“Does the Lenovo K5 Note bring enough new features to beat its elder sibling, the K4 Note? Let’s find out”
Lenovo has been on a launch spree recently, releasing a large number of smartphones in different parts of the world. Back in January, the company revealed its K5 Note in China and has now launched the same in the ever so competitive Indian smartphone market. The K5 Note has been launched in India just about six months after the unveiling of the K4 Note (review). It’s a given that the new smartphone will face stiff competition in the VFM segment, but what makes it even more interesting is that the K5 Note would first have to overcome its elder sibling, the K4 Note, before it can be classified as a worthy buy. And although the new handset brings in a slew of new features like a metal unibody design, does it stand up to the hype the company has been creating for the past few days? Without further ado, let’s find out.
Design and Display
This is one area where the Lenovo K5 Note outclasses the K4 Note by a huge margin. Thanks to the premium-looking metal unibody design of the K5 Note, the new phone packs in more metal than the K4 Note’s plastic back and metal frame combo. In fact, the plastic back was one of the major disappointments of the K4 Note in our review. The K5 Note is also slimmer and lighter than its predecessor, tipping the scales at just about 152g and being 8.4mm thick, compared to the 9.15mm thickness and 160g weight of the K4 Note. Both smartphones feature rear fingerprint scanners, but there are a few design changes here as well. Another noticeable difference is the placement of the speaker grills. The K4 Note features front-firing Dolby Atmos speakers, whereas the K5 Note features a 1.5W Dolby Atmos speaker on the back of the device. On the basis of looks alone, the K5 Note seems to be a better option than the K4 Note. That said, if you’re a person who prefers a better speaker system over design, the K4 Note is also a good option.
When it comes to the display, there is hardly anything to separate the two phones. Both smartphones feature 5.5-inch displays with resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. The screens are crisp, vibrant and offer decent brightness for outdoor legibility. That said, the K5 Note packs in the same screen size in a slightly smaller form factor, making it easier to handle with one hand as compared to the K4 Note.
Another similarity between the two smartphones is that both of them are powered by MediaTek processors. But that’s where the similarities end. The K4 Note is powered by a MediaTek MT6753 SoC, which is an octa-core chip clocked at 1.3GHz. On the other hand, an octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 processor clocked at 1.8GHz powers the K5 Note. Surprisingly, the K5 Note which was launched in China packed just 2GB of RAM, even though its predecessor, the K4 Note, came with a decent 3GB of RAM. The company has launched the K5 Note in India with upgraded hardware, giving users a choice of 3GB RAM and 4GB RAM variants. This is a welcome change given the K4 Note itself was an average performer, especially while running heavy games. So, the K5 Note has more raw power, while it can also keep more apps in the memory. We’ve got to call this one a win for the K5 Note.
At the back, both smartphones feature 13MP CMOS sensors with phase detection autofocus and dual-LED flash. Optical Image Stabilisation is missing on both the devices, but the company has tried to overcome this with the use of enhanced digital image stabilisation. As found in our review of the K4 Note, the rear camera quality is decent, though we would have preferred a little more oomph in the stills shot by the camera. Both cameras pack in an aperture of f/2.2, and can shoot 1080p video at 30fps. Overall, there’s not much to differentiate between the two smartphones when it comes to the rear snappers.
For selfie fanatics though, the situation is completely different. The 5MP front-facing camera of the K4 Note is no match for the wide-angle 8MP sensor found in the K5 Note. This means, you can capture more detail and area in the K5 Note, something quite useful when taking group selfies. Thus, the front camera of the K5 Note gives it an edge over the K4 Note when it comes to the optics.
Storage and Battery
On the storage front, the K4 Note comes with 16GB of internal storage while the K5 Note comes with an upgraded 32GB of on-board storage. It’s worth noting that both smartphones support memory expansion up to 128GB with the help of a microSD card, giving users enough space to store all their media, apps and other data. Another point worth noting is that USB OTG is supported on both phones.
Neither of the devices come with a removable battery. The K4 Note draws power from a 3,300mAh battery, while the K5 Note comes equipped with a 3,500mAh battery. Both smartphones feature microUSB 2.0 ports for charging and data transfers.
Software and Connectivity
As expected, both smartphones run the company’s own VIBE UI, built on top of Android 6.0 Marshmallow. And with Android 7.0 Nougat going to be released soon, it’s still uncertain whether the two smartphones will receive the next iteration of Android or not. Talking about VIBE UI, it brings a slew of features and customisation options for users in an effort to increase the functionality of stock Android. But with it, comes tons of bloatware filling up valuable space on your smartphone. Among the features included in VIBE UI, there is a one-hand mode and Wide Touch, allowing the users to use their smartphone easily with a single hand.
On the connectivity front, both phones feature 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, mobile hotspot, Bluetooth, and A-GPS. While both smartphones feature dual-SIM support, the K4 Note accepts only micro-SIMs and the K5 Note accepts nano-SIMs.
Pricing and Availability
The Lenovo K4 Note is available on Amazon India at a price of Rs 10,999. Interested users can pick one up in black or white hues. But if these don’t fit your taste, the company recently launched the wooden edition of the smartphone in India featuring a wooden back design. Interestingly, Lenovo has priced the wooden edition of the smartphone at Rs 11,499 on Amazon India. Coming to the K5 Note, Lenovo has announced that the device will go on open sale exclusively on Flipkart starting midnight on August 3rd in Gold, Silver and Graphite Grey hues. The 3GB RAM model of the smartphone has been priced at Rs 11,999 while the 4GB RAM model will set you back by Rs 13,499. The brand will also be selling an ANTVR headset and TheaterMax controller for the K5 Note, priced at Rs 1,299 and Rs 599 respectively. For the first 24 hours after launch, both of these devices can also be picked up with the K5 Note at a discounted price of Rs 999.
The K5 Note by Lenovo brings with itself quite a few new additions from the K4 Note, but it also faces a more intense competition than its predecessor. If you’re looking for a decent device with premium looks and a big battery, then the K5 Note fits perfectly. But if a better speaker system is your priority, then the VIBE K4 Note is the phone that comes on top. But if you’re still not convinced, you can look at other options like the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (review) or the Moto G4 Plus (review). Coming from the K4 Note, we won’t say that the K5 Note is a revolutionary device. But it does depict a change in tactics for Lenovo… something that may well shape the company’s future.