Lenovo has geared up its inventory of smartphones that lies under sub-INR 10K category. With already a cheapest 4G LTE enabled smartphone (A6000) present in the same range, Lenovo decided to be more aggressive about its competition in India. And here we are with A7000, only just about a couple of months later. The new device was first unveiled at MWC Expo in Barcelona and has already seen its first flash sale in India. Was upgrading A6000 so soon was a good choice? Does A7000 live up to the hype of a great mid-ranger? We answer all these questions in our review below.
The device sports a plastic body and feels very light to hold, though, it is not flimsy at all. Meaning you don’t have to worry about leaving fingerprint marks or any smudge on it. The large display size allows the device to be slimmer than its predecessor while the flat profile on edges and rear sides makes it feel comfortable in hands.
Our review unit is black, though, we liked the white color on this device that gave it a more attractive look. On the right edge, you’ll find the volume rocker keys and a power button that are pretty comfortable to use considering the chrome touch. While the left edge and bottom edges are empty, you can see that top edge is filled with 3.5mm jack and the microUSB port, although, there is a primary microphone placed on the bottom edge corner. The design aesthetics of the device are almost the same as what we saw on the A6000, which is a good thing as we liked the design of the device. For a budget mid-ranger, this is as premium as it gets.
We were disappointed by a bad decision by Lenovo on A6000, and we are disappointed in this one too. As A7000 also excludes the Corning Gorilla Glass display and instead depends on the Ashai glass, which is the maker of the Dragontrail. But don’t confuse this as company hasn’t provided any kind of protection. So, the Asahi glass is all you got. Though, if you want to be optimistic, then it isn’t as bad as it seems. We think this is a good move because, the Dragontrail protection mades a display rough, as we experience on A6000.
Other than the protection glass, everything is just good on the display. The viewing angles, color saturation, in fact, you can see a good amount of detail when using the device under sunlight. But remember, only when the brightness level is high.
The 5.5-inch 720p display is somewhat similar to what we saw on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G and the Yu Yureka. While we can’t say that’s a good thing, but it certainly implies that the A7000 is on par with the current display standards in the mid-range.
This is the only smartphone from Lenovo right now that comes with Android Lollipop 5.0 out of the box. While company have already made confirmation for its popular devices that is receiving the Android Lollipop update in the coming weeks. We liked how the software is integrated with Lollipop features, although, the Vibe UI has always been clean and tidy, this major OS change now allows to take advantage of animations. Since, the chipset is 64-bit, and Lollipop itself is a 64-bit architecture OS, therefore, taking all the possible advantages it can.
The company has been claiming that they have integrated the software tools that are present on their high-end smartphones like Vibe X2 and Vibe Z2 Pro. There are some Smart gestures that we talked about in the X2 review, which can be seen on A7000 too. Like features of high-end Lenovo smartphones integrated, Dolby Atmos Audio enhancements.
Hardware & Performance
This is the part where we learn whether the hardware comes installed on the device is giving a performance it should or not. But first let’s talk about the specifics of the hardware on A7000. The device is powered by a 64-bit MediaTek MT6752m Octa-core processor that clocks at 1.5 GHz, alongside a Mali-T760MP2 GPU. It is then accompanied by a 2GB of RAM and 8GB internal storage. While the highlight here is the support of 4G LTE bands in the country, which is why it is called a future-ready smartphone. And with large display size, we needed a large battery rating, so Lenovo provided that too at a 2900mAh rating.
First let’s talk about the benchmarks; the device easily hit the mark of 43K in Antutu Benchmark test. That is what makes it more interesting as the Octa-Core chipset on device was easily able to beat the likes of Samsung Galaxy S5, Xiaomi Mi 4 as well as achieved score close to HTC One M8 and OnePlus One. Looks like the pairing of processor and increased RAM created a perfect combination of power, which was lacked in A6000 as we reviewed it last month.
The thing that we didn’t like about the device is the internal storage, as 8GB wasn’t good enough because the user available was around 3.6GB only. It’s like you don’t want users to install the heavy games after promising the high-end 3D gaming support. Though, if you’re a power user then you might get around this storage issue by using a microSD card and even a USB OTG, as it supports both of them.
While talking about the game play the device surely performs up to the mark, as we didn’t noticed lags of any kind. We played Asphalt 8 at the highest possible graphics settings and were surprised by the smooth performance. While most people would think that a Snapdragon & Adreno combination is the best for gaming, well this combination of MediaTek’s latest Octa-core chipset (MT6752m) with Mali-T760MP2 is just amazing. We also played few other games, like Dead Trigger 2, Modern Kombat 5: Blackout Edition, as well as Riptide GP2. Moreover, the Dolby Atmos take the level to such heights that you’ll love the gameplay. Although, a sad part here is that internal storage is just 8GB and less than 4GB user available, so you can anticipate that how gaming would be taking a hit. You’d only able to install one big game at a time, which is let down for such great gaming device.
The big screen size demands a big battery and therefore Lenovo installed a 2900mAh battery. But it is little less than what we saw in the Huawei Honor 4X and the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G, which had 3000mAh and 3100mAh battery. But with company’s optimization, we didn’t experience any issues that would question the battery life of the device. We saw 20% drop in the battery with around 1 hour of screen on time and 10 hours of standby time, whereas the Wi-Fi, network and some apps like Facebook, Twitter were running in background all that time.
The A7000 packs 8MP rear shooter with Sony’s Exmor IMX219 sensor, which is exactly the same that we saw on the predecessor. It was good for the pricing of A6000 but doesn’t exactly justify as the device is competing with the likes of Honor 4X and Redmi Note 4G, and both of them sports a 13MP rear camera. While the front-facing camera is of 5MP, which we think is exactly the same that we saw in the Vibe X2, as the image output was similar.
Talking about the interface of the camera app, it is as simple as it can get. Lenovo has tried to make a universal camera app for its all handsets while some features are only present on the high-end smartphones, there are few of them that company integrated on the A7000. This sure can make you feel good about the camera app.
The captures from the rear module were pretty amazing in the sunlight while the low-light images were not that great, the reason being the low ISO offering and exposure. Well, an 8MP camera sensor is bounded by its limits too; this is all you’ll get from that. Remember, this is something that you’ll have to adjust with.
The best thing to like about this device is how good it feels in the hand, apart from having a lightweight, it has a solid build quality. Though, don’t take for a very sturdy phone. The Vibe UI is perfectly optimized and sits right over the Android Lollipop. While the performance of the device is pretty smooth over other smartphones in this range, but you do get little low battery rating than the competition. The only thing that disappoints on A7000 is it a rear shooter, which does not see an upgrade at all over the 8MP module that we test on A6000. All things considered, it is a worthy warrior in the realm if mid-range smartphones that have all the talents to defeat its opponents.