“The Lenovo A6000 Plus is a pumped-up variant of the A6000. Here’s a first look at the new handset and its box contents”
Last year, Lenovo took the bull by its horns when it ventured into the mid-range segment with the Vibe Z2 Pro and Vibe X2. This year, the company is following suit with its budget line-up. It’s already launched three very affordable, value-for-money smartphones – the A6000, the A7000 (first impressions) and most recently, the A6000 Plus. All three smartphones are dual-SIM enabled, and more importantly, support both 4G LTE bands in India. With the A6000 Plus, Lenovo is aiming to take its budget range a notch above the rest. As the name suggests, the A6000 Plus is a more powerful variant of the the A6000. Both smartphones share identical specifications, except in the memory department where the A6000 Plus offers double the RAM at 2GB and double the storage at 16GB. There’s currently no device which can match those specifications at its price, which at Rs 7,499 pretty much blows the competition out of the water. While flash sales for the A6000 have ceased (it’s available via various online and offline channels now), the A6000 Plus is slated to go on sale for the first time tomorrow via Flipkart. Over the weekend, we had a chance to visit the Lenovo office in Bangalore and spend some quality time with the device. If you’re keen on picking up one for yourself, here’s a first look at the device and its box contents.
The Lenovo A6000 Plus comes packaged in a compact box with a white lid and a striking red tray. Remove the lid and you’re greeted by the smartphone at the very top. It’s placed on a red flap, which has a pocket inside containing the various documentation like the start-up guide, warranty and safety information. Lift up the flap and you’ll see a screen protector included. Not many manufacturers include this in the box, but it’s a very handy addition, and one most users will find useful.
Underneath, you’ll find the user-replaceable 2,300mAh battery, a micro-USB cable and a two-pin wall charger. A wired headset isn’t included in the box, so you’ll have to purchase that separately.
Physically, the A6000 Plus is identical to the A6000. It’s compact and feels well built, with the back panel made of a soft-touch matte-finish plastic. The A6000 Plus features a 5-inch IPS display with 720p resolution. The resulting pixel density of 294ppi makes it appear sharp and clear. It’s very bright and responsive too. We managed to use the phone in bright sunlight, and while it wasn’t as legible as we would have liked, it’s still usable. It misses out on a protective layer like Gorilla Glass or Asahi Dragontrail Glass, but the included screen guard should shield it from scratches.
Located above the display is Lenovo branding, the earpiece, the front 2MP camera and sensors. On the fascia below are the trademark Lenovo Android capacitive keys, but they’re not backlit and tough to discern in sunlight (or darkness, for that matter). Moving over to the right spine is where the volume rocker and power button are placed. The bottom edge holds only the primary microphone. The left side is bare, and the top is where Lenovo’s crammed in both the 3.5mm audio jack and micro-USB port.
The plastic of the back panel doesn’t feel cheaply made, and the matte finish didn’t pick up any fingerprints or smudges during our usage. It’s available only in a black variant, but to our eyes it looked more like a dark grey. Towards the top left you’ll find the primary 8-megapixel camera, LED flash and secondary microphone. More prominent Lenovo branding is placed in the centre. The bottom features stereo speakers which are equipped with Dolby Digital Plus audio. The rear panel can be removed, and inside you’ll find the slot for the battery, dual micro-SIM card slots and a microSD card slot.
Powering the A6000 Plus is the 64-bit quad-core Snapdragon 410 chipset ticking at 1.2GHz. There’s an Adreno 306 GPU, and the 2GB of RAM should contribute to a smoother experience compared to the A6000, although we can’t be sure until we test it. For what it’s worth, the smartphone seemed fairly snappy during our usage. Out of the 16GB of internal storage, you’ll be treated to 11.54GB available for use out of the box. The microSD slot supports cards up to 32GB in capacity.
The A6000 Plus runs Android 4.4.4 KitKat with Lenovo’s Vibe UI 2.0 on top. The interface is quite colourful, and there’s no app drawer, so all the icons are spread across the various homescreens. Lenovo’s suite of DOit apps including SHAREit and SYNCit are present, as is its Security suite. There are several third-party apps preloaded too, including Facebook, Twitter, Skype, WeChat, Evernote, UC Browser, Truecaller, Guvera, Route 66 Maps + Navigation and txtr ebooks. There are also a bunch of pre-installed games like Asphalt 8, Real Football 2015, Spider-Man: Ultimate Power, Green Farm 3 and Tap the Frog 3D. Fortunately, all the third-party additions can be uninstalled, so you only need to keep the ones you want.
We managed to take a few test shots from the A6000 Plus’ cameras. The results from the primary camera seemed detailed, with natural colours that don’t look washed out. Selfies from the front camera also looked very usable, although they weren’t as sharp as we would have liked. We’ll need to test the cameras more extensively before we give you our verdict on them. The camera app has a simple, no-frills interface, but digging deep will reveal a range of manual controls, plus HDR and Panorama modes, among others.
While the A6000 Plus is a 4G-enabled device, it supports LTE only on the first SIM card slot. The second SIM only supports 2G, which is a bit of a disappointment.
Other connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0 and A-GPS. Lenovo estimates that the 2,300mAh battery will offer around 13 hours of 3G talktime.
From our first impressions of the A6000 Plus, we think Lenovo might just have a winner on its hands. The company seems to think so too, considering it’s making 100,000 units of the device available for its first flash sale, scheduled for 2 pm on Tuesday via Flipkart. For more details on the smartphone and its performance, we’ll have a detailed review coming up for you shortly.