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Lenovo S880 Review

The Lenovo S880: A 5-inch Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich “Phablet” for Php14,999!

REVIEW: Lenovo S880

The Lenovo S880 is currently the only direct competitor of the Samsung Galaxy Note here in the Philippines. This 5-inch “phablet” (phone + tablet) sports respectable specifications and dual-sim capability while maintaining a very competitive price. At Php14,999 this device is bound to turn heads when displayed at gadget stores in malls!

Here’s a quick refresher on what’s under the hood:

Lenovo S880 Spec Sheet

  • 1GHz CPU, MT6575 Processor
  • 512MB RAM, 4GB ROM
  • 755MB Internal Storage + 1.85GB USB Storage, expandable up to 32GB via micro-SD
  • 5-Megapixel Camera and VGA front-facing camera
  • Burst Mode up to 16 Shoots, Panorama Mode
  • 3G/HSPA
  • USB and Bluetooth Tethering
  • Portable WLAN Hotspot
  • Wireless FM Radio, FM Transmitter
  • Dual-SIM Dual Standby
  • Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • 2250 mAh battery

As you can see it’s not that bad! It’s probably one of the better mid-range handsets you can get these days.

SEE ALSO: Lenovo S880 Hands-on

 

Solid build, primarily made of glass and plastic

The materials used and the build quality of the Lenovo S880 reminds me a lot of the handsets I’ve tested from Samsung. This is mostly because Lenovo decided to go all-out on durable plastic for the S880 which is already heavily associated with Samsung.

At the front you’ll find the 5-inch WVGA (800×480) display. At the top of it is the Lenovo logo proudly emblazoned in silver. Right beside it is the VGA front-facing camera for video calls and easy self-portraits (you can also use it for Face Unlock). The speakers can be found at the sides and bottom which is great because the sound directly hits you and you don’t have to “cup” it from the back to get more volume.

Headphone jack, sleep/wake, and the mini-USB port for data and charging are at the top while the volume rocker is at the side. At the back you’ll find the 5-megapixel shooter and the removable back plate which will expose the battery, 2 SIM card slots, and the micro-SD card slot.

Despite the massive display, the Lenovo S880 manages to maintain a slim profile measuring only at 142.0 x 78.0 x 9.9 mm. This makes it easier to hold and carry around but you probably will have problems with one-hand texting unless you have big hands and long fingers, lol.

Form factor is for media consumption

It’s pretty obvious that the best selling feature is the 5-inch display. The Lenovo S880 is meant to be a portable media player. I think of it as a small pocket-sized tablet which is primarily for media but also happens to be a phone (lol). Videos play beautifully on the 5-inch display and it’s a much better experience than trying to watch your favorite TV series on a 3.5-inch iPhone 4S.

Another obvious benefit of the larger screen is the more space you have for reading and social networking. My personal favorite reader app, Flipboard, runs wonderfully on the Lenovo S880. You feel as if you’re holding a mini-book. Doing Facebook and Twitter is also a much better experience compared to smaller displays.

SEE ALSO: Lenovo P700 REVIEW

 

Android 4.0 runs smoothly on these specs

Despite the 1GHz single core processor and 512MB RAM, the Lenovo S880 manages to run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich fairly smoothly. You won’t encounter any major lags or slow downs especially if it’s the basic functions and your usual apps. However it does have a tendency to become choppy if you have a live wall paper running with multiple home screen widgets or you play graphics-intensive games (struggles with Dead Trigger).

When it comes to the software, Lenovo did the right thing by not over-tinkering with the stock Android 4.0 ICS UI. They added a few stuff like the Lenovo widget which appears by default on the home screen. It initially displays Google Apps but you can change them by holding down on the icons and dragging them out and replacing them.

Lenovo has done a good job with Dual SIM, Dual-Standby

If there’s one thing that Lenovo has done really well it’s how they implemented the Dual SIM, Dual standby feature. It’s pretty much the same, reliable, and intuitive execution that we’ve seen with their previous models: the A65 and P700. The way Lenovo does it is that both SIMs are active while the phone is on. You don’t have to press a button or turn it off to switch. Texts from both numbers come in and when you send messages you have the option of picking either number. The only limitation is that only the first SIM card will be able to use 3G. The second can only go up to 2G.

Dual SIM, Dual Standby FTW!

Battery life is pretty good

I was a bit amazed that the S880 was able to last longer than the usual smartphone despite having a bigger screen and two simultaneous radios. It looks like the 2,250mAh battery is doing it’s job of keeping this device juiced! To give you guys an idea of how long it usually lasts we used it as our primary work phone for a couple of days (SMS, e-mail, calls, music player, browsing, and watching TV series while in the car) and when we leave the house at 9AM at 100% we’d be at around 30-40% at around 7:00PM. It ain’t a Nokia 5110 but hey it does much better than a lot of other smartphones!

Verdict: It’s a great portable media player that also happens to be a dual-sim phone

So what’s our verdict for the Lenovo S880? In a sentence, it’s a portable media player or pocketable tablet that looks good and also happens to be a dual-sim phone. I’d have a lot of issues with this if it was priced more than Php20,000 but at its current price point there’s nothing more you can ask maybe except for bumping up the processor and the RAM, hehe.

If you’re the kind of guy that loves watching movies, TV series, and other videos while on-the-go then you might want to consider investing in the Lenovo S880.

Pricing and Availability

SRP is Php14,999. It’s been out in the market since September 17 at Lenovo Mobile stores and various distributors and resellers.

I’m pretty excited to see what Lenovo Mobile Philippines has next in store for us!

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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5 Comments

  1. Thanks for the review. I’ve been using a Lenovo A60 and I’m pretty happy with it. I am considering getting this or the P700 as an upgrade.

    Since the S880 and the P700 are comparable, which would you go for personally?

    Thanks again for the informative and easy to understand reviews. They are very good reads.

    1. Hi Mr. Big Panda!

      I’d go for the S880 but that’s my personal preference for the bigger display. Both handsets are awesome and give great value for your money so you’re a winner either way.

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