The Lenovo S850 is one of the company’s latest mid-range offerings that was launched in the country late last month. It features a 5-inch HD display, a 13 megapixel rear camera, and powered by a MediaTek quad-core CPU and Android KitKat. Find out what we think of the device by reading our full review.
Design and Construction
A lot of mid-range smartphones nowadays have taken a few steps back when it comes to build quality and design. Most sport generic and uninspiring designs which doesn’t stand out from the crowd. In this case, however, Lenovo’s S850 offers a bit more. Although unassuming, the S850 is classy at its best.
On the front you have the 5-inch display of HD resolution, above it is the earpiece, 5 megapixel front camera, and light sensor, while down below is the three capacitive navigation buttons.
On the left side we have the dual-SIM tray which can accommodate two micro SIMs, and the speaker, while on the right are the volume rocker and the power / lock button.
The microUSB port and headset jack are found right on top, while the microphone can be found at the bottom. Flip it on its back and you’ll find the 13 megapixel camera, LED flash, and the Lenovo logo which lights up when you unlock the phone or while charging.
The S850 features a design that is mix between a mid-range Xperia smartphone with a bit from the iPhone 5. It’s plasticky yet solid and well-built. It’s got a brushed metallic finish on the sides which overlaps the glossy plastic chamfers for that nice edgy feel.
The backside, on the other hand, has this dotted criss-cross design printed on a plastic material and then mounted with glass with edges that curve to the sides. This kind of detail is actually one of the reasons why the S850 is attractive.
Another strong feature of the S850 is its display. It’s got a 5-inch screen with HD resolution or equal to 294ppi. It’s far from Full HD but the color vibrancy and clarity is superb.
Lenovo also made the screen really close to the glass so images and icons just pop out. In addition, it’s got IPS so viewing angles are good.
OS, UI, and Apps
The S850 comes with Android 4.4.2 KitKat out of the box with a skinned UI. It comes pre-installed with your usual Google apps with the addition to Lenovo’s own apps like the Security app, SYNCit, and SHAREit.
Third-party apps made their way here as well like UC Browser, Scoop, Givera, and Gameloft app. Three games were pre-installed as well like Asphalt 7, Green Farm 3, and Wonder Zoo.
The good news is these apps can be easily uninstalled to give you more room for the 14.53GB of usable storage out of the 16GB. The bad news is, it’s non-expandable or there’s no support for a microSD so it’s very much limited.
Users who like taking pictures with their smartphones will enjoy what the S850 can offer – a 13 megapixel BSI rear camera with LED flash, which is capable of producing crisp and vibrant photos even when indoors. It comes with a few features as well like Face beauty, Panorama, HDR, EV bracket shot, PIP, Group shot, Macro, and some filters should you wish to be creative.
The S850 also features a 5 megapixel wide-angle front camera with beautify feature and built-in timer so those who like to capture selfies or group selfies will find it easy to do.
Below is a short sample clip of the S850’s video recording (1080p, 30 fps, .3gp file):
If you’re planning to use the S850 as a multimedia companion it surely won’t disappoint. The vibrant 5-inch HD display will definitely provide you a pleasant mobile viewing experience. The speaker, on the other hand, is loud and clear, however, it’s a bit lacking when it comes to bass. As usual, if you want a better sound experience a good pair of headphones or an external speaker is recommended.
Performance and Benchmarks
For a device with mid-range specs, the S850 performed well. It ran basic tasks with ease and ran graphic games fluidly without lags or crashes. The only issue we found is that it sometimes becomes hot when charging.
We ran our usual benchmark tests on the S850 and here are the results:
* AnTuTu – 17,814
* Quadrant Standard – 8,371
* Vellamo – (Metal) 732, (Multicore) 1,240, (Browser) 1,762
* NenaMark2 – 55.2 fps
The Lenovo S850 is equipped with a 2,000mAh battery which should be a standard for mid-range smartphones nowadays. We ran our usual playback test (playing a 1080p video in Airplane mode with brightness set to 50% and volume at 0%) to see how long the battery can last. The result is 9 hours worth of playback which is good.
To conclude, the Lenovo S850 sets a good example of what features a mid-range smartphone should start with – good form factor and build quality, really clear and vibrant display, and good performance and battery life.
However, Lenovo’s biggest hurdle here is the price, at Php13,999 its an expensive offering considering that the ASUS Zenfone 5 16GB costs half of that while the Xiaomi Mi 3 sports flagship specs at more than Php3k less.
Lenovo S850 specs:
5-inch HD (1280 x 720) IPS LCD Screen, 294ppi
1.3GHz MediaTek MT6582 quad-core CPU
Mali 400MP2 GPU
16GB of internal storage (non-expandable)
13 megapixel BSI rear camera with LED flash
1080p video recording
5 megapixel front camera
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP
Android 4.4.2 KitKat
141 x 71 x 8.2 mm
What we liked about it:
* Good build and design
* Great display
* Good performance
* Good camera
* Good battery life
What we didn’t like:
* No microSD card support
* Pricey for mid-range device