Overview
Introduction
Design
Display
Hardware
Software and apps
Camera
Audio and video
Performance
Battery life
Conclusion
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Lenovo Vibe P1 Review

A mid-range smartphone for those of you with serious battery issues
By Prajith Sabbani on 2016-01-19
Key Features
  • 5,000mAh battery
  • Full-HD display
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Rocket charge technology
What we like
  • Stellar battery life
  • Rocket charge technology allows for quick charging
  • Impressive camera
  • Can be used as a power bank
  • Supports USB OTG (On-The-Go)
What we don't like
  • Display is slightly dull
  • Fingerprint scanner could have been faster
  • Lags occasionally
  • Slightly on the heavier side
7.5
Our Score
Introduction

Up until recently, smartphone manufacturers had been focusing on manufacturing devices that boasted of high-end features. In this process, battery life was not given as much attention as it should have. But, thankfully, this trend seems to be finally changing. Last year, we saw Gionee introduce a couple of smartphones in the Marathon series that boasted of battery capacities as big as on power banks. Lenovo, the Chinese tech giant is the latest to join the bandwagon. 

Introduction

Lenovo has recently added two new smartphones to its Vibe lineup - the Lenovo Vibe P1 and a less expensive Vibe P1m - both of which focus primarily on providing a good battery life. The Vibe P1 packs a massive 5,000mAh battery and is available in two colours - platinum and graphite grey. 

We spent a week with the Vibe P1. Here’s how the device fares in real world usage. 

Design
7.5

The Vibe P1 has a metal unibody design which is quite reminiscent of the HTC flagship devices. On first glance, the design of the Vibe P1 comes across as rather plain and uninspiring. The device also has a slight curve on its rear, similar to that of the Moto X Play. This curved design makes it comfortable to hold in hand. We got our hands on a grey coloured unit of the device. However, what’s most impressive about the built of this phone is that even after packing a massive 5,000mAh battery, Lenovo has managed to restrict the phone’s thickness to 9.9mm, and its weight to only 189g. That said, one handed usage is still a bit cumbersome owing to the 5.5-inch display.

Design1

A 5.5-inch Full-HD display dominates the front. A 5-megapixel front-facing camera, LED notification light, earpiece along with the proximity sensor and the ambient light sensor are placed above the display. Like Samsung smartphones, the Vibe P1 has a hardware home button situated between the two capacitive ones below the screen. Both the capacitive buttons - one for accessing recent tabs and the other for going back - are backlit. The Vibe P1 also boasts of being one of the few phones in its price point to feature a fingerprint scanner, which is integrated with the home button.

Design2

On the top edge, you have an audio port as well as a secondary microphone for noise cancellation. A Micro-USB port, flanked by two grilles on its either sides, rests on the bottom edge. The one on the right is the mono speaker, whereas the one on the left houses the primary noise cancellation microphone. The volume rocker key and the power button below it, are present on the right edge of the device. The left edge, on the other hand, has a slider for activating the power saving mode on, which gets activated when you slide it upwards. Unlike the buttons on the right edge, the slider has a textured finish and offers good tactile feedback. 

Design3

The rear of the Vibe P1 has a soft, matte finish and is slightly curved, as mentioned earlier. A 13-megapixel camera rests on the top portion of the rear. A dual-tone LED flash and the NFC label rest just below it. The ‘Vibe’ and ‘Lenovo’ branding is also clearly etched on the rear.

Design4

As mentioned earlier, the device has a unibody design, implying that the back panel is non-removable. However, a strip of the top portion of the rear is removable, which holds the slots for the Nano-SIM card and the microSD card. This placement of the SIM slots is quite different from what most other smartphone manufacturers offer on their devices. The removable strip is made of plastic and doesn’t feel sturdy, either. We recommend that you use the Vibe P1 along with the case that’s provided in the box to protect the device.

Display
7

The front of the Vibe P1 is dominated by a 5.5-inch Full-HD display. It has a resolution of 1080x1920p and a pixel density of 401PPI. The display is protected from scratches by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 technology. However, the lack of oleophobic coating makes the display prone to smudges. As a result of smudges being retained on the screen, legibility of the display is just about average. The screen is also quite reflective, which in turn also affects sunlight legibility. Moreover, the display is not as bright as what you get on many other smartphones in the market. Therefore, in order to brighten up the screen, Lenovo also offers you different modes to choose from, such as the comfort mode, super bright mode, custom mode and smart brightness mode. These modes, especially the super bright mode and smart brightness mode, allow you to increase the brightness, which thereby increases legibility of the text in sunlight. 

Display

Hardware
7.5

Under the hood is an octa-core 64-bit Snapdragon 615 chipset with four ARM Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.5GHz and the remaining four ARM Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.21GHz. The Adreno 405 GPU takes care of the graphics. The device comes with 2GB of RAM coupled with 32GB of onboard storage, which can be further expanded up to 128GB via a microSD card for hoarding all of your favourite movies and photos. 

Hardware

The device also supports USB OTG, which thereby allows you to access files from your external storage device directly. A noteworthy addition to the hardware is the fingerprint scanner. It’s good to see this feature in the Vibe P1 which is actually rarely seen in mid-range phones. However, a gripe we had with the fingerprint scanner was that it didn’t work accurately all the time. The power saving button is also a new hardware addition to the Vibe P1, which activates the various power saving modes.

Hardware

Connectivity options include Bluetooth v4.1, NFC, dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac and A-GPS. The device is 4G ready for Indian bands i.e band 3 (1800MHz) and band 40 (2300MHz); however only one SIM can be used on 4G LTE at a time while the other is dependent on 2G.

Software and apps
7

The Vibe P1 runs Android 5.1 Lollipop with a layer of Lenovo’s Vibe UI on top of it. This UI appears to be a little more customizable when compared to its older versions. For example, you can add the frequently used controls to the notification centre as per your requirements. Vibe UI also offers an app drawer, a feature rarely seen on Chinese smartphones these days. We noticed occasionally lags in the UI, which was annoying.

The device comes preloaded with a few social networking apps like Facebook, Twitter and Skype. It also has productivity apps like Evernote and UC browser. The software also provides you with most of the Google’s basic apps such as Maps, Hangouts, Google+, Music, Gmail, YouTube which tend to consume significant amount of internal storage space. While, Google’s apps cannot be uninstalled, the other applications can be uninstalled.

Camera
7.5

A 13-megapixel rear camera has now become the standard for mid-range smartphones, and the Lenovo Vibe P1 is no exception. It has a 13-megapixel rear camera coupled with a dual-tone LED flash. The camera app opens quickly and doesn't lag much, either. Tap to focus works well and doesn't take much time, either. Images have good depth to them, which is really impressive. Moreover, colour reproduction in the images was accurate most of the times. Images were also fairly detailed, especially the ones taken in sunlight. Images captured indoors also turned out to be decent. Low-light images had a little noise in them, but looked fairly decent. The front shooter also does a good job.

Camera1

camera2

camera3

The Vibe P1 is capable of recording 1080p videos which were decent. That said, few areas in the videos were slightly overexposed. The camera app also provides you with interesting features, such as double clicking the volume button when the device is in sleep mode, to take a picture. 

Audio and video
7

The Vibe P1 has a dedicated player for videos, but lacks a dedicated music player. For audio playback, you will need to make use of Google Play Music. The device has a single loudspeaker at the bottom, which manages to produce loud sound. However, the sound quality is only average and could have definitely been better. The device also fails to play some of the audio formats out of the box.

When it comes to video playback, the phone played all of our 1080p videos without any stutter. When we played our regular 1080p test video, ‘Big Buck Bunny’, at 30fps and 60fps, there were no signs of lag or stutter. As expected, the device struggled to play 4K videos. 

Performance
7.5

In terms of performance, our experience on the Vibe P1 was decent. There were no significant lags, and the device managed to handle multitasking smoothly. That said, we witnessed few UI lags once in a while. There were also couple of times when apps like Instagram would stop responding all of a sudden.

performance

As mentioned earlier, the Vibe P1 is powered by a Snapdragon 615 chipset coupled with 2GB of RAM. The performance of the device in our regular benchmark tests was nothing great. It scored 31,720 in AnTuTu Benchmark v6.0 in 64-bit mode. If numbers are anything to go by, the phone may not be the best out there, but gives a fairly consistent performance. Even though the device scored a meagre 14fps in our GFX benchmark test, we did not witness any frame drops or stutters even at higher graphic settings while playing graphic-intensive games like Asphalt 8: Airborne. Moreover, games like Modern Combat 5 also ran smoothly. Do note that the device does heat up pretty quickly while playing graphic heavy games.

benchmark

It is easy to connect external storage devices to the Vibe P1 via USB OTG. Transferring data from external storage devices to the phone does not consume much time, either. Additionally, the Vibe P1 can be used as a power bank to charge other devices. We charged the iPhone 5S, and it did so without any issues. Call quality is average and we did not experience any signal drops, either. That said, we did face a couple of issues, one of them being the slow fingerprint scanner. Apart from being slow, it also failed to verify our registered finger often.

performance2

Battery life
9

Battery life is what makes the Vibe P1 stand out from the other mid-range smartphones. As mentioned earlier, the device packs a massive 5,000mAh battery. Interestingly, Lenovo includes the Rocket Charge technology, what is, in simpler terms known as fast charging. The Chinese tech giant claims that the phone can provide a couple of hours of talk time after just a 5-minute charge. The device takes around one hour 40 minutes to reach full charge from 0 to 100%, which is less than what most other devices take to charge. In this aspect, the Vibe P1 is clearly the winner when compared with the Marathon M5 as the latter takes around five hours to charge fully. Do note, however, that the Vibe P1 heats up a bit while charging.

In our video loop tests, after playing a video continuously for four and a half hours, the device consumed only 20% of the battery. This is really impressive considering that the device has a Full-HD display. The device managed to last for almost two days on heavy usage which involves gaming for a couple of hours, chatting on different messaging apps, scrolling through multiple web pages, a little bit of shopping from different applications like Jabong and Myntra, and watching videos in YouTube with the location-based services kept on. On moderate usage, the device can be expected to last for two days easily.

Lenovo has provided a dedicated button, known as the OneKey Power Saver button, to turn the power saving mode on. Once the power saving mode is turned on, you will have access only to six functions namely Phone, Contacts, SMS, Calculator, Calendar, and Clock. To be honest, we didn't feel a need to use the power saver mode as the device itself offers a great battery life, and we feel that having this feature on a device with such a huge battery life, may not be as useful.

Conclusion

The Lenovo Vibe P1 is available online for Rs.15,999, and makes for a suitable choice if battery life is your primary concern. It offers decent performance alongside an amazing battery life. 

That said, if a sharp Super AMOLED display and an even better battery life are what you’re looking for, and you don’t really mind spending Rs.2,000 extra, then the Marathon M5 is the clear winner. 

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