Lenovo Vibe X3 first look: The sub Rs 20k phone segment competition just got fiercer


Lenovo has been quite aggressive with its mobile phone launches over the last year, which saw it release some really popular budget smart phones such as the A6000, A7000 and the K3 Note. Lenovo has started this year with the launch of the K4 Note and accompanying it at the higher end will be the company's latest phone - the Vibe X3 which was launched in China last year.

Launched at Rs 19,999 price point, the Vibe X3 brings will start selling from 28 January. We got to spend some time with the device, and here are our first impressions.

Build and Design

 Lenovo Vibe X3 first look: The sub Rs 20k phone segment competition just got fiercer
The Lenovo Vibe X3 is a really well designed phone. It employs metal in the build of the frame and this is complemented neatly by sturdy white plastic rear cover that is not removable. The metallic frame appears sandblasted and it has nice champfering ensuring there are no sharp edges as such. The in hand feel of the phone is really good with the index finger resting perfectly in place of the fingerprint scanner on the rear side, just below the camera module. The phone is a tad bit slippery though, thanks to the smooth back.

Lenovo Vibe X3 (7)

Despite having a 5.5-inch display, the curved arc design on the rear side makes the phone quite easy to operate with a single hand. Of course, reaching all the edges is still not comfortable. The phone measures 3.2mm on the thin edge and around 9.3mm overall thanks to the curve. The phone weighs around 175 grams.

Lenovo Vibe X3 (2)

The left hand side has the hybrid dual SIM card slot whereas on the right hand side you have the metallic volume rocker and power/standby buttons. At the base there's the microUSB charging port and at the top you have the 3.5mm audio jack along with the infrared blaster. There are plastic antenna cuts on the top and the base.

Display

Lenovo Vibe X3 (4)
Lenovo Vibe X3 sports a 5.5-inch full HD display. It uses an IPS LCD panel which gives good viewing angles. The display is vibrant and text is sharp, but we will need to use it outdoors and check out our test video clips to give a full verdict.

Chipset, RAM, Storage, Connectivity
Lenovo has not gone with the tried and tested Snapdragon 615 SoC for the Vibe X3 considering its pricing. It has gone a notch higher and got the Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 chipset which houses a hexa-core processor which one dual core cluster clocked at 1.8GHz and one quad-core cluster clocked at 1.2GHz. This is paired with 3GB of RAM. While handling the phone for the limited time, we did not notice any lag or stutter, but we will need to test the phone in the real-world scenario to get a complete picture.

On the storage front, Lenovo has provided 32GB and also lets you add in a microSD card if you want to expand the storage. The phone comes with a hybrid dual SIM configuration. So you can either add in a microSIM or microSD card along with 4G nano-SIM card. Other connectivity options include Wi-fi 802.11ac, Wi-fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, FM Radio, NFC as well as USB OTG. Pretty much all bases covered there. The phone also houses a square shaped finger print scanner on the rear side just below the camera section.

OS and Software
The Lenovo Vibe X3 runs on Android 5.1.1 along with the Vibe UI skin atop it. This is an improved version of the Vibe UI, in the sense that it has an app drawer and there are relatively less proprietary apps, relative to its older VibeUI based phones. Lenovo has added on an app called Peel which can make a program guide for you based on your location and cable operator. We will need to try this out to elaborate properly on this app. Apart from this, the camera app has got some new additions which we will discuss in the Camera section. The notification drop down gives you the option to move around quick settings based on your preferences.

Speaker

Lenovo Vibe X3 (3)
Lenovo has used an advanced Sabre 9018C2M DAC to offer lossless audio playback for the audio enthusiasts and it is also capable of powering high end headphones. We will have to test this out on advanced headsets. The phone has front-firing stereo speakers located on the top and bottom of the front-face and from the limited time that we had, the audio output was loud and retained clarity even at higher volumes. It also comes with the Dolby Atmos certification. So if you have a 5.1 channel movie, you could enjoy it in all its audio glory claims Lenovo. The Vibe X3 also supports TheatreMax, which lets you video movies or play games in a wide-angle viewing mode using a VR headset.

Camera

Lenovo Vibe X3 (1)
Lenovo has added in a 21MP rear camera along with an 8MP front-facing camera. The rear camera comes with an f/2.0 aperture and uses the Sony IMX230 sensor, which we had last seen on the Moto X Play and has a dual LED flash unit. The camera app has a lot of interesting additions which add much more value than a stock Google camera app. It comes with a Smart auto mode, which analyses the scene and accordingly activates the right mode while taking the picture. For the more advanced users, there's also the Pro mode. Here are some sample shots from the camera. We will need to use the camera more intensively in all lighting conditions to see how it stands up.

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Battery
Considering this is a 5.5-inch full HD device, Lenovo has added in a 3,500mAh battery which is sufficient for this configuration. We will need to use it in real life to see how that translates into real life use-case scenario.

Conclusion
The Lenovo Vibe X3 seems like a phone offering a good overall package and it has really priced it well. At Rs 19,999, the Vibe X3 has competition in the form of its own Moto X Play, QiKU Q Terra 808, even the slightly more expensive LG Nexus 5X. This is certainly a premium offering from Lenovo at an aggressive price point. We will need to see if all the features seen above come together to provide a good overall phone user experience. So do keep checking back for a detailed review soon.


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