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Lenovo K12 Note Unboxing, Quick Review: POCO M3 Challenger?

by Duey Guison  January 19, 2021

Initial Verdict: We might finally have a legit POCO M3 challenger in the form of Lenovo’s K12 Note. The K12 Note has a lot of things going for it: fast processor, speedy charging speeds, large battery, generous internal storage, and a high-resolution main rear camera, at a price that’s really hard to ignore. Is the K12 Note a sleeper POCO M3 killer?

The K12 Note is priced at Php 6,995.

 

Pros

-Pre-installed silicone case

-Good processing package

Cons

-Crazy glossy finish

-Other rear cameras are stat stuffers

Aside from Motorola making a statement with the competitively-priced Moto G 5G Plus, parent brand Lenovo wants to take a slice of the budget segment with the K12 Note. While the phone arrived with little fanfare to the Philippines, its price to performance ratio looks similar to the current budget champ, the POCO M3.

Unboxing and packaging contents

There isn’t much to say about the box that the Lenovo K12 Note comes in – it’s a blue and light orange box, and has the phone’s name prominently printed on the front.

Inside the box, you get the phone itself with the silicone case pre-installed already, along with documentation, USB-C cable, a pair of earphones, SIM ejector tool, and a 20w charger.

Design

If the design looks familiar, it’s because the phone is basically a rebranded Motorola G9 Play. And like the G9 Play, the Lenovo K12 Note uses a glossy polycarbonate back panel with the brand’s name printed on the bottom. There’s a square-shaped camera module on the top center where the triple cameras and flash resides, with a fingerprint scanner placed right below it. The gloss body is a crazy fingerprint magnet, though the pre-installed silicone case takes care of that somewhat.

Going through the ports, you have a headphone jack on top, NanoSIM tray on the left side, and four buttons on the right side. There are quite a few controls on the right, including a dedicated Google Assistant button, volume controls, and power button. At the bottom, you have a loudspeaker and USB-C port.

Despite having a 5000mAh battery, the K12 Note weighs 200g, which is not bad for a phone with such a large battery. Despite its chunky looks, the phone feels good in the hands and is a pleasure to use.

Display and speakers

For the display, you get a 6.5-inch HD+ IPS display, which is typical of most budget phones at this price point. You get a rather large chin, along with a dewdrop notch that houses an 8-megapixel selfie snapper.

While its HD+ resolution means you get a lower pixel density compared to Full HD+ resolution, the K12 Note’s overall image quality is good enough for watching your favorite videos–colorful KPop videos included.

As for the lone loudspeaker at the bottom, the sound quality is typical of what you’d expect on a budget smartphone: overall audio fidelity is good as long as you don’t max out the volume.

Cameras

You get a triple rear camera setup with the K12 Note. That comprises of a 48-megapixel f/1.7 main camera and a pair of 2-megapixel sensors: one for depth sensing and another for macro shots. Only the 48-megapixel camera here matters, as the other two are more of stat stuffers–something that is done for quite a while. Here are some snaps we got:

For selfies, you get an 8-megapixel shooter on the dewdrop notch. The camera UI has a beauty mode–though we advise staying away from it as it does aggressive smoothening on one’s face.

We haven’t explored all of the camera features of the K12 Note, so stay tuned for our full review for our full verdict about its camera performance.

Internals

For a phone priced at under Php 7k, you are getting a really good set of internals with the K12 Note: Snapdragon 662, 4GB RAM, and 128GB internal storage. The Snapdragon 662 is a processor we are familiar with, as it is the processor of choice for phones like the Realme 7i and POCO M3. As a variation of the more popular Snapdragon 665, the Snapdragon 662 should be able to run some of your favorite games without any issue. We will do our usual benchmarking and gaming tests to further validate the K12 Note’s overall performance.

The K12 Note packs a 5000mAh battery under the hood and is accompanied by 20w wired charging. Aside from being a few watts faster than the more-common 18w wired charging seen on more expensive phones. Unlike other brands that choose to drop the charger, you get the proper 20w wall charger in the box.

In our experience with other phones with 5000mAh batteries, we expect the K12 Note to last close to two days. We will get back to that with the full review once we do our usual video loop test.

Early wrap-up and conclusions

As a phone that aims to give the POCO M3 a run for its money, Lenovo’s latest budget offering proves that the brand more known for its laptops can also come up with value-for-money smartphones as well. With the K12 Note (or Moto G9 Play outside the Philippines), Lenovo promises that their local comeback is worth the wait.

With features that include 20w wired charging, Snapdragon 662 processor, generous 128GB internal storage, and a 48-megapixel camera, the K12 Note pretty much covers the important must-haves for consumers who are in the hunt for a true value-for-money budget phone.

 

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    “Unlike other brands that choose to drop the charger, you get the proper 20w wall charger in the box.”-The shade. XD
    Funny how dirt cheap phones can still include a charger (and a fast one at that) while phones that are as pricey as a gaming laptop can no longer include one under the guise of “environmental reasons.” If they really care about the environment they can offer to take back our old ones for recycling and give discounts or better yet exchange it for free. Such hypocrites.

    Lenovo is not known to provide updates, so whatever version of android you buy it with, you are stuck with that version. Unlike Xiaomi which is known to provide updates. That alone will make choose the poco m3 over this. Lenovo has lost its market share even in china, so that pretty much tells you what they are now.

    Yeah bro, funny is, whatever Apple does on the iphone, android follows, like that missing charger in the box. They threw shade at apple for not including the charger, and then their new releases doesn’t have chargers. Hypocrisy indeed.

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