The Vibe series of smartphones straddle multiple segments. From phones with long battery life (P1m) to the first dual camera selfie phone (S1), camera focused (Vibe Shot) and now the Vibe X3. Lenovo calls the X3 a flagship smartphone and in many ways, it is.
Interestingly, in terms of specs, the Vibe X3 is very similar to the BlackBerry Priv, which is priced at just over Rs 60k. The design is handsome and modern.
There’s more than a hint of Motorola Moto X design language (metal frame, curved back) which is a good thing. The glass covers most of the front of the device, which gives it an illusion of a much larger screen when off. Even the Android buttons are on the glass, though they’re off the screen. There’s no branding in front and apart from the glass area, there is only space for a couple of front facing stereo speakers. The sides are all metal while the non-removable back is a matte white polycarbonate. The phone feels nice to hold and is solidly built.The chamfered edges also lend a nice touch. Around the back is a camera module, dual LED flash and square fingerprint scanner. Power and volume are on the right side. On top, you’ll see the 3.5mm audio and Infrared port while the micro USB port is centrally placed on the bottom edge.
The front speakers are impressively loud and come in handy while playing games or watching video. But this is a phone that packs some serious audio chops. For starters, it has an ESS Sabre 9018C2M DAC (digital to analog converter) which takes over if you’re the kind who likes to listen to lossless audio.
There are three amplifiers which can comfortably drive a high quality set of headphones. Dolby Atmos enhancements (found in settings) can further enhance your audio experience. And there’s a separate Wolfson 8281 audio processor with three microphones to handle phone calls and recordings. We quite like the interface though didn’t like that there were a fair bit of pre-loaded apps. We saw Evernote, Gamestore, Guvera Music, McAfee Security, Route 66 Navigation, ShareIt, Shazam, Tap the Frog, UC Browser,WeChat and WPS Office. Luckily, most of them can be uninstalled and you can also go into the permission control section to deny permissions to certain apps if you want.
A Secure Zone lets you separate apps and accounts — application data and documents in the zones are isolated from each other. Think of it like user accounts — though contacts and call logs remain shared.
Other things you can configure include a notification light, screen colour mode and features like quick snap (double press a volume key to capture photo), knock to wake and so on. The camera is good though not great — it took some nice photos outdoors with natural colour and lots of detail. But it struggles in low light.
As far as the company’s claims of a flagship, we’re inclined to agree. The device offers high quality and a lot of value, something that is clearly and quickly becoming a Lenovo hallmark. It doesn’t matter if a flagship skips on the most powerful hardware around. As long as it is built well, has a good screen, can perform day-to-day tasks flawlessly, playback 4K video like a champ, capture great photos/videos, boast of great battery life, has loud and clear audio, great extras (TheatreMax, IR port,great UI) and charges fast – it’s a flagship in our books.
: Rs 19,999
5.5-inch IPS LCD (1080p), hexa core Snapdragon 808, 3GB RAM, 32GB storage + microSD (up to 128GB, hybrid SIM slot), 21MP f2.0 rear camera, 8MP front camera, WiFi ac, BT4.1, FM, NFC, 3,500mAh battery, 175 grams
Plus: An affordable flagship, excellent battery life, fast charging, great performance, high quality sound with dedicated DAC and Dolby Atmos
Minus:Looks very similar to the K4 Note, capacitive Android buttons are not backlit, only two fingerprints can be registered at a time