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Lenovo K8 Note Review

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Lenovo released their new smartphone K8 Note in the midrange segment and it is the successor to the K6 Note we saw last year. Skipping the K7 Note to bring even a better smartphone, the K8 is a powerful device with a 10-core processor, dual camera setup on the rear side, stock Android interface with latest updates, and many other things that are fascinating. Lenovo has been following the trails of Motorola for its VibeUI elimination, came up with the ultimate K8 Note smartphone. here’s our Lenovo K8 Note review.

What’s In The Box

  • Lenovo K8 Note with built-in battery
  • Micro USB Cable
  • Turbo Charger (5V, 2A | 9V, 2A)
  • Transparent Protective Case
  • SIM Tray Ejector Pin
  • User Manuals and Warranty Card

Lenovo K8 Note Specifications

  • Display: 5.5-inch Full HD IPS display (1920 x 1080 pixels resolution), 2.5D curved Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • Software: Android 7.1.1 Nougat
  • Protection: Water Repellent (P2i nano coating)
  • Fingerprint Scanner: Yes, on the back
  • CPU: Up to 2.3 GHz deca-core processor, 20nm MediaTek Helio X23 SoC, 64-bit
  • GPU: Mali-T880 MP4
  • Memory: 3 GB or 4 GB LPDDR3 RAM
  • Storage: 32 GB or 64 GB eMMC internal storage, Expands up to 128 GB via MicroSD card (Dedicated Slot)
  • Rear Camera: Dual Cameras 13 MP + 5 MP, dual-tone LED flash, 1080p video @30fps
  • Front Camera: 13 MP, LED Flash, 1080p video @30fps
  • Connectivity: Micro USB 2.0, 3.5 mm port, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS
  • Others: Dolby Atmos Audio, TheatreMax, 15W Turbo Charger
  • Cellular: 4G network, VoLTE-enabled, 2x nano SIM (GSM)
  • Battery: 4,000 mAh Li-Po (non-removable), Turbo Charge technology
  • Colors: Fine Gold, Venom Black
  • Dimensions: 154.5 mm x 75.9 mm x 8.5 mm
  • Weight: 180 grams
  • Price: ₹12,999 for 3 GB RAM, 32 GB Storage | ₹13,999 for 4 GB RAM, 64 GB Storage

Design, Build & Ergonomics

Wrapped in an aluminum body, 2.5D curved glass on the top, curved edges, the overall design of the phone is very decent. It is not really surprising but it is metallic and feels just like any other metallic phone in the segment. The smartphone is bulky, you will feel its 180 grams weight and thickness.

The Lenovo K8 Note is protected with P2i nano coating which means it is water repellent and can resist water splashes such as rains and water spills. However, this is not the same water resistance like the high-end phones offer, you will certainly lose it if you try to take it with you at the swimming pool.

Lenovo has added a Music key that lets you control the music. Long press will Play/Pause, double press will forward and triple press will do rewind. The special key can also be used to assign any app or a task such as taking screenshots or opening Facebook/WhatsApp in one shot. The navigation keys aren’t backlit, the loudspeakers are not stereo, but, since it supports Dolby Atmos, the audio experience comes out at least better on a mono speaker. The fingerprint scanner is located at the back below the dual cameras and works fast.

No Backlit Navigation Keys
Front LED Flash
Left Side Comes With A Special Key, Dedicated MicroSD Slot

The K8 Note boasts a standalone MicroSD slot and dual SIM 4G connectivity with VoLTE calling. This will let users utilize the dual SIM slot without compromising the microSD slot. The bottom has Micro USB port with support for USB OTG to connect to flash drives, mouse, keyboard or any other USB device. Furthermore, loudspeakers, a microphone while the top includes a 3.5 mm port for earphones.

Display

Lenovo K8 Note continues the full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) display in its K Series Note. As a midrange device, the resolution is decent given the price, phones under this price range will sport a full HD display. The K8 Note uses a 5.5-inch full HD IPS display with 2.5D curved Corning Gorilla Glass 3 on top and oleophobic coated. The screen is reflective, brightness levels are just fine, viewing angles are good. Unfortunately, Lenovo has not provided a blue light filter for reading at night.

The software provides display enhancements such as Color mode options, Standard and Vibrant. No Ambient display, no blue light filter and other options, just the basic stuff. The notification LED can be adjusted under Display Settings.

There’s an added feature called VR split-screen mode that splits the screen into two for VR experience. It is compatible with TheatreMax.

Software & User Interface

Lenovo K8 Note is the first K series smartphone to come with a stock user interface. The K8 Note has changed the way how the K-series phones used to be back. A major hit in the K series is the elimination of the Vibe UI replacing it with the stock Android interface. That means no bloatware, no heavy skins, and themes, no other fuss which people experienced in the past Vibe UI devices.

Lenovo K8 Note runs on the Android 7.1.1 Nougat with 5th July 2017 security patches. It is upgradable to Android O. Lenovo also joins the Stock UI runners, this certainly will give the best Android experience since it has Vanilla Android. Motorola, Pixel, and Nexus users are going to admire the K8 Note user interface.

Well, that doesn’t mean Bloatware-free, the K8 Note will offer you an option to install the popular free apps. If you like the apps, you can straightaway install them or keep it clean and install them later. Another feature spotted in the K8 Note is the Onavo Protect app. The K8 Note has a built-in Onavo Protect VPN app to surf the internet safely keeping away threats and personal information from hackers online.

That’s all in the software, everything it uses is stock-based, the gallery app is the Google Photos, stock File Manager, Google Apps and Microsoft Apps bundle. The K8 Note supports Dolby Atmos sound technology which gives you full control over the multimedia entertainment. The Music key is an added advantage for music lovers.

Bloatware Options
Built-in VPN Protection
Dolby Atmos Surround Sound Support, Music Key Options

Hardware, Performance, & Gaming

The reason why Lenovo touts the K8 Note as Killer Note is due to its power-packed hardware. It is powered by a deca-core processor from MediaTek Helio X23 SoC. Since Lenovo has abandoned the VibeUI and returned to the Vanilla Android, the performance of the device is surely going to increase a lot. This is the first smartphone that uses the MediaTek’s latest SoC Helio X23.

The chip consists of 10-cores in which 2 cores are high-performance Cortex-A72 clocked at 2.3 GHz, 4 Cortex-A53 cores clocked at a higher frequency at 1.85 GHz, and the remaining 4 Cortex-A53 cores are clocked at 1.4 GHz for power efficiency. The chip further adds a 3 GB or 4 GB LPDDR3 RAM, ARM Mali-T880 MP4 GPU, and an eMMC storage of 32 GB or 64 GB with MicroSD support. Our testing unit is the top variant i.e. 4 GB and 64 GB model.

In the midrange segment CPUs, the MediaTek Helio X23 would at least come out better than the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 and at par with Qualcomm Snapdragon 653. The multitasking is another aspect since it has got 10-cores.

The benchmarks we got are above mainstream level surpassing the popular mid-range SoC Snapdragon 625 and even a little above the Snapdragon 653 (Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro) in the AnTuTu tests, K8 Note scored 87,830 points. The benchmarks performed on the Geekbench 4 resulted in 1,200 points (single-core), 4,267 points (multi-core) and 3,447 points (GPU).

AnTuTu Benchmark

  • 87,830 points

Geekbench 4

  • 1,200 points (single-core CPU)
  • 4,267 points (multi-core CPU)
  • 3,447 (GPU)

Gaming On Lenovo K8 Note

In terms of gaming, the K8 Note runs many demanding games fluently. To name a few, we tested Asphalt 8: Airborne, Iron Avenger 2: No Limits, Kritika: The White Knights, and Lep’s World. No major lags encountered.

In terms of emissions, the phone becomes hot on load, not as too hot to handle but you will certainly feel the heat. To see how much temperature rises, we checked with the HWMonitor Pro app. The idle temperature sits at 31 degrees while on load or during heavy processing sessions, the temperature reaches 38 degrees.

Games Tested

  • Iron Avenger 2: No Limits
  • Kritika: The White Knights
  • Asphalt 8: Airborne
  • Lep’s World

Storage & RAM Performance

For the storage, Lenovo offers two storage variants, 32 GB and 64 GB with a dedicated microSD slot expanding the storage up to 128 GB.

The K8 Note uses an eMMC storage and its performance is about the Moto G5 Plus level. On the other hand, the RAM usage reaches 1.7 GB out of 4 GB, the user gets 2 GB free RAM with moderate use. We benchmarked the storage and RAM and here are the results.

A1 SD Bench

  • 96.67 MB/s (Read)
  • 106.58 MB/s (Write)
  • 4,672.26 MB/s (RAM Copy)

AndroBench

  • 239.32 MB/s (Sequential Read)
  • 98.38 MB/s (Sequential Write)
  • 27.86 MB/s (Random Read)
  • 15.10 MB/s (Random Write)

Cameras

In the generation where smartphones are emerging with dual camera, Lenovo too decided to make a dual camera phone in their K series starting with the K8 Note. It’s not the first time, Lenovo has already a Tango-enabled device with dual cameras. Yes, the Lenovo Phab2 Plus which is a phablet with two rear cameras. Other companies such as Honor was able to pick up the dual-camera trend early with its Honor 6X in this price segment, then Coolpad Cool 1 came into the picture.

While the Lenovo K8 Note is the first smartphone in its K lineup, the camera spec consists of 13 MP + 5 MP duo with aperture ranging from f/1.2 to f/2.8. A larger aperture allows more light to be captured especially in low-light situations. The front equips a decent 13 MP f/2.0 camera with Pro mode and soft LED flash which turns out to be good for selfies.

Lenovo K8 Note Camera Specifications

  • Camera: Dual cameras 13 MP + 5 MP
  • Optical Image Stabilization (OIS): N/A
  • Rear Flash: Dual-tone LED flash
  • Features: Geo-tagging, Tap to Focus, HDR, Pro Mode, Panorama, QR & Barcode Scanner, Burst Shot
  • Video Recording: 1080p video @30fps
  • Front Camera: 13 MP
  • Video Recording: 1080p video @30fps
  • Front Flash: Soft LED

The rear camera has PDAF, Depth mode, dual-tone LED and records up to 1080p videos but no slow motion videos. Other features include Selective B&W, Selective focus, Replace background, Panorama, HDR, Barcode and QR code scanner. The camera interface is stock and all you get is the basic camera features.

When talking about the performance of the camera, it performs about average, takes good shots in the daylight, but the results in the low light aren’t really surprising. On using the dual cameras i.e. the Depth mode, the camera achieves the Bookeh effect, however, the accuracy of the effect is not perfect. In some images, you can get the perfect shot, but it fails to detect an object in certain situations and blurs the edges or the whole object. The same thing with the Phab2 Plus, the camera somehow feels mediocre in the dual camera mode. Though the images can be refocussed later, and adjusted if not captured properly but that doesn’t guarantee.

For its selfie camera, Lenovo is very bold to offer a 13 MP front camera with LED flash. It takes very good shots in the daylight while the LED flash takes care of the low-light shots. A better selfie camera means better video calling and better live videos on social networks. The selfie camera is one of the components that make the device a solid performer in the camera segment.

Depth Enabled

Lenovo K8 Note Camera Samples

Lenovo K8 Note Dual Camera Samples

Battery Runtime and Charging

Lenovo K8 Note sports a 4,000 mAh battery with fast charging technology. A 4,000 mAh capacity should be enough for 2-day battery life and it did achieve on below moderate use with 4G data turned on. The battery is competitive and competes the Honor 6X having 3,000 mAh battery. Moderate usage will get you anywhere around 1.5 days or a little less.

The Turbo Charging takes about 2 hours to charge the 4,000 mAh battery from 0% to 100%. While this is not as fast as the Dash charging on OnePlus 3T, but it is still noteworthy. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 and Honor 6X take average 2.5 hours to fully charge.

Lenovo K8 Note Battery Test Results

Apps/GamesBattery usedRuntimeBrightnessWireless
1080p Video5%20 minutesAutoOff (Wi-Fi, GPS, Data)
4K Video2%20 minutesAutoOff (Wi-Fi, GPS, Data)
YouTube (1080p)4%20 minutesAutoOn (Wi-Fi)
Iron Avenger 2: No Limits4%20 minutesAutoOn (Wi-Fi)
Asphalt 8: Airborne6%20 minutesAutoOn (Wi-Fi)
Lep's World4%20 minutesAutoOn (Wi-Fi)
Music (Offline)2%1 HourScreen OffOff (Wi-Fi, GPS, Data)
Music Streaming - SoundCloud2%30 minutesScreen OffOn (Wi-Fi)
Instagram2%20 minutesAutoOn (Wi-Fi)
Facebook6%20 minutesAutoOn (Wi-Fi)

Verdict – Worth the upgrade?

Lenovo, this time, has done a great job, the K8 Note has changed the way how Lenovo K series smartphones used to be before. We were surprised with its stock Android features, its performance, and the battery life. Considering everything in the package is worth the penny, the 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage sounds a steal for the price (₹13,999).

In terms of camera, the dual camera performance is no doubt good for this price, however, can do better since we have seen better dual camera alternatives, take Honor 6X for an instance.

The Lenovo K8 Note is pretty much just right for its pricing, the smartphone is fairly decent. With a splash resistant design, dual rear cameras, fast 10-core processing power, a 13 MP selfie camera aided by LED flash, latest Android software, and a 4,000 mAh battery that is capable of surviving up to 2 days is certainly a lookout. This could be a worthy upgrade for K6 Note users. For others with a budget of ₹15,000 can go for the Lenovo K8 Note if rear camera is not their primary need.

Competitors

Strength

  • Fast Processing & Multitasking (10-core processor)
  • Stock Android Interface
  • Dual Cameras Produce Bokeh Effects
  • Decent 13MP Selfie Camera With LED Flash
  • Standalone Music Key, Configurable
  • Splash Resistant (P2i nano coating)
  • Dolby Atmos Support
  • TheatreMax Compatible
  • MicroSD Support, Dedicated Slot

Weakness

  • Bulky (180 grams)
  • Dual Cameras Need Polishing
  • No Slow-Motion & 4K Video Recording

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