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Lenovo A65 Review




Lenovo’s newcomer dual-SIM Android phone seems to be a pretty interesting handset. It made a bit of buzz as an entry-level, dual-SIM smartphone for under Php6k. Check out our full review of the Lenovo A65 after the break.

Design and Build

The A65’s facade looks really good, the steel/aluminum trim around display evokes a premium feel and the display’s protective cover is very smooth to the touch, It’s not as grippy/porous as the Ascend Y200’s so fingers glide effortlessly on the screen Three hardware buttons below the screen are solidly put but we think touch sensitive keys are far better, we tend to ‘tap’ on the keys by instinct.

Volume keys on the upper right side of the phone feels solid when pressed but the dedicated camera key somehow feels ‘mushy’. A 3.5mm headphone jack, micro-USB slot and a tiny power/lock button is found on top of the phone, the power/lock key takes some getting used to since it’s so small and the placement is not well thought out which makes unlocking the screen a chore — add to that the impossibly close micro-USB port which makes it even worse when the thick charging cable is connected.

The 3.2 megapixel camera at the back of the device is slightly protruding thus, making it vulnerable to scratches. Right beside the cam lens is the speakerphone grill which is covered with a metallic mesh, it sounds okay for the most part but voice calls and youtube videos tend to sound ‘hissy’, it certainly won’t win any awards but it’s good enough, the Huawei Ascend Y200 has a warmer output but the audio tends to distort as the volume increases.

The look and feel of the A65 is no different from its predecessor but the overall build quality is superb, the only thing that sets the A65 apart from the A60 is the higher-clocked [albeit same], Mediatek processor. It is now flaunting an 800MHz CPU versus its older brother’s 650MHz — which isn’t much of a performance bump to be quite honest but since it’s running an OS with not much bells and whistles, expect a better overall user experience.

Display, Browsing, Messaging and Overall Performance

The display panel that Lenovo has used for the A65/A60 is not stellar as expected considering the phone’s target market and price, It’s bright, colors are certainly vivid but at a resolution of 320×480 you’ll notice the pixels right away. The display’s color reproduction is capped at only 265k colors so colors are not as accurate or as great as the Samsung Galaxy Ace’s. Also, the blacks tend to look washed out, clarity, response time and viewing angles are nowhere near as good as the Ascend Y200 (IPS LCD in the works here).

Typical of Lenovo’s low-cost smartphones, the OS chugging inside the A65 is basically a lightly skinned version of Gingerbread with some UI elements removed. Pinching the homescreen does not show the helicopter view, icons are just given some splash of colors and even the lock screen’s slider is not changed. The good folks at Lenovo did great with the tweaks they’ve done to Android 2.3, the OS feels light and not as extensive as TouchWiz thus letting the CPU breathe freely. There are occasional slow downs and frequent UI lags but we reckon it’s due to the old ARM11 CPU, don’t get us wrong, the OS feels light but the UI lagged often. This may be caused by lack of optimizations since the A65’s Mediatek chip has an SGX531 GPU inside which is no slouch by any means.

Browsing on the A65 is not a pleasant experience either, it takes a long time to render the webpages and scrolling is very laggy — don’t even think about enabling the Flash plug-in. Occasional gaming on the A65 is okay but don’t expect high scores on a game such as Fruit Ninja and Teris, swipes are sometimes delayed for a split second and frames drop often, Temple Run is not even made available on Google Play for this thing.


Despite its shortcomings, the A65 is actually good for making calls and sending SMS it is — after all — a phone. People on the other end of the line did not complain of any interference, excessive noise or changes in our voices, same thing on our end. The keyboard is very accurate and responsive, ironically, the keyboard on this thing is much more responsive than the Ascend Y200.

Media, Battery life and Connectivity

Images taken with the A65’s 3.2MP camera are fuzzy, dull and paltry to say the least, nothing worth talking about. It’s good for taking few pictures if you happen to forget your digicam at home but we reckon you wouldn’t even bother using the phone’s camera at all. As for video playback, we weren’t able to play a 700MB, MP4 movie (which took forever to transfer @1.9MBps) so we downloaded MX player along with the ARM v6 codec and tried to play it again — audio was playing but sadly, it did not show any video.

Audio through the headphone jack suffer the same muddiness and weak bass typical of smartphones within this price range. Jessie J. sounded like she was singing ‘laserlight’ with a stuffy nose using my Klipsch S4 earphones.

We haven’t experienced any call drops or weak radio reception issues on the A65 which is great. WiFi and cellular signals are held strong by the phone once connected (Globe and Smart simultaneously), we weren’t able to test out the Bluetooth on this thing unfortunately but given the previous results, we’re sure Bluetooth will work just as well. 3G speeds are average but you’re better off disabling 3G when not using data [we only use it when refreshing Gmail], it sucks a lot of energy for 3G and 2G networks working a the same time — in just one phone.

Battery life on the A65 is pretty average given the low power [more like underpowered] chipset and dual sim capability. On a normal day-to-day usage the A65 was able to keep itself alive for about a day. Our normal usage of a smartphone includes frequent switches between WiFi and cellular data, lots of SMS (SMS sent on both sim cards) and emails, one to two hours worth of phone calls and about an hour of Tetris while waiting for friends at the mall.

Surely you’ll want to keep this thing plugged in before going to bed if your usage is the same as hours.

Conclusion

The Lenovo A65 is good phone for people who are not picky. Its crowning feature is the simultaneous dual-SIM capability so there’s no need to lug a second phone with you. It does phone calls well, strong signal reception everywhere we go and the look and feel of it is a steal for the asking price. But, despite the clean look and ‘lightness’ of the UI, the phone still seems to suffer from the same problems its predecessor (the A60) has faced — slow performance. Obviously enough, Lenovo has failed to address the performance issues even with the slightly upgraded A65.

Lenovo A65 specs:
* 3.5″ TFT LCD 320×480 pixels
* Mediatek MT6573 800MHz processor
* PowerVR SGX 531 graphics
* 256 MB RAM, 512 MB ROM
* up to 32GB via microSD (4GB included)
* 2G/3G support (single 3G support)
* dual sim standby support
* WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
* Bluetooth 2.1
* GPS w/ aGPS support
* FM radio tuner
* 3.2MP rear camera
* Li-Ion 1500mAh battery
* Android 2.3 OS
* Php5,499 (suggested retail price)

What we liked about it:
* Solid build quality/expensive looking
* Dual-active, dual-SIM
* Strong reception/good call quality
* Accurate keyboard
* Very affordable
* Simple UI

What we didn’t like about it:
* Lags a lot
* Old ARM11-based chip
* Power/lock key location is ridiculously close to the micro USB port
* So, so display quality



Kevin is a blogger, avid gamer and always keeps himself updated with the latest trends in technology. He's still a bit shy so no Twitter and Facebook link here.

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45 Responses

  1. Ram says:

    It doesn’t look expensive, IMO.

  2. Ryan S. says:

    Huawei ascend y200 or lenovo a65? =j

    dual sim lang kc sa a65 eh, pero mas ok nmn sa pormahan c y200, single sim thou..

    • Kevin Go says:

      Hi! It depends on you really, I’ve found out that the Opera browser on the A65 works better than the stock browser.

      The Y200’s screen is better than this and the UI is more responsive, it also has active noise-cancelling for calls.

      The A65 on the other hand comes with 4GB of micro SD and dual sim capabilities, it looks better than the Y200 too.

      :D

  3. Quel says:

    HI,
    I SUGGEST LENOVO A65.
    I’M USING LENOVO A65 AND THIS SMARTPHONE IS COOL, IT IS FAST IN WEB SURFING AND THE DESIGN IS LOOK GOOD.

    JUST SAYING :D

  4. xXi says:

    I have an a65.. Wala siyang PC Suite. so if you messed sa software eh papadala mo talaga sa service center in makati sabi ng lenovo. hassle.

    Bluetooth works fine.

    But for it’s price, sulit siya.

    • James says:

      Hi,

      san po sa makati? ok lang po ba kahit nde dito sa pinas binili ung phone?

    • James says:

      mine lasts a couple of days with txt and few calls, pero pagnag wifi na, only a day, minsan half day pa :P and no, it’s not laggy, I haven’t noticed it to lag, siguro kasi am not a heavy user it depends on how you use your phone. apps available? NOT SURE. I don’t have Google Play installed kaya I want to root this phone :( though I have installed fruit slice and bubble blast 2

  5. xXi says:

    I have an a65.. Wala siyang PC Suite. so if you messed sa software eh papadala mo talaga sa service center in makati sabi ng lenovo. hassle.

    Bluetooth works fine.

    But for its price, sulit siya.

    • lalaland says:

      anung ibig sabin na mag mess with software? hindi pwede mag lagay ng mga files through computer lng… kahit walang pc suite? or i insert mo ang memory card via card reader?

  6. co0ljade says:

    Kuya Abe sabi mo you weren’t able to play a 700MB, MP4 movie. lahat ba ng MP4 videos ayaw magplay dito? o di lang siya magpeplay kasi sa sobrang laki ng file? ano pong uri ng video ang pwedeng maiplay po dito?

  7. Rene Gatdula says:

    It’s predecessor,A60 can’t connect to wifi..

  8. rein says:

    nice chif kukuha na ako nito!

  9. Molet says:

    Mas okay na ito kaysa sa in-Endorsed mong HTC phone!

    • Kevin Go says:

      The A65, Lenovo P700 and even the Huawei Y200 (and many others) all have designs that are similar with some HTC devices that’s why I have mentioned some HTC phones in our reviews — to give readers an idea about how the phones look like in real life.

      I am not endorsing HTC in any way or for any kind of purpose.

      Never jump into conclusions.

  10. Dominic Chu says:

    Hi!
    Is it a good idea to change from glaxy y to this phone?
    Thia phone is pretty good and it looks expensive! lol
    and the glaxy y is too mainstream now. eveyone i see is holding a galaxy y
    so is it a good idea? tnx

    • Kevin Go says:

      Hi!

      Yes the A65 is a pretty good phone for its price and so far we haven’t been able to see a lot of people using the A65 in public if exclusivity is your main concern haha!

  11. lalaland says:

    please make a comparison between myphone A818, alcatel 918N and this lenovo, which performs better? which of this can last longer? and many more comparison… please!

  12. lalaland says:

    how’s the battery life? can it last a day? if u use battery saver app, can it last 2 days?

    can it run temple run, tap tap and instagram?

    is it really a buggy and laggy interface?

    what are the alternatives? at the same price of 6000 below, same dual sim, and at least 3.5″ 3.2 is the minimum but i got huge thumbs so 3.5″ for me and so is my sister…

    im posting this questions because my sister consult me about what phone should she buy at the price like of below 6000… she wants dual SIM and at least android because of apps like instagram, temple run, tap tap, office and other cool apps on play store can offer!

    • Kevin Go says:

      The battery will only last you a day if you use it heavily. On normal usage it can last you up to 2 days.

      Don’t expect top performance on this phone sadly, if you want responsive gaming I suggest saving a little more and get the P700. That phone will last you 3 days on moderate usage surely.

  13. trending says:

    Nice looking phone and also the specs much better than cherry mobile.

  14. James says:

    Hi,

    I have a lenovo a65, so far so good. though mine was bought outside the philippines, can you help me rooting this phone? thanks

  15. Raymond V. says:

    DUDES out there da BEST ang LENOVO A65! kakablili ko lng few days ago.. totoo,it look so Expensive…hahaha,compare to Samsung Galaxy’s wlng thrill na kse anywhere i always see Samsung galaxy phones unlike A65 wala pa kung nkkta..sa Websurfing,ok na ok! its like im using genuine PC..hehehe
    Sulit na Sulit!
    _share_

  16. Raymond V. says:

    DUDES out there da BEST ang LENOVO A65! kakablili ko lng few days ago.. totoo,mukhang mamahalin tlaga…hahaha,compare to Samsung Galaxy’s wlng thrill na kse anywhere i always see Samsung galaxy phones unlike A65 wala pa kung nkkta..sa Websurfing,ok na ok! its like im using genuine PC..hehehe
    Sulit na Sulit!
    _share_

  17. STAN says:

    ok ang a65 pero mas astig yong LENOVO P700, much higher spec but higher price. kung marami kang pera bumili ka na…hehehe

    its only 10k+

    check this out:
    http://lenovomobile.com.ph/home/

  18. ellenjoy25 says:

    Hi po kabi2li qlng po khapon A65 q..dq p xa kbisado gamitin :( pano po b mag-activate ng facebook sa phone as well as other apps po..need b may load always ang sim pag gamitin xa for fb?Thanks in advance po

    • Papapau says:

      If your a smart user, free FB even sa stock browser. Yet better if you subcribe to the following..

      SMART: Always ON
      Globe: Powersurf

      And to get to the action, make sure you setup your phone for web awesomeness. Connect first to a wifi, open Google Play, Sign in or create a google account, start searching apps like instagram, FB, gosms, etc. Then your every next move will be history. hehe.

      Great to know more people are jumping to smartphones.. Let’s help everyone and make all Filipinos aware.. 29% pa lang naka-smartphone sa pinas eh. sayang. ^^

  19. Timothy says:

    hi there.. im canvasing for a better phone that is less than 6k .. can you elaborate more information with regards to other dual sim phones e.a. galaxy y duos..? and what other game that is suitable to this phone.. thanks for the info.. :)

  20. I’ll purchase this phone.

  21. Alvin says:

    This device is not compatible with Skype. I’ve tried installing Skype 3 times but I couldn’t sign in. Is there a way I can use this on my phone?

  22. Nick Chua says:

    Hi!
    I’am having a confusion wither buying this or the Y200. In terms of design, I kinda like the Y200. Its cool and it looks expensive. But for A65, the phone built is like a potato (ugh?). I like a phone which well built, snappy UI and Good design. So what would you recommend? tnx.

  23. Dennis says:

    This is the first Android phone i have ever purchased. I looked for a dual SIM phone as i need to install a Sun Tel and Sun Cellular SIM as a requirement. Was looking at other brands, I never knew Lenovo had a celphone in the first place till i saw a delivery of a P700 on the store. Sales lady advised that they have another model the A65. They demoed it to me and i was convinced so i purchased it. Upon returning home was able to download via the GOOGLE Playstore the following apps for free

    Facebook
    Yahoo Messenger
    MMDA Traffic App
    Bible (You Version)
    Meralco App for computing Electric consumption
    Angry Birds
    Plants and Zombies
    Unit Conversion App
    Analog Clock Widget

    Was not able to install the following Apps not compatible with (Android 2.3.5)

    Skype
    Viber (looking for alternative)
    CNN

    My wife saw the phone when she got home and asked me if i can buyer her one. I’ll probably give this to her and purchase the P700 at the end of the month ;-) This is my first experience with Android and i am hooked !!!

  24. Adrian L Sanzo says:

    Magnetic Field sensor not supported, just saying :(

  25. huawei y200 or lenovo a65..which one is better??

  26. here says:

    You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter
    to be really something that I think I would never understand.

    It seems too complicated and very broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!

  27. dileep says:

    hai guys i used lenovo A60+ ,but this was not satisfied,kindly dont go to this wait for furture models,if you was the reasons mail me i will give full specifications and problems on this model.if any one feel happy with A60+ kindly suggest how to be happy by using this phone.
    [email protected]

  28. jek says:

    I have this phone and the touch screen is not working. I can’t even unlock the screen. Has anybody experienced this? I need help.

  29. jessel says:

    like much :) (Y)

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