Overview
Introduction
Design
Display
Hardware
Software and multimedia
Camera
Performance
Battery
Conclusion
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Lenovo A7000 Review

Affordable 4G phablet with a balanced performance
By Samir Makwana on 2015-08-17
Key Features
  • 5.5-inch HD display
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop
  • 4G LTE support
  • Wi-Fi 802.11ac support
What we like
  • Balanced performance
  • Great battery life
  • Nifty features in Vibe 3.0 UI
What we don't like
  • Dolby Atmos not as effective as expected
  • The second SIM slot supports only 2G
  • Storage space is a only 3.1GB
8
Our Score
Introduction

Competitive hardware, consistent software, and satisfactory all-round performance are the three features that are most sought out in the sub-₹10,000 segment in India. The A7000, just like its predecessors - the A6000 and the A6000 Plus - is laden with features, but what we really hoped from the device was a phone that wasn’t just another souped up Android smartphone with a big battery.  Announced last month, the A7000 has the distinction of being the very first Lenovo device with Dolby Atmos technology. The launch of the phone signifies Lenovo’s entry into the sub-₹10,000 4G LTE-enabled phablets, which currently plays host to other handsets such as the Yu Yureka, Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 4G and Huawei Honor 4X. Let’s see if the A7000 can hold its own in this fiercely contested segment.

Lenovo A7000 Review - Retail package contents

Design
7

The new A7000 has a plastic rear panel with matte finish, which prevents fingerprint smudges while offering a much better grip when compared to devices with a glossy back. The screen has a earpiece on the top with a front facing camera, along with an LED notification light on its left. Three capacitive buttons rest at the chin, which was a surprise to us given that Google has been advocating software menu buttons since Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.  

Lenovo A7000 Review - Design

On the right are the textured power and volume buttons, which boast a metallic finish. The 8 MP main camera sits within a square, metallic frame on the top right corner, with a dual LED flash under it.  On the left is a secondary microphone, with a speaker mesh resting an inch under it. The microUSB port rests at the top middle while the standard audio port rests on the left side. The two SIM card slots and memory card slots are placed under the removable back panel. Thankfully, the A7000 has a removable battery. Measuring 8mm thick and weighing 140 grams, the A7000 has a fairly light feel to it.

Lenovo A7000 Review - Side buttons

Thanks to these improvements, the A7000 manages to be much more ergonomic than other devices in the A series, like the A6000 and A6000 Plus. Also interesting to note is that the A7000 doesn’t sport the Lenovo logo below the earpiece, unlike other phones made by the manufacturer.

All in all, we liked the matte finish and the textured metallic buttons, but we were disappointed with the build quality, particularly with how the rear panel did not snugly fit the sides of the device. This is only noticeable when you look at the phone from the sides, but it is a niggle in an otherwise well-built phone.

Lenovo A7000 Review - Capacitive Buttons

 

Display
8

The Lenovo A7000 has a 5.5-inch IPS display which offers great colour accuracy and wide viewing angles. It also sports Asahi’s Dragontrail glass for protection against scratches. Supporting 720x1280 native resolution, this disply offers pixel density of 267 PPI (Pixes per Inch). The display supports multitouch and also has three capacitive menu buttons accomodated but without backlighting.  

Lenovo A7000 Review - Display

Hardware
8

An octa-core 1.5GHz MediaTek MT6572M mobile chipset provides sufficient processing power along with 2GB of RAM. The phone offers 8GB built-in storage by default, out of which only 3.1GB storage is available to the user for apps and media. The phone has a 32GB microSD slot, which is a bit of a letdown considering that in this price point, other devices offer microSD slots that can accommodate cards up to 64GB in size. The smartphone also has a reverse charging feature which when used with USB OTG support lets you charge other phones through the microUSB connector.

The charging speed is slow and not as efficient as Quick Charge 2.0, but should you need to charge another device and are not in possession of a power bank, the feature comes in handy. In terms of network connectivity, the phone offers Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 and the requisite LTE bands — Band 3 (1800 MHz) and Band 40 (2300 MHz) — for India. However, out of the two SIM card slots, only one supports 4G networks, while the other is limited to 2G networks. 4G is also limited — at least initially — to data, with voice calls over data networks yet to be introduced in the country.

Software and multimedia
8

The A7000 comes pre-loaded with Lenovo’s latest Vibe 3.0 UI running atop Android 5.0 Lollipop. Lenovo offers a variety of apps on this phone by default, such as Shareit, Sync it, Evernote and UC Browser. The Truecaller app, which has been integrated in the dialer, is useful but slows the phone during calls. When it comes to customizability, there’s a Theme Center through which you can alter the look and feel of your device, with Lenovo offering several free themes by default. Lenovo — as is the case with most Chinese vendors — has customized the UI heavily, and although Vibe UI 3.0 is cleaner and more modern-looking when seen against its predecessor, several features that are a mainstay on Android — such an an app drawer — are missing. Another point worth mentioning is that the icons themselves, which are sandboxed within a square and feature rounded corners, seem to be inspired from iOS.

Lenovo A7000 Review - Software and Multimedia

While there is a considerable amount of bloatware on the device, Lenovo at least allows you to uninstall the bundled apps should you wish to do so. Dolby Atmos — implemented in the form of software on the device— is an equalizer that dynamically creates spatial and multi-directional audio effects for videos and movies. 

Lenovo A7000 Review - User Interface

Vibe UI also offers a couple of useful features - Quick Snap, which turns the volume down key into the camera button, and double tap to wake, through which you can take a quick glance at the notifications and time on the lock screen. Also included are lock screen gestures, which automatically launch a predefined app upon drawing a gesture when the screen is switched off. Only two apps are supported by the lock screen  gestures, so make sure you set two of your most widely used apps to work with the feature. While Lenovo’s Vibe UI 3.0 aims at recreating the smoothness of Android’s Lollipop, it lags at several instances. Most of these are minor niggles, but they still deter from the overall user experience of the device. 

Camera
8

The A7000 has an 8MP rear camera with dual-LED flash and a 5MP front camera. The dual-LED flash helps take good quality images in low-light conditions, but excessive noise manages to creep in. Pictures taken during the day also lacked detail and were slightly hazy. If you’re one to take selfies regularly, the front camera of the A7000 won’t let you down.  The phone focuses without any hassles, and the stock camera client has a nine-panel grid that allows you to frame your images. Videos in Full HD and HD resolutions can be recorded easily but the focusing takes a while. 

Lenovo A7000 Review - Camera

Performance
8

Without any stutters or hiccups, the A7000 renders gaming an absolutely enjoyable experience. What was especially remarkable while gaming on this phone was that playing graphic-intensive games did not heat up the rear of the phone. In terms of synthetic benchmarks, it scored 43014 with AnTuTu benchmark and around 8994 with 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited. Clearly, it packs a great hardware muscle to perform all-round system task and also fares well at graphics intensive activities. The earpiece delivers good sound output, but the rear speaker doesn’t give loud enough sound output even when the Dolby Atmos was enabled. You can also easily switch between various open apps in this phone using Lollipop’s card style multitasking feature. All in all, the A7000 delivers a balanced performance, and makes for a great gaming device.
Lenovo A7000 Review - Benchmarks

 

Battery
9

The A7000 packs a fantastic 2,900 mAh Li-ion battery and takes up to 2.5 hours for a full charge. With mixed usage, which involves making several calls, frequently using WhatsApp, watching full HD videos, gaming for half and hour and listening to music for less than an hour, the A7000 manages to run for a little more than a day and a half. Heavier usage would perhaps make the battery last only a day. Promising a nice backup at just 2,900 mAh mark, this phone is sure to be a nice competition within its price bracket.

Lenovo A7000 Review - 2,900 mAh Li-ion battery

Conclusion

The Lenovo A7000 is priced reasonably at ₹ 8,999 for it delivers a balanced performance and is quite likely to appeal to the mobile gamers. This smartphone is available in two colours - the Onyx Black, which has the matte finish on its rear and the Pearl White, which has the glossy rear. As compared to the 4G LTE supporting Redmi Note 4G and Honor 4X, the A7000 shows much more greater potential. However, since the Redmi Note 4G offers only a single SIM slot, the A7000 competes neck-to-neck with the Honor 4X which offers 4G SIM support in both the slots. But for those looking for a slightly cheaper than the Honor 4X, the A7000 fares as the best option. 

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