Lenovo Vibe P1 first impressions: a power bank in the guise of a premium phablet

“The Lenovo Vibe P1 stands out with its powerful battery and premium design”

Lenovo has been very aggressive in the Indian smartphone market lately, launching one phone after another. After the camera-centric Vibe Shot (first impressions) and the intriguing phablet PHAB Plus (first impressions) that were launched recently, it’s got a slew of launches planned for the Diwali festive season as well. These include the Vibe S1 (first impressions), the Vibe P1m and the Vibe P1, unveiled first during IFA 2015. These smartphones are all expected to land in India by the end of October or early November. The Vibe P1m (first impressions) and the Vibe P1 come with powerful batteries, and while the former should be an affordable offering, the P1 comes across as a more loaded device and flaunts a premium, metallic design. The Vibe P1’s mainstay is its 5,000mAh battery, that’s rated to deliver 44 hours of talk time and 26 days of standby time when connected to 3G networks. It can even juice up other USB-powered devices. We got up close and personal with the smartphone at IFA, and with news coming in about its expected release, now is a good time to let you know what we feel about it. Here are our first impressions…


Phones with beefy batteries aren’t really novelties, but most of them can’t really be called premium. This is why the Lenovo Vibe P1 comes like a breath of fresh air. Clad in metal, it exudes class the moment you lay your eyes upon it. It’s not a compact device – not by any means, and it’s got its 5.5-inch screen to thank for that. Protected by a layer of 3rd-gen Gorilla Glass, the full HD display looks quite sharp and vivid.

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Up top lies the earpiece, the front-facing 5MP shooter and the usual sensors, while a physical home key rests below the display. Notably, a fingerprint scanner has been integrated into the home button as well. Worth a mention that fingerprint scanners are fast becoming a standard feature in Android smartphones, and across different price points. The process for registering fingerprints is straightforward, and similar to other devices that boast the same feature.

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The right spine holds the volume rocker and power button, while the left has a dedicated slider key to enable the power-saving mode. Frankly, this seems a little bit of an overkill considering that the phone’s mainstay is its beefy battery… but clearly, Lenovo wants to offer as many options as possible to make it last long on a single charge. The headset socket is on the top, while the micro-USB port and speaker grille can be found at the bottom.

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The curved rear holds the lens for the primary 13-megapixel camera, along with a true-tone flash. There’s Lenovo branding and regulatory info emblazoned closer to the bottom. A horizontal flap on top opens up to reveal the nano-SIM slots. The P1 is a hybrid dual-SIM smartphone, which means the secondary SIM slot can also accept a microSD card in place of the SIM card. MicroSD cards up to 128GB in capacity are supported. Apart from the usual set of connectivity options, there’s support for 4G LTE and NFC as well.

The core specs include an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 chip that includes four cores clocked at 1.5GHz and four ticking at 1.0GHz. Then there’s 2GB of RAM and 16/32GB internal memory. The phablet seemed zippy enough in our brief usage, but please don’t quote us on that till the time we get a chance to take it out on a proper test drive.

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As far as the software side of things are concerned, there’s Android Lollipop 5.1.1 decked up with Lenovo’s Vibe UI. As usual, the interface lacks a dedicated app drawer and comes with a bunch of features and customisation options. Some noteworthy features we noticed included double-tap-to-wake, a one-handed mode by drawing the letter ‘C’, and double-pressing volume up or down key during standby to snap a picture.

So this was a quick look at the upcoming Vibe P1 from Lenovo. The smartphone carries a sticker price of $279 (about Rs 18,000) and while we aren’t sure what it’ll be priced at in India, that does give us a good idea. At that price, it will go up against the likes of the OnePlus One (review) and the ASUS ZenFone 2 (review), which are both tough rivals to beat. We’ll wait and watch before commenting further though… Lenovo India might just throw a googly and price it aggressively to light up the Diwali festivities. We’re expecting the smartphone to launch in India on October 19th or 20th.  

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