At first glance, Lenovo’s Vibe K5 Note strikes as an ordinary handset or at best an iterative refinement over the yesteryear K3 Note. There is, however, a lot more to the new Note, and spending some quality time with it made us realize that this marks an important evolutionary stage in Lenovo’s Note Lineup.
We are now ready to share our findings in the Lenovo K5 Note Full Review.
Lenovo K5 Note Specifications And Features:
|Model||Lenovo K5 Note|
|Display||5.5-Inch, Full HD, LTPS IPS LCD display|
|Processor||1.8GHz MediaTek MT6755 Helio P10 SoC, Mali-T860MP2 GPU|
|Internal Storage||32GB (24.10GB free for users), expandable up to 128GB. Apps can’t be installed on SD card.|
|Software||Android Marshmallow based Pure UI|
|Primary Camera||13MP sensor, LED Flash, PDAF, 1080p video recording|
|Secondary Camera||8MP Front-Facing Camera, 1080p video recording|
|Battery||3500 mAh, fast charging, 2A charger|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, Proximity, Light, Gyroscope, Orientation, Rotation Vector, Gravity, Linear Acceleration, Magnetometer|
|Others||Dual SIM (Nano + Nano), Hybrid slot, 4G LTE, Fingerprint Sensor, Dolby Atmos|
|Price||11,999/ 13,999 INR|
- Design and build strikes as unimpressive
- The display is well balanced, sharp and vivid
- Camera performance is reasonable for the price
- Fortunately, Lenovo is not skimping on Sensors
- Pure UI , is closer to stock, cuts down on duplicate apps and allows you to uninstall preloaded ones. We like it.
- Secure Zone isn’t a big deal
- Some high-end games stutter, but overall gaming performance is very decent
- TheaterMax relies on the same last gen AntVR headset, doesn’t impress us much.
- Battey backup is great.
We ordered the gold color variant, because well, based on the queries we are getting this one seems to be more in demand. Surprisingly, the Gold option didn’t feel half as tacky as I expected it to.
The build quality, however, isn’t all that impressive. This is also an issue we had with the K4 Note (Full Review) – the quality of materials used could have been better. The K5 Note includes a metal back plate, and pretty much the rest of it, including the side edges, is plastic. Now, we don’t mind well designed plastic phones one bit, but the Vibe K5 Note and the elegant looking case that comes bundled in the box are very susceptible to scratches.
Unfortunately, the front firing speakers on the K4 Note are gone. The new Note positions the Dolby Atmos enabled speakers on the rear. The placement is far from ideal, but you can take solace in the fact that the sound doesn’t get blocked even when the phone is resting on its back. The audio output is also pretty convincing.
As far as design goes, the Vibe K5 Note plays safe. There are no intrepid edges, bold curves or other flairs to relish. This shouldn’t be a dealbreaker, though, but could be a bit offputting once the novelty wears off.
The Display Feels Gorgeous
The display on the Vibe K5 Note is of good quality. It’s sharp, it’s vivid and has balanced Color tones. While the screen isn’t super bright, everything is still comfortably visible outdoors under the direct sun.
There is no Gorilla Glass protection mentioned for the display. However, a plastic film screen protector comes bundled in the box. The capacitive buttons below the screen are backlit.
You can change color temperature, tone, and saturation from the display settings and it works efficiently. Lenovo has also improved its ‘Comfort Mode’. In the K4 Note, the comfort mode made the display a tad too warm (yellowish) but in the Vibe K5 Note color temperature remains almost same as the default mode.
The Comfort Mode is what should be in line with majority’s taste.
Software and TheaterMax
Lenovo is calling it the Pure UI. As the name suggests, the Android Marshmallow based software on Vibe K5 Note is closer to stock than the erstwhile interface, the Vibe UI.
Pure UI eliminates duplicate apps and allows you to uninstall most of the preloaded ones. Lenovo is still using a custom launcher with an App drawer. The software offers several customization options without being overwhelming. Most of these features are borrowed from the Vibe UI. Amidst what’s new, the Secure Zone takes center stage.
A Glimpse At Pure UI
The ‘Secure Zone’ allows you to split your phone into two different phones. You can switch between the two from quick settings toggle or a suspension button and can guard each with a different password. Having two separate phones also means that you can install two apps with different accounts.
So far, so good. But, how useful the Secure Zone actually is?
Well, I am not a very secretive person or someone who maintains multiple WhatsApp accounts. I do have separate personal and work accounts for Twitter and Gmail which I regularly need to switch between, but I am already used to doing so from the respective official Apps. So, I didn’t find myself particularly drawn to the Secure Zone or using it often.
Although, If you have different usage requirements and find yourself juggling different App accounts rather frequently, this could be a great boon. For instance, you could configure two separate Uber accounts on one phone and conveniently earn referral benefits.
The bundled TheaterMax headset is the same AntVR headset that we reviewed earlier. You can split the screen in two by long pressing the power key and selecting the VR Mode option. Now, just play any video file in the player of your choice, plug your phone in the AntVR headset and enjoy a ‘Big screen’ experience.
In practice, the TheaterMax experience with K5 Note has its limitations. Firstly, the full HD resolution display feels pixelated for all VR purposes. Secondly, the light bleeds in from the sides.
A Reasonable Camera
The Vibe K5 Plus camera is a good performer in a well-lit environment, both indoors and outdoors. Images look a tad better on the phone display than when you watch them on your computer screen. While Zooming in you will realize that the software is sharpening images at the expense of details, but that’s acceptable.
As is expected from phones in the price range, Noise sneaks in and colors appear washed out when the lighting is poor. With F/2.2 aperture lens and OIS missing, we didn’t expect any different.
On the plus side, HDR mode works well. You can get a good shallow depth of field while taking close-ups and focusing is reasonably fast (in good lighting). The selfie camera too is a decent performer. The quality of video recording is about average.
All in all a very decent camera for the price. Camera performance feels better than what its main rivals Redmi Note 3 and Le 2 offer. For more details head on to our full K5 Note Camera review.
Lenovo K5 Note Camera Samples
Surprisingly Good Performance
The Lenovo Vibe K5 Note is powered by Helio P10 chipset, and we are using the 3GB RAM model. Since the P10 is notorious for poor gaming performance, we didn’t go into the review expecting much. But, surprisingly, the K5 Note exceeded our expectations and by a wide margin!
The P10 on the Vibe K5 Note could handle gaming efficiently. Most high-end games are rendered smoothly, but games like Asphalt 8 show frequent stutters (on highest settings). We didn’t have any issue with games like NOVA 3, Modern Combat and Dead Trigger 2. It goes without saying the light games like Candy Crush and Subway Surfer run without any hiccups. While gaming, the temperature remains under control.
The day to day performance is quite smooth. We didn’t face any RAM management issue even with the 3GB RAM model.
The handset comes with a 3500 mAh battery, and we are comfortably getting more than single day usage with moderate to heavy usage. Battery backup won’t be a problem with the Vibe K5 Note.
Lenovo Vibe K5 Benchmark Scores
|Vellamo (Browser, Metal, Multicore)||3056, 1308, 2349|
|Nenamarks 2||62.9 fps|
|Geekbench 3 (Single Core, Multi Core)||730, 2915|
There are no issues with call quality or connectivity in our area. VoLTE is not supported so the K5 Note won’t work with Reliance Jio as of now. Lenovo might enable VoLTE with an OTA update later.
The fingerprint sensor is aptly positioned, accurate and quick to unlock. The mono speaker on the back is quite loud, but not as satiating as the front firing speakers on the Vibe K4 Note (especially in the TheaterMax mode).
Lenovo Vibe K5 Note Photo Gallery
- Sharp and vivid display
- Good performance
- Reasonable camera
- Great battery backup
- Efficient software
- Design and build could have been better
The overall experience that Vibe K5 Note offers is very gratifying. The design isn’t entirely convincing but a gorgeous display, powerful chipset, assuring battery backup, functional UI and reasonable camera performance – All add up to make this an easy recommendation. TheaterMax functionality is an added bonus. A higher 4GB RAM variant is also available, but for most users, the 3GB variant should suffice.