Detailed review Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus
Not many smartphones today offer 5-inch or smaller screens in the sub-10k segment. Chances are you’re reading this review on a bigger screen too. However, many of us would love to go back to a smaller screen, I know I do. So the Lenovo K5 Plus, with its 5-inch 1080p display, 13 MP rear camera and attractive design, seems like a good proposition. On paper it seems like a good budget phone. It competes against the Coolpad Note 3 and the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (16 GB) and tries to incorporate features from both phones.
Design and build
The Lenovo K5 Plus has a removable metal back, which is also a first for this price range. For this, Lenovo has placed a thin metal plate on a plastic removable back. This makes for a beautiful smartphone that also feels good in the hand. The chrome shine on the device also adds to the whole design. It’s built solidly, but the metal finish feels a little slippery in your hand.
However, the Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus’ screen is somewhat of a disappointment. The 5-inch 1080p panel isn’t what you’d call bad, but we’ve seen much better, even at this price point. The color saturation is well balanced and the viewing angles are also quite good. In addition, the touch response is decent, but here you feel the lack of Gorilla Glass. Even the visibility of sunlight is not enough, and phones like the Meizu M2 Note, Coolpad Note 3 and Xiaomi Redmi Note 3have much better displays.
Display and user interface
While the smaller screen has enabled Lenovo to make a compact phone, the screen itself lacks quality. Furthermore, Lenovo’s Vibe UI is a big part of the 2GB RAM on the device and doesn’t really add anything to the featureset. It has a theme manager with only six themes, about half a dozen apps are preloaded, many of which can be uninstalled. When we installed our regular phone testing apps, it started showing significant slowdowns. The phone runs on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop.
The phone’s performance wasn’t great either. The Snapdragon 616 is slightly improved over the 615, but handles heat much better. We’ve seen similar performance from phones like the Moto G Turbo, which are powered by the older processor. The Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus looks good on paper, but as we saw with the Honor 5Xthis is also not really the ideal artist.
The gaming experience on the K5 Plus isn’t quite as good as the Coolpad Note 3, though the two phones are powered similarly (despite different SoCs). The K5 Plus heats up after about half an hour of gaming and the SoC seems to be throttled quite easily. Using it for everyday tasks, such as browsing or streaming videos, we occasionally discovered slowdowns on the smartphone.
On the other hand, the audio performance is simply the best in this category. There are two Dolby Atmos compatible speakers on the back, which are quite loud for a phone in the sub 10k price range. In addition, the sound quality is very good when you listen to audio through headphones. The Dolby software improves the bass which many users will like and the mids are clearer than others when listening to music through headphones.
That said, the rear speakers are muted when the unit is put back down, which it usually will.
Moving on, battery life on the Vibe K5 Plus is another area to be improved upon. On the Geekbench 3 battery test, the phone lasts for about 5.5 hours, which is nothing short of bad. Competitors like the Coolpad Note 3, can walk more than 10 hours. During our review period, we had to charge the phone at least twice a day.
Finally, the camera on the Lenovo K5 Plus is not as good as the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, which has a 16 MP sensor on the back and a much faster overall performance. However, it is still comparable to that of the Coolpad Note 3 and the Meizu M2 Note:†
The 13MP rear camera on the phone can take good photos in normal lighting conditions. The contrast levels are decent and the color reproduction is quite accurate. The phone’s autofocus and shutter response aren’t the fastest in its price range and are on par with the Coolpad Note 3 and the Meizu M2 Note. While Lenovo has tried to reduce noise levels in low light, it’s not the best. It is another area where the Redmi Note 3 outperforms this phone.
To make things simpler, the Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus can take photos just as well as the Coolpad Note 3 or Meizu M2 Note, but it’s not fast. On the other hand, it is inferior to the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 in all respects.
The front camera takes decent selfies, which can be further customized with the Beautify switch. The camera app is pretty basic, but it does include filters like emboss, mono, sepia, etc.
In summary, it’s pretty clear that the Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus is not a particularly good phone. While the screen and camera are still acceptable, the battery life and performance are disappointing. It lags marginally behind phones like the Meizu M2 Note and the Coolpad Note 3, and is no match for the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3.