Lenovo may be better known in India for its PCs, but the company has also had a presence in select markets when it comes to smartphones. All that could soon change as two more distribution partners have been snapped up by Lenovo to bolster the company's chances in the smartphone market. At the same time, it has also launched six smartphones in all segments, with the K900 positioned at the top of the tree. Let’s take a look at the key specifications of the phone.
OS – Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
It’s hard to tell that it’s Android running underneath Lenovo’s custom UI, so different is the look. Although navigation is just the same as on any Android phone, there are very stark differences in icons, fonts, menus and pretty much everything on the phone. One could say Lenovo was inspired by the look of MIUI, a popular aftermarket custom ROM. The rounded icons, the notification toggles and the settings pages all mirror MIUI. The end result is slightly disappointing. The icons look cartoonish and the animations in the app drawer as well as on the homescreen are a bit too dramatic for our tastes. It is quite the opposite of the steely exterior. We were pleased to note, however, that performance was not affected in any manner and things ran just as smoothly as they would if stock Android were on show.
Cellular connectivity – 3G (HSPA+)
Unlike the other five phones announced by Lenovo, the K900 does not have two SIM slots. It brings support for 850/900/1700/1900/2100 MHz bands for WCDMA (3G/HSPA+) and 850/900/1800/1900 MHz bands for 2G. Downlink speed is capped off at 42Mbps and uplink speed at 11Mbps. Considering 4G connectivity is very nascent in India, K900 is on par with the competition in terms of cellular connectivity.
Display – 5.5-inch full HD IPS display
The massive display panel on the K900 is quite stunning. The display has a full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, which means a pixel density of about 400 ppi. As we said in our first impressions of the smartphone, colours are reproduced very well and the viewing angles are great. Video content looks stunning on the large display, which is protected by Gorilla Glass 2, so it shouldn’t ideally be scratched in your pocket.
Display has very good viewing angles
Form factor – Stainless steel unibody construction
The K900 is one mean looking phone and we were quite impressed with the build quality of the phone. The phone is just 6.9 mm thin and has a stainless steel and polycarbonate unibody construction that feels good in the hand, if a little cold. Despite the tank-like build quality, the phone isn’t all that heavy at 162 g. If anything could have been changed, we would have liked to see the height of the phone reduced. There’s too much bezel above and below the display, which could have been reduced marginally for a better fit.
Wi-Fi – The usual suspects
The K900 brings support for Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n standards and as is the norm for Android phones, it comes with support for Wi-Fi hotspot as well. Thanks to the Intel processor, users can make use of the Wireless Display (WiDi) to share content on a second screen on the same Wi-Fi network.
SoC – Intel Atom Z2580 dual-core
Lenovo has chosen to go with Intel’s Atom Z2580 dual-core processor instead of any other competing quad-core chipset. The reason, the company told us, was to maintain a healthy price to performance ratio. Along with the 2GHz processor, the K900 has Intel’s GMA graphics processor clocked at 533Mhz. This combination performed admirably in our brief time with the device. The 2GB of RAM also helps in keeping the phone running lagfree.
Great for watching videos
Primary camera – 13 megapixel with BSI sensor
The K900 has a Sony-supplied 13 megapixel camera with the Japanese company’s Exmor BSI Sensor. In addition, the lens on the camera has an f/1.8 aperture, which helps in capturing a lot more light and detail. In addition, low-light shots are helped by the presence of a dual-LED flash.
Front-facing camera – 2 mgeapixel with wide-angle lens
The 2 megapixel front-facing camera on the K900 does a decent job with self-shots, but the 88-degree wide-angle lens allows for a wider view, which means you can attend video calls with your friends or family in the background and won't have to keep shuffling the phone to get them in the frame.
13 megapixel camera
In this day and age, a leading smartphone without GLONASS support sticks out like a sore thumb, and surprisingly, Lenovo has skipped this feature under the GPS column. While it’s not going to affect location lock times that much significantly, it’s still a must-have feature according to us.
Lenovo has included a 2500 mAh battery pack in the K900. Given the massive full HD display and the infamous power management of the Intel chipset, we are a bit sceptical about long usage away from a power socket. The company has quoted a talk time of 15 hours on 2G networks and 12 hours on 3G, along with 300 hours of standby time. While we have our reasons to doubt this figure, we think the phone should last anywhere between 10-12 hours on moderate usage. That’s good enough for a day at work.
Stainless steel construction
The bottom line
Given the K900’s price of Rs 32,999, we think Lenovo has a winner on its hand if the phone is marketed well. We have seen large screen phones doing well in India and the 5.5-inch full HD display is certainly an attractive proposition. We expect the price of the device to fall in the months following its launch. Currently, smartphones with full HD displays are selling well north of the Lenovo K900’s price, but can the company manage to score over Samsung and HTC just based on price? We don’t think so, but only once the phones are launched in the market will we find out.
Another worrying aspect for Lenovo could be the new 1080p display-clad Indian smartphones (WickedLeak Wammy Passion Z, being one example) that have already hit the market. There will definitely be more such phones launched, which will undercut the K900’s price. This is where the combination of high-quality stainless steel unibody construction, the 13 megapixel BSI sensor-equipped camera and the snappy Intel processor has to shine through, or else Lenovo could have a failure on its hands.