Last month, Lenovo launched a trio of VIBE K5 smartphones. With the review for the VIBE K5 Note up on the website, it’s now time to look at the middle child of the K5 series, the Lenovo VIBE K5 Plus, which also comes with the brand’s VR Bundle. As always, let’s take a look at the device’s specs before jumping into the review.
Lenovo VIBE K5 Plus
- 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 Octa-Core Processor
- Adreno 405 GPU
- 3GB of RAM
- 5-Inch Full HD IPS LCD, 1080×1920 Resolution
- 16GB of internal storage (expandable up to 32GB)
- 13-megapixel Rear Camera with Autofocus and LED flash
- 5-megapixel Front Camera
- Dual SIM
- 4G, LTE
- Bluetooth v4.1
- WiFi b/g/n
- 2750mAh Battery
- Android Lollipop 5.1
- Php 8,999.00
If you’ve read our initial review for the Lenovo VIBE K5 Plus, we praised it for being able to trick us into thinking that Lenovo has gone full metal, much like its bigger brother — the VIBE K5 Note. The K5 Plus is primarily made out of polycarbonate plastic but cleverly hides its innards with a removable metal shell that nicely blends its plastic bits on the top and bottom to make the phone look and feel premium. The design of the K5 Plus isn’t out of this world, but It does have all the right curves, in all the right places that make it really comfortable to hold and gives you a better grip on the smartphone despite of the smooth finish on the K5 Plus’ outer shell.
While we’re talking about the device’s backside, you’ll find it’s 13-megapixel camera and its LED flash up in the left corner of the device, a bit of branding, and below that are two speaker grilles that boast of the Dolby Atmos stereo speakers it has underneath it. You’ve got the volume rocker and the power key on the right side, and the audio jack and the Micro USB port up top.
Remove the back cover and you expose the removable 2750mAh battery, its two SIM slots, dedicated micro SD slot, and its dual speakers that pump out a respectable amount of sound. We’re sad to see that the front firing setup has been moved to that back because it would have made the multimedia experience with the VIBE K5 Plus a lot better.
Up front is the 5-inch IPS LCD display, which gives the K5 plus a screen to body ratio of 68.4 percent. The panel has a decent amount of brightness, with generous viewing angles. More often than not, phones at this price point will have a HD panel, so we’re glad that the K5 Plus gets a Full HD display; especially since the brand touts it as an affordable gateway to VR. Put that together with the Dolby Atmos stereo speakers and we’re pretty sure you’ll have a great time watching videos. We do miss the front firing speakers from the K4 Note though.
Speaking of which, the VR experience on the VIBE K5 Plus is very basic but we’re really glad that this time around they’ve included a bluetooth controller with the bundle, which means you won’t have to slip out the unit to play the next video and you now have a way to interact with objects in certain platforms.
Surprisng Results from its Processing Package
The Lenovo VIBE K5 Plus is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 octa-core processor that’s paired with an Adreno 405 GPU, 3GB of RAM, and 16GB of expandable storage; a combination that nets it a benchmark score of 30743 on AnTuTu. While taking it around as our daily driver though, navigation felt a tad sluggish; even more so when we had to jump from app to app for work. This honestly had us scratching our heads a little bit, because we honestly thought it would handle day-to-day tasks a little better. It could be a software related issue, and hopefully Lenovo pushes an update to remedy the situation. Gaming on the VIBE K5 Plus should be limited to games that aren’t graphics heavy, but it can run the AR on Pokemon Go though it tends to raise the phone’s temp quite a bit.
Just like the VIBE K5 Note, the camera on the VIBE K5 Plus was inconsistent. Shots in broad daylight sometimes came out a little washed out and there’s a significant amount of detail that gets lost. But when it’s on you can get really great snaps with the 13-megapixel main shooter. The front camera fares just about the same as the rear camera.
As mentioned above, the VIBE K5 Plus has a 2750mAh battery and our PCMark benchmark tests gave us a result of 6 hours and 2 minutes. Real world tests had us grabbing our powerbanks or hugging a wall to juice up the unit by mid-day with heavy use. Again, this had us scratching our heads, because the Snapdragon 616 shouldn’t be downing that much power. If you’re out most of the day, make sure you bring a powerbank that can top it up a few times just in case.
The Lenovo VIBE K5 Plus looked really good on paper, so we were a little surprised at its performance issues. Like the VIBE K5 Note, Lenovo has positioned the VIBE K5 Plus an affordable entry to VR with the capabilities to enhance your multimedia experiences with great audio and a full HD display; in this aspect, it definitely delivers. But before all that, a smartphone should deliver a smooth experience with day-to-day tasks and sadly it falls a little short. We’re hoping that the issues we’ve encountered are on the software side of things and that an update to optimize the phone’s performance would get pushed out via OTA soon.