Lenovo might have been making waves in the Indian market (courtesy to the immensely successful K3 Note and the A7000) but a lot of its success has been down to the fact that its devices offered very decent specs and good build quality at relatively affordable prices. Which is a bit of a pity because while it is known more for substance rather than style, Lenovo does have a designer side to it – one which surfaced in the very differently designed Vibe X2 and the Vibe Z2 Pro in 2014.
And well, it has come to the fore again in its latest device, the Vibe S1. The contrast which this device offers in comparison with its immediate predecessor, the 5000 mAh battery toting Vibe P1, is akin to that between Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer. For while, the Vibe P1 was positioned as a ‘power player’ and was unabashedly large and a bit on the heavier side, the S1 is very very svelte indeed.
In fact, we would go so far as to say that the phone is one of the most good-looking we have seen for a while, across most price segments. We got the dark blue model and it is easily the better of the two options available (white being the other). There is nothing sharp about the S1 – it is all curves and smoothness. From the 5.0-inch display-dominated front, to the gently curving out metallic sides to the slightly convex back which also curves out a bit (curving glass can be a bit of a task, so Lenovo deserves a pat on the back for going boldly where not too many manufacturers go) and has Vibe ‘silk printed’ on it (no, it won’t come off!!) – and before you ask, yes, that is Gorilla Glass on both the front and back. The buttons are on the right side, and the SIM card slot on the left, the micro USB port at the base is flanked by speaker grilles and the top has the 3.5 mm audio jack.
But none of these really capture the ‘feel’ of the device. It is certainly not the most compact device we have seen with a 5.0-inch display – at about 143.3 mm long and 70.8 mm in width, the S1 is larger than the other phone that is trying to score on the ‘style’ factor, the OnePlus X which is 140 mm long and 69 mm wide. And the OnePlus X is slimmer too – 6.9 mm against 7.8 mm of the Vibe S1. And yet, the Vibe S1 cuts a far more elegant figure than the OnePlus X does – we suspect the slightly ‘boxy’ of the latter goes against it, making it look a bit like an older iPhone, while the Vibe S1’s slightly more curvy look makes it look actually slimmer than it is – and at 132 grammes, it is rather light for its build (although very solidly put together). It has also been a while since we have seen someone put a dark blue glass back and metal frame on a device – the change gives the S1 a really classy look. Yes, it is slippery as an eel (Lenovo thankfully have placed a back cover in the box), but this is definitely a phone to flaunt.
And it is not a lightweight in the hardware department either. In fact, it made headlines because of a spec sheet quirk – it was the first phone in the world to offer dual front facing cameras (one of 8.0 megapixels and another of 2 megapixels), and made much of the fact that the additional depth of field that these two enabled you to swap backgrounds and make yourself appear in all sorts of places where you in fact were not. Yes, the cameras are there, as is a 13.0-megapixel one at the back. The 5.0-inch display is a full HD one and the phone is powered by a MediaTek 6752 processor with 3 GB RAM, and comes with 32 GB onboard storage (expandable, if you are ready to use one of the two SIM card slots), as well as support for 4G LTE. That is an impressive spec sheet, although we can see people wishing for a larger battery than the 2500 mAh onboard or loathe about the missing gyroscope & magnetometer sensors.
But all this gets overshadowed by the gorgeous looks of the Vibe S1. This is the first phone we have seen in a while that we can see people wanting for its appearance as much as its innards – phones that cost three times as much as its price tag of Rs 15,999 would kill for its looks. So much so that at its launch, Lenovo’s presenter Anuj Sharma said the S1’s appearance actually camouflaged its hardware – the latter was very good but most people will be too busy admiring the exterior to notice the innards. Is that a good or a bad thing? We will let you know when we put on our reviewers’ spectacles and check out the substance beneath all the style in our detailed review.
For now, we will content ourselves with calling this the most gorgeous Vibe yet. Feeling Blue never felt this good!
(We will be putting on our reviewers’ spectacles and checking out the substance beneath all the style in our detailed review. Stay tuned.)