- Video review and unboxing
- Design, construction and equipment
- Experience and tests
This year, a smartphone appeared in the Lenovo catalog, which, to be honest, for the first time interested me as a potential buyer. I think I’m not the only one who was bribed by a thin metal case, an attractive design, a 13-megapixel camera with fast optics and a large, high-quality Full HD screen.
Lenovo IdeaPhone K900 Specifications:
- Network: GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850/900/1800/1900 MHz), WCDMA/HSPA (850/900/1700/1900/2100 MHz)
- Platform (at the time of announcement): Android 4.2.1 (Jelly Bean)
- Display: Capacitive, 5.5″, 1920 x 1080 pixels, IPS, 400 ppi, Gorilla Glass 2, work with gloves
- Camera: 13 MP, autofocus, dual LED flash, f/1.8 aperture
- Front camera: 2 MP, 88 degrees
- Processor: 2 cores, 2 GHz, 4 threads, Intel Atom Z2580
- Graphics chip: Intel GMA (PowerVR SGX 544MP2)
- RAM: 2 GB
- ROM: 16/32 GB
- Memory card: no
- Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)
- Bluetooth 3.0
- 3.5mm audio jack
- Gravity, lighting, proximity sensors
- Battery: 2500 mAh
- Talk time: up to 12 hours in 2G networks, up to 15 hours in 3G networks
- Standby time: up to 300 hours
- Dimensions: 157 x 78 x 6.9 mm
- Weight: 162 g
- Form factor: candy bar with touchscreen
- Type: smartphone
- Announcement date: February 2013
- Release date: July 2013
If the Galaxy Note II with a mass of 183 grams seemed not heavy, then Lenovo K900 with its 162 grams with such a diagonal feels frankly light. “Plafons” light weight, perhaps, is beneficial: if you add such a shovel of noble gravity, it will become inconvenient to carry it in your pocket.
But one can argue about the benefits of ultra-small thickness. But here Lenovo could not stop and got involved in a more international race – who is thinner. That is, the device looks great with a thickness of 6.9 mm, of course, great, but it would be a little more convenient to hold it if it were thicker, with more rounded edges. Well, a slightly larger battery would fit.
The Chinese really did a great job on the design: the aluminum case looks quite expensive, and the screw heads protruding from the back cover add elegant brutality to it.
A smartphone, of course, with its thickness, is non-separable. But outside, in addition to the volume buttons, the power key, the Micro SIM slot and the 3.5 mm audio jack, nothing has been brought out: the memory cannot be expanded, a second SIM card is not provided. It’s amazing: a Chinese smartphone, but only with one SIM card.
The back cover can only be removed by unscrewing four screws, and they, judging by the not quite standard slots, are not designed to be unscrewed.
At MWC this year, there were suddenly a huge number of smartphones with very, very cool screens. We have already talked about HTC One, so let’s take a couple of paragraphs and K900.
The IPS-panel used in the “plafond” has a diagonal of 5.5 inches and a resolution of 1920×1080. At this display size, Full HD probably already makes sense. If Lenovo used the standard 1280×720 at the same diagonal, then the pixel density would be 267 dpi. And this is lower than the “retina standard”, which, as any schoolchild knows, is 300 dpi.
But the display is not interesting for this. And not even brightness: they just didn’t go overboard with it, so that a giant matrix with a huge resolution would not empty the battery too quickly. The brightness is not a record – 323 cd / m2, which is slightly lower than the range of 350-400 cd / m2, which fits most serious smartphones. However, even outdoors it is more or less enough.
On the other hand, the luminosity of the black field is so low that the contrast, according to the results of our measurements, turned out to be absolutely breathtaking, as much as 1582:1. There were no typos, it was exactly this: one thousand five hundred and eighty-two to one. We thought that the MWC 2013 record holder in terms of contrast would be HTC One, but it won’t. And who would have expected?
What is especially surprising is that the list of advantages of the IdeaPhone K900 display does not end there. The color gamut is also very impressive: the sRGB color space is completely covered, and the shape of the gamut triangle is even a little more correct than in the fifth iPhone.
The image is a little colder than most flagship smartphones: the white temperature is 7958 K. However, even to completely black it “slides” to only 16656 K, so the grayscale is probably fine-tuned.
By and large, this display has only one possible drawback: there is a suspicion that it will deign to eat oh-oh, how much. However, we still cannot but praise Lenovo: a smartphone with non-standard filling is categorically supposed to have an outstanding display – it’s good that the company has finally understood this.
Design, construction and equipment
The box of the smartphone is dressed in a cardboard casing with the model name cut out at the top, and the inside is painted red – it looks impressive. The delivery set is as follows: a smartphone with a 2500 mAh battery inserted into it, a charger (2000 mA), headphones, a microUSB cable, a needle for the micro-SIM compartment. I have a test version for the Asian market, so don’t be intimidated by the fork.
Lenovo K900, Samsung Galaxy S4, Nexus 7 2013
Lenovo K900 was introduced in February at MWC 2013, where I first got to know it. Then there were very few phablets, and even 5” solutions were perceived as indecently large, what can we say about the 5.5” K900 pancake? Today, large smartphones can rarely surprise, and I am sure that next year the concepts of “phablet” and “tablet phone” will not exist, and large smartphones will be taken for granted and a popular, in-demand form factor.
I used to shy away from large phones, considering them inconvenient, but in fact almost all smartphones with a diagonal of 4” or more require the use of two hands, and if so, why settle for a small screen when you can take a large device where web browsing , viewing photos and videos, playing games and social networking will be extremely comfortable? The main thing is to decide in which pocket to carry it, or carry it in a bag 🙂
On the front side of the K900 there is a 2-megapixel camera, earpiece, light and distance sensors, 5.5” screen, three backlit touch buttons (no alert indicator). There is nothing on the top end, a 3.5 mm jack, a microUSB port, a microphone on the bottom, a volume rocker on the left, a power button and a micro-SIM compartment on the right.
The main area of the reverse side is occupied by a cover made of non-magnetic stainless steel, which is held by four screws at all corners. The Lenovo name is neatly laser-etched, and below you can see the Intel Inside logo, which seems to hint. The phone measures 157 x 78 x 6.9mm and weighs 162g
It is not always convenient to reach the keys on the side faces (they are also metal) and you have to touch your hand. Unlocking the screen can be assigned to the volume buttons, but there will not be much difference with a dedicated key, but you can also implement it by double tapping on the glass. The metal cools the hand, but also heats up very quickly, so that the pleasant sensations disappear in speed. By the way, the case also cools down quickly. And it’s easy to scratch it.
5.5” 1920 x 1080 resolution (400 ppi) IPS capacitive screen that can be used with gloves. Protection is provided by Gorilla Glass 2. Viewing angles are high, color reproduction is pleasant, but maximum brightness in exceptional cases may seem insufficient to some.
Actually, we don’t even know what is more interesting: where does Lenovo get such matrices from and where did it learn how to set them up so well — or how the IdeaPhone K900 hardware is arranged, because we haven’t seen it before.
|Lenovo IdeaPhone K700
| Intel Atom Z2580
Two HyperThreading cores;
Frequency 2.0 GHz
|PowerVR SGX 544MP2
| 5.5″ 1920×1080 IPS technology
Capacitive touch screen
|Flash card slot
| 1 x MHL (Micro USB HDMI)
1 x 3.5 mm audio mini-jack
| GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900, HSDPA 850 / 900 / 2100
LTE support not yet known
|Accelerometer/gyroscope, light sensor
| Primary: 13MP Dual LED Flash
Front: 2 MP
|Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
K900 is the first smartphone on Intel’s newly introduced Clover Trail platform. In short, Clover Trail can be described approximately by the following formula: we take the good old Medfield, multiply the number of cores by two, raise the frequencies, throw out the old graphics accelerator and add a new, dual-core one. Why this chip is called Clover Trail, and not Medfield, we find it difficult to say.
There are now three Clover Trail processors in total, they differ in frequencies. The K900 has an older modification – Intel Atom Z2580: a dual-core processor with a frequency of 2.0 GHz. By the way, Clover Trail supports HyperThreading technology, which allows it to simultaneously handle four threads.
PowerVR SGX 544MP2 is built into the system-on-a-chip as a video accelerator. In terms of performance, it should be similar to the SGX 543MP4 chip used in the Apple A5X – there was a gluing of four SGX 543s, here – of two more advanced SGX 544s. In the Atom Z2580, such graphics can be overclocked to a frequency of 533 MHz.
K900 has 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of built-in memory, it cannot be expanded. We don’t know for sure whether the new Lenovo smartphone received the just introduced Intel LTE module, but it definitely works in 2G and 3G networks, including high-speed ones.
The rest is full ammunition: Wi-Fi 802.11 b / g / n, Bluetooth, GPS, the entire range of sensors. Of course, there are two cameras: the main one, at 13 megapixels, with dual LED flash and the front one, at 2 megapixels. The sample we got was not at all final, so it made no sense to check not only the quality of the shooting, but also the speed.
At the time of writing the review, the phone is based on Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean (official firmware with Russian language dated September 22) and an update to Android 4.3 is planned. There were a lot of updates, but so far none has been able to save the device from thoughtfulness, as discussed below.
The branded launcher has several unique widgets from Lenovo (Lenovo Power is especially functional), and also offers advanced personalization options. The user can change the scrolling effects of tables and application screens, change the background of icons and much more. Nothing that would cause “wow”, but someone will like it.
I didn’t really like Lenovo’s shell for several reasons. First, it just looks weird with almost any icon design. Secondly, adding applications to desktops is not a trivial task in the case of the K900 – you can’t just drag a shortcut from the application menu and you have to hold your finger on the table, poke “add”, mark programs and press “done”.
Thirdly, the tables lag even without widgets, although the device behaves quite well in toys. Fourthly, the transfer of widgets and icons requires accuracy (for example, you can pick up a widget and bring it to “delete”, but due to the too low position of the finger, this same widget will not fall into the desired border).
Fifth, it’s annoying that when you ask for confirmation of an action, you need to press the virtual key on the left, in the Chinese manner, and not on the right, as is customary in the West. Sixth, it’s annoying that even with the mobile Internet disabled, the status bar shows the possible connection speed – H (transfer via HSPA, 3G).
The settings are located in three tabs – “general parameters”, “advanced parameters” and “all parameters”. Here I want to note the item “motion sensor and gestures”, with some of the functions of which I recommend experimenting. In the “Memory” it is clear that out of 16 GB, the user is content with only 9.77 GB.
Let me not list all the software, escaping with screenshots, and note a few positions.
Lenovo decided to please all users and provided as many as three browsers – standard, Chrome and UC Browser.
The video player supports many formats and plays them without plugs (at least they bypassed me). In the player, you can adjust the screen brightness, create a screenshot of the video sequence, select the image display format and block virtual keys.
Photos, screenshots and pictures are stored in the proprietary “Super Gallery”. It allows not only viewing images, but also creating applications from several photos (“Puzzle”), creating GIF and Magic GIF with fixing objects.
Lenovo Power is an advanced power management utility. Alas, with a bunch of possibilities such as switching the brightness in one tap, selecting the operating mode (wireless modules, network modes) and displaying the charging stage, this program does not have a banal discharge schedule. Sadness.
⇡#A little bit about software
Actually, it’s too early to talk about software. Yes, Lenovo has invented its own shell for Android with a funny scrolling menu, round icons and funny names – in half of the applications they start with the word Super (for some reason, amazing, incredible and amazing were not noticed – a flaw on the part of Chinese comrades). In appearance, the shell is, perhaps, scary.
Yes, the health of your device is monitored by a pre-installed, non-switchable antivirus, which in the current state of the firmware desperately prevents you from doing anything with your smartphone. Actually, this is the current state of the firmware so far from the final one that it is simply impossible to use the K900. The release in some countries is expected in April, by which time, probably, the firmware will be brought to a sane state.
I don’t remember Lenovo excelling in any way when it comes to photography, but that didn’t stop it from stuffing a lot of features and functionality into the camera. There are also a bunch of shooting modes (HDR, macro, twilight, group photo …), and 24 effects, and image settings. With video, everything is a little simpler and there is electronic stabilization (EIS), the algorithm of which is such that the final video sequence is obtained with black bars (I don’t understand why it was impossible to select a slightly larger capture zone from 13 megapixels so that they weren’t …). I advise you not to use EIS.
What is definitely good about the Lenovo IdeaPhone K900 is its light weight and cool display. The rest may grow during the journey, or it may remain the same. What was definitely bad in the Lenovo IdeaPhone K900 at the time of our acquaintance with him was the firmware. She interfered with benchmarking because the phone slowed down. She did not allow the camera to start and just hung periodically. She choked with the built-in antivirus all attempts to use the device.
That is, the K900 looks good. His screen is excellent. In theory, we also like the characteristics – with the new promising “Atom”, but in practice there is still so much to check that it is definitely too early to pass a verdict. And except for the K900, there is no place to check the new Atom Z2580 – it is not yet installed anywhere else. So we are waiting for the final release of the IdeaPhone K900 with double impatience.
Lenovo IdeaPhone K900 has a lot of positive aspects: a metal case, an attractive design, a high-quality display, a decent camera, a flexible shell (albeit an amateur one). If you need games insofar as you are not bothered by not the maximum graphics, then you have nothing to worry about. For simple tasks, the speed is enough, the battery provides sufficient operating time for this class.
Experience and tests
Choosing a chipset for its metal flagship, Lenovo made a knight’s move and preferred the Intel chipset to Qualcomm, NVIDIA and MediaTek solutions. The K900 uses a 2-core 2 GHz Intel Atom Z2580 processor that supports 4-thread calculations (defined as 4-core in benchmarks). The Intel GMA graphics chip is actually a PowerVR SGX 544MP2.
RAM 2 GB. Before the K900, I had the opportunity to talk with another smartphone with an Intel processor – the Prestigio MultiPhone 5430 (review), based on the weaker Intel Atom Z2420. And I did not remain delighted for the reason that the performance of the device was at the level of MT6577, and the price was comparable to more successful and powerful solutions based on MT6589. With the K900, it’s a slightly different story – it costs adequately, and the speed shows the corresponding one.
Curiously, as updates came out for K900, it showed less and less AnTuTu scores. At first, it was about 28 thousand points, with summer software I recorded about 22 thousand “parrots”, but with the last update, the limit was 20,093 points (the maximum result of five runs after a refrigerator and reboots).
In Quadrant – 5817, in Geekbench 3 – 535/1256, in Vellamo – 1782/706, in GFXBench almost all tests failed, but in the last two it gave out 31/30 fps, in Epic Citadel – 33 fps. Cool 3D games are complicated – they can run smoothly, but with artifacts (like Need For Speed Most Wanted), or they can run without bugs, but with brakes.
So Asphalt 8 with maximum graphics lags indecently, NOVA 3 is quite playable, GTA VC lags worse than Full HD smartphones with Snapdragon S4 Pro, and Dead Trigger 2 with ultra-graphics slows down a lot. With simpler games, the situation is different, of course. The interface itself lags almost everywhere – on the tables, in the settings, on the application screen.
Updates didn’t change the situation one iota, and I really hope for an update to Android 4.3 JB (it’s being prepared). They say that with custom firmware everything is a little better in terms of the smoothness of the shell, but I did not check it, because I think that such reviews should reflect the out-of-the-box experience that ordinary users will meet.
If you look at the Stability Test, the battery warmed up from 27.1 to 42.7 degrees in half an hour of heavy load, and the processor lasted at a maximum frequency of 2 GHz for about 10 minutes, after which the frequency dropped to 1.86 GHz. At the same time, you can see on the graph that at the 17th minute the battery was heated to 45.8 degrees, after which a “cooling” caused by some unknown reason followed (the processor frequency remained the same). The battery discharge for half an hour was 30%.
Claimed battery life for Lenovo K900 is amazing and under daily load it is unattainable (up to 15 hours of talk time and up to 300 hours of standby time). The maximum can be obtained by lowering the brightness and actively using the Lenovo Power program. Without tricks, you can calculate for a day or two of work in mixed mode and 3 hours of active screen.
In the test for continuous playback of HD video with the highest brightness and all enabled wireless modules, the device lasted almost 5 hours, which is comparable to the results of Full HD phones based on MT6589T and Snapdragon S4 Pro, not in favor of Intel Atom Z2580. Half an hour of playing NOVA 3 with maximum brightness and Wi-Fi drained the battery by 20%, that is, it will completely sit down for 2.5 hours of intensive play.
I liked the Lenovo K900’s audio component – the external speaker is loud, the speaker does not cause problems either, and the sound in the headphones did not disappoint in conjunction with the Sennheiser Momentum. There were no complaints about the reception of wireless networks.