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Lenovo K860 Review: Solid Quad-core Smartphone Alternative (Php19,999)

Lenovo K860 Review

Lenovo K860 Review

When Lenovo announced the K860, a 5-inch quad-core smartphone with a price tag of Php19,999, they raised a lot of eyebrows. Most quad-core devices are priced at Php30,000+ (official SRPs) which is Php10,000 more expensive than Lenovo’s offering. At that price point you’d think that they made a lot of compromises and that it probably does have a quad-core chip but everything else sucks. However after using the Lenovo K860 for over 2 weeks we can definitely say that it is a solid alternative to the other quad-core handsets in the market. It sports a gorgeous display, has above average battery life, and is blazingly fast (as you’d expect from a quad-core machine). The 5-inch form factor might be too big for some people though.

Lenovo K860 Spec Sheet

  • 1.4GHz Exynos Quad-core Processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 5-inch Display, 720 x 1280 pixels (~294 ppi pixel density)
  • 8GB Internal Storage, Expandable up to 32GB vis micro-SD
  • 8-megapixel camera, 3264×2448 pixels, autofocus, dual LED flash
  • Can record 1080p @ 30 FPS Video
  • 2-megapixel front facing camera
  • HSDPA, HSUPA, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth
  • Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • 2250 mAh Battery

Read on for our full review!

5-inches of Quad-Core Goodness! Yummeh!

5-inches of Quad-Core Goodness!

First let’s talk about the form factor. The Lenovo K860 will not appeal to everyone. There are people who just don’t like big phones, regardless of the specifications or the build. However there is a segment that appreciates and likes the huge displays and those are the people that Lenovo wants to reach with this device. People who love browsing, gaming, and watching videos on their smartphones. Those who use it just as much as an entertainment device just as a phone. If you’re that type of person though you’re in for a treat with the K860!

The centerpiece of this gadget is the display. It sports a 5-inch screen (made of Gorilla Glass) that has 720×1280 resolution. That translates to around ~294 pixels per inch which is pretty impressive! Colors are bright, crisp, and sharp. Images are very clear and detailed. Just the quality you’d expect from a high-end Android device.

Side-by-side the Galaxy Note II

When it comes to the build, the K860 isn’t as thin as the other premium devices but it still manages to pull off a very professional, sleek, and “techie” look. The black body framed by the metallic silver accents gives it a very high profile image, despite the use of plastic for the main material.

SEE ALSO: Lenovo A60+ REVIEW

At the top you’ll find the headphone jack and sleep/wake button. On the right side are two circular buttons which are actually the volume controls. On the upper left (which is kinda weird placement) is the micro-USB port for charging and data transfer. The backplate is removable which means you can replace batteries should the need arise. The microSD and SIM card slots are also there. Note that this isn’t a dual SIM handset.

Not as sezzy as other quad-core handsets but still looks sweet!
What the back looks like

Will you feel the quad-core difference with the Lenovo K860? Definitely yes. You can do more with less frustrations because of the more powerful processor. Transitions and animations in the Android Ice Cream Sandwich interface flow much smoother and the lag has considerably gone down even if you’re using a live wallpaper and a bunch of widgets on your home screen. Apps load much faster as well and even with browsing when loading images.

I’m just worried though that Lenovo might not let users upgrade this handset to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean in the future, especially since other high-end handsets are already offering Jelly Bean out of the box. Jelly Bean is a very important update because it reduces lag significantly due to Google’s Project Butter implementation.

Awesome for Movies, Browsing, and Social Networking

So that is a 5-inch screen with great quality good for? A lot! The most obvious is browsing the web. The 5-inch Lenovo K860 easily ventures out into the “Phablet” category. This means that it’s in the middle of smartphones and tablets. The 5-inch form factor presents a bigger canvass to display content and this makes browsing and web surfing a much easier, convenient, and pleasant experience.

More screen, more content. That’s even more true when you start watching your favorite movies and TV series on this device. Fortunately you can expand the storage by putting in a 32GB microSD card. That should be a lot of space already for a couple of your favorite full length films or maybe a full season of the latest TV series you’re following.

It’s also great for social networking apps. Twitter and Facebook display more stuff because of the screen. You won’t have to keep scrolling and scrolling and scrolling since in one glance you already get a lot of info. Text is also easier to read because of the wide display.

When it comes to entertainment and time-burning, the Lenovo K860 pretty much has you covered.

SEE ALSO: Lenovo P700i REVIEW

Excellent for Gaming but Can’t Run Everything

5-inch display lends itself for great gaming, especially FPS titles!

Now let’s talk about gaming. Most of the top gaming apps will run on the Lenovo K860. If there’s one compromise that Lenovo made, it’s that graphics card. They can’t run titles like Wild Blood and Zombiewood despite the monstrous quad-core processor. That’s a bit of a downer but the silver lining is that most of the best games anyway don’t require that much graphics, especially the FPS titles like Dead Trigger, Shadowgun, and Frontline Commando.

Why you no work? 🙁

As far as gaming goes, the Lenovo K860 is almost perfect. Most of the games ran really well and loaded fast. We would have given it flying colors if it had the capability to play the more graphics intensive titles like the ones we mentioned earlier.

Camera UI is Confusing but Great Optics

Camera UI isn’t user-friendly 🙁

Next up is the 8-megapixel camera. As far as optics go, Lenovo has a sweet shooter on board the K860. As you’ll see in the pictures below, the quality is amazing. Colors are sharp and vivid in different situations which makes it a very flexible camera on-the-go.

Here are some sample shots:

We do have one criticism though. The camera user interface is confusing. It’s hard to navigate through it and find all the cool smart camera features like the Best Shot, Filters,  and Panorama. Hopefully Lenovo can address this with a software update sometime in the future.

Above Average Battery Life

When it comes to battery life, the Lenovo K860 actually is above average. It can last you for almost the entire day even with moderate-heavy use. Of course it will go down if you have all radios fired up and you’re checking Twitter every 15 minutes but if you’re the type that casually checks then it should be more than enough for your needs.

Verdict: Solid Alternative to High-end Android Smartphones

Good job Lenovo!

So what’s our final verdict for the Lenovo K860? Everything considered, it’s a solid alternative to the more expensive quad-core devices in the market today. The only noticeable differences between this handset and the more expensive quad-cores are the graphics card, branding, 5-inch display, and the hardware design. If you can get over those then it might be practical to just go for this one instead. 🙂

Carlo Ople

Carlo is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Unbox.ph. During daytime he’s the Managing Director and Partner of a Digital Marketing Agency in the Philippines and by nighttime he’s living out his passion as a gadget enthusiast and story teller through Unbox.

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2 Comments

  1. Dear Sirs,

    You got it all wrong for gaming. Gameloft games are not compatible because of software issue. If you rooted your phone and change your build.prop into other device, say Galaxy SIII, all those game are downloadable and playable. You can check on forum-forum.

    Please note that the graphic card on this phone is the same with Galaxy SIII. Here is the official specs
    http://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.lenovo.com/images/products/smartphone/datasheet/K860-DS-WW-27Sept2012.pdf&sa=U&ei=FBbUUPnAIs6Nrgec8IGIBQ&ved=0CCUQFjAG&sig2=XyKeKRxKmqNmbBNZsROSVw&usg=AFQjCNHLsTjyaIJUj58nrIipXyV5aQrXPQ

    So, if Gameloft willing to support Lenovo, then this issue is no longer an issue.

  2. Hi! This might be a bit off the topic; but I would just like to know if your k860 also does not light up (when it is locked/ on sleep mode) when it receives text messages. It’s my first time to try a lenovo phone.

    Thanks so much.

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