Is Lenovo’s Mid-Range Device Worth It?
Last month, Lenovo released the newest iteration of the K series devices and we’re finally ready to share our thoughts on the top-tier device in the lineup — the Lenovo K8 Note. Currently priced really aggressively, thanks to the Online Revolution at Lazada, let’s see if its Helio X23 deca-core processor and dual camera setup are up to snuff.
Lenovo K8 Note Specs
- 2.3GHz MediaTek Helio X23 deca-core processor
- Mali T-880 MP2 GPU
- 4GB of RAM
- 5.5-inch Full HD IPS LCD display; 1080×1920 resolution, 401 ppi, Corning Gorilla Glass 3
- 64GB of expandable storage
- Dual SIM
- 4G, LTE
- 13-megapixel + 5-megapixel rear camera, f/1.7 aperture, PDAF, dual LED flash
- 13-megapixel front camera, f/2.0 aperture, LED flash
- WiFi, Bluetooth
- GPS, A-GPS
- Fingerprint scanner
- Android 7.1 Nougat
- 4000mAh battery
Chunky but Nicely Built
At a glance, the K8 Note retains much of Lenovo’s design language with their K series of phones and some could say that it’s a tad outdated; mostly because most mid-range devices at its original prices have gone with nearly bezel-less designs. Yes, the K8 Note may still be sporting a display with an aspect ratio of 16:9, it still has a bit of a forehead and chin on it and is quite hefty, but it still sports an aluminum body that’s splashproof to boot.
You’ve got a device that’s mostly flat on the rear and curves out just before you reach the phone’s edges; making it comfortable enough to hold in the hand despite its thickness with the buttons easy enough to get to without having to use the device with both hands. While we’re on the subject of keys, we definitely appreciated the dedicated Music Button on the left of the K8 Note. We’ve mapped our to launch Spotify with a long press, but you can pretty much customize it to launch any app on your device.
Since we are getting a regular 16:9 display on the K8 Note, you’ve got capacitive keys on the bottom bezels. They’re not illuminated, but easy enough to use when you fancy yourself a show or two on Netflix before nodding off for the night.
The fingerprint scanner is on the rear and it can be a tad sensitive. We’ve felt the device vibrate a bit when it attempts to read my prints as I dive into my pockets to grab movie tickets or loose change. Thankfully, it is accurate but it doesn’t quite unlock the device as fast as other mid-range phones we’ve held recently.
Good Display, Stellar Audio
As we’ve mentioned above, the K8 Note is rocking a display that has a 16:9 aspect ratio, which measures in at 5.5-inches with a resolution of 1080 x 1920. While it’s not as trendy as other smartphones with an edge-to-edge display, you’re getting great pixel density with the K8 Note. It’s sharp with good color saturation and it gets plenty bright. I personally like watching a few YouTube videos before tuning in for the night and I have the display at the lowest brightness or else it gets to be a bit much.
To go along with a good display is a single speaker on the bottom of the device and with Dolby Audio to back it up, it does a wonderful job with a great amount of volume with very minimal distortion to its maximum setting. We’ve ended up muffling the sound due to the way we hold the device while playing games or watching a video, so do be wary of that if you do decide to pull the trigger on the K8 Note.
Gets a Little Warm Under the Hood
Under the hood of the Lenovo K8 Note is a Mediatek Helio X23 paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of expandable storage. The Helio X23 is a deca-core processor that was definitely up to the task of our everyday workload. As many of you have mentioned, a lot of people have been encountering a bit of a heating issue with the K8 Note and we’ve experienced it too. Yes, the K8 Note gets noticeably warm during prolonged gaming sessions and even felt like we were getting a bit of thermal throttling.
Before we get to the gaming part of the review, let’s have a look at how the Lenovo K8 Note did on a couple of our standard benchmark tests.
We tested the Lenovo K8 Note with the following games: Asphalt 8, Arena of Valor, and Shadow Fight 3. Asphalt 8 and Arena of Valor are locked to 30 frames per second and we were getting a median of 26fps and 28fps. On Shadow Fight 3, we were getting an average of 32 frames per second out of the 60 fps the game runs on and you can really feel the system heat up as the game went on with thermal throttling coming into play.
In terms of connectivity, there wasn’t any real issue with the Lenovo K8 Note and call quality was great as well. If you happen to be the type to broadcast your calls on the loudspeaker, the aforementioned Dolby Audio helps out with that too.
An Almost Stock Android Experience
With the K8 Note, you’re possibly getting one of the purest versions of Android without having the distinction of being an Android One smartphone. We love that you’re not getting any bloatware on the device and that the UI is as clean as it comes, but we did run into a rare app crash here and there but it’s nothing a few updates can’t fix. Sad to say though, we haven’t received any with our time with the device.
Snappers Get the Job Done
The Lenovo K8 Note comes equipped with dual rear cameras at 13-megapixels, which is coupled with a 5-megapixel camera to help with depth and give you that bokeh effect. It performs rather well when you’ve got a decent light source. The rear cameras produce great images, all things considered, but the colors tend to be a little washed out and lean towards the warmer side in terms of white balance. The bokeh effect isn’t as clean as compared to other mid-range smartphones either but it’s definitely passable. In low-light conditions, you’re getting a fair amount of noise which is to be expected for mobile shooters at this price point.
A major pain point with the K8 Note is when you turn on HDR. Photos look a little desaturated if you do not to tweak the exposure levels manually. In fact, even without HDR, you might want to adjust the exposure of photos to your liking as it tends to be a little hit or miss. You’re also getting a ton of shutter lag with the K8 Note with HDR or the Depth-Effect turned on, so make sure you keep the phone still until you’re sure that the photo has gone through.
The front camera does a decent job as well and even has a dedicated flash for those night time selfies.
Not Much Juice for a 4000mAh Battery
We were expecting a lot from the battery of the Lenovo K8 Note when we read that it had a 4000mAh battery, but we were pretty disappointed about how much juice we could squeeze from the device given its capacity. It posted a time of 7 hours and 22 minutes on PC Mark’s Battery Benchmark test, which was a lot lower than we expected but last enough for full day’s worth of work in real-world tests. While that sounds fine, we’ve seen phones with a lower battery capacity go the distance while the K8 Note should have at least have had enough power to last till you got home while enduring the hellish traffic on EDSA. That Helio X23 must be really thirsty.
Thankfully, the K8 Note comes with a Turbo Charger out of the box, so you’ll at least top up the device a little faster but do note that it gets a tad warm when charging. Please don’t charge it under your pillow while you sleep as a precaution. That goes with any other phones, by the way.
Verdict: If you’re getting one, get one NOW!
As we mentioned during the intro to this review, the Lenovo K8 Note is at a very good price point right now if you purchase it during Lazada’s Online Revolution but you must be prepared to accept its kinks and quirks; some of which can be addressed by a software patch. At its original SRP, the device is up against serious competition from other offerings in the mid-range segment but its current Php 8,799 price tag it’s a pretty good deal if you’re not much of a gamer on your mobile device. It honestly is a tough call since it seems like an impulse buy given the time frame, but if you have your heart set on it then pull the trigger before the deal ends.
Looking for a gift for your techie loved one? Check out our Holidy Gift Guide for 2017.