Lenovo has recently been one of those brands, known precisely for its aggressive pricing to capture the eyes of consumers looking at a good smartphone maker having competitive pricing. A recent example, was the Lenovo Vibe X2, a very good device priced at a point where getting a decent mid-range smartphone is what one would look for. Vibe X2 was quite more than a mid-ranger. The new launch from Lenovo, the A6000, caught many by surprise – again for its pricing.
Lenovo launched the A6000 to challenge the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G and the Yu Yureka, and for that, the pricing had to be similar. It actually got better, with a price tag of Rs. 6999, where, till recently, we could find only some devices that we relied on, for standard calling and little smart functions.
A 5-inch 720p display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 SoC, 8-megapixel rear camera and a 2300 mAh battery – all this for that price, is not easy to find. Lenovo is a well known name already in the smartphone market, and one would always be keen to know how well the aggressively priced devices from the company are.
Design, Form Factor
The build quality is good, with the 5-inch screen making it a very comfortable-to-hold size, and the back although is a little slippery, size makes it compact enough to hold and not let the phone slip out of the hand. The material used for the back cover is the same as we saw recently for Yu Yureka, but this does seem to take lesser smudges and finger marks.
Comparing this with Lenovo’s own S580, the overall build is much comparable and this device is priced much lesser than the S580, clearly winning the case. For the asking price, this is the quality you would expect, and Lenovo has done a good job there.
Had that been a 13MP bigger sensor on the back of the device, it would have been popping out a bit. But the 8-megapixel rear camera is in line with the back panel, and thus, no risk of impact on placing the phone on rough surfaces. The Dolby speakers are towards the bottom, and these dual speakers do come with a great audio output.
The back cover is removable, and under that is the replaceable 2300 mAh battery, two MicroSIM cards slots, as well as a MicroSD card slot. One of the slots supports 4G LTE connectivity, which is quite a big deal. The chrome buttons on the right are tactile, and well placed, unlike the ones in Yu Yureka we had complained about.
The little curvy back of the device makes the A6000 feel slimmer than the actual thickness of 8.2mm. The phone feels so good in the hand that you don’t feel like holding a smartphone priced this low, and for the price, you cannot expect better quality than this.
The A6000 comes with a 720p display under the 5-inch screen, and this is one of those areas where Lenovo has done a little compromise. Although a HD resolution, the screen protection isn’t given as there is no Gorilla Glass cover. This might be the reason for the finger touch feeling a little frictional, and it does feel as something Lenovo should have worked on, as the touch is something taking away the experience a bit.
Now, if we talk about the color output and the actual display quality – very good with natural color output. Accuracy is there, and it doesn’t seem to have higher saturation, which is good against the Yu Yureka, which had domination of blue on the display. The screen is reflective, thus feels problematic for reading under sunlight or when there is bright light source against the screen.
OS, User Interface
Android 4.4.4 KitKat is what runs in the device, and Lenovo has already confirmed that the Lollipop update will be out soon. Shows how serious the company is, particularly with this budget device. Lenovo has recently been using the Vibe UI, which looks very impressive and good, if you are okay with the absence of app drawer. A well responsive one, though we see clear difference between this and the UI of Vibe X2.
While Lenovo did a lot to enhance the user experience, they didn’t shy away from installing a lot of apps, several of them being useless. Some apps that the users might take advantage of, at some point of time, would be Shareit, Syncit, Sound Recorder, FM Radio, File Browser, and Security. Some apps the users could choose about installing, are already there and that eats up the storage (includes Facebook, Twitter, Skype, WeChat, Evernote, Navigate, UC Browser and Truecaller). The good part is, because these aren’t a part of the system apps, you can delete them to free up storage.
The UI of Lenovo A6000 also has the settings for Dolby audio, where you can toggle settings for sound levels and also can check the demo where sounds will be played in loop, with and without Dolby effects. Some custom settings can be done, and if you aren’t good at that, one of the pre-set options can be used.
As there is no app drawer, Lenovo has included a few personalization options under Desktop settings where wallpaper scrolling, swipe to change wallpapers and such is possible, along with changes to desktop transition animation for home screens. The device also allows the user to take a backup of the desktop, as you can restore that back if you did several changes unnecessarily. Themes can be switched, but the Theme app has just two of them and we see no option to download any themes.
The performance is obviously expected to be great, for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 SoC powering it. It does give an overall good performance, except some problems with multitasking, and the limited RAM availability takes more responsibility for whatever the problem with running apps in the background.
The benchmark scores have nothing much to say here, the scores taking a toll due to limited RAM, which is about 430MB after a fresh boot. Playing games was the best part, as we could play Asphalt 8 and such high-end games with ease. In fact, the experience of gaming got much better due to the Dolby speaker output. If the actual performance of games is at question, it is much similar to what we see in Yu Yureka, and both the devices are better than Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G in this aspect.
8MP camera doesn’t seem a good number if you are to compare with the offerings from Yu and Xiaomi, but overall, at this price, getting a decent camera is rare from a well known brand. Lenovo has done quite well with the rear camera, while the front-facing camera can be called just decent.
The colors came out well, and while the bright light captures are quite appreciable, the low light ones aren’t comparable to the ones we took at similar conditions on Yu Yureka and more importantly, the Asus ZenFone 5, which is well known for low light photos with high ISO sensitivity. The front camera isn’t so good as well, and comparing the expectations, the rear camera fared better with some appreciable captures in broad daylight.
The auto focus is too quick and at most of the times, it does it right. I rarely needed to tap and refocus, and that saves time. The only time when focusing was really proper, was at low light conditions.
A battery capacity of 2300 mAh seems okay for a 5-inch device, to last throughout the day. That is what it actually does in case of Lenovo A6000, which is quite better with battery life when compared to Yu Yureka, not on standby but on actual usage with the screen active. Both the smartphones have the same screen resolution, but the heat produced by Yureka was quite unacceptable, resulting in quicker battery drain.
About 30 minutes of gaming drained 14% of battery, and it was on loudspeaker with Dolby speakers, and the battery usage could have been reduced with headphones. On 3G usage, it wasn’t draining dramatically and was much comparable to Wi-Fi usage while on-the-go.
Standby on 3G network for about 12 hours overnight took the battery from 100% to 94%, on an unstable network. To sum it up, the 2300 mAh battery on Lenovo A6000 was able to give a day’s usage with ease on occasional data usage and about an hour of calling, all on 3G network and most importantly about 2 hour 30 minutes of screen-on time. Still, this isn’t the best devices if battery is taken as the factor, as some competitors with better capacity get a better vote.
We weren’t able to test the 4G LTE connectivity, but the 3G toggle was quite quick, and it is more dependent on the network provider than the smartphone itself. Similarly, the Wi-Fi reception was good too, and there is nothing weird to mention about in the connectivity of the A6000.
If I had to end it in short – the Lenovo A6000 is one of the best smartphones you could get for a price of Rs. 7000, and the added advantages here are the 4G LTE connectivity, Dolby speakers and a good performance, thanks to the Snapdragon 410 SoC.
There is a better battery in Xiaomi Redmi Note, while the Yureka might outperform the A6000 with UI response, but the heating part in Yureka and the poor gaming performance in Redmi Note, makes the Lenovo’s A6000 a better choice than these two. One major drawback (only if you are comparing) is the camera, which is not as good as the ones in both the other 4G smartphones in comparison, but if you are fine with a decent shooter, the 8-megapixel camera on the back of A6000 is not a disappointment.
The A6000 can be taken as a choice for someone who already wanted a decent 4G LTE smartphone, future proof and can stay along for at least a couple of years, though we are saying it too early. While it is priced quite low against the devices from top-tier brands, Lenovo isn’t limiting the “good” factor to the hardware, as the company has even promised software support, and we will see Android Lollipop update rolling out to this device anytime soon.