The Lenovo Vibe X, also known as the Lenovo S960, is an Android smartphone that packs a 5-inch full HD display, MediaTek quad-core CPU, and 2GB of RAM. Spec-wise, it sits below the Snapdragon 800-powered Vibe Z (K910) flagship. It’s cheaper compared to its big brother, but with a price tag of almost Php20k, is it still worth getting? Let’s find out by reading our full review below.
Design and Construction
The first thing you’ll notice about the Vibe X is how thin and light it is. At 6.9mm thin it’s just slightly thicker than the iPod touch 5th generation (6.1mm), and lightweight too at 121g. This combination makes the Vibe X very pocket-friendly. Slip it in your pocket and you’ll sometimes find yourself reaching for it just to make sure it’s still there.
The front is dominated by the 5-inch display mounted with Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3. This is one of our favorite parts as the glass curves around the edges. It looks good and feels nice on the fingers as well. Right above the display are the earpiece which also doubles as the loud-speaker and 5 megapixel front camera, while down below are three illuminated capacitive buttons. All of those are encased in a metal body with a chrome finish.
Right on top is the headphone jack, on the left is the power button, on the right are the volume keys and the micro SIM card slot, and down at the bottom are the microUSB port, and the pinhole for the microphone. Flip it on its back and you’ll see the plastic rear with a metallic textured finish which houses the 13 megapixel camera, LED flash, and another microphone.
Sleek is one word that describes the Vibe X. Aside from its thinness, it is polished and well-made. The build is good and the design reminds us of the iPod touch 4th generation.
If display quality is your priority in choosing a smartphone then the Vibe X won’t disappoint. It has a large 5-inch IPS display with Full HD resolution or equal to 441ppi, and mounted with Gorilla Glass 3.
It is sharp, bright, naturally vibrant, and has great viewing angles. Really good for photo-browsing and movies on the go.
OS, UI, and Apps
Running the software side for the Vibe X is Android 4.2.2 Jellybean. It’s a bit disappointing at first but it’s good to know that Lenovo will update it to Android 4.4 KitKat starting the end of May.
The UI is customized and has a MIUI ROM feel to it. There’s no app drawer as all the apps are already placed in the homescreens, similar to iOS. Navigation feels a bit clunky though and utilizes the left capacitive button to bring up Options, while the holding down the Home button launches Google Now.
If there’s one thing I hate about some Android smartphones is that often times come with bloatware or pre-installed apps. I want my internal storage clean from those apps on the get-go unless they’re essential. The Vibe X comes with a few pre-installed apps and games like Evernote, AccuWeather, Asphalt 7 (which still requires you to download a big chunk of file), Block Breaker, Fishing Joy, Little Big City, and Gameloft Live. Some are redundant like UC Browser and Navigation 6. The good news is, these apps can be uninstalled.
Those that cannot be uninstalled are Lenovo’s own apps like SECUREit, SYNCit, SHAREit, and LenovoSafe. Overall, the Vibe X gives you a total of 12GB of usable storage out of the claimed 16GB. On the downside, there’s no microSD card slot so that is surely limiting.
Camera and Multimedia
The Vibe X comes with a 13 megapixel rear camera with LED flash which is quick to focus and is capable of producing very decent images especially in bright conditions. However, colors seem to be a bit washed out. Shooting in low light shouldn’t be a big problem as the LED flash can illuminate dark subjects well.
Those who like using effects on their photographs will like the 24 effects and filters built-in on the Vibe X camera interface. In addition, there’s full manual control and a slew of camera modes like Panorama, HDR, Low Light, PIP, Burst, Speech, Night Portrait, Beautify, Smile, Macro, and Timed Photo. Those who like to take selfies will enjoy the 5 megapixel front-facing camera and its auto beautify mode.
When it comes to video recording capabilities, the Vibe X can shoot videos in Full HD resolution at 30fps. See sample video below:
As for its multimedia prowess, the Vibe X is a good companion for listening to music and watching movies on the go. Aside from the gorgeous display, we found the front speaker to be very loud and clear. The bass lacks a bit of punch though but still really good.
Performance and Benchmarks
Powering the Vibe X are the 1.5GHz Mediatek MTK6589T quad-core CPU, PowerVR SGX544MP GPU, and 2GB of RAM. The combination is more than enough to provide a smooth experience on the Vibe X – apps launch quickly, UI navigation is lag-free, and 3D games run smoothly.
We ran our usual benchmark tests and here are the results:
* AnTuTu – 15,288
* Quadrant – 5,544
* Vellamo – 1,534 (HTML 5) / 573 (Metal)
* NenaMark2 – 28.7fps
Normally we would expect a smartphone of this caliber to pack a large battery, but given the slim profile of the Vibe X, Lenovo went for a soon-to-be-below-average 2,000mAh battery. It should be able to last a whole day if you’re a light user, but if you’re going to browse heavily on mobile data, play games, or watch movies it’s going to drain you pretty fast. It doesn’t have removable battery so if you’re planning to go heavy on the Vibe X we suggest bringing a power bank.
We ran our usual battery test on the Vibe X by playing a Full HD video on loop on Airplane mode at 50% brightness and 0% volume from a full charge, and the result is 5.88 hours worth of movie playback.
The Lenovo Vibe X is aimed at those who are looking for a smartphone with a large screen and above average specs yet thin and light enough to be carried around in comfort. To top it off, it has a fantastic display, solid build, and a simple yet sophisticated design. It even comes with an orange flip cover which compliments it nicely.
On the downside, it commands a high price of Php19,999. That’s enough to make price sensitive buyers to look at other brands that sport similar specs for a much lesser cost. It’s also tempting to just get a more powerful phone like the LG G2 or Samsung Galaxy S4 (LTE) for the same amount if one knows where to look.
To sum it up, the Lenovo Vibe X is one good looking device with very capable specs. But at that price point and the lack of expandable storage, it’s not going to be an easy sell.
Lenovo Vibe X (S960) specs:
5.0-inch Full HD IPS display @ 1920×1080 pixels, 441ppi
Gorilla Glass 3 display
1.5GHz Mediatek MTK6589T quad-core processor
PowerVR SGX544MP GPU
16GB internal memory
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP support
13MP camera w/LED flash
1080p video recording @30fps
5MP front-facing camera
GPS w/ A-GPS
USB OTG support
Li-Po 2,000mAh battery
Android 4.2 Jellybean
144 x 74 x 6.9 mm
What we liked about it:
* Good build and design
* Thin body
* Crisp and vibrant display
* Loud and clear front speaker
* Smooth performance
What we didn’t like:
* Too expensive for its class
* No microSD card slot
* So-so battery life
* No LTE