Lenovo has been doing pretty well and has gained traction with its affordable mid-ranged smart phones. While it enjoys considerable success with its Mediatek processor based smart phones, Lenovo too has aspirations to play along with the high end players as well. That’s where the Lenovo Vibe Z comes in with a large Full HD 5.5″ IPS display and runs on a reputable Quad-Core Snapdragon 800 processor from Qualcomm. It even comes with 4G LTE, a first for Lenovo smart phones.
This isn’t the first time Lenovo has made a high-end product. Last year they had the Ideaphone K900 smart phone which is rather identical to the new Vibe Z. The major difference is that it runs on an Intel based Atom processor and comes with a rather premium looking aluminium body. The battery on the Vibe Z is bigger too at 3,000mAh, which is 500mAh more than the K900.
It replaces the K900 but it ditches its aluminium build for lighter plastic materials. That doesn’t necessary mean its a bad thing as Lenovo uses a laser-etched cover that feels like fabric. In the hands, it is rather thin at just 7.9mm and weighs a rather decent 147 grams. There are 2 colours available – Silver and Titanium. Personally we prefer the darker Titanium version as the Silver colour unit looks a plasticky.
The only complaint that we have is the placement of the power/wake button which is placed at the top. For people with smaller hands, the power button would be much easier to reach when placed on the sides.
Lenovo Vibe Z Hands-on Video
The Quad-Core 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor isn’t the latest but should deliver adequate processing power along with its 2GB of RAM. While playing with the device, there’s some noticeable lag with the notification bar quick settings but maybe that’s just an isolated issue. Launching apps and switching between apps is still rather decent. The display is rather good with an IPS display that pushes 400ppi (pixels per inch) with good viewing angles.
Apart from the hardware, the Vibe Z does come with several notable software features as well. It comes with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean as standard that’s layered with Lenovo’s custom UI. Similar to Huawei’s Emotion UI, there’s no App Drawer so all apps and shortcuts are placed on the home screen. Like its rivals, there’s a number of Smart features such as Smart Answer, Smart Call, Smart Dialler and Smart Standby. Since the 5.5″ display is rather large for single handed use, the Smart Dialer feature has a unique tilting keyboard function. Depending on the orientation of the device, the keys will tilt towards the sides that you’re leaning on making it reachable in a single hand. You can see this in action in the hands-on video above.
For those that multi-task while on the go, there’s also a Multi-Window feature but it behaves rather differently from the Multi-Window that we are used to on Samsung Galaxy devices. It lets you load 2 apps but floats with a fixed aspect ratio. The usability of multi-window isn’t really that refined as resizing and moving the windows could have been better.
For photography, the Vibe Z comes with a 13MP BSI camera at the back with dual LED flash while the front has a group selfie friendly 5MP camera with a wide angle 84 degree lens. For videos, it takes up to Full 1080p HD resolution.
One of the key highlights of the Vibe Z is its support for 4G LTE. Looking into the spec sheet, it only supports our current 1800MHz 4G LTE bands which is being used by Maxis and Celcom. So if you’re on DiGi network, you can’t really utilise 4G for now as it their LTE network runs only on 2600MHz.
At RM1,799, the Vibe Z is a decent high-end smart phone alternative but it faces intense competition from mainstream players that are slightly more expensive. The limitation of not having a microSD card expansion slot with just 16GB on-board storage could be a turn off for today’s demanding users. If launched 6 months ago, the Vibe Z would have stand out better with its affordable performance proposition.
Lenovo Vibe Z Hands-on Photos