Lenovo A7000 Review: Phablet for Audiophiles on a Budget
Less than a year ago, Lenovo made it clear that they’d partially follow a business model similar to that of Xiaomi, thus allowing themselves to offer good quality phones at highly competitive prices and to sweeten the deal, Lenovo has always been a trusted brand when it comes to post sales service. Lenovo launched the A6000 back in February and was a huge success with the company claiming to have sold 300,000 phones in a span of 2-3 months via flash sales on Flipkart. Quick to leverage on the success, Lenovo also released an improved version of the A6000 in the form of A6000 plus. But what we would want to tell you about today is the A7000. The 5.5″ screen phones coming in the sub-10,000INR range has become highly competitive with more and more of the user base liking the bigger screens for multimedia on the go.
Design & Hardware
The Lenovo A7000 is literally and figuratively a big brother of the A6000 in every sense. It is an elongated version of A6000 and has the same build quality and design. It comes with a 5.5″ screen with a display of 1280×720 pixels giving it a ppi close to 267 which is common across most of the phones in this category – however there is no protection for the screen like the Gorilla Glass and such. Though a big fella, the A7000 is just 8mm thick and weighs 140gms (much lighter when compared to the Redmi Note at 200gms and Yureka at 152gms) making it easier to hold and handle thanks to the non-slippery plastic back that is not easily prone to finger prints, smudges et all.
The metallic power and volume rockers on the right side are of the best among the phones in this category and we loved the tactile feedback it gave us. The top has the USB port for charging (rather strange) and the 3.5mm slot for the earphones (the box has one but you are better off getting a good one!). The back has the 8MP camera with dual LED flash (with a 5MP shooter on the front) and a speaker grill on the right side (rather strange again!).
Take the back cover off and you will find a 2900 mAh battery and a dual SIM duo – one of which (primary) can support a 4G SIM. Sitting right next to them is the micro SD slot that can handle external memory up to 32GB. Considering that the internal memory is a meagre 8GB with just above 4GB available for the users, this comes as a big boon. Under the hood is the Mediatek MT6752m Octa-core SoC clocking at 1.5 GHz and will work with a 2GB RAM to fuel the Vibe UI 3.0 built off Android Lollipop.
The display is good enough (that is it!) and has decent viewing angles and thanks to Lenovo for adding more themes. The default theme is rather juvenile and is painted with over-saturated colors. We say, you are better off with using a custom launcher like Nova and such in case you do not fancy the app-drawer-free UI. Lots of pre-loaded apps and games eat away your device space and you will have to spend some time clearing them off (real bummer on all of Lenovo’s devices). The toggle menu looks too crowded and simply did not appeal to us. The Vibe UI has a long long way to go when compared to the MIUI v6 and Cyanogen OS on it’s competitor devices.
While the rest of the competition is shipping with Qualcomm Snapdragonn processors, Lenovo has chosen a Mediatek processor – so is this is a problem? Yes and No. We used the device for a couple of weeks, and for a usage pattern that does not include intensive & elongated gaming and heavy apps, the A7000 was smooth and clean. Bring on the heavy gaming, go a bit heavy on the multitasking and you will encounter some lags, occasional app crashes and sluggish behavior. But then, unlike some of the Snapdragon SoCs in this segment, the Mediatek doesn’t heat up as much.
The 2900 mAh battery will take you through the day even with slightly intensive usage. Although it still won’t beat the Redmi Note (3G/4G) here, it definitely beats the Yureka on the battery front. Sound output is where the A7000 comes off as a winner, thanks to the Dolby Atmos support – you cannot appreciate this much on the loudspeaker but via the earphones, YES! Lenovo is pressing hard of the fact that the A7000 is the first ever smartphone to come with the Dolby Atmos support, which is true, but we don’t really think it’s such a huge deal-maker as such. It’s definitely a nice-to-have feature and nothing beyond that.
The 8MP and 5MP camera duo are just OK and this is one department where the A7000 loses by a huge margin when compared to the Redmi Note that comes with a stunning 13MP shooter and the Yureka too has a good camera though the colors are a tad oversaturated. Here are few samples to give you an idea of how the pictures come under various conditions. As you can see many of them look washed out.
Let’s cut to the chase – Lenovo A7000 comes with a good build, will certainly give you an enriched experience with the audio output and will deliver a decent, acceptable and satisfactory battery life – and all this for 8,999 INR. But if you were to look around, the Redmi Note comes with a stunning set of cameras, a solid MIUI v6 for an OS and brilliant battery life though the build quality is not as good. And the Yureka too comes with better cameras and the highly popular Cyanogen OS, although is plagued with heating and battery issues. Though the competition have their strengths in camera and the OS, Lenovo beats them hands down in post sales service. If only the cameras were better, the A7000 would’ve had a better chance to beat the competition but with what it comes, it is a tough chance and will be able to go into the hands of a specific crowd only.