Lenovo wasn’t into action except helping grow the Moto lineup in the recent time. Now, we finally have the Lenovo K8 Note, available exclusively on Amazon India. The Lenovo K8 Note is a straight jump from the K6 Note and the company has taken quite a while to work on this and finally come up with a good smartphone to compete the likes of Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, the Honor 6X, and the Moto G5 Plus.
A new Lenovo is what we are seeing? Probably, not just because the company has decided to give the device a push with a bunch of good specs but it also has taken a step in utilising what Google offers with Android and not make any changes to it. Why we call it new is because the user interface is a major part of the experience and Lenovo has changed it completely. The Vibe Pure UI is now gone and finally, it is the stock Android OS based on Android Nougat offered here and we also now have the promise of regular security updates, and a promise of major OS updates as well.
In the review here, we talk about the pros and cons of the device. To be fair, after using the device for a few days, we find more advantages than the bad about the Lenovo K8 Note. Before we begin, here’s a quick look at the major specifications of the device. Also to note, we have reviewed the 4GB RAM variant that is priced at Rs. 13999.
- 5.5-inch IPS display with 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution, 2.5D curved arc glass
- MediaTek Helio X23 deca-core processor, 3/4GB RAM, 32/64GB storage
- Dedicated MicroSD card slot
- 13MP + 5MP rear camera combination, Dual CCT flash, 1080p video recording
- 13MP front camera, LED flash support
- Android 7.1.1 Nougat OS, stock interface
- 4000 mAh battery, 15W rapid charging support
- Dual SIM, VoLTE support on both SIMs
- Dolby Atmos support
What’s so good?
Great build quality, Gorilla Glass 3 protection
A metal body always adds to the premium feel and that is what it is on the exterior of the phone. The backplate is metallic and the phone is made of 5000 Series aluminium that is said to be sturdy and corrosion-resistant. The device has rounded corners and smooth curving down of the edges on the back, which keeps it comfortable in the hand. The realistic us would expect not more than the Gorilla Glass 3 protection that is offered here for the scratch resistance and to add to the looks, the K8 Note has a 2.5D curved arc glass towards the edges of the display.
It is a deca-core processor, the MediaTek Helio X23 that powers the smartphone. It offers a superb performance and the phone is smooth and very swift for every kind of regular usage and even for the gaming, the K8 Note handles most of the high-end games with ease.
It might often be regarded as a phone with a MediaTek chipset that doesn’t go well against the Qualcomm Snapdragon ones, but the fact here is that the Helio X23 is a pretty strong one that matches up the high-end chipsets from its competitor.
Good camera quality
The camera, i.e. the 13-megapixel shooter on the back does a good job of reproducing colors and retaining the details and this is a welcome change as Lenovo’s K series was not so well known for its cameras. The regular captures in day light came out quite well and even the ones in artificial light, and while comparing this with the captures from Redmi Note 4, the latter doesn’t come very close in comparison.
Dedicated MicroSD card slot
The presence of a dedicated slot for storage expansion has become a big deal now because most of the smartphone brands now are offering a hybrid slot and while users find it annoying, there’s no reversal to this and no alternative either. The Lenovo K8 Note has a separate slot for those who wanted to expand the storage with a MicroSD card.
Stock Android UI, finally
The standard Android with stock interface brings in all the new features that are introduced with every major version. The custom ROMs that the different brands make are based on Android itself but they take away most of the features that are offered by default but introduce some trying to give a personalised experience. The Vibe Pure UI, though, was not one of the favorites in the list any time. Lenovo has finally accepted that they not should play around much with the OS and offer the official Android as it is to the users, and thus this ensures that we get regular software updates and security updates as well.
Of course, having the stock Android means there is not going to be any messy heavy interface that might require more resources, and thus, the performance is going to be swift as well, and that is quite evident on the K8 Note.
Music key for additional functions
A shortcut button otherwise wouldn’t be a huge deal, but the K8 Note has a dedicated button that can help in controlling music, not just by playing or pausing the video but also in skipping or going back to the previous song. In fact, the key that is offered on the left frame of the device is customizable and you can have it set to turn on/off the flashlight, open the camera, or even have it to open any app.
Turbo power charging
Fast charging is a big need these days because when the smartphones pack a large battery, there is also a need for those batteries to charge fast and not take hours to fully charge. The Lenovo K8 Note comes with a 15W turbo charger in the box and that does offer a quick charge with a zero to hundred charge happening within two hours.
This might not be the fastest of the charging solutions around, but for a 4000 mAh battery to be charged, it is a decent speed of charging.
These are a few things that are worth a mention because the company has still kept its focus on these features and they are the ones that the users cannot easily live without, when the device is looked at as a complete package.
- Dual SIM, VoLTE support
- Dolby Atmos support
- Water repellent coating
What’s not so good?
Heating issues and the battery drain
Heating of the back of the phone is common with the usage of 4G and browsing of data while it is on data network. The phone used to regularly get warm enough to be noticeable enough. The K8 Note otherwise has excellent performance with the battery as well with over four hours of screen-on time with ease, but the battery drain gets quite faster when the phone is connected to the data network and we were browsing the web.
Portrait shots still need improvement
Something that might be fixed in the near future with a software update, the portrait mode or the depth-enabled mode is far from perfect. The objects are well in focus and there is a proper blurring out done to the background but the entire borders of the object are softened and it makes things look very artificial and made up. The secondary sensor is specifically put up there for the depth sensing and if that doesn’t happen well, the whole point of a dual-lens camera setup doesn’t make sense.
No 4K, Slow motion recording
Again, realistically speaking, we still don’t trust any brand to send software updates as they promise. Lenovo has mentioned that one of the future software updates to the device will have the addition of slow-motion video recording but there is no such talk about 4K video recording, which is right now possible up to 1080p at 30 fps. These are some basic things that the camera app has to offer when we talk about a good sensor is present and every competitor in this price range does.
Fingerprint sensor – No special features offered
While the sensing of the scanner is good and the recognition as well is quick, the fingerprint sensor offered on the K8 Note does only that and nothing else. There are certain phones that have a sensor that comes with not just the unlocking of the screen but also helps in scrolling through the pictures, helps take pictures and do a few other things. We wished that Lenovo had given more features with the fingerprint sensor.
Final Verdict – Is the K8 Note worth the price?
To be fair to the brand, let’s not quickly conclude by judging based on the name in the hardware specs list. The Lenovo K8 Note has a MediaTek chipset, which actually is quite a good one and gives the phone enough power to be flawless while gaming and while putting it at stress with multitasking. The company has offered so much in terms of specs and the camera, if not for the portrait mode, otherwise is a decent shooter in this price range.
The device is well worth the price, and it is the 4GB RAM variant that we have used, which we can vouch for. But then, since the phone lands into the category that is plagued with some great phones in comparison, it should rather depend on what the users want, because the Honor 6X has a better camera performance, and the Moto G5 Plus beats it with the low-light camera performance, but the K8 Note has a good battery life and the shift from Vibe Pure UI to stock UI changes things by folds, not just with the experience but with also the responsiveness. In all honesty, it is a good phone from Lenovo.