Lenovo has been very aggressive in expanding its smartphone portfolio in the Indian market since its acquisition of Motorola. It has launched a series of budget and mid-range handsets over the last year that have proven to be a hit with Indian consumers. The Lenovo K3 Note, unveiled last year, was a stupendous hit with budget users. The device attracts users with its combination of powerful hardware at an entry-level price. With the Vibe K4 Note, Lenovo wants to up the ante.
From the name, you would assume that the K4 Note is the successor to the K3 Note. However, on closer inspection, this is not quite true. The Vibe Moniker denotes that this is not really a budget smartphone to begin with. The price is also a little higher than the K3 Note.
Compared to the square and uninspiring design of the K3 Note, the Vibe K4 Note looks attractive. Motorola’s influence is evident in its design. While the K4 Note is a little thicker than the K3 Note, the curved design looks better. It’s also a little heavier than the K3 Note, but it also houses a larger battery. There are several design changes, including dual speakers on the front, a fingerprint sensor on the back, and a backlit capacitive button below the screen. The build quality, while not great, is very good for its price and segment.
From the recent crop of Lenovo phones, it’s clear that the company has cracked the code when it comes to smartphone design. The Vibe K4 Note won’t make your heart skip a beat, but it’s a decent looking smartphone and has a decent build.
The K3 Note broke some fundamentals in terms of hardware, given its price range. The Vibe K4 Note continues the trend despite the price increase. There are a few changes and most of them are really good for users. Lenovo used a MediaTek MT6753 chipset with an octa-core processor running at a speed of 1.3 GHz. It is a direct rival to Qualcomm’s popular Snapdragon 615 CPU. The Vibe K4 Note also comes with 3GB of RAM, which complements the CPU well. In addition to the built-in 16GB space, there is a microSD card slot.
Vibe K4 Note has NFC capability. It also has most connectivity options out of the box. It is a 4G LTE compatible device and support for Wi-Fi, A-GPS and Bluetooth. This device also has Dolby Atmos technology in the speakers – which makes it the best in class in the audio department.
There’s no denying that one of the reasons the K3 Note scored above its rivals was because of the display it has. On the Vibe K4 Note, Lenovo kept the same more or less the same screen elements, which isn’t bad after all!
The Lenovo Vibe K4 Note comes with a 5.5-inch FullHD display. The 403 PPI pixel density makes things good for movie buffs and gamers alike (not forgetting the Dolby speakers, which we’ll come back to a little later in the review). If you set the brightness level to the maximum level, sunlight readability will not be an issue. It also has good viewing angles.
One area where the Vibe K4 Note improves over its predecessor is in the screen saver department. It’s covered in Corning Gorilla Glass 3. Despite this, you may still want to use a protective layer on top of the screen. Reason, it is a fingerprint magnet and tends to accumulate smudges quickly.
As we already shared with this, the phone comes with an Octa-core processor coupled with 3GB of RAM. The combination of these two ensured that we could multitask with ease. Playing some of the popular games like Asphalt 8 is very easy. Another thing worth mentioning is that we didn’t experience any heating issues on the Lenovo Vibe K4 Note even when playing heavy games or while trying to juggle many apps. There were no noticeable delays we faced in the short time we spent with the phone and the call quality and network reception are also very good.
As for synthetic benchmarks, the Lenovo Vibe K4 Note scores very well.
2016 is said to be the year of VR and Lenovo with this offering seems to have that covered as well. You can choose to buy the ANT VR headset (at an additional cost of Rs 1,299) which together with the theater max technology will enhance your viewing experience. The construction of the ANT VR headset is better than other VR headsets we’ve seen in this price range, and the experience of watching a movie clip via the Vibe K4 Note was average.
Lenovo Vibe K4 Note comes with Dolby Atmos speakers, which give you a great experience. They are quite loud and yet you don’t feel like the sound quality is being compromised on any level.
One of the main highlights of the K3 Note was the fingerprint scanner, which was also included in the successor. In addition to unlocking the device, the sensor can also be used to take selfies on the Vibe K4 Note. The sensor is responsive and reliable.
The camera setup on the Vibe K4 Note isn’t much different from its predecessor. What we have is a 13MP rear sensor, which is aided by Dual LED CCT Flash. On the back we have the 5MP camera without flash and also has no autofocus. The rear camera is equipped with features like phase detection autofocus technology. However, it is not very fast and rivals the Asus Zenfone 2 Laser. LeEco Le1S manages to do a better job here.
Camera performance is honestly halfway there. In good lighting conditions, it captures images with detail and sharpness. However, in dark places, the noise level increases. The rear camera can also be used to record 1080p videos. Lenovo has included software-based Image Stabilization, which helps reduce jitter.
The front camera does an average job of clicking selfies and during video calls.
Camera sample photos
Battery life remains a major concern for most people using smartphones these days. The Vibe K4 Note has a 3300mAh Li-Polymer battery, which is a slight improvement over the K3 Note. It can last a day and a little longer with general use. However, the battery performance is no match for the massive batteries used in rivals like the Asus Zenfone Max and even the Lenovo P1M.
However, when pitted against the Moto G 3rd Gen and LeEco 1S, it manages to give almost similar results.
In the budget smartphone list, the Lenovo Vibe K4 Note leaves a strong mark thanks to its solid construction and great performance. It is an amazing multimedia device that boasts of great display and amazing sound quality.
Do not like
While we think the Lenovo Vibe K4 Note is blessed with decent looks, there are now smartphones that are much sleeker than that for the same price.
The main disadvantage of the Lenovo K4 Note is the camera. The rear camera falls short when faced with the competition.
Overall, the Vibe K4 Note is an interesting and promising competitor for the budget and mid-range smartphone segment. For its modest price, it packs a lot of features and good hardware. Improvements in RAM, screen protection and the inclusion of a fingerprint sensor are things that are worth noting, but we must not forget that some of the competitors like LeEco Le 1S and Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 also offer the same.
Also, Le1S and Redmi Note 3 offer better design than Vibe K4 Note. Also in the camera segment, the Lenovo Vibe K4 Note is overshadowed by some rivals, including the Le 1S. If you think you can live with those little hiccups, there’s no reason not to buy this device.