Lenovo India on Monday launched its new Vibe K5 Note smartphone. The Chinese company made sure there was enough hype ahead of the official launch of the Vibe K5 Note with several teasers on social media revealing features one at a time. The new Lenovo Vibe K5 Note has a lot of improvements over its predecessor, the Vibe K4 Note, such as an all-metal body. The Lenovo Vibe K4 Note has been a popular device in its price segment, with the company recently claiming it has sold 750,000 units in India so far, so it will be interesting to see how well the Vibe K5 Note performs. At the launch event in New Delhi, we spent some time with the new Vibe K5 Note, and here are our first impressions of the device.
The Lenovo Vibe K5 Note has been launched in three colours: black, gold, and grey. We spent some time with a gold unit of the at the launch event. To start off, the new Vibe K5 Note from Lenovo looks sturdy compared to the Vibe K4 Note. The all-metal body is easy enough to hold and use, but the matte finish on the Vibe K4 Note offers a better grip. The metal also means that the Vibe K5 Note at 165 grams is slightly heavier than its predecessor which weighed 158 grams. On the other hand, the Vibe K5 Note is slimmer at 8.4mm than the Vibe K4 Note (9.1mm).
Much like the Vibe K4 Note, the Vibe K5 Note sports a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080x1920-pixel) IPS display. The pixel density is also same at 401ppi. The new Vibe K5 Note however doesn't have a Corning Gorilla Glass layer for protection against scratches. The display on the Vibe K5 Note looks bright and crisp, and we found legibility to be decent in direct sunlight. Viewing angles were fairly decent.
(Also see: Lenovo Vibe K5 Note vs. Xiaomi Redmi Note 3)
Lenovo has gone for capacitive buttons instead of onscreen ones for the Android home, recents, and back navigation controls. The physical volume and power buttons are placed on the right, and we found their tactile feel to be good.
The rear of the Vibe K5 Note looks symmetrical with the primary camera, dual-tone LED flash, and fingerprint scanner all placed in one line. The "Vibe" brand is seen in the middle of the rear, while the Lenovo logo is lower down.
The final version of the Vibe K5 Note which will be sold here will run Android 6.0 Marshmallow with slight tweaks from Lenovo, and will offer a near-stock experience. Unfortunately, the unit we used at the event was running the dated Android 5.1 Lollipop. On checking, Lenovo said that commercial units will ship with Android 6.0 Marshmallow out-of-the-box.
One of the biggest features touted by Lenovo for the Vibe K5 Note is the Secure Zone, which when enabled, offers two separate virtual phones within one device. Users can thus sign with a personal account and another one for work. You can run two instances of any app including WhatsApp without worrying about missing notifications from either account. Another feature we discovered during our limited time with the device was the ability to double-tap to zoom in to whatever is on screen, which could be helpful to people with weak eyesight.
The phone comes with a preloaded Theme Center app which offers options to tweak the wallpaper, ringtone, and lock screen among other things. Some of the apps that were present on the demo Vibe K5 Note unit included Flipkart, Myntra, Truecaller, WeChat, and of course the company's own SHAREit and SYNCit apps. Much like the Vibe K4 Note, the Vibe K5 Note also supports the company's proprietary Theatermax technology. It is compatible with Ant VR headset as well.
The Lenovo Vibe K5 Note sports a 13-megapixel rear camera with a dual-LED flash, and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera. The rear camera comes with features such as PDAF (phase detection autofocus), and packs an ISOCELL sensor. The camera app launched quickly after tapping on the icon. In our short time with the device, we found that images taken with the K5 Note under normal lighting seemed crisp, with good details. On zooming in, the corners of the images didn't seem pixelated. The front-facing 8-megapixel camera also took decent images though we will reserve our verdict on the cameras until we get a chance to test them under varied conditions.
The Lenovo Vibe K5 Note sports an octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 (MT6755M) processor clocked at 1.8GHz, coupled with 3GB or 4GB of RAM and Mali-T860 GPU. Both models will have 32GB of onboard storage, with support of expandable storage via microSD card (up to 128GB). In the time we spent with the Vibe K5 Note demo unit, we found that the smartphone was responsive to touch inputs and quick enough during multitasking. Stay tuned for when we put this phone through its paces for a detailed review.
The Lenovo Vibe K5 Note will be available at Rs. 11,999 for the model with 3GB of RAM while the model with 4GB of RAM will come in at Rs. 13,499. The phone will go on sale exclusively on Flipkart, with open availability rather than flash sales.
At these price points, the Vibe K5 Note models will be competing against some of the most popular phones in the country, including the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, Moto G4 Plus, and Le Eco Le 2. The K5 Note brings a lot of upgrades compared to its predecessor, but is it worth buying, especially with so many new competitors to fight off? Stay tuned to Gadgets 360 for a full review of the Vibe K5 Note, coming up soon.