When it comes to smartphones over the past few months, the pendulum of attention has swung decisively from the high-spec, high-price devices to the ones that come with respectable specs at surprisingly low prices. We have seen the likes of the Asus ZenFone 5, the Moto E, the Xiaomi Redmi 1S, the YU Yureka and the Xiaomi Redmi Note prove that it is possible to get a very good phone for less than Rs 10,000 (about USD 160). And now into the fray comes the Lenovo A6000, once again packing very good hardware for a price of Rs 6,999 (about USD 110).
Like the Xiaomi and YU devices, the Lenovo A6000 remains an online exclusive, and has been selling out in seconds on Flipkart. The reason is not difficult to find: it offers staggeringly good specs for its price – a 5.0-inch 720p HD display, a quad core 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor clocked at 1.2 Ghz, with 1 GB RAM, 8 GB storage (expandable up to 32 GB), an 8.0-megapixel camera at the rear and a 2.0-megapixel one in front, dual speakers, 4G connectivity, and dual SIM support, apart from the usual Bluetooth-Wi-Fi-GPS connectivity options. Top that off with Android 4.4 (KitKat) with an update to Android L on the cards, and you have one of the best budget propositions in the Indian market, rivalling the Redmi 1S, which costs a shade lesser now, but has older hardware (to be fair, it is an older device too, and we are already awaiting its successor), and remains very hard to get.
Well, we managed to get our hands on the Lenovo A6000 after a goodish struggle (it was getting sold out faster than Usain Bolt doing the metres hundred and media review units seemed hard to come by), and well, while we work on our review, we have to admit that our initial impressions of the device are overwhelmingly positive.
Lenovo had shown us that it was a dab hand at design with the likes of the Vibe Z2 Pro and the Vibe X2 and while the A6000 will not turn heads the way those two worthies did, it still looks like anything but a USD 110 phone. You will not be hiding it, take our word for it. We hear Lenovo will be bringing some colourful back plates for the device in the market – that should add some flaunt value to this other smart if relatively Spartan looking phone.
The front is all about the 5.0-inch 720p display, below which are three touch keys for menu, home and back. Above the display is a speaker and the front facing camera. A key point to note here is the brightness of the display – at this price point, we have been accustomed to slightly dull (if not washed out) displays. The A6000’s display, however, is very bright indeed and handles colours very well.
Lenovo has opted to keep two of the sides of the phone totally blank, placing the 3.5 mm audio jack and micro USB port bang on top of the device, and the volume rocker and power/display button on the right. The back is plain smooth (but thankfully not glossy) plastic with an 8.0-megapixel camera with flash on the top left corner and a dual speaker grille on the base. Dual speakers at this price point are rare indeed, it must be added.
Rip off the back (thankfully not as difficult task as we have seen in some devices) and you are confronted by the 2300 mAh Lithium Polymer battery, dual micro SIM slots and expandable memory slot.
The device will fit into most hands very comfortably indeed. At 8.2 mm, the A6000 is impressively thin for its price (the Redmi 1S was 9.9 mm) and at 141 mm in length and 70 mm in width is relatively compact too. 128 grammes is its weight, which is substantially below the smaller Redmi 1S (158 grammes).
The interface is Lenovo’s Vibe UI and while you do not get features like booting into plain Android mode as you did in the high-end Vibe Z2 Pro, you can change wallpapers by a flick of your fingers, and well, apps like Lenovo’s excellent SHAREit and SYNCit come installed out of the box. We could also see a lot of shooting and tweaking options in the camera app, which when combined with the bright display and the dual speakers, make one suspect that Lenovo is betting heavily on multimedia on this device. Of course, just how much all that multimedia muscle drains the battery is going to be a point of interest – although 2300 mAh is bigger than the 2000 mAh battery that we saw in the Redmi 1S.
All said and done, our initial impressions of the Lenovo A6000 are that of a smart looking device that comes with some good hardware at a surprising price. Yeah, that is a blend we are getting used to, aren’t we? We are not complaining. Not yet.
Stay tuned for the review, folks.
Edit: The earlier version of the article incorrectly mentioned about the presence of Corning Gorilla Glass 3. It doesn’t come with any protection, but is shipped with a free screen protector.