Lenovo pumped their newest flagship smartphone, the K900, with an Intel Atom processor instead of the more popular chips like Mediatek or Qualcomm Snapdragon. This drew both praises and criticisms especially from those who used to number of cores. Check out our full review of the Lenovo K900 if it did make the cut.
The Lenovo K900 is one of several flagship phones that touts a full HD 1080p display. However, the engine that powers it is made by Intel, a fairly new player in the smartphone market.
Design and Construction.
Compared to a lot of flagship smartphones in the market, Lenovo went out with a different approach with the K900 — a full metal construction in a unibody design, an fairly new processor from Intel, all in a very thin 6.9mm profile.
The result is like a combination of the Xperia Z and the HTC One but with a more industrial look.
At 6.9mm, the Lenovo K900 is the thinnest flagship smartphone in the local market today. It’s also one of the most affordable of the the lot (based on SRP). Intel obviously had a hand in this — a huge Intel logo actually appears during boot-up, even ahead of the Lenovo logo.
Even the packaging has a huge “Powered by Intel” label in it and the back side of the device also has an “Intel Inside” logo.
With a 5.5-inch display, the K900 is huge and a bit unwieldy with one-handed operation. With its size, it’s already in the league of the Galaxy Note series and the Optimus G Pro. The silver, metallic chassis with brushed metal finish gives it a raw appeal.
The power button is situated on the right side of the handset along with the micro-SIM card slot (comes with a pin to po-up the slot) while the volume controls are on the left side.
At the bottom end, the micro-USB port and 3.5mm headphone jack are both found along with the microphone. A secondary noise-canceling mic is found on the back side, near the LED flash.
Since there’s no microSD card slot for storage expansion, the K900 supports USB On-the-go. The polished finish of the back panel also makes the device a little slippery on the hands, especially when you have sweaty or oily palm.
The front panel is completely covered with Gorilla Glass but allows enough space at the bottom corner for the soft keys (Menu, Home and Back).
The only downside of the metal body is that it gets easily warmed up when the device is running on full power or when connected to mobile internet. At the same time, it cools down pretty quickly as well because of the highly conductive material.
The K900 uses a full HD IPS LCD display, giving it one of the best displays around. The screen pixel density is at 401ppi, similar to that of the Optimus G Pro. The large, bright display is equally sharp and clear with really good viewing angles.
The screen brightness is a few notches higher compared to the Xperia Z and gives it better outdoor visibility and not much glare or reflection. The 5.5-inch display is more than ideal for watching movies, browsing the web and playing games.
The display has a narrow bezel but there’s a wider gap at the top and bottom corner to make room for the front-facing camera and sensors as well as the soft buttons for Android navigation.
OS, Apps and UI.
Lenovo has been using the Lotus UI for some time now in their smartphone and tablet line-up but the customizations they’ve done on the user interface in the K900 has somewhat actually matured (Lenovo calls it the Le Phone theme which separates it from other Lenovo handsets). You will really notice the efforts they made in putting an identity to the software layer of the device.
The lock-screen represents a lutos formation, the native icons are rounded, and the transitions are 3D-animated as if it was borrowed from one of the popular launchers in the Play Store.
The gray, shadowy theme of the UI also adds to that industrial design feel as if it smoothly extends from the polished metal finish of the materials right into the UI of the device.
The virtual keyboard and the keypad dialer are both basic, simple and laid out evenly with large, fat individual keys. There’s also the TouchPal keyboard that’s ready to be activated if you wish to do so.
Lenovo pre-installed a number of native apps of its own on the K900. There’s Lenovo Power which is a feature-rich power management app, a UC Browser and Kingsoft Office for productivity, and a SuperCamera app and SuperGallery app that reminded us of the HTC Zoe.
Of course, since you have access to Google Play, you can customize all these and download hundreds of thousands of apps, themes, widgets and games on the Play Store. Lenovo made sure it had the latest major version of Android (v4.2) running on the K900.
Camera and Multimedia.
The K900 is a beast in the multimedia department — the large full HD display is really great for watching 1080p videos, the speakers at the back does a really good job at providing enough volume for the audio (although it sounds a bit flat and lacks even a hint of bass).
There’s a built-in stereo FM tuner but you will still need the earphones to serve as antenna in order for it to work.
The K900’s 13-megapixel camera does a great job at snapping hi-resolution photos. The camera sensor is actually quite fast, captures enough light and does not tend to over-saturate the colors of the subject.
Low-light performance is also good as you will see in the sample photos below:
The camera will sometimes get a hit or miss in the white balance of the subject, especially under artificial light, but once it does it right the results are actually impressive.
Here’s a sample clip we recently took while playing around with the Parrot AR Drone 2.0:
We had some issues with focusing when recording videos (there were instances when the camera would just would not focus on our moving subject) but it was nothing too serious.
Performance and Benchmarks.
Despite the dual-core processor, the K900 is no slouch in terms of performance. Intel’s Atom Clovertrail processor has multi-threaded capabilities making it look like there are 4 cores running instead of just two. This has resulted in much higher scores on our test benchmarks.
The K900 scored 6,051 in Quadrant and 21,205 in Antutu Benchmark. These numbers are actually way higher compared to the Mediatek MTK6589 1.2GHz quad-core processor we’ve been seeing in a number of local phone brands.
The dual-core Clovertrail chip performs in our benchmark with scores as high as a Qualcomm APQ8064 Snapdragon S4 Pro 1.5GHz quad-core.
As for the PowerVR SGX544 graphics chip, our NenaMark 2 gave it a score of 59.9fps which is pretty good considering the display is full HD.
Over-all, the handset is very snappy and fluid, thanks to the 2GB RAM. There were instances that transitions and animations would seem to lag but its actually just the normal behavior of the UI.
Call Quality, Connectivity and Battery Life.
Call quality of the K900 is decent although in several occasion that we made calls, the voice on the other line is not as loud as we wanted them to be. It’s possible this was an isolated issue or a network-related behavior but everything else seems fine. SMS messages are sent and received on time and 3G/HSPA+ connections are decent, though not the best we’ve seen around.
The K900 lacked two of the newest connectivity features that are becoming very common in flagship handsets nowadays — NFC and LTE. We were willing to forgive the absence of NFC but LTE is something we think is more important to have.
Unfortunately, Intel’s Atom chip doesn’t come with LTE modem yet so Lenovo will need to source it from another supplier and that could have also added between Php2k to Php3k to the price of the device.
In our standard battery test, running a full HD 1080p movie in a loop at 50% brightness and 0% volume, the K900 lasted a little over 8.5 hours on a single full charge. This is already a pretty good time considering the large full HD display of the handset and the very thin profile that only allowed for 2500mAh of battery.
There’s no doubt the Lenovo K900 is one of the very few sexy Android smartphones out there, tucked somewhere between the HTC One and the Sony Xperia Z. Lenovo has successfully imbued their own design signature with the K900, and positioned the device just at the right spot so the differentiation is more evident.
A combination of a good hardware, great design, capable OS and impressive camera makes the K900 an easy pick among the dozens of selection in the market. The lack of LTE connectivity and expandable storage are its only Achilles’ heel (and we know there’s a variant that comes with a microSD card slot, though not the one released in the Philippines) but its a weakness that many might not reconsider or simply overlook.
Lenovo K900 specs:
5.5-inch IPS LCD display @ 1080 x 1920 pixels, 401 ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass 2
Intel Atom Z2580 2.0GHz dual-core CPU
16GB internal storage
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, dual-band
Bluetooth 3.0 w/ A2DP
13 MP camera w/ dual LED flash
1080p video capture
2MP front-facing camera
GPS w/ aGPS support
FM Radio tuner
Android 4.2 Jellybean
Li-Po 2,500mAh battery
157 x 78 x 6.9 mm (dimensions)
162 grams (weight)
The Lenovo K900 has a suggested retail price of Php22,990 and is available in Lenovo stores and dealers nationwide.
What we liked about it:
* Large full HD display
* Very good camera performance
* Premium build and materials
* Affordable than most flagship handsets
What we did not like:
* No LTE connectivity
* No expandable memory card slot