sensor, a two-tone LED flashlight and a fingerprint scanner. Other than that, we have the Lenovo branding embossed in the center. The back has the matte white finish, which according to Lenovo is resistant to smudges and fingerprints, but that’s only on papers as the white backside easily attracts smudges.
Beveled edges run along the sides and house the volume buttons and the power button on the right and the hybrid SIM tray on the left. A 3.5mm headphone jack along with an IR blaster sits on top. Because it is a phablet, the buttons are ergonomically positioned so that the device is suitable for one-handed operation. However, for users with small hands, the Vibe X3 is not the best fit. Also, at 175g, it feels a bit heavy in everyday use.
Overall, the smartphone is graced with a decent appearance.
Lenovo is offering a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor with six cores, 3GB of RAM to perform multimedia tasks. To handle graphics-related tasks, the smartphone comes with an Adreno 418 chip. The front is occupied by a 5.5-inch full HD IPS panel with a contrast ratio of 1500:1.
The front speakers have large chambers for louder output and come equipped with Dolby Atmos audio technology. In addition, Lenovo also delivers audiophile-grade sound with the industry’s highest-performance 32-bit mobile audio DAC (ESS SABRE 9018 digital-to-analog converter) with a tri-operational amplifier configuration.
In addition, Lenovo Vibe X3 is integrated with a 3-microphone system and Wolfson audio codec that effectively filters out ambient noise and improves voice quality.
The Vibe X3 has a hybrid tray, so you can expand the internal storage from 32GB to 128GB via microSD card or use a second SIM card. As far as connectivity goes, the Vibe X3 has 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC and USB-OTG The smartphone is backed by a 3,500mAh battery unit.
The Lenovo Vibe X3 sports a 5.5-inch 1080p display, which offers a pixel density of 403ppi. The colors look vivid and the viewing angles are good too. As it’s an IPS panel, the blacks aren’t as deep as an AMOLED panel, but the overall color saturation levels are excellent. Also, you can customize the screen color balance in the display settings, which has a default, comfortable, super bright and custom mode to adjust the color levels as per your preference.
The Vibe X3’s display is quite usable in outdoor conditions. The display has a good brightness level, which makes it decently visible in direct sunlight. The screen looks much brighter and livelier than the OnePlus 1 and OnePlus 2 screens.
Another thing worth mentioning is that the Vibe X3 comes out as the best multimedia smartphone in the sub-Rs 20,000 category. The clear 5.5-inch Full HD display with support of 1.5W large chamber (1cc) front-facing speakers equipped with Dolby Atmos makes it the best device for watching movies and playing graphics-intensive 3D games. The audio delivered by the dual speakers is loud while maintaining sound quality.
The Lenovo Vibe X3 is powered by a Snapdragon 808 CPU along with 3GB of RAM. We used the smartphone for more than a week and we didn’t experience any performance issues in day-to-day tasks. There were no crashes, no lags when using Chrome with multiple tabs, YouTube, photo editors, Instagram, etc. While the hexa-core CPU ensures that you don’t run into problems with regular smartphone tasks, we did encounter a warming up with continuous camera usage. But it was nothing major and the warming effect quickly wore off. The same was also observed in heavy games.
Talking about the software experience, the Lenovo Vibe X3 runs Android 5.1.1 Lollipop with Lenovo’s Vibe UI, which has received a revamp. You have the option to use the normal UI with an app drawer, or you can use the single-tier launcher with all the apps and widgets scattered across the home screens. Lenovo is also offering several pre-installed apps. Some of them are SHAREit with CLONEit, SYNCit, SNAPit Camera, McAfee Security, UC Browser, Peel, etc.
The UI is pretty much smooth for the most part, but we did experience some annoying bugs in everyday use. For example, the ‘Phone Dialer’ app takes considerable time to update call history. I looked up recent calls and finally had to dial the number manually. This was quite annoying as it is one of the most basic features of mobile usage.
Also, every now and then the volume buttons would refuse to register input and I had to restart the phone to get them working again.
The Lenovo Vibe X3 also has a fingerprint sensor on the back, just below the LED flashlight. We really had no complaints about its accuracy and functionality. We don’t remember an incident where you couldn’t unlock your smartphone.
Lenovo has integrated a 21MP PDAF camera on the back, which includes a 6-piece composite lens module. It uses an aperture of f/2.0 and you can also record videos in 4K format. The front has an 8MP camera, which is one of the best we’ve tested in a while.
The rear camera is also capable of delivering amazing photos in daylight conditions, but satisfactory results in low light conditions as the images are noisy in places. The Nexus 5X, which is also selling for the same price after its recent price cuts, offers better results in low light.
What we really like about the Vibe X3’s camera is the ability to take detailed macro shots. The sensor quickly locks onto the subject and delivers images with vibrant colors and good detail. The sensor also quickly detects lighting and adjusts settings to give you the best image, a mode you can also turn off in the camera interface with just one tap.
You also get a Pro mode, which lets you adjust ISO, exposure, shutter speed, focal depth, etc. as per your preference. In addition, the camera also has the usual modes like Panorama, HDR, Slow-motion, Fast-motion and Blur background, which give very good results. Of these, we really like the Artistic HDR mode which makes the images quite vivid. The first three sample images are taken with Artistic HDR mode and look vibrant.
4K video quality is crisp and images and videos look amazing on the 5.5-inch 1080p display.
Here are some sample photos
Lenovo Vibe X3’s battery performance is quite impressive. We tested the smartphone by streaming 1080p videos on YouTube, played music at full volume, took countless photos, browsed the webpage, played games and performed all other day-to-day tasks throughout the day, but the 3,500 mAH battery still got it for the next day.
With light usage, Lenovo Vibe X3 can easily last a day and a half.
He likes: For Rs 20,000, the Lenovo Vibe X3 offers a premium design, solid audio performance, decent camera, and its large battery makes sure you don’t run out of power at any time of the day.
Do not like: The smartphone is a bit bulky and not built for one-handed operation. The UI needs to work as it fails some of the basic tasks like working with a phone dialer.
Lenovo has tried to offer a combination of features and high-end hardware in the form of the Vibe X3, and for the most part, the company has managed to deliver. The smartphone proves to be the ultimate multimedia device, offering solid audio and video performance with the help of Dolby ATMOS and a vibrant full HD display. It’s also good on battery and camera performance and comes with a premium design.
The smartphone will put up a tough fight against popular names like Nexus 5X, Moto X Play and OnePlus X and is definitely worth considering under the Rs 20,000 price tag.