Lenovo Vibe X2 Review

by Chetan Bhawani 19

Lenovo Vibe X2 Review

Lenovo has been showing an immense growth and improvement in the recent times, and the Vibe series from the company has shown some class. Earlier, it was the Vibe Z2 Pro and now, the recent launch from Lenovo, the Vibe X2 has its own layered design, but the company hasn’t limited it to the design as the USP. There is a lot more to it than just those layers. But, the smartphone has a chipset from Mediatek and it is the Vibe UI which many might not have used earlier. Is the Vibe X2 worth the hype and worth the price?

Definitely, the “layers” concept isn’t a bad attempt from Lenovo, and that is because it isn’t limited to those layers that are visible on the side of the device. There are additional layers as accessories, and these enhance the functionality of the Vibe X2. For example, the two layers we were introduced to – one is an extra battery layer, and other is a speaker layer which enhances the audio output from the smartphone.

Design and Form Factor

The smartphones in the current age are either unibody or come with a removable back cover. Nothing different or special in any of them, except for the material used to make them. Lenovo scores a double win here, firstly with the layered concept which looks ultra cool, and secondly with magnesium alloy used to make the body. It isn’t plastic, but it is still lighter than many plastic phones of similar size. For once, you surely would feel this was made of polycarbonate, but the smooth and good-to-feel back of the phone makes you wonder whether it really is made of the common material. The back is slippery, but the sharp edges keep it held firmly in the palm.

Just 120 grams. And those multiple layers add up and still keep the Vibe X2 at a sleek 7.3mm. The only problem with the design is its soft edges, which could dig in and feel uncomfortable while holding the phone for a long time. This is still a packed design, for those who were wondering whether the back cover can be removed. You won’t be able to pull out any layer, and the slot for SIM card is on the left side panel, where you have to pull out the SIM tray (having a MicroSIM and a NanoSIM slot). The physical buttons (power, volume rocker) are on the right panel and well placed to adjust with one of the layers. There are two microphones, one in the bottom and one beside the rear 13-megapixel camera and LED flash.

It’s good how Lenovo has managed to keep the device compact for the 5-inch display, as not much space is wasted around the display, and bezels as well are thin. Below the display, there are three navigation keys which lit up and stay on until the screen is active. Above it, are a set of sensors, a camera and the earpiece.

Lenovo Vibe X2 Review Speakers

Overall, a very refreshing and good looking design this, for the Lenovo Vibe X2, and this seems one of a kind. Although it feels light and sometimes very delicate, it is rigid enough and you get that feel when the device is in the hand. Pictures sometimes say a different story.

Display

The display on Lenovo Vibe X2 uses the IPS technology, and it is a Full HD resolution one, with 1920×1080 pixels. The color reproduction is all good, and the viewing angles are decent if not great. You would easily find the reflection from the other side when viewing on the display from a side angle, and that is due to the not-so-bright display.

The brightness levels are not really great, and under the sunlight, readability is not really great. At least when comparing with some flagships, this is better than the Xiaomi’s Mi3 but at the same time, the Moto X could beat it clearly with the readability under bright sunlight. But for the price, there are no better displays than this when it comes to color reproduction and quality. The display is protected by Gorilla Glass 3 screen.

The actual quality is judged when we play some high graphic content in the device, and the colors were bright and vivid in the Vibe X2.

OS, Interface and Apps

Lenovo Vibe X2 Review OS Version

Vibe UI is what Lenovo has layered with customized options, over the Android 4.4.2 KitKat OS. The absence of app drawer could be an issue for few who have always been seeing them on stock UI or the ones from Samsung, LG and such, but Lenovo hasn’t limited the UI with the home screens having just the app icons. The user can still place widgets, shortcuts and such.

It is just a few days for someone to get used to this UI, and then it is no way going to eat your brain, as how much ever confusing it might look initially, the interface is easy to use and navigate through. On the lock screen, tapping on the center time bubble spreads out the other bubbles, each one having a shortcut to different frequently used apps. Not one of those which you wanted to open? swiping in the empty space unlocks the screen.

With customized UI, comes the unnecessary bloatware (with some exceptions), including apps such as UC Browser, Kingsoft Office, One key lock, Truecaller, Clean up, Navigate, Gamestore, CLONEit, Security, SYNCit, SHAREit and the Google Play apps. Some nifty features add to the user experience, for example, double tapping home button when screen is inactive, so that it activates the camera and quickly take a picture.

Lenovo Vibe X2 Interface

The notification panel comes with the top section for quick settings, which when pulled down opens up more than 5 quick settings in the top bar that are always visible. Another neat gesture feature is call activation when you raise the phone near to your ear.

The Theme Center has options to change themes, wallpapers, sounds and lock screen layout as the main ones apart from boot animation, system UI, Notification UI and call page layout.

Overall the UI is pretty interesting, and not everyone might get acquainted to it on the very first day, but later on, you will feel this to be very easy and open with options not deeply hidden.

Performance and Battery

Lenovo had mentioned that the Vibe X2 has the top scores in benchmark tests, and the Mediatek MT6595m True octa-core processor does back that statement, with AnTuTu score topping over 46000. Such were the results on other benchmarks as well, though the scores aren’t the deciding factors to judge the performance.

Lenovo Vibe X2 Benchmark Comparison

The smartphone was the swiftest of all Mediatek-powered smartphones we have ever used. It never fret in loading several tabs, opening graphical websites in Google Chrome, multitasking was perfect and even while running 8 apps at a time (2 games in background), about 221MB RAM was still free. We played Asphalt 8, Real Football 2014, Spider Man: Ultimate and FIFA 15, each of them having heavy graphics. And to check the battery as well, we played each game for about 20 minutes, in a loop. The phone couldn’t stay up and play the game for more than 2 hours. Quite understandable that, given we are playing high-end graphics on a full HD display with maximum brightness. But for the performance, the Vibe X2 never broke a sweat.

This looks like a very properly optimized UI which doesn’t give up on regular usage, making calls, switching between apps and taking quick pictures. That is how we normally use a smartphone, and expect it to be smart enough to take all the load without freezing.

The Vibe X2 has a 2300 mAh battery, which is not the best in giving you a full days’ usage, unless you optimize it to reduce the juice drain. The display drains the battery quickly, though in lesser brightness it gets better. There was dramatic battery drain in 3G connectivity, while video playing on Wi-Fi was easy on the battery.

Lenovo Vibe X2 Battery Power

The Power Manager has some nifty options to extend battery life, i.e. with Ultra Power Saving Mode (which restricts the UI to calls and messaging. The other battery saving features include Screen and GPU power saver. The user can also choose to disable apps when the screen is turned off, and there is a timed switch which automatically turns the power saving mode on at particular time intervals.

Camera

Lenovo Vibe X2 Review Camera

The camera is good, but not great and far from best for a 13-megapixel shooter. The captures don’t look the perfect under any kind of artificial lighting, and the final picture looks grainy. The color reproduction was great and the captures in natural light came out pretty well. But the low light captures weren’t as expected, and we can compare this with the quality of the Moto X 2nd gen captures for low light pictures. In fact, the Xiaomi Redmi 1s and Asus Zenfone 5, both do a better job in low light capturing.

The capture speed and focusing is quick, and there are settings where you can try and change the saturation and contrast levels, if the image quality is not satisfactory. There is HDR mode, and the settings in the camera app include options for aspect ratio, white balance, scene modes, ISO, grid lines and a single button to set options to default ones. Video can be recorded to a maximum of 1080p Full HD resolution, and the focusing can be set to continuous or infinite, and there is a toggle for video stabilizer.

There is nothing much in modes except for the few effects and panorama. The effects won’t do much good, except for ones who don’t want an extra app as Instagram and wanted such effects to share on social networks.

On natural colors, i.e. flowers and leaves, the colors are over-saturated and that is very clear in the pictures. The HDR mode takes a couple of seconds and asks you to keep the device stable while the picture is being taken, and in landscape, there is little difference one can notice between the normal and HDR captures.

The front-facing 5 megapixel camera is good, but the subject looks very much flattened, overly done. But the colors were well retained, and the quality is appreciable enough.

Overall, the camera is what you would expect for the money and the video recording of 1080p resolution too is decent but a little shaky.

Others

  • The absence of MicroSD card slot should not be a deal breaker, because around 24GB free space is available from 32GB internal storage.
  • Touch response is great. The displays attracts fingerprints, but overall the display is great.
  • The Dual SIM tray can have one MicroSIM and one Nano SIM in the same tray, that has to be pulled out using a SIM ejector pin.
  • The Wi-Fi binding is a very handy feature for those who wanted to save data network, and want the phone to automatically look for Wi-Fi networks around based on the location.
  • There is no NFC, while the available connectivity options such, i.e. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G were all good, without any issues.
  • The speakers on the back don’t have a great output but the audio is crisp and clear.
  • Sensors are useful (very responsive for Auto brightness controls) and there is a good “pocket-dial prevention mode, which prevents unnecessary touch of the screen, and that is recognized by the sensors.

Final Verdict

To end it in a quick way – The Lenovo Vibe X2 is simply one of the best devices products for its price. Everything is good in the device, right from the design. There are flaws where one might find them as a deal breaker, especially the battery. But if you are someone who isn’t traveling much, and is obsessed with designs and happy with a customized UI, Vibe X2 is a perfect one.

As we suggest always, the alternatives in this price are the Moto X (1st gen), which might not hold the same strength though (10MP camera, 720p display), HTC Desire 816, Huawei Honor 6 and HTC Desire 820Q. But seriously, the X2 performs great, has a bright and good display and the UI is interesting with some intuitive options.

What is more important, here is the layered accessories. The battery layer, speaker layer do add to the user experience and these are unique, not changing much in terms of design. Lenovo’s pulled off a good one with the Vibe X2, and for those looking at Mediatek processor as a deal breaker, you are in for a surprise here.

Chetan Bhawani

Chetan Bhawani is a dentist, a tech blogger and a passionate writer in the field of technology. He keeps himself connected to the web for the entire day, of course except when he's dozed off! Add +Chetan Bhawani on Google Plus for more!

  • Jugal Mudoi

    Superb review… yes this phone looking really fantastic in hands specially for its multi-layered design these layers could be used as an enhancement of performance in the Vibe x2..that’s great. I had much expectation about the colord layer design concept and now seeing this my expectations has fulfilled. The ui looks good and more than the look it is useful in many aspect… but the battery little bit disappoints me.. Otherwise Lenovo created a unique device and really they introducing with a very new and fresh design concept… :))

  • Shashank Chourey

    At Rs 20k I beleive Vibe X2 is a decent phone, and anyone who can do with a mediocre camera can buy it. The built and display is definitely high quality. Lenovo always comes up with innovations. Phones these days, are mostly rectangular glass slabs with some curves thrown in. Lenovo tries to distinguish the Vibe X2 with the concept of coloured layers in a unibody form factor. But the interface somehow looks like a rip-off of MIUI6 to me. But beware the after sales of Lenovo is pathetic.

  • Shashank Chourey

    Camera and battery would’ve been better. Image quality is definitely not up to the mark for a 13MP shooter. Also it lacks optical image stabilisation, as PhoneRadar have mentioned the recordings were a little shaky.

  • Shashank Chourey

    The con with the devices with Mediatek chips is that you won’t get frequent Android updates. Also no or very less custom ROMs are available for these phones due to Mediatek’s policies. So, people like me who tweak a lot with their phones would not prefer buying the Vibe X2. If I were to buy a phone at this budget, I would wait for OnePlus One or Mi4 to launch in India.

  • Shanky Yadav

    well i am not a lenovo fan but seeing the pics and the review says that it has the little same pros and cons of moto series like battery life is not so good and even camera also gives average pics and the most yup the memory card slot its missing well whole ever the phone is good to buy with pros and when you look at cons it is blahh to buy

  • Wow. Just hands down. Wow. I’ve read many reviews and I have to say this is the vest one you’ve ever done. You get better and better and this review on the Vibe X2 is perfect! Great Job!!
    I really love the vibe x2 now I love almost everything about it. The design is brilliant and new. I live the multilayering and improved battery and speaker layer but no removable cover. The interface isn’t my cup of tea since its too warm and colorful and the fact that there is no app drawer can be a problem. The system settings screen looks sort of like uos I love the design! The perfirmance is great, and it’s brilliant how full heavy games can be played without trouble for this phone especially since there was like 220 ram free while TWO full games were running. I expected high prrformance in an IPS 1080 full HD screen on max brightness would reduce battery dramatically so I’m not too worried; its outperforming of various other mediatek devices is stunning and would leave to see those stats in action. As for the camera I’m not too in live since its only 13mp and lacks a lot of features but the pics cane out really well. Honestly I’ve loved the design since day one and this will be one of the best and beautiful smartphones out there. Perfect Review!!!

  • Yeah those are definite cons but I feel like the Pris are amazing and worth the 20k price!

    • Shanky Yadav

      May be buy according to me naahhh

  • I personally don’t like the yi as its not really my cup of tea but I like your opinion and really like everything else just like you!!

  • Suraj Racharla

    so this Lenovo’s best device they can offer at the table right now. For 20K this is a door buster deal and a great device to pick up if you dont want to buy an extra expensive flagship phone.
    So in terms of design the phone is actually really great at it and the design is made good but not too perfection. Honestly i dont like the colors on the side of the device and it doesnt give you that professional look. But other than that i love the design. The bezels are really thin but i hate to admit it but LG did a better job in slimming bezels. This Lenovo is not that bad tho. Overall the design is great and the materials used to build the device are also very good and it feels so much more better and premiuim in your hands!!
    The display is very vibrant and very high resolution. It may not be that best but this is what we were looking for from Lenovo. The UI ont the other hand doesnt look that apealing. The UI seems to have that eye candy look and i dont really like that. I like UI’s with’s complementray colors and bold colors. It looks like Lenovo used a highlighter to color up the UI. Other than that the display is first class and looks very good. I would also like to mention that even though this is a 13 megapixel camera the phone pics turn really turn out so great. It would great if Lenovo worked on this!!
    All in all Phone Radar truly did a phonomenal job in writing and producing this review and hats off to them. Phone Radar gets better and better at writing reviews!!

  • Suraj Racharla

    I know right for 20K is is the best phone in its range. you are gettingalmost everything from a flagship phone and paying the price in budjet friendly way. Well done Lenovo!!

  • Suraj Racharla

    Yes Lenovo doesnt give alot of Android updates and that is a big con. But i think everyone knows that because that is how Lenovo made their reputation!!

  • Suraj Racharla

    Its not really a unique device. ITs one of those phones that look like it would have been realeased in 2014 and doesnt look too outdated. the price is what surprises us all

  • Suraj Racharla

    Yes mee too i am also not a Lenovo fan and this phone turned my head but didnt really capture my heart. The phone is immpressive and has very good and amazing specs and the price makes the device even better.

  • Suraj Racharla

    When it comes to cameras it all about qaulity. You may have a 21 megapixel camera but if the pics turn out grainy there really is no point in having a really good camera. This applys in terms of Lenovos camera!!

  • your second problem is worse to me. I am a rooter and i love flashing custom roms but with my new phone it has no support their are only 4 and i cant use them anymore. I like flashing roms because the phones i get are usually old and dont support higher firmwares so if this has littler roms it might be a little bland for me!

  • yes devices need OIS these days its a must just like QHD will be soon. The camera is manageable but their are a lot better around and really could have been better

  • YES! so many phones i look through look the same to me and maybe thats one of the reasons im drawn so much to the design! Btw i personally thin miui is much better and cleaner than vibe.

  • Only looks is superb,