The Lenovo Vibe X3 costs just Rs. 19,999 but packs a number of features and attributes that might make it a competitor to phones that cost way more. The spec sheet alone would give us quite a bit to dig our teeth into, but Lenovo has also tossed in a few things that it says improve the user experience in less tangible ways. We'll have to dig deep to find out if that's just a marketing line or if the Vibe X3 really does blow all its competition away.We now have with us the brand new Vibe X3, which takes its place at the top of the heap as Lenovo's latest flagship.
Lenovo Vibe X3 smartphone was launched in November 2015. The phone comes with a 5.50-inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 1080 pixels by 1920 pixels
Founded in Beijing in 1984, Lenovo acquired IBM's PC business in 2005, and first became the world's top PC maker in 2013. It entered the Android and Windows tablet market in 2011, began selling Android smartphones in 2012, and acquired Motorola Mobility from Google in 2014. The company has also launched an online-only sub-brand for smartphones called Zuk in China.
Look and feel
The Lenovo Vibe X3 looks nothing like the multi-coloured Vibe X2 which launched in late 2014. In fact, it has a very strong resemblance to the Vibe K4 Note, which shouldn't be surprising considering the latter is sold in some territories as the Vibe X3 Lite. The phone comes in a slick oblong box, and you'll find a neat clear plastic case and adhesive screen protector along with the usual charger, USB cable, and headset.
At first glance, the screen appears to be enormous, with only narrow white plastic strips for the twin stereo speakers above and below it. However, what you see is actually the black Gorilla Glass 3 extending beyond the screen to encompass the front camera, sensors and status LED on top, and capacitive navigation buttons below.
So does the Vibe X3 comes with enough capabilities to pack a punch of its own, or will it be another case of being nearly there? Let us find out with a closer look.
|NETWORK||Technology||GSM / HSPA / LTE|
|Status||Available. Released 2015, December|
|BODY||Dimensions||154 x 76.5 x 9.3 mm (6.06 x 3.01 x 0.37 in)|
|Weight||175 g (6.17 oz)|
|SIM||Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)|
|DISPLAY||Type||IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors|
|Size||5.5 inches (~70.8% screen-to-body ratio)|
|Resolution||1080 x 1920 pixels (~401 ppi pixel density)|
|Multitouch||Yes, up to 10 fingers|
|Protection||Corning Gorilla Glass 3|
|PLATFORM||OS||Android OS, v5.1 (Lollipop)|
|Chipset||Qualcomm MSM8992 Snapdragon 808|
|CPU||Quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A53 & Dual-core 1.8 GHz Cortex-A57|
|MEMORY||Card slot||microSD, up to 128 GB (uses SIM 2 slot)|
|Internal||32/64 GB, 3 GB RAM|
|CAMERA||Primary||21 MP, f/2.0, 27mm, phase detection autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash|
|Features||Geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, panorama, HDR|
|SOUND||Alert types||Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones|
|Loudspeaker||Yes, with stereo speakers|
| - Dolby Atmos|
- Hi-Fi audio
|COMMS||WLAN||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot|
|Bluetooth||v4.1, A2DP, LE|
|GPS||Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS|
|FEATURES||Sensors||Fingerprint, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass|
|Messaging||SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM|
|- Fast battery charging: 60% in 30 min (Quick Charge 2.0) - market dependent|
- Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
- MP4/H.264 player
- MP3/WAV/WMA/eAAC+ player
- Photo/video editor
- Document viewer
|BATTERY||Non-removable Li-Po 3500 mAh battery|
|Stand-by||Up to 618 h (3G)|
|Talk time||Up to 31 h (3G)|
Lenovo has struck a balance between cost and performance, and so the Vibe X3 has at its heart a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, which is one step below the current top-of-the-line Snapdragon 810, offering six CPU cores and integrated Adreno 418 graphics. There's also 3GB of RAM which should keep things chugging along smoothly. The 32GB of storage can be bumped up by 128GB if you're willing to forego a second SIM. Surprisingly, only 24.37GB was reported to be free on our review unit when we turned it on for the first time.
The screen measures 5.5 inches diagonally and has a resolution of 1080x1920. Again, this is one step below what other companies are offering on their flagships, but considering the price, we feel that this is probably the right balance of features for most people. Lenovo is quick to point out that the screen can reproduce 100 percent NTSC colour gamut, and that colours are consciously not oversaturated
You get Cat 6 4G LTE on Indian bands with support for carrier aggregation, if and when that is supported by service providers here. There's also Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth, GPS, and NFC. USB-OTG functionality lets you store more files on a Micro-USB pen drive or a standard one using a dongle. The battery has a capacity of 3500mAh which should be more than enough to get through a full day of heavy use.
One of the most interesting facets of the Vibe X3 is its claimed high-end audio credentials. There's a Wolfson 8281 processor with a three-mic array to handle phone conversations, and an ESS Sabre 9018C2M DAC with three TI-OPA1612 OP amps which kicks in when you're playing music or videos. Lenovo also says the 3.5mm audio output is "studio grade" and "lossless".
Lenovo is also promoting its TheaterMax headset, which works with this phone and its cousin, the Vibe K4 Note. It sells for Rs. 1,299 extra which is a lot less than most VR headsets will cost. What it does is give you a cinematic experience when playing movies - you don't have to have specially prepared content. While interesting, it's not something you can wear on your daily bus or train ride, so we're not sure how much it will catch on. Lenovo did not send us a headset along with the Vibe X3, so we can't say anything about the experience yet.Connectivity
The phone is a 4G enabled device, and carries the usual set of connectivity options like WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth (ver 4.1) and even NFC. There is also the GPS navigational assistance option onboard.
Although advantageous, the choice of a hybrid SIM slot provides is generally not something very endearing to the customers. The harsh choice between extra storage memory or another SIM card should not be thrusted and a dedicated slot for both would have been much preferred.
As expected, the Vibe UI comes running on the Android Lollipop (5.1) as its base OS. What is good to see is that Lenovo has heard what the users have been demanding and the result is a cleaner interface here.
The Vibe UI skin resembles a more stock Android OS, complete with its app drawer. Lenovo also has given good options to customise as well, starting with the option to switch over to a non-app drawer version. There is also the theming app, but disappointingly, it is still not carrying enough exciting options at present.
Users will find useful options like taking snaps instantly from sleep mode by a mere double tap on volume button. Similarly, a feature to wake the phone by double tapping the screen takes care of preserving the power button as well as avoiding to handle the big phone everytime. Then there is the option to lock the screen by flipping the phone over. These are all very useful add ons which will come in handy.
Speaking of handy features, Vibe X3 also comes with plethora of pre-installed software, and many are useful. Lenovo's own SHAREit, SYNCit finds place. There are others as well, and WPS OFFICE, McAfee Security Route 66 Navigation, and Truecaller are worth mentioning. There is also the Facebook app which should be uninstalled to free up resources as the app is a known hog. Users can uninstall most of these already installed applications.
The users can draw a C shape on the screen to bring the OS down to one handed version for ease of use. The icons however are still very tacky and way too colourful. Subtleness, may be, is not Lenovo's strong point.
In general, the leaner UI is a welcome step, and hopefully Lenovo will keep improving the skin further.
Coming with a 21 megapixel camera at the rear, and an 8 MP front facing camera, the handset seems to be equipped nicely.
The photographs taken with good ambient light conditions came out pretty impressive, and packed good amount of details. The colours looked to be on the softer side though. Missing OIS with the lag only highlighted how badly this feature needs to be a standard. There are few modes available for the user, like HDR, Artistic HDR, Art Nightscape, and the Blur background mode. There is a pro mode as well, but it is not as populated as a prosumer would have liked. Looked more like a token gesture than a committed effort.
The low light photography is just about decent, good enough to be shared around on social media websites. The presence of noise does not go unnoticed and zooming in only makes things worse.
The camera is also capable of shooting 4K videos, and the results ranged from good to very good depending upon the light conditions. This was impressive stuff from the Vibe X3.
The front facing camera does a nice job and clicks decent selfies.
A 3500 mAh battery pack is massive, and Lenovo seems to have provided this with a reason, as a moderate to heavy usage pattern will see the phone needing a recharge at the end of the day. Seems like powering up all that hardware surely is no menial task.
Lenovo has delivered very nearly the best components in circulation right now, and considering that the price is just shy of Rs. 20,000, this is not a bad thing by any means. The Vibe X3 aims to undercut popular phones such as the OnePlus 2 ), Moto X Play , and Nexus 5X but is doing so on its own terms, by making the fight more about the end-user experience than raw specs alone. We were impressed with how much Lenovo has been able to cram in to a phone at this price, not just in terms of specifications but also the little touches. Unglamorous things like the notification shade improvements and the ability to charge small devices over USB show that a lot of thought has gone in to the creation of this product.