Lenovo Vibe X2: Layering it right

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Updated: December 18, 2014 11:02 AM

It is almost as if smartphones too have stars. The Vibe X2 lets you snap brilliant photos and selfies with a new simplified user interface

Lenovo Vibe X2 is priced at Rs 19,999.Lenovo Vibe X2 is priced at Rs 19,999.

It is almost as if smartphones too have stars. And once in a while, these stars line up in perfect combination to result in a device that ticks most of the boxes. I believe Lenovo has been able to achieve it with the next Vibe X2, what it calls the world’s first layered phone. Here is why I think this phone has been able to achieve the sweet spot.

Design: The Vibe X2 claims to be the first layered phone in the world. And I have to agree, having never seen a phone that has so many layers on it. The model that has come to India moves from gold to shades of orange in three layers followed by the display layer. Lenovo is giving a protective rear panel in the rear which adds another layer. Overall, the phone looks a bit like Bob Marley’s headgear. I personally like the black shade combination, but that has not made it to India so far. Plus, you can add additional battery and speaker layers.

The battery layer adds bulk, but it also doubles the power on the phone. I am not sure about the extra speaker layer when you have so many affordable Bluetooth speakers in the market, however I will not mind an extra camera layers that adds zoom and macro capabilities.

Display: The Lenovo Vibe X2 has a Full HD display which is crystal clear and crisp. It also works perfectly well in bright sunlight as you can really push up the brightness almost overpowering the reflections from the sun above. At this price point, you don’t have many other manufacturers offering Full HD.

Performance: I can keep harping about the layers of the design, but then that is superficial. In the end it all trickles down to performance and what experience it gives the users. This is where the Vibe X2 is a big winner if you ask me. The MT6595m True8Core processor is MediatTek’s way of showing the world that it has now become big enough to try something that will give the Qualcomms and Intels a run for their money. In fact, if you like looking at benchmark scores, then this one betters any other phones listed with a score that is at least 30%. But then a benchmark score is no good if it does not make life better for the user. But you will have no complaints with the X2, as the performance is smooth and powerful. There was not one instance where I thought this phone was lagging behind the flagship phones in any way. This could be the most powerful phone around, certainly in this price range.

Software: A lot of people don’t like manufacturers tweaking the Android experience. So the Vibe UI on this phone could be an issue with some users. Having used the phone for over a week I am convinced that it is just the first week that you will be fighting with the muscle memory inside that is looking for familiar icons and patterns. I would have liked an app draw instead of having all the apps on the Home screen like iOS. But Vibe UI has a better notification tray than stock Android. Plus, the new feature that lets you access most used app from the lock screen itself which is a very handy feature. However, this cannot be fine-tuned to have the apps that you want, which might not always be the most used apps. Then you can click a phone even from the lock screen and the phone open only after the snap has been recorded. So no missing those precious moments with this phone.

Camera: The camera is decent, but not great. It is fast and click when you have to. There are a lot of tweaks you can do before clicking a picture though there is no manual mode. I used the settings to change the saturation and contrast before shooting and the results were very good. However, some photos were too saturates and colours bled when shooting red flowers. The selfie camera is clear, though it flattens images a bit too much. But overall, this camera is good for the price range.

Storage: The phone comes with 32 GB storage, but no external storage slot. You have about 25 GB storage to use and that is more that enough if you ask me. The phone has dual SIM slots, one for micro SIM and another for nano. There were no issues with connectivity.
Battery: The 2300 mAh battery is good to go for the entire day. But remember to keep the brightness of the screen at auto as the full brightness will drain your battery real quick.

Verdict: In my books, the Lenovo Vibe X2 is the best smartphone around the R20,000 price point at the moment. Actually, the phone would have flown off the shelves even at a slightly higher price point. The phone that comes closest as far as specs go is the Nexus 5 which is at least 50% more expensive and still is short on some features. Lenovo has a winner, till others catch up.

SPECIFICATIONS

* Display: 5-inch IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen
* Operating system: Android 4.4 with Vibe UI
* Processor: MediatTek 2.0 GHz True8 Core Octa-core processor
* Storage & memory: 2 GB RAM, 32 GB internal memory
* Camera: 13 MP (rear); 5 MP front camera
* SIM Type:  4G dual SIM (micro + Nano)
* Battery: 2300 mAh battery

Estimated street price: Rs 19,999

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