Expert Review of Lenovo K900 16GB Steel Grey
Lenovo has long been a name associated exclusively with laptops and PCs. The Chinese tech giant launched its line of smartphones in India last year that while impressive, had failed to evoke a significant response. Now, Lenovo has come out with an even wider range- 6 models in each segment- with the K900 being the flagship handset. Looks-wise, the K900 is a sight to behold that is, perfectly straight lines and neat edges, ultra-slim form factor with 6.9mm thickness and Unibody construction made of polycarbonate and stainless steel. The rear is made up of two hues- the top and bottom regions are made of polycarbonate and are thus grey, while the middle region is all shiny steel. Thus, the clean rectangular shape and the stainless steel lend a very premium feel to the phone and suit its price tag. The display of the K900 makes a great first impression such as 5.5inches of full HD IPS goodness with a resolution of 1920 x 1080pixels with a pixel density of around 400ppi! The colors are reproduced great, thought not of the level of Super AMOLED. But you do get wide viewing angles which is always a good thing. Intel’s 1.8GHz Atom Z2580 dual-core processor along with 2GB of RAM, powers the Lenovo K900. It also comes with Intel’s 533MHz GMA GPU. While the phone packs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, Lenovo has chosen to customize the interface so that it looks almost nothing like the stock interface that is, different icons, menus, settings, etc. The end-result makes you wish they had stuck to the stock interface as the icons are too cartoonish and the menu animations are way too tacky. Lenovo has added a 13MP Exmor BSI Sensor as the primary camera with dual-LED flash and autofocus. Video recording is allowed in 1080p Full HD at the rate of 30fps. The K900 is powered by a 2500mAh Li-Ion battery that is non-removable. However, considering the gigantic HD display and Intel’s resource-heavy processor, it may not offer much in terms of battery life. Lenovo is claiming a talk time of 15 hours (2G) and 12hours (3G) in addition to the standby time of 300hours. However, the actual figures may be a bit lesser.
User Interface and UI functionality
Lenovo has pasted its own custom UI on top of the stock Android interface and it really makes us wish Lenovo had not done so. The icons, menus, fonts, settings and even the notification toggles have been changed. The app drawer animations are way too gimmicky and the icons look like cartoons, that do total injustice to the stylish exterior of the phone. However, it is a relief that performance is not affected in any manner as the 1.8GHz dual-core processor with 2GB RAM is more than capable of running the interface smoothly.
The Lenovo K900 is capable of playing audio formats including MP3/eAAC+/WAV/WMA and video formats including MP4/H.263/H.264/WMV. The 5.5-inch IPS HD display makes it a treat to watch movies and videos in high quality. There is also a stereo FM radio support for which you will need to connect the earphones to the 3.5mm audio jack.
Pictures and Video quality
The K900’s Sony Exmor RS sensor has an aperture of f1.8, making it the world’s fastest lens. The 13MP shooter clicks great pictures that are full of vibrant colors and features fine detail, portraying the subject in sharp focus. The camera does a decent job in low-lighting conditions as well, managing to capture as much detail as possible while keeping the noise level (grain) at a minimum.
The K900 features its own camera app called the ‘Super Camera’ that comes with several built-in filters and several modes and ‘Extension lenses’. The camera offers two additional modes such as Weak light and HDR backlight. While the ‘Weak light’ mode takes photos in dim lighting conditions of 5MP resolution with some post-processing that manages to make the pictures look good. The HDR backlight mode also takes 5MP resolution pictures with the end-result significantly distinguishable from the normal mode. Lenovo is also offering several options with regard to image post processing called the ‘Extension lenses’. Some of these include ‘scalado remove’, changing faces on a group shot, a normal, and a Magic GIF maker. Video is recordable up to 1080p Full HD at the rate of 30fps and does not come with as many features, apart from the EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization).
The K900 features 3G support with HSDPA capped at 42Mbps and HSUPA capped at 11Mbps. However, there is no 4G LTE support, although it is not really necessary since 4G has not yet made a huge splash in India. That apart, you can also use Wi-Fi connectivity (802.11 b/g/n) to connect to the internet. Google Chrome would be the ideal browser to serve all your browsing needs.
Internal and External Memory
The Lenovo K900 comes with 16GB of internal memory storage out of which 11.5GB is accessible by the user. Besides, you can expand the memory capacity up to 32GB using the microSD card.
Applications and Gaming
Lenovo has modified most of the stock apps in order to suit its customized UI. The messaging, dialer and contacts apps have all been unified into one app called the Contact Manager. The ‘info centre’ menu provides several useful options including exporting/importing contacts in any format that you desire and the quick dial feature works better than the stock one. However, the Messaging interface features a stainless steel look that is totally lost on the user. The file browser app features classified sections for various popular file formats and offers useful features like quick directory and history that make navigation much easier. As mentioned earlier, the Super Camera app is top-notch with various features. However, the Super Gallery app manages to do only a decent job. It crashes when you try to select multiple pictures, so perhaps it would be better to download the stock Gallery app from the Play Store. Strangely, there is no default music app and even the video app present is very minimalistic in nature. Some pre-loaded apps include Facebook, Evernote, Skype, UC Browser, Touchpal keyboard, Kingsoft Office and Accuweather.
The Lenovo K900 is powered by a 2500mAh Li-Ion battery that is non-removable. However, considering the gigantic HD display and Intel’s resource-heavy processor, it may not offer much in terms of battery life. Lenovo is claiming a talk time of 15hours (2G) and 12 hours (3G), in addition to standby time of 300hours. However, the actual figures may be a bit lesser. In order to offset the battery-draining components of the device, Lenovo has added in a Power app that helps you manage your battery life efficiently. You get several preset modes that customize battery use by certain patterns. You can also customize your own mode. Smart settings feature at the top-right with an ‘S’ that lets you switch between different modes by time or by power.
The K900 comes with all the standard connectivity features including HSPA+, GPRS/EDGE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot, dual-band, Bluetooth with A2DP and microUSB 2.0.
Comparing the Lenovo K900 with one of Samsung’s flagship smartphones, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, we see that while both phones occupy the same price-category, there exist several substantial differences between the two. Perhaps the most striking difference is the presence of LTE connectivity of the Note 2. Also, the Note 2 is more on the bulkier side with a thickness of 9.4mm. You also get internal memory storage options of 16/32/64GB while the Lenovo K900 leaves you with just 16GB. However, the K900 scores high when it comes to the camera, easily overshadowing the 8MP shooter aboard the Note 2. Besides, the K900 features a dual-core processor while the Note 2 runs on a quad-core processor, albeit less powerful than that of the K900. Battery power is another triumph of the Note 2, with a 3100mAh Li-Ion battery that gives significantly better battery life than the K900.