“Can the Lenovo K8 Note displace the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 as the best affordable smartphone?”
If you’re in the market for an affordable, VFM smartphone, then chances are that you would have been recommended at least one phone from Xiaomi. The manufacturer has been in the news for numerous feature-packed budget smartphones and the company’s Redmi Note 4 (review) is arguably one the best smartphone offerings priced under Rs 15K. However, Lenovo is looking to shake some trees with the recently-launched K8 Note, which is another power-packed offering for budget buyers. Lenovo clearly has its task cut out if it wants to replace the Redmi Note 4 and therefore, we decided to pit the two smartphones against each other to see which one comes out on top. Read on to find out.
Design and display
The two contenders we have today are similar in terms of design. Both the handsets feature unibody metal designs which curve towards the back to offer ergonomic grip. Fingerprint sensors are positioned at the back of the two smartphones below their respective camera modules as well which works well on both the devices. However, the K8 Note ships with an extra button on the left which can be used to control music playback or programmed to launch any app of your choosing. Moreover, the K8 Note also features a splash-resistant nano-coating which is absent on the Redmi Note 4. Therefore, you’ll more likely to take the Redmi Note 4 to the service centre in case you spill something on it.
In terms of displays, both the K8 Note and the Redmi Note 4 have been equipped with 5.5-inch full HD displays. Both panels offer vivid colours, sharp text, and good viewing angles making the two phones equally capable when it comes to consuming media.
Performance, software, and storage
While the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 and the Lenovo K8 Note draw parallels in terms of design, the hardware powering the two smartphones is poles apart. Underneath the metal chassis of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, you get a Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor clocked at 2GHz which works in tandem with either 2GB, 3GB or 4GB of RAM, depending upon which variant you opt for. On the contrary, the Lenovo K8 Note is being powered by a MediaTek Helio X23 deca-core processor which works alongside either 3GB or 4GB of RAM. Clearly, the K8 Note has more processing cores, but bear in mind that there’s more to a smartphone’s performance than just the number of cores it ships with. Moreover, the Snapdragon 625 SoC powering the Redmi Note 4 has made quite a name for itself for being battery efficient and therefore, will be ideal for road warriors.
In terms of storage, both the handsets offer either 32GB or 64GB of onboard storage, which can be further expanded on both the smartphones via a microSD card. However, while the K8 Note comes with a dedicated slot for a microSD card, those opting for the Redmi Note 4 will have to compromise on whether they want to expand their storage or use two SIM cards at once.
The Lenovo K8 Note marks a lot of firsts for the company’s K lineup of smartphones. Not only is it the first ‘K’ device to come with a dual-camera setup (more on that in the next section), but it is also the first in the series to ship with stock Android Nougat. Previously, all the smartphones in the K series used to come with Vibe UI, which was Lenovo’s custom skin running on top of Android. However, starting with the K8 Note, Lenovo has announced that all of its upcoming smartphones will boot vanilla Android. As for the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, buyers will get the feature-packed MIUI which now uses Android Nougat as base, after getting updated to Android v7.0.
Camera and battery
This is where it gets interesting. The Lenovo K8 Note ships with a dual-camera setup on the back, comprising of a pair of 13MP and 5MP sensors which are accompanied by a dual-tone LED flash. The Redmi Note 4 on the other hand, ships with a single 13MP sensor and therefore, misses out on some depth-effect features which the K8 Note is capable of shooting. Moreover, the K8 Note obliterates the Redmi Note 4 when it comes to the secondary shooters, with the former shipping with a 13MP front camera where as the latter ships with just a 5MP sensor. To make matters worse for the Redmi Note 4, the secondary camera on the K8 Note comes with an LED flash module of its own, paving way for much clearer selfies in low light.
In the battery department, the Redmi Note 4 ships with a 4,100mAh unit whereas the K8 Note comes with a slightly smaller 4,000mAh pack. Seeing how both the smartphones are powering a similar spec display, the battery-efficient chip onboard the Redmi Note 4 should offer better battery life compared to the K8 Note.
There have been plenty of smartphones which launched after the Redmi Note 4 in the budget segment but couldn’t quite compete with it. With the K8 Note, we feel that Lenovo could have a real winner on its hands as it comes with a better camera configuration and more importantly, stock Android, which should help the smartphone in terms of performance and even give buyers good battery life. Seeing how the K8 Note has been priced similar to the Redmi Note 4, Xiaomi could finally see some solid competition for its popular budget offering.