With Apple and Samsung battling it out for the number one spot, the mid range segment has been flooded with smart phones from Xiaomi, OnePlus and other Chinese manufacturers. The race is all about who packs the highest specifications within a budget. Lenovo has taken a step further in this direction. The Lenovo Vibe Shot, showcased at the MWC earlier this year, launched in India last week. It is a photography centric smart phone with loads of manual controls. Lenovo wants it to be the only camera in your pocket when you can’t take your full frame with you.
We spent a few hours playing with the Vibe Shot earlier at a photography workshop organized by Lenovo. Though we still have to get our hands on the device for a complete review, here are our first impressions of the Lenovo Vibe Shot.
The Lenovo Vibe Shot comes with a 64-bit Snapdragon 615 chipset with 1.7GHz octa-core processor and 3GB of RAM. The dual sim smart phone comes with a non removable 2900mAh battery. The rear camera is 16MP shooter and the front camera is an 8MP one. (more on these later)
The device maintains a pretty slim profile at 7.3mm and weighs 145g. There is no microSD expansion, but the Vibe Shot comes with 32GB of onboard storage. The smart phone sports a 5″ IPS display with a resolution of 1920×1080. The screen is very reflective which does affect the viewing angles a bit.
The device runs on Android Lollipop 5.0 straight out of the box with Lenovo’s custom Vibe UI on top. Lenovo loves to load up its phones with bloatware and the Vibe Shot is no exception.
Design and Build Quality
Picking up the Vibe Shot, you’ll immediately notice the added heft. Don’t get me wrong, the device is by no means heavy, rather it feels pretty solid in hand. The device looks a tad smaller than most current Android flagships but feels very comfortable with its aluminium sides providing for an excellent grip.
Though people do debate on what screen size is perfect, the Vibe Shot will make itself home in your hands almost instantly. Lenovo could have squeezed in some extra screen estate by minimizing those bezels but they do compliment the overall look of the device. The front is almost the same as the K3 Note with three capacitive navigation keys underneath the display which are thankfully backlit!
Flip the phone and you are in for a treat. Lenovo has gone retro for the Vibe. The rear is divided into two sections with a silver brushed strip housing the logo and the camera flash combo, while the other part is made of glass. Visually, the Vibe Shot ticks all the check boxes and will remind you of some Sony’s older slim and sexy point and shoot cameras.
The sides are aluminium and come in contrasting colors (I got a chance to use the black/red combo) which does add to the premium quotient. There is also a duller (read sober) black/grey combo which will be the default choice of most people.
The right side has the power button and the volume rocker, both of which are pretty flush to the body and have a nice travel to them. There is also a dedicated shutter button which is a rarity these days in any smart phone. Perhaps the most interesting thing is the addition of a toggle switch which can be used to quickly activate/deactivate the Pro mode. Why Lenovo chose to implement this is still a mystery to me as one can very easily switch using the camera interface. Overall, the Lenovo Vibe Shot looks the part and the camera strip will definitely be a great conversation starter.
We can’t comment on the performance of the device given our very brief interaction with the device but the Snapdragon/3GB RAM combo must easily handle whatever you will throw at it.
One thing that we did notice during our brief interaction with the device back at Lenovo’s workshop was the heat. The device does heat up pretty easily and by heat we do mean a lot! After snapping a couple of pics and browsing the gallery, our unit felt like it had been left on a dashboard in extreme sunlight. We were told that it was a software issue and the final retail version will have it under control. We are definitely looking forward to seeing what Lenovo does for the issue and do hope they solve it as the this will be a major gripe for an otherwise excellent smart phone.
The Lenovo Vibe Shot is a photography centric camera. The rear shooter is a 16 MP camera complete with optical image stabilization, autofocus, triple-LED (dual-tone) flash. Pity it doesn’t record 4k. You can switch between two modes, the Smart and Pro. Smart is your average Auto and offers little control other than flash modes. Pro is what we’re here for, and it brings a handy list of settings on the left, including exposure compensation, ISO, white balance and focus modes. However, you can’t record videos while the toggle is set to Pro. The front camera is an 8MP snapper and can record 1080p videos @ 30fps.
We played with the camera a little and our test shots did retain a lot of detail. The Vibe Shot uses 16:9 aspect ratio by default and if you want to shoot in 4:3, you’ll have to suffice with 12MP shots. The camera also comes with many shooting modes in-built which looked pretty promising during our initial interaction.
Here are some of the Lenovo Vibe Shot camera samples. Lenovo promises twice as fast as regular autofocus with its new infrared sensors. We will reserve our judgement on that one and will definitely try it some more before making up our minds.
For a smart phone priced at Rs. 25,499/- the Lenovo Vibe Shot may seem expensive at first but it does deliver excellent pictures, which is the whole point of a photography centric smart phone. It is definitely aimed at photographers (who need to have a capable camera with them at all times for those critical shots) and enthusiasts alike. We will be posting a complete camera test and a much comprehensive review soon. Let us know if you do plan to get one!