Lenovo S960 Vibe X, the latest mobile phone from Lenovo was sent to me for review. In the beginning, rest assured that I won’t write down a complicated technical review, rather I’ll just list all the things I liked, didn’t like, and those which I should mention in my review here.
If you want a quick review; Lenovo Vibe X S960 is a stylish mobile phone, looker, sleek, shiny, eye-catchy, light, not slow nor fast, with a battery that needs four hours to be fully charged, while 20 minutes of playing a single game brought down the power meter by 11%.
To get started, GSMArena has listed all the technical details of the Lenovo S960 Vibe X phone. To see more un-boxing photos of this phone, please visit my Flickr set here .
Elegant and thin
When you open the phone’s black box and hold it in your hand, the first thing that catches the eye is the elegance of the design. The sleek black front and metal back cover try hard to impress.
The non- slippery texture of the back cover makes it easier to hold the phone with one hand easily. The phone’s smart features try to detect which hand (right of left) is using it and adjust the display accordingly.
The box I received had a white-color charger, USB cable and headphones. A nice attempt to offer a unique touch to the whole set.
Make sure to buy the official Lenovo cover with the phone. It locks and unlocks the phone when you close or open the cover. A nice feature to have.
Lenovo Vibe X S960 is considerably lightweight (only 121 grams). This is achieved thanks to less than 7 millimeters of thickness. Once kept in a pocket, the phone knows that and prevent any unintentional dialing of random numbers, provided that the top part of the phone is kept out of pocket.
Operating the phone with one hand doesn’t go without problems though, as trying to power-on the phone will have you pressing the volume control buttons inadvertently, which leads to some random results every time.
The screen is noticeably long, at 5″ in size. That size makes it perfect for watching video clips on HD setting. The screen quality is close to that of a Samsung 4S phone, but the difference is so small.
I had to disable the default auto-brightness settings in order to be able to use the phone in direct sunlight. I had to decrease the level of brightness to increase the battery performance, but I got used to it after a while.
At random, the screen did not respond to my finger touches and I had to press more than once until it responded. Turned out later that this delay was caused by the processor being busy with running other applications.
The phone is controlled by strict power-saving techniques that aim at increasing battery life. Those techniques at times bring the phone to a short halt.
There are several sound settings for the phone, worth mentioning is the Outdoor one, which comes handy when the noise level is high. The default list of ring tones is not bad, and you can add more easily form the Google store.
When you play any video clips, you notice that the sound comes from one side of the phone only, where the speaker is. You don’t get the surround or even stereo effect, which means you need to rely on the headsets for listening to audio and when watching video as well.
The speaker hosts a LED that flashes in different colors when you have a missed call, an email, SMS, etc.
The phone runs on Android Jelly Bean ( 4.2.2 ). Once I switched on the phone it immediately started to download available upgrades to the operating system.
After logging on my Wi-Fi, I started getting many notifications that other apps (even games) require to be updated. IN total, it took me an hour or more to download every available update.
You have your expected list of apps, such as Facebook , Twitter , Skype, Route66 Maps , Weather, 4 videogames, Lenovo cloud.
Instead of Chrome, the default browser was set to be the Chinese UCBrowser! Route66 was the default maps application, but I prefer Google Maps to it in any given day. Route66 was very slow to operate, compared to Google’s.
In my case, I use my Android phone mainly for answering emails and browsing the internet, listening to audio books, watching video tutorials and movies, and reading eBooks.
All went well except for reading eBooks and PDFs. The phone grappled with those files. Either Acrobat Reader or the default PDF reader, both were extremely slow. Slow that you won’t waste your time in waiting for the phone to process the page you want to read!
One can only hope Lenovo is working on a solution to this and soon will provide a software fix to this glitch.
Professional cameras should not to worry about any competition, as the Vibe X’s camera does a fair job, but not superior.
The back camera has many options while shooting, mainly visual effects and filters, all of which must be tested to obtain the best possible shot. Don’t hold your breath though.
At night, the flash is either too strong or too weak. Auto mode is not smart enough to adapt with different shooting situation.
When used on highest resolution (13 MB Super Fine), I got a file that’s 6 MB in size. When I zoomed the photo by 200%, background noise was everywhere, especially objects in the distance.
Shutter lag (time needed by the camera to get ready between shots) was considerably short.
Front camera enjoyed a resolution of 5Mega pixels, which is good for shooting decent profile photos, but nothing much here to talk about.
It is has been established that elegance and durability rarely walks hand on hand. The Vibe X’s battery lost steam quickly when running one or more applications. It doesn’t stop there, charging the battery takes so long as well.
For example , the very first 10 levels of the Candy Crush set the battery meter off by 11%, in less than half an hour of use. This means that 4 hours of continuous phone usage will kill the battery completely, same goes for 5 hours of video play.
To address this, Lenovo used strict power-saving techniques to control everything that consumes battery juice, and enforce anything that will prolong battery life.
If we leave aside the applications, the phone completed two days of normal use.
Using the default charger, it took over 4 hours of continuous charging to fully charge the battery. Even when I used another powerful charger, I had to wait for 4 hours to see the 100% on the battery indicator.
Lenovo Vibe X S960 Final Verdict
I am confident that Lenovo is aware of all these small problems, and they must churn out some fixes till they launch the Kit Kat release of Android.
The elegant shape has its price which we pay without regret. To get a really slim and light phone, you must accept to let go some of the de-facto features.
The selling price ranges from $350 to $450 (depending on your country). This makes the Lenovo Vibe X S960 a strong contender, and continues to reflect that Lenovo is advancing its technologies with every new phone released.
I would highly recommend this phone to anyone who wants a light weight and slim in the first place , or wants to buy a second phone without worrying about its weight or size
Pros: light, slim, stylish.
Cons: battery life, screen lags, no support for 4G/LTE
Disclaimer: This phone was given to me for review by Lenovo Middle East, through their PR agency: Hill+Knowlton Strategies.