Lenovo’s position in terms of providing smartphones has changed since the acquisition of the Motorola brand. Industry reports indicate that the company is one of the top 5 smartphone makers in India. While launching the K8 Note in India, the company also claimed that it has managed to sell 85 lakh K-series handsets in India so far.
With the Lenovo K8 Note, the company has made a move towards the stock Android experience. The company has discarded its old UI Vibe Pure UI. On paper, the specifications and features of Lenovo K8 Note are good. But the challenge is also bigger. Will this phone be able to strike a balance between price and features? Let’s find out…
Lenovo K8 Note Design
The metal body of the Lenovo K8 Note gives a strong feel. The aluminum 6000 gives a premium feel. There is no doubt that the K8 Note is one of the better looking phones in this price range. But there is nothing new in this. The phone will remind you again and again of Xiaomi Redmi Note 4. The protection of 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass is present on the front panel. Lenovo has used anti fingerprint coating on the screen. This means you don’t have to worry about removing your fingerprints over and over again.
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The Lenovo K8 Note has capacitive buttons on the front which are not backlit. We had trouble using them in the dark. The front camera has its own LED flash. Lenovo says that the demand for this feature has increased in recent times. There are two rear cameras on the rear panel which are placed one above the other. Dual LED flash has been given with it. The fingerprint sensor has got a place under the camera. Never had a problem reaching it. The physical buttons are easy to use. The power and volume buttons were in place for our liking. It was easy to reach them with thumb or fingerprint.
On the back of the handset, you will see the familiar antenna band. The color of the band is such that it easily gets lost in the color of the phone. Lenovo K8 Note has been made available in Fine Gold and Venom Black color. We got the Black variant for review. Lenovo has not trumpeted the K8 Note branding in the phone, which is good. The logo has got a place on the back side.
There is a music button on the left panel which can be customized for other purposes as well. You will be able to customize the music button by going to the user settings. It can be used to play/pause audio or video, toggle flashlight on/off, launch the camera app, capture screenshots, or open a specific app. Light red color has been used in the music button which gives it a different identity. The company has given separate slots for two SIM cards and microSD card. The micro-USB port is on the bottom. Speaker grills are on either side of it. Sadly there is only one functional speaker. But this phone has Dolby Atmos audio enhancement. The second grille is just for display, like other budget phones. There is a 3.5mm audio jack on the top.
We did not face any problem using the Lenovo K8 Note with one hand. Its dimensions are 154.5×75.9×8.5mm and due to the curved edges, it fits easily in the palm. Due to the weight of 180 grams, the phone gives a feeling of warm. In comparison, its most important rival, Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, weighs 175 grams. There is water splash protection on Lenovo K8 Note.
The design of the Lenovo K8 Note has improved a lot as compared to the Lenovo K6 Note. Because of this, it gives a feeling of being more premium than its price. In the box you will find a transparent plastic cover, USB cable, 15W rapid charger, SIM ejector and instruction manual. Lenovo K8 Note is the company’s first smartphone to come with a rapid charger. However, you won’t find any earphones. This may disappoint you.
Lenovo K8 Note Specifications and Software
Lenovo K8 Note flaunts a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) display. The Deca-core MediaTek Helio X23 (MT6797) chipset has been used in this. The K8 Note has been introduced in India in two storage and RAM variants: 3GB RAM and 32GB and 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. We got a variant of 4 GB RAM for review. You can use microSD card up to 128 GB.
Lenovo has praised the dual rear cameras of its K8 Note smartphone. There is a 13-megapixel primary camera on the back. With this there is a depth sensor of 5 megapixels, for bokeh effect. For selfie lovers, a 13-megapixel sensor has been given on the front panel. The battery is of 4000 mAh and this phone supports rapid charging. Lenovo K8 Note comes with 4G VoLTE support. Other connectivity features include Wi-Fi 802.11 ac and Bluetooth 4.1.
Lenovo has made another big change in the software department. The Chinese company had first informed Gadgets 360 that all Lenovo phones out of the box in future will run on stock Android. Android 7.1.1 Nougat is used in Lenovo K8 Note. This means that the Vibe Pure UI is over.
Android 7.1.1 Nougat means that you will get app shortcut technology like 3D Touch in this Lenovo phone. K8 Note users will now be able to perform a variety of functions by pressing an app for a short time. Our review unit received the July security patch immediately. Lenovo has assured that updates will be available regularly in the times to come. The keyboard of Android 7.1.1 Nougat in this phone has an important feature like gif support. Features like Google Assistant and Split Screen will also be available.
You will get pre-installed Google apps like Duo, Play Movies and Play Music. Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint have been given in the phone which can be removed. The interface is smooth. The phone does not get weak even when using many apps. The Google Photos app is now the default gallery which is good in our opinion.
There have also been major tampering with the software. You will be able to use the pre-installed Dolby Atmos app. The phone also comes with TheaterMax VR support that was introduced with the Lenovo Vibe K4 Note.
Interestingly, Lenovo has assured that the K8 Note will get the Android O update by the end of the year. This can be an important reason to buy the phone.
Lenovo K8 Note Performance and Camera
We enjoyed using the Lenovo K8 Note. Stock Android is a welcome move. There were 12 apps running in the background, but the performance didn’t slow down. The credit for this should go to Android Memory Management. There are two variants of the K8 Note, but we would suggest that you go for the 4GB RAM variant.
We found that the phone heats up very soon. If the camera app is open for a while or the GPS navigation is on for a while, you will feel the phone getting warm. Something similar happened while playing the game. While playing the game for 20 minutes continuously, the phone got so hot that it was not easy to keep it in hands.
The gaming experience on Lenovo K8 Note was great. Games with powerful graphics like Need for Speed run smoothly. Call quality was also good. Due to VoLTE support, we were able to make calls from Jio SIM. The phone works well even in weak network areas. The speaker at the bottom does make for enough sound, but don’t expect stereo speaker performance from it. The sound quality can be improved by using the Dolby Atmos app, but it also has a limit. Lenovo has marketed the K8 Note as a multimedia device, so stereo speakers would have been better.
Due to the deca-core processor, the phone gave good results in the benchmark test. Benchmark scores were better than other handsets in this price range. The resolution of the 5.5-inch screen is 1080×1920 pixels. It is crisp and bright enough. Viewing angles are also good and there is no problem in reading on the screen in sunlight. Regarding the display of Lenovo K8 Note, we would say that it is the best display in any Lenovo handset in this price range. We had a great experience watching videos and playing games on Lenovo K8 Note.
Compared to Lenovo K6 Note (Review), the camera department of the K8 Note has changed quite a bit. It has a 13-megapixel PureCell sensor and a 5-megapixel Samsung BSI sensor. The primary 13-megapixel sensor captures pictures. At the same time, the responsibility of the 5-megapixel sensor is to gather depth of field information. The camera app of the K8 Note is very simple. You won’t find many options to customize. Users can choose between Normal Mode or Depth Enabled Mode. Photos taken in Normal mode came with details. These pictures had natural colors with less noise. The camera quickly locks focus on the subject. Landscape and macro shots also came out fine. In our opinion, pictures taken outdoors with this camera had more detail than other smartphones in this category.
Talking about depth-of-field shots, we felt that the camera of the K8 Note did a good job. But the camera had to struggle for the perfect shot. Many times it happened that without any problem the pictures came as per the wish. But on most of the occasions the pictures came out blurry at first. To blur the background, you have to choose between aperture F / 1.2 to F / 2.8. We felt that the camera of the K8 Note was a bit harsh. At times the edges felt a bit unnatural. Sometimes the distinction between subject and background could not be established. Some part of the subject also came blurry. We hope Lenovo rectifies these shortcomings with a software update. Especially keeping in mind that Lenovo K8 Note is the company’s first dual rear camera phone.
Photos taken in low light came with a lot of noise, especially when the surroundings were dim. We tried using the camera app for landscape shots at night. The results were washed out. The lack of detail was clearly visible in the indoor sample.
The 13-megapixel front camera works well with selfies. LED flash proves its usefulness. With the help of beauty mode, you will be able to improve the shot. The front camera captured the color tone. And there was no complaint about the details.
Lenovo K8 Note Battery Life
The 4000 mAh battery lasted for about 20 hours when used heavily. WhatsApp, Outlook, Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, Google Maps, Telegram and Twitter apps continued to run in the background during the review. We also used dual cameras a lot and the same happened with gaming. The battery easily lasted for a day with little use. However, Lenovo K8 Note lags behind Redmi Note 4 in this respect.
The Lenovo K8 Note battery lasted 14 hours and 20 minutes in our standard video loop test. This is enough for a battery of this capacity. Lenovo K8 Note comes with Rapid Charger. This means that you will be able to charge the phone faster. We found that in just 20 minutes of charging, the phone’s battery was charged up to 40 percent. It will take about two hours to fully charge the battery.
Lenovo K8 Note price starts at Rs.12,999. A variant with 3 GB RAM will be available at this price. For the variant (4 GB RAM) reviewed by us, you will have to spend Rs 13,999. Lenovo K8 Note is an all-round handset at this price point. You will get stock Android, dual rear cameras, Theater Max and strong build quality. However, there are also some drawbacks. Battery life is not the best in this segment. The heating of the phone is troubling. Camera performance in low light is also less than expected. The good thing is that the dual rear camera is working.
For Lenovo fans, the Lenovo K8 Note is a major upgrade compared to the Lenovo K6 Note. There is nothing wrong in spending money on it. We believe that Lenovo K8 Note will face direct competition with Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (Review) which is hugely popular. However, Xiaomi is also preparing to bring its first dual rear camera phone in the Indian market. In such a situation, we should also be ready for new contenders.