Budget smartphones are no more those chunky, plasticky and extremely laggy shot at smartphones which always ran into issues 6 months after they were put to use. Rather they have now become as badass as various flagships and solid at value for money proposition. I recently bought the Lenovo K8 Plus for my mother and thought, let’s try this little guy for a week or two. I will try to not make this boring or lengthy unlike most of the reviews out there. So without wasting any more time, here are my thoughts.
Note: I used the 3GB RAM variant for my testing and the experience could be different if you have the 4GB RAM variant.
|Specifications||Lenovo K8 Plus|
|Price||Rs 10,999 - Rs 11,999|
|Dimensions||147.9 x 73.7 x 9 mm|
|Display||5.2-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) IPS LCD (424 ppi)|
|Processor||Mediatek MT6757 Helio P25 (Octa-Core 2.5 GHz) | Mali T880 MP2|
|RAM/Storage||3GB/32GB and 4GB/32GB (Expandable - Dedicated Slot)|
|Camera||Rear: Dual 13MP+5MP (f/2.0), LED Flash
Front: 8MP, LED Flash
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, microUSB, Headphone jack|
|Battery||4000 mAh (Non-Removable) | Fast Charging|
|Colours||Venom Black, Fine Gold|
Lenovo K8 Plus – The Good
Stock Android: I have always preferred stock android over any other skin in the market and this was surely one of the deciding factors when I was buying this device for my mom, even though she doesn’t really care. Nevermind. Stock Android on Lenovo K8 Plus is smooth, for the most part. Lenovo hasn’t really added any extra sugar to the pure vanilla android and it works for me. However, I did notice minor delays in responsiveness here and there while surfing through the UI. Now, this could be with my 3GB RAM variant but given the 4GB RAM variant also comes with the same chipset, you might have occasional delays in terms of app load times. That said, It didn’t really retard my overall experience. Another perk of having stock android on board is software updates. I received one update which essentially involved some bug fixes and Lenovo has confirmed that this device will receive Android Oreo by end of this year so that’s that.
Compact Design: You might not be with me on this one though. I agree, the Lenovo K8 Plus holds a dated design and most of you might not even like it if you are coming from a Xiaomi smartphone, but it never felt a sub 10K device to me. Thanks to a slightly smaller 5.2-inch display, the device fitted perfectly in my smaller than average hands. The button placement is on point as well with the power button (textured) and volume rockers sitting on the right side and the dedicated ‘Music Key’ located on the left. We have our beloved 3.5 mm headphone jack at the top, the micro USB charging and data syncing port, a single down firing speaker and the primary microphone located at the bottom. The back curves around the edges to make it easier to grip even if you have small hands. That said, it can get slippery sometimes so a grippy case is surely recommended here. The back of the device is a smudge house and to be honest, it does take quite a bit from the overall premium feeling design. I didn’t drop this guy even once but given it is carved out of aluminium, it should take most of the drops pretty easily. Not sure about the screen though.
Display: Lenovo K8 Plus sports a 5.2-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) IPS LCD display which gives us a screen density of 424 pixels per inch. Keeping the numbers aside, the display on the Lenovo K8 Plus is great. Being an LCD panel, the colour temperature tilts more to the cooler side. The colours are mostly vibrant, the display gets decently bright outdoors. The auto-brightness was something which was not very accurate so I kept it on manual, most of the time. Viewing angles is not a problem as well and all in all, I was pretty satisfied with the display on the Lenovo K8 Plus.
Battery Life: Well, this has to come because the K8 Plus packs a massive 4000 mAh Li-ion non-removable battery. Converting this into real life, the battery life on the K8 Plus is more than satisfactory. I could easily get an average of 6 hours of screen on time (SoT) with about 1.5 – 2 days of usage. My usual day would include, 1-2 hours of calls, 1 hour streaming on YouTube, about half an hour of gaming and usual web and social media surfing for most of the time. Some of my days also included me using the camera like mad. Also, the charger inside the box is 5 Volts 2 Amps which does converts to some fast charging capabilities. In other words, the Lenovo K8 Plus can go from 10% to 100% in about 2 hours which is decent, in my opinion.
Music Key: This is something which can come in really handy. The K8 Plus comes with a dedicated ‘Music Key’ which when pressed – Play/Pause music, by default. However, the good part here is that you can remap this key to various other actions. The Music Key can toggle flashlight, start the camera, take a screenshot or open any app. I couldn’t remap it to open Google Assistant though which could be extremely handy when you need to ask a quick question and saying ‘Ok Google’ might be too embarrassing.
Lenovo K8 Plus – The Bad
Camera: Okay, here is a thing. For a good camera, a software is equally important and I don’t like the one on the Lenovo K8 Plus. The camera interface is fine rather simple, I would say, but it takes ages to click a picture. If you ever want to take a quick snap of a moment which will not last for a long time, don’t take the Lenovo K8 Plus. Even though the picture quality is decent for the price, the software is something which disappointed me big time. Further, the bokeh effect or background blur effect is quite unsteady. You will have to be extra careful and lucky to get the bokeh effect working. Low-light shots are even worse. Sometimes, the device takes about 4-5 seconds to click a picture.
Here are some camera samples.
Now let me get this very clear. I am utterly impressed by the picture quality this sensor can capture especially in good lighting conditions. It’s the software that disappoints and I hope Lenovo fixes it this with a future update. The primary rear camera produces some really good colours with adequate details in most of the pictures. It does like to overexpose sometimes but I have seen worse cameras in this price range. Well, you cannot expect a lot from a device this economical to do wonders in low-light conditions. Still, you will get some decent shots here with some really impressive amount of light sometimes. However, don’t go to a lounge with the K8 Plus being the only camera in your pocket. Also, the bokeh effect in low-light condition doesn’t work and even when it does, you shouldn’t bother saving it to your device.
Flippng the device, the front camera produces some really vibrant and high contrasting pictures. So much so that it sometimes takes away the flavour of natural colours. I don’t really mind a camera putting in some extra colours for it to become more vibrant. It shouldn’t be overdone though. I like the amount of detail and a wide range of colours that this selfie camera can produce.
Moving on to the video quality. It is average at best. The K8 Plus can shoot 1080p videos at 30fps and there is no OIS so most of your shots will suffer if you have shaky hands like me. Further, the audio wasn’t at par and was often muted.
Audio (Speakers): I am not personally a fan of bottom-firing speakers, especially when they go extremely loud but doesn’t bring up the quality that much. This could be with just me, but I didn’t find the Dolby Atmos app doing wonders here as well, at least for the external speaker. The app essentially fiddles with the equalizer settings which does improve the quality but it still failed to impress me. Plugging the earphones does change the story but only by a bit. I found the default volume of the music output from the Lenovo K8 Plus quite low when the Dolby App is disabled. When enabled, the situation improves drastically. The Dolby Atmos app not only bumps up the volume but also adds that missing quality. However, Lenovo is surely making up for a poor hardware with the Dolby Atmos app.
Lenovo K8 Plus – The Rest
The fingerprint scanner located at the back of the device is extremely fast and accurate so more points to Lenovo for that. The gaming performance on my 3GB RAM variant was great as well. Although I am not a hardcore gamer, I played the Asphalt 8 Airborne, Asphalt Extreme, Into the Dead, Modern Combat and a bunch of other light games and didn’t notice any frame drops or notable lags. The device does get a little warm to touch after about 20-25 minutes of intensive gaming but it doesn’t get uncomfortable though.
The device comes with three touch type capacitive buttons which are not backlit. Lenovo did include some bloatware right out of the box including a bunch of Microsoft apps and Truecaller which can’t be uninstalled.
RAM management on this device was impressive as well. I had all the apps running in the background with almost 500 MB free, most of the times. Out of the 32GB, about 23GB is user accessible out of the box.
Another important point to note here is that this device comes with Dual SIM and a dedicated microSD slot which is very rare today. I was really impressed by the selfie camera on the Lenovo K8 Plus and yes, it also sports a front-facing flash which is rather irritating than useful.
Should you buy it?
Lenovo K8 Plus is a great budget offering from a company which has been jointly ruling this segment with Xiaomi. I got the device for about Rs 8100 during Flipkart’s Diwali Sale which surely affects my opinion here. As a final verdict, if you have a budget of about Rs 10,000 and you love Stock Android, Lenovo K8 Plus is an almost perfect device for you. However, a little more bucks and you can consider the likes of Xiaomi Mi A1 and Moto G5s Plus which comes with a fresh design, a better camera, and same Stock Android. So what do you think? Are you planning to buy the Lenovo K8 Plus? If yes, would you buy it? Let us know in the comment section below.
Also, this was my first review for TQnet so a feedback is highly appreciated.