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November 09, 2012

Lenovo K860 Review

Lenovo is starting to make itself known in the world of Android smartphones. Literally, inching its way up by introducing a wide variety of handsets starting with the 3.5-inch A60+ all the way to the 5-inch S880. Lenovo’s latest entry is the K860 – a phablet that sports a quad-core processor and an 8 megapixel camera. Let’s find out what this smartphone can accomplish by reading our full review after the break.

Design and Build

At first glance, the Lenovo K860 looks like a simple slab of black plastic and glass. The front of the device is dominated by the 5-inch display, earpiece and front-facing camera. Right on top is the headset jack and Power/Lock button while the bottom is devoid of anything except for the microphone pinhole. On the right are the volume buttons while on the left is the microUSB port. Flip it on its back and you find the 8 megapixel camera with dual-LED flash, another microphone pinhole and speakers.

Although evident that it is a large smartphone, nothing fancy is going on in terms of design. The K860 has a chrome strip surrounding the device that looks like it is sandwiched by the front and the back parts of the handset. Physical buttons have chrome finishings while the back is textured to prevent slips. Since the camera is slightly protruding from the back it is mounted by a metal piece to protect it from scratches when laid on its back.

Display

The K860 gets a 5-inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 720 x 1280, same screen resolution as the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, while pixel density is 294 ppi. Compared to the smaller S3 (306 ppi) and the bigger Note 2 (267 ppi), the K860 falls right in the middle.

The IPS display produces amazing colors with just the right amount of vibrancy. It has above average sharpness and clarity with great viewing angles and sunlight legibility.

OS, Apps and UI

The K860 runs Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich with Lenovo’s custom UI. It uses rounded icons similar to other Lenovo handsets. This kind of icon design looks good on smaller displays from 4-inch below. But apply it on a larger display like this one and it starts to look toyish. Even if laid out at a 4 x 5 grid, the rounded icons make it look like there’s a lot of space wasted. Other than that you still get the same Android experience like swipe to unlock, five different home screens to house your shortcuts and widgets, and pull-down notifications bar.

As for navigation, you get four navigating buttons (Options, Home, Return, Recent Apps) instead of the usual three. For apps, the K860 is free from bloatware. All the Google goodies are there plus a bonus Asphalt racing app. Play Store is fully functional so third-party apps are not a problem.

Multimedia and Camera

Lenovo equipped the K860 with an 8 megapixel camera and so far is one of the best cameras I’ve used in a smartphone. It is quick and can capture images with great detail. It can shoot Panorama, HDR, Macro, and even has smile detection. There’s also an option to manually adjust exposure, ISO, Timer, and White Balance or add Instagram-like filters to your photos.

Take a look at the sample shots below:

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There’s one small problem though. When browsing through recently shot images inside the camera app, the display just blacks out and stalls. The only way to exit is to press the lock button then unlock to get you back to the home screen. Also, the camera app produces an annoying whirring sound when it focuses on a subject. The only way to get rid of it is to put the phone in silent.

As for video recording capabilities, the K860 can record videos of up to 1080p resolution at 30fps. Watch the sample video below and don’t forget to put it in 1080p:

As for multimedia, the K860 can play a wide variety of files including mp3, mp4, xvid and avi videos. If you need a different media player you can just download one from the Play Store.

Watching HD videos on the wide 5-inch display is a treat. Sounds are crisp and clear but lacks a bit of bass. The speaker is located at the back so you might want to avoid putting it down on soft surfaces or it’ll get muffled.

Performance and Battery life

The Lenovo K860 has an Exynos 4412 Quad chipset with quad-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A9 CPU, backed up by 1GB of RAM and a Mali-400MP GPU. AnTuTu Benchmarks gave it a score of 12,419 – scoring above the Galaxy S3 but below the HTC One X+. Quadrant Standard gave it a score of 5,281 leading the charts just above the HTC One X. As for GPU performance, NenaMark 2 gauged it at 54.1 fps, topping the charts but has the same fps as the Galaxy S2.

Performance wise, the K860 does not suffer from any lag. If there are any it is not noticeable. Games run smoothly, apps launch quickly and the UI is very responsive. The device is not running the stock Android OS so the problem with the camera app mentioned earlier is more likely software based.

Obviously, the K860 packs an impressive set of hardware that can take a toll on battery life. As a solution, Lenovo equipped the K860 with a 2250 mAh battery. When using the phone for SMS, voice calls, and WiFi browsing, the battery can last for 2 days. But utilize the 5-inch display to shoot photos, videos, watch movies and play games, expect the battery to run out in less than a day.

Conclusion

The Lenovo K860 looks like it is trying to take on the Galaxy S3 and the One X. No doubt the K860 is an amazing device. Not to mention that the K860 is currently running Android Ice Cream Sandwich and not Jellybean. But even on ICS the K860 was able to perform absolutely well. The question is, what’s the advantage? Compared to the S3 and One X, the K860 has a larger display, a larger removable battery, and a better front-facing camera at 2 megapixel. But in terms of physical design, UI customization and features? I’ll let you be the judge of that. Now for the price, the Lenovo K860 has an SRP of Php19,999. That’s a few thousand bucks cheaper than the competition.

To conclude the review, the Lenovo K860 carries a very impressive set of hardware for a smartphone priced under 20K. If you’re on a tight budget and in need of a quad-core phablet, the K860 is a smartphone to consider.

Lenovo K860 quick hands-on video:

Lenovo K860 specs:
5″ IPS LCD display, 720 x 1280 pixels, 294 ppi
Exynos 4412 quad-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A9
Mali-400MP
1 GB RAM
8 GB internal storage
up to 32GB via microSD
8 MP, 3264×2448 pixels, autofocus, dual-LED flash
2 MP front-facing
HSDPA, HSUPA
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot
Bluetooth
2250 mAh battery
143.5 x 74.4 x 9.6 mm
193.5 g
Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich

What we liked about it:
*Large display
*Good viewing angles
*Fast and smooth performance
*Great camera
*Good battery life
*Cheap price

What we didn’t like about it:
*Generic design
*Camera UI bugs
*Toyish UI

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37 Responses to “Lenovo K860 Review”

  1. ceegii63
    Twitter: ceegii63
    says:

    thanks sir, tanong lang kung ano 3G bands nya

  2. garz says:

    Whoa! A cheaper “Galaxy S3!”

  3. ceegii63
    Twitter: ceegii63
    says:

    thank you sir, can you take a pic of the USER MANUAL showing the UMTS bands on the k860

  4. Noel
    Twitter: cyber_ito
    says:

    In front of SM Bacoor, counterflow pa! haha

  5. Nowhereman says:

    Good review, Louie. Phone seems really impressive and the price will be hard to beat for Lenovo’s competitors.

  6. Rai
    Twitter: discipleofair
    says:

    Saw this unit on display at the Lenovo booth in Sm Mega last week. Really does look like a cheaper S3. Specs are not very far if not equal to what S3 can offer (from my perspective). Looks like a good deal. Just afraid that since Lenovo is just starting up in its smartphone LOB, after sales support may be minimal.

    • ChrisP says:

      Yeah meron nga sa mega mall. I have the opportunity to try this kanina. Very smooth ang UI, but looks “toyish” (personal preference). Camera is above average.

  7. Rai
    Twitter: discipleofair
    says:

    Saw this unit on display at the Lenovo booth in Megamall last week. Really does look like a cheaper version of the S3. The specs are not far if not equal to what S3 has (in my opinion). Just worried that since Lenovo is just new in the smartphone line of business, after sales may be limited.

  8. ferdinand marte says:

    the Cherry Mobile Titan 2 is just around the corner – equally powerful & 60% cheaper.

    • ceegii63
      Twitter: ceegii63
      says:

      im sorry but the Titan 2 is cheaper because of CRAP specs, this is cheap for the specs it has

    • yeshun says:

      @ ceegii63, cm titan doesn’t have a crappy specs, maybe what you mean is that it has a crappy built quality..

  9. cris says:

    is this covered by gorilla glass?

  10. Mar says:

    FYI: Nakita ko sa Memoxpress multiply website

    Another choice/option of Quad-core Smartphone for your reference:

    LG Optimus 4X HD: Php22,990 (from Php26,490)
    (Quad-core 1.5 GHz Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset)

  11. Mar says:

    FYI: another Quad-core smartphone you may consider

    Nakita ko sa Memoxpress multiply website ang latest price

    LG Optimus 4X HD (Quad-core 1.5 GHz Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset)ay Php22,990 from Php26,490)

    (With 1 year Manufacturer Warranty + 1 year Extended Warranty)

  12. Mar says:

    FYI: another Quad-core smartphone you may consider

    Nabasa ko sa Memoxpress multiply website ang latest price

    LG Optimus 4X HD (Quad-core 1.5GHz Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset): Php22,990 (from Php26,490)

    with 1 year official warranty and 1 year extended warranty

  13. jong
    Twitter: cyberjong
    says:

    “But in terms of physical design, UI customization and features? I’ll let you be the judge of that.”

    –>> Eh pano kami mgJudge wla nmn samin ang phone, kaya nga review sana eto eh,. what the Heck,.

  14. hd says:

    that is one big ugly phone

  15. Gelo says:

    Firstly Im a Lenovo user (P700, A60/A65) and a fan. However, S3 has the ff: AMOLED, TV Out, LTE/4g (though regional), DLNA, NFC, USB On-the-go, motion control and Jelly Bean support which the K860 doesn’t have.

  16. Princess says:

    While I wouldn’t call this Lenovo phone ugly, it doesn’t appeal to me either. Specs sound impressive though but I guess as a girl (I’m indulging the stereotyping habit here folks), I’m willing to pay the few extra pesos for a prettier phone. That said, I’m resisting the temptation of getting a Note 2 but its just so darn everything I’ve wanted in a phone so far.

    • ImAgirlSoImCHOosy! says:

      For the record, i’ve been itching bout this phone even before its out in the market. Its everything i want my fon specs to be.
      Here it goes, went at Welcomm, and got a hold of the Unit, and Walla not all that glitters are Gold.
      The concave Design in between the 2 palette of black pieces just cant get inside my system. Sorry but its just not my taste.
      Lenovo should Realize that Packaging, however superficial is still part of the marketing strategy. Man’s phone or not, it should appeal to all genders and don’t be just a slob on Design.

      Love K860 but …. Get a life.

  17. Dan says:

    I don’t like the UI but the camera is really good..

  18. humberger says:

    For those who are complaining too much about the UI, are you forgetting that Android is customizable? Come on. Just like others said here, this smartphone is more like a cheaper Galaxy S3…so why complain on how the UI looks? For almost 20K this smartphone is almost a “steal” and you don’t have to complain about the UI if you’re getting beefy specs for the price.

  19. Hud Maceda says:

    LTE ready na tong K860?

  20. nelyx100 says:

    parang medyo may problema sa video caprture ang video cam nito, try to observe it seriously….. talagang ganyan ba yong result ng video capture nya or sa setting lang yan?

  21. bigbadroy says:

    If they can promise software updates on a regular basis, then Im in.I wont buy this one though… I’ll wait for A15 SoC not this gen’s Samsung Exynos.

  22. sage99c says:

    wait till the nexus 4 arrives here..

  23. paulo says:

    really tempting especially when it is priced at around 16500 here in Baguio..hehe

  24. yeshun says:

    it could have been my dream phone, but when I saw the actual unit, it’s massive, slim but massive..hehe..lenovo, pls how about a 4.3 or 4.5 version wth the same specs…

  25. Alexus says:

    sample camera shots pls…

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