Lenovo has been majorly focusing on budget smartphones in the Indian market but that doesn’t stop the company from introducing premium devices under the Vibe range from time to time. The company’s new Vibe Shot is a camera-focused phone which was showcased during this year’s Mobile World Congress. The phone is even designed in a manner similar to make it look like a point and shoot. Is the Vibe Shot a capable smartphone? We try to find out in our review…
Looks like a camera!
To highlight the focus on the camera capabilities of the phone, the company has made the back of the Vibe Shot look similar to a compact camera. In landscape mode, it looks and feels like a point and shoot camera with a strip that appears like brushed metal placed vertically at the back featuring the camera lens, IR focus sensor and triple LED flash, gives it a unique camera-smartphone hybrid look.
It’s interesting to note that it’s not metal and in fact the back panel is comprises of Gorilla Glass 3. The red coloured metal frame runs all around the edges and lends the phone a premium look. The red chamfered edges also look good. The right edge (just above the metal strip) features four metal keys including the volume rocker, power switch, a camera shutter button and a toggle switch to switch between Smart and Pro camera modes.
It even has a lanyard slot at the other edge so you never miss your compact camera. The 3.5mm headset jack sits at the top while the micro-USB port is at the bottom. A dual-sim tray is placed at the left edge towards the top while the microSD card tray is towards the bottom of the same edge.
At 145 gram and 7.3mm of thickness, the phone feels light weight but has a good grip nonetheless and doesn’t feel flimsy.
The Vibe Shot smartphone has a 5-inch full-HD (1080x1920p) IPS display with Gorilla Glass 3 protection. We found the display to be bright and vibrant with wide viewing angles though sunlight legibility could have been better (the display is slightly reflective). Touch response was great and we did not encounter any issues while interacting with the phone’s screen.
The 16MP camera is the real hero of the phone. The six-piece module lens camera features a 16:9 BSI sensor and tricolour flash along with Optical Image Stabilization. According to Lenovo, the photo luminosity adjusts automatically based on the ambient light conditions, and optical image stabilization reduces blur and keeps photos sharp even in low-light conditions.
The phone sports an infrared auto-focus sensor which as per the company, is twice as fast as normal autofocus. It supports 1080p video capture. The device also sports an 8MP front-facing camera for selfies.
The Camera app comes with a plethora of features including auto and pro modes with the former offering smart composition that allows users to get optimal distance or level for a better portrait, landscape and gourmet photo. The Pro mode offers granular settings for white balance, focal length, shutter speed, ISO and aperture.
While shooting outdoors in the sun, the camera app detected and switched automatically to the HDR mode. The camera also has a bokeh mode feature and certain creative modes that offer light trail effects usually captured with long exposure shots.
The pictures shot with the phone looked really good with excellent detail and rich colours. Even low-light results were great thanks to optimal image stabilization. The IR autofocus helped in getting the focus right swiftly.
The selfie camera also takes good quality photos and you can of course soften the facial features to make yourself look good. The Vibe Shot can record 1080p video and the quality of the videos captured with the phone was satisfactory.
The Vibe Shot runs Android 5.1.1 Lollipop with Lenovo’s Vibe UI running on top. Lenovo has heavily customised the standard Android UI replacing it with its own launcher that integrates the home screens, widgets and app shortcuts similar to iOS and Xiaomi’s MIUI. It also supports UI themes. The drop down notifications panel has also been customized slightly and you also get a Notification log for a timestamped view of all notifications.
The Vibe Shot comes preloaded with Lenovo’s CloneIt, SyncIt, ShareIt and Companion app in addition to other third party apps and 13 apps from Reliance Jio which are not functional at this time. Thankfully these apps can be uninstalled.
There are software features such as Quick Snap, Knock to light, and smart scene, that can be found in Settings of the phone.
With Quick Snap, users can click pictures while the phone is asleep by double clicking any volume key, whereas Knock lights up the screen when it was off when we tapped on it twice. Smart scene is a set of automated sound and Wi-Fi profiles that can be set as per the occasion and time of the day.
Overall, the software is user friendly, and offers plenty of customization options.
Lenovo Vibe Shot is powered by a 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor with 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage. The phone is powered by 2,900mAh battery and supports 4G LTE, 3G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1 LE options.
We didn’t encounter any hiccups while navigating between the home screens and switching between apps. At times the phone does have a tendency to heat up especially if you use it while charging, play games for a longer duration or in sunlight.
We were able to play most popular video and audio file formats on the phone.
We were able to play games like Temple Run 2 and Leo’s Fortune without encountering lag or freezes or heating issues and didn’t notice frame drops while playing Asphalt 8.
The phone supports Bluetooth, WiFi and GPS connectivity options an has an FM radio tuner but there’s no NFC.
Lenovo Vibe Shot offers excellent call quality and signal reception and we did not encounter problems while making calls even in areas where cell signal is relatively weaker. The phone was able to lock to GPS without any hiccups. We also used 4G data on Airtel’s Delhi network and were able to get a good signal.
The sound output through the phone’s speaker grille placed at the bottom edge (only the right grille one acts as a speaker) was loud and clear at moderate volume levels.
The phone is backed by a 2,900mAh battery and will last you a full day even if you put the screen brightness at the highest level and use a mix of 4G and Wi-Fi.
The phone can play video continuously for 5-6 hours.
At Rs 25,499, the Lenovo Vibe Shot is a great option if you’re primarily looking for a camera-focused smartphone. There are no two ways that it’s one of the best mid-range cameraphones and comes with a wide range of shooting options. It also sports a premium build, vibrant display and is a smooth performer.
The phone competes with the likes of OnePlus 2 and Asus Zenfone 2 that feature better hardware. However, these phones come with bigger displays and aren’t really optimized for one hand use. Also, it’s difficult to get your hands on the OnePlus 2 due to the invite system.