Lenovo K900 Review: Competitive Internals, Great Camera, Superb Design

Our full review of the Lenovo K900

Our full review of the Lenovo K900

Lenovo K900 Full Review

We’ve been using the Lenovo K900 as our daily driver for the last week. We gave a little more time and attention to this device since we really wanted to get a solid idea on how an Intel-powered smartphone would perform and how long we could last without LTE connectivity (lol). Over-all having the K900 as our primary smartphone was a great experience, with just some minor misses which can be overlooked. Despite all the good things going for it though one must ask though if the Php22,999 price tag is really worth it. Read on to find out. :P

Lenovo K900 Spec Sheet

  • 1.8Ghz Dual-core Intel Atom Z2580 CPU
  • PowerVR SGX544 GPU
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB internal storage
  • 5.5-inches IPS LCD Capacitive Touchscreen, Corning Gorilla Glass 2
  • 1920×1080 resolution, ~401 ppi pixel density
  • 13.0-megapixels rear-facing camera with autofocus and dual LED flash
  • 2.0-megapixels front-facing camera
  • WiFi, WiFi Hotspot, Bluetooth, GPS with AGPS Support
  • 3G, HSPA+
  • Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
  • 2,500mAh Battery

By the way, click here if you haven’t read our Lenovo K900 Unboxing and Initial Review post yet.

Hardware: Razor thin, Handsome, Kinda Big, and Hot (literally)

Iron Man Live Wallpaper. Yay. Hehe.

Iron Man Live Wallpaper. Yay. Hehe.

The Lenovo K900 is a phablet more than it is a smartphone. At 5.5-inches it’s much bigger than the usual 5-inch devices that are currently flooding the market. That said, its sheer size alone will be very polarizing. Not everyone will appreciate a phablet even if it looks ridiculously awesome.

Speaking of looking awesome, that’s exactly what the K900 delivers. It’s all metal at the back and the side giving it a very premium, elegant, and techie feel. At the front we have the 5.5-inch Corning Gorilla Glass 2 display which as we’ve experienced, quite scratch resistant. We forgot the other day that the K900 was in the same pocket we had some spare change with and our car keys. We were walking around for hours and fortunately when we took it out the K900′s screen was scratch-free!

What the back looks like

What the back looks like

5.5-inch not for everyone. Here's the device in the hands of my wife.

5.5-inch not for everyone. Here’s the device in the hands of my wife.

Other than the material, what also makes it look incredibly good is the form factor. The Lenovo K900 is one of the thinnest phablets ever made measuring at just 6.9mm thick. The thinness kinda compensates for the big screen making it easier to handle. However using it with one hand is a bit hard so be prepared to use both hands for texting and navigating if this will be your daily driver smartphone.

Razor thin. Look at that!

Razor thin. Look at that!

If there are two criticisms we’d throw at the K900 though it will be how fast it heats up and how easily the back gets scratched. We were playing Dead Trigger and Minion Rush and after 15-20 minutes the back of the K900 was uncomfortably hot. It reached a point that we had to stop playing and just put it down on the desk so that it would cool down a bit. Kinda annoying especially since we were getting into the grove of Minion Rush, lol.

The back metal plate is surprisingly not that tough as well. Our unit already has several scratches at the middle and at the top (near the camera lens). This is very frustrating since we’re the type that likes seeing our gadgets in pristine condition. Anyway, to those of you who will buy make sure you try to get a sleeve for it or a case. We all know how resale value plummets once we have visible scratches on our smartphones. :/

Display is fantastic

401 pixels per inch on a 5.5-inch display? WIN.

401 pixels per inch on a 5.5-inch display? WIN.

One of our most favorite things about the K900 is the 5.5-inch display. It has a resolution of 1920×1080 which comes out to 401 pixels per inch on a 5.5-inch display. The result? Amazeballs quality of pictures, images, text, and especially high quality videos. We just finished watching Avatar on 1080p on the K900 (using MX Player Pro) and it was sheer bliss. Among all the 5.5-inch phones we’ve ever reviewed, we daresay that K900 has the very best.

Software: Intel Dual-core can smoke most quad-cores out there

A big concern of a lot of people when the spec sheet of the K900 first came out was that it was running on an Intel dual-core processor. Perfectly understandable since even local brands these days offer quad-core smartphones. However don’t let the number of cores deceives you. NOT ALL CORES ARE MADE EQUAL. Perfect example is the Lenovo K900. We ran the usual Antutu Benchmark Test and being dual-core it should probably score around 8k right? Nope. It left a lot of other dual-core devices in the dust.

Yep, 22k.

Yep, 22k.

Yep, you read that right. A little over 22,000! That puts it in the same league as the Galaxy S4, Xperia Z, and HTC One. It’s right up there with the big boys when it comes to processing power. We felt it too as we plowed through several graphics intensive applications like games and media editors. Dead Trigger on Ultra High settings was a breeze, even in the advanced stages where zombies crowded the area.

KILL TEH ZOMBIES

KILL TEH ZOMBIES

On the default UI (from Lenovo) we did feel a little lag but that disappeared when we switched to Nova Launcher. This is even with a live wallpaper and several active widgets on the home screen. This is a testament to the processing power of the K900.

Speaking of power, sometimes it comes at a price. Like what we said earlier K900 tends to “overheat”. It can be much warmer than what you usually get with an S4 or iPhone 5 running on LTE. Intel has definitely made headway into the mobile processor business but they need to refine their technology more together with manufacturers so that we don’t get burned (literally).

In a nutshell, the Lenovo K900 can pretty much handle (and handle well) whatever you throw at it. Just make sure you manage the heat.

Surprisingly Very Good Camera

The Lenovo K900 packs a 12.0-megapixel shooter but don’t let it fool you into thinking that produces the same quality of pictures from other 12MP shooters out there. The photos we got were actually very good! Level of detail captured was amazing (for a smartphone) and the color reproduction was also laudable. Most 12-13MP shooters these days, especially those from local brands, usually have some sort of washed out color which really doesn’t do justice to your photo subjects. That can’t be said with the K900. This one is the real deal folks.

Here are some sample shots:

Puzzle Mansion in Tagaytay

Puzzle Mansion in Tagaytay

GMA 7 lobby

GMA 7 lobby

Taken at Taal Vista

Taken at Taal Vista

SARAP

SARAP

Battery Life: Above Average

At 50% brightness with 3G on and a variety of apps being used daily we were able to clock in an average of 9.2 hours. That’s actually above average already for flagships in general since most will give you a little over 8 hours. Two thumbs up for this one Lenovo.

Verdict: No Expandable Storage and LTE Deal Breakers?

K900 has two major weaknesses: No LTE and expandable storage

K900 has two major weaknesses: No LTE and expandable storage

Let’s do a quick summary of the review. The Lenovo K900 has spectacular hardware design, best-in-class internals, a gorgeous 5.5-inch HD display, above average battery life, and superior optics.

HOWEVER…

It doesn’t have LTE connectivity and expandable storage. The storage part can be remedied by storage management (delete stuff you don’t need) or by getting an OTG cable so you can just connect it to a USB flash drive. LTE connectivity is more for people who really need very fast internet while on the go (not just for Twitter) like those who need to download big files from their e-mail while they’re in the car or something. If you’re happy with WiFi though and HSPA+ then that shouldn’t be an issue either. That said, for some people the absence of both can be deal breakers, but for majority of customers out there we don’t think it will really apply.

You probably just have to weigh pros and cons depending on your usage patterns. Personally we decided to bite and bullet and buy the K900 (this isn’t a review unit, we bought it) because hardware design ranks very high on our list. We did feel a bit off though shelling out more than Php20,000 for a non-LTE phone, hehe. We’re looking forward though to the next generation K900. That would probably be our dream device already. Same design, maybe better internals, and LTE connectivity. Boom. Win.

The Lenovo K900 is now available in stores for Php22,999.

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6 comments on “Lenovo K900 Review: Competitive Internals, Great Camera, Superb Design

  1. Nice review sir, yung heating issue lang medyo nakakakaba hehehe. Last July, bumii ako ng Asus Fonepad (single core 1.6ghz intel atom at 32gb), kahit single core lang nasa 9k ang score sa antutu. Iba talaga ang intel at yung battery life ng phablet ay maganda. Kelan kaya magiging available ang 2.0ghz dual core intel atom version nitong k900 kasi yung ibang k900 units sa ibang bansa ay 2.0 ghz ang speed. Saka yung heating issue sana maresolve kasi kung di ako nagkakamali masama para sa health ng battery ang excessive heating. Parang sa laptops lang, mapapansin ang pagdeteriorate ng battery nito kapag lage itong ginagamit sa activities na nagpapainit sa laptop ng sobra like “gaming”. Experienced ko lang naman yun sa dati kong acer laptop. Eto pala reference ko regarding sa effect ng temperature sa batteries. http://www.batteryeducation.com/2006/08/temperature_aff.html

  2. pao snjuan

    Sir carlo the heating issue made me think twice getting this. Thanks for a comprehensive review.

    Btw ask ko lang po anong Camera ang gamit nyo sa pagkuha ng lenovo k900 sa first pix ng review. Ganda ng color saturation and reproduction. Thanks.

  3. Yes you are right, really a great phone and having 13Mp camera add more advantages. yah finally i think i have to buy it. and this review and all about the Lenovo K900 is awesome superb. :)

  4. elyboy

    It has a metal back kaya po ramdam ang init..if it is using li-poly battery..all the more..it looks sleek, my friend has the k900..without lte mahal talaga, much better ang mega 6.3 if yun ang pag uusapan..pareho lang sila mag perform..the lags sa high end games, lamang lang ni k900 is the screen..mas maganda yung quality..

  5. dharryl

    Sir ganun po ba talaga ang life time ng k900… 28hrs pag na full charge…….. napapalitan po ba battery ng k900? salamat po

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