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Lenovo K9 – Back in business – [Review]

Lenovo was once a household name among the mobile consumers. Lenovo acquired Motorola and they have been quite busy with launching Moto Mobiles in India. Lenovo made a conscious decision on halting their mobile line up and decided to concentrate on Motorola. While these two brands had completely different brand ideologies, Lenovo still had its loyal customers waiting for the K8 Note successor to hit the market in India. After a long wait, Lenovo decided to come back with Lenovo K9. It may not be a killer phone as advertised by Lenovo, but it is a very sensible mobile. Let us check it out!

Design

It’s 2018 and the trend is mobiles with glass or glossy acrylic back. Lenovo had to stick to that trend and the K9 has a 2.5D curved glass body on the front and back. The frame is plastic, but overall the mobile is smooth to hold without any sharp edges. Interestingly, the mobile has USB-C port at the bottom. With the USB-C, K9 does not get any faster-charging speed or data transfer speed. Guess, it is a feature in there, to please the tech crowd. Moving on with the design, the mobile has a dual camera setup at the back and the cameras sit flush with the body. The volume and power buttons are all placed on the left, with equal spacing, but no textured difference between them.

Beneath the glass back is a textured vinyl print, that looks a lot like Honor or Huawei mobiles. The design of K9 is not new or innovative, it just picks up the best pointers from the current trend and there is nothing wrong with that strategy. The mobile does look good and it is a stylish mobile in the price segment of under 10k.

Display

Lenovo K9 has a HD plus display. The full screen display gives you an aspect ratio of 18:9 and thankfully, it does not have any notch. Though the bezels on the sides are small, the top and bottom chin are wide. The display is bright and vivid under all lighting conditions. It has got good viewing angles and a decent sunlight readability. At Rs 8999, I have nothing to complain about the display on the K9.

Camera

Lenovo mobiles have always given considerable importance to Camera and the K9 is no exception. It comes with dual camera setup on the front and back. It has 13+2 MP camera arrangement at the back and front, both get single LED light flash. The mobile can shoot a max of 1080p video. It offers portrait mode and the edge detection algorithm on the rear camera is pretty decent. Images from the rear camera has good exposure levels and contrast levels. The colors are a bit faded, but for this price range, the camera actually surprises me. The front camera can click good selfies, but as the light drops, even with the flash light, the images are not sharp. Check out the camera samples below.

Hardware

Lenovo K9 is an entry level smartphone. It has a MediaTek P22 processor with 3 GB RAM and 32 GB internal storage. I installed a bunch of social media and shopping apps on the mobile along with a few basic games. The mobile handled with well with no lag. I found no disturbing heat issues. The speakers are loud, but a bit tinny at high volumes. The finger print sensor is fast and the face unlock also works fine, but not as fast as the fingerprint sensor. Network latching was not a problem. The mobile does not support dual VoLTE. It does not have gyroscope, orientation, and a magnetic sensor. It is not a killer spec for sure, but for an entry level smartphone, it packs a decent punch.

Software

Lenovo mobile used to have a skin called the vibe UI. But looks like that has been shelved. The Lenovo K9 gets a pure android skin. Lenovo has added a few features in it, but this mobile running on Android 8.1 has no bloatware. It runs smoothly and for an entry level mobile, the UI does not show any visible signs of lag.

Battery

Lenovo K9 has 3000 mAh battery. With the supplied charger, it gets charged from 0 to 100% in about 3 hours. Though it has a USB C port, it lacks any kind of fast charging. But once charged, the mobile lasts for a whole day of moderate usage. Under intensive usage, it gives about 4 hours of screen on time.

Verdict

Lenovo K9 does not kill any thing. Lenovo is way behind it competitors. They have a lot to catch up. The market segment, especially the sub-10k is a like a shark tank filled with hungry sharks and piranhas. Lenovo simply cannot enter that tank with a shark Halloween costume. They have to be ahead of the competition and kill it with innovation.

Lenovo’s primary competitor here is the Redmi 6. Redmi 6 is a good mobile but does not have the looks of the Lenovo K9. There there is this new kid on the block, Realme 2. Honor 7C and also Lenovo’s own Moto E5. Each of these mobile have an unique selling point.

If you want a good looking entry level mobile with quad camera and stock Android user experience, none of the above would suit your bill, except for the Lenovo K9.

Giridhar

A Technology evangelist, Giridhar reviews gadgets and mobile applications. He is also a passionate photographer and a user experience designer by profession.

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