From the get-go, Lenovo wanted K4 Note to be perceived as a device which offers gratifying Multimedia experience. The approach is a complete opposite compared to what Lenovo followed with its very successful predecessor, the K3 Note, but is the right way forward in our opinion. While we do buy ‘experience matters more’ subterfuge Lenovo is throwing, poor specs or hardware can surely weigh a device down.

As far as budget phones are concerned, corners must be cut. Has Lenovo successfully managed to clip the right ones? Let’s find out.IMG_8227Note: If you are looking for specific details like benchmark scores, free RAM, sensors present etc, you can also jump to our K4 Note FAQ

Key Specifications of Lenovo K4 Note

Model Lenovo K4 Note (Model no. A7010a48)
Display 5.5 Inch HD display, 10 point multi touch, Gorilla Glass 3
Processor 64 bit MediaTek MT6753 Octa core, Mali T720: MP3
RAM 3GB LPDDR3
Internal Storage 16GB (9.01 GB available), 128GB MicroSD card support
Software Android 5.1 Lollipop based Vibe UI
Primary Camera 13MP ISOCELL Sensor, F2.2 lens, Dual Tone Flash, PDAF
Secondary Camera 5MP, Wide angle lens
Dimensions and Weight 153.6 x 76.5 x 9.2 mm and 158g
Battery 3300 mAh
Sensors Gravitation, Proximity, e-compass, Light, Fingerprint Sensor (2 fingerprints only)
Others 4G LTE on both SIM, TheaterMax, 2 x 1.5W Dolby Atmos front speakers, WiFi a/b/g/n/ac
Price 11,999 INR/ 12,499 INR (With ANTVR headset)

Also Read: Best Smartphones Under 13,000 INR

Pros

  • Vivid display
  • Great audio and multimedia experience
  • Good camera
  • Fast fingerprint sensor

Cons

  • Performance is strictly mediocre
  • Bloatware takes its toll, only 9GB storage is free on first boot

We like the K4 Note design

The K4 Note bears the same design as the high-end Vibe X3. Lenovo deserves credit for elegantly implementing powerful dual frontal speakers without excessively inflating its dimensions. The bezel below the display is frugally managed. You will find capacitive navigation keys (not backlit) and the bottom speaker here.

IMG_8470

The curved back makes it ergonomic to hold in hands, and the fingerprint sensor is where our finger naturally rests. The K4 Note is chunkier than the competition (Read: Le 1s and Honor 5X), but because of its thoughtful and attractive design, we didn’t mind carrying it around one bit.

But the material used is of poor quality

Out of the box, the Lenovo K4 Note comes planted in a case and looks gorgeous. However, that novelty wears off pretty quickly. The case bundled in the box accumulates more than its fair share of scratches even with careful handling.

IMG_8565

If you are audacious enough to live a life without any case involved, the first thing you will notice is that the rear cover is very prone to finger grease. Speaking of smudges, the front touch glass isn’t any better and is perhaps missing oleophobic coating, but hey! You will any way use a screen protector or tempered glass so, maybe its not that big a deal.

We dared to lead a case-less existence for 3 to 4 days and the only part which manage to keep scratches at bay was the Gorilla Glass 3 shielded display. The side frame, which you can easily pass as chamfered metal from a distance, is actually made of plastic and not very durable one either.

IMG_8482

Generally speaking, it’s only wise to keep your phone/investment wrapped in a case and screen protector, but with K4 Note, you don’t get a choice. Lenovo understands that and thoughtfully bundles a plastic screen-guard and back cover case in the box (no headphones though).

K4 Note Photo Gallery

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Display and Audio is well-suited for great multimedia experience

The full HD display on K4 Note is very sharp and vivid. Watching multimedia content is a pleasant experience, which is further enhanced by powerful dual frontal speakers. Color tones are aptly warm, but if you prefer cold blue whites, there is an option to tweak color temperature under display settings (but it’s not very effective).

UI text doesn’t appear very crisp, but all the video content and high resolution images that we viewed on the display were rendered properly. All said and done it’s a good quality display and is in line with what you would expect from a handset that prioritizes multimedia experience. Brightness levels are optimum for usage under direct sun (Smart brightness mode under display settings helps).

IMG_8477

Lenovo’s Theatermax technology also helps. TheaterMax is meant to create an illusion of sitting in a theatre using Ant-VR headset, which you can buy as part of VR bundle for extra 500 bucks. Is it any good? Yes.  You can read our TheaterMax Full Review To Know More.

Performance drags K4 Note Down

For a handset that evangelizes importance of user experience over raw, meaningless specifications, it is only unfortunate that its processor, well known for its mediocrity, plays the proverbial Achilles heel.

IMG_8488

The MT6753 on the K4 note is yet to impress us with its gaming performance. So we didn’t expect much on gaming front in the first place. Asphalt 8 didn’t work, not even on medium graphics. Nova 3 and a few other high-end games that we tried were playable, but experience wasn’t as smooth.

Similar to its predecessor, the K4 Note isn’t meant for intensive gaming. What about normal usage performance?

2016-02-05_175954

Well, day to day performance was mostly good, but not as Snappy as what we experienced on Le 1s. Many a times the phone stuttered which shouldn’t happen on a new device.  Since the Vibe UI generously consumes RAM (About 2GB available on first boot) and because out of the box you get only 9GB free storage (You can uninstall pre-loaded apps and free up to 10.5 GB), the performance might further degrade when your Nand flash storage is filled to the brim (or about to). Apps can’t be transferred to SD card either. we are not very confident regarding performance durability 6 months down the line.

If your usage is somewhere between basic and moderate and if you don’t like to install and experiment with apps regularly, performance should be fine. If you are a heavy or moderate users it is a liability.

Also Read: Should you buy the K4 Note or Le 1s?

Camera Performance Is Good

Though high-end spec-sheets have trickled down to staggeringly low prices, a stunning camera is something solely reserved for top-tier. As for K4 Note, it punches above its price tag as far as still photography goes.

IMG_8500

In broad daylight, camera captures very good details, accurate colors and showcases great dynamic range. Indoor images are grainy and soft, but details are still reasonably good. HDR mode worked well for us most of the times. Front selfie camera is good for selfies meant for social media purposes. Overall, the camera on Lenovo K4 Note is among the best ones in its price band. Video recording quality is ok too.

Camera Samples

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Software, Fingerprint sensor and Battery

The Vibe UI software on K4 Note is similar to what we saw on Vibe P1. Whether or not you like the UI design and launcher (App drawer is present) is more a matter of personal taste. I for one thing its fine. But here at Smartprix we have had polarized opinion on the subject. Functionality wise, it is not very refined or intuitive but software has enough to keep you engaged.

2016-02-05_180636

Settings menu is well organized. Besides all conventional options, all signature vibe UI features are bundled under the ‘Features’ options where you can easily locate and toggle them.

The fingerprint sensor is very fast and accurate. You can only store 2 Fingerprints at a time, which isn’t ideal but should be workable. You will only need 2 store index fingers of both hands. If there is someone in the family or a friend you wish to share access with, you can always share your PIN or Pattern.

As far as battery goes, it’s a tad better than Le 1s. We managed to reach one day mark without much fight, but we missed fast charging.

Conclusion

The Lenovo K4 Note is a step forward but repeats the elementary mistakes of K3 Note. We only wish it had a better processor (Helio X10 perhaps), for then it would be an easy recommendation for anyone looking for a decent, affordable Android phone. We are however, sold on the promise of great multimedia experience. It is more than empty talk and makes a difference. If you are a basic user, you can surely consider it as a viable option.

Also Read: Best Smartphones Under 20,000 INR

8 COMMENTS

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here