Lenovo K3 Note Review [English]
Klik hier voor de Nederlandse review: productreview: Lenovo K3 Note Wit review door benbaba
Design and body
Extras (additional links, comparison, high-res pics)
Lenovo is the largest manufacturer of personal computers in China and worldwide a well-known manufacturer of consumer electronics, but does the company make smartphones too? Yes, the do! However they don't sell them everywhere, not in the Netherlands for example. In fact, Lenovo Mobile Communication Technology Ltd. produces smartphones since 2002. So Lenovo is not only a large manufacturer of PC's, but also that of smartphones.
The goal of the company is to develop and deliver "stylish, simple, innovative and high-quality" products. Since 2009, the mobile division is fully part of the Lenovo Group and in 2014 the company also acquired Motorola, as shown in the timeline below.
The company produces various types of devices divided into a number of series. So, for example, they have the premium Vibe Series and fashionable S series. This review is about the Lenovo K3 Note; a K series device. The K3 series devices are also known as the "Lemon Music", because there are models available that contain a yellow backcover and a large circular speaker on the back.
The Lenovo K3 Note is available at a very competitive price. The main features of this device are the 5.5-inch Full-HD IPS display, the 13MP camera and the 64-bit MediaTek MT6752 chipset - supported by 2GB of RAM. Additionally, it has space for for two SIM-cards and a microSD card slot. The main specs round off a reasonable upper midrange device. The K3 Note runs Android 5.0 Lollipop and you can buy it for only 145 dollars in China. Internationally for about 179 dollar, which is still a great deal. Summarized you''ll get the following specifications:
5.5" 1080p capacitive IPS LCD screen
Physical home, back and menu buttons
64-bit octa-core processor: MediaTek MT6752 (1.7GHz)
ARM Mali-T760 GPU
Android - 5.0 Lollipop
13MP AF camera with dual flash and 1080p video recording
5MP front camera
16GB of storage and a microSD card slot
2 GB of memory
Dual SIM with 4G LTE support, Bluetooth, FM radio and a microUSB 2.0 port
This review is about the 'normal' K3 Note (k50-t) that has a white backcover, without an additional speaker. There is also a smaller K3 (K30-T) version for sale, for those who think the k50-t is too big.My K3 Note comes from Pandawill and they sell it for $ 179.99 at the moment. They sell the white and yellow version, click the following link: http://www.pandawill.com/landingpage/K3Note.html
The K3 Note comes packed in a fairly compact box and it only contains the standard accessories without any extras. In the brown and black box you will find the phone, the charger, a micro USB cable and a Chinese manual with a warranty card. On top of the light brown box you'll find Lenovo''s logo and not far from it a product sticker and some barcodes. On the flip side you'll find a sticker with specifications, but in Chinese. However you can still see that the box contains the k50-T , and the EAN and IMEI numbers are readable too.
If you open the box you''ll see the device placed on top and you can easily pick it up with a handy pull tab. Underneath the device you'll find some documents and the accessories. The included charger has powerful capacity of 2A, but it needs an EU attachment.
The Lenovo K3 Note has a simple and ordinary design. The front is almost completely flat: the screen is not entirely flush with the screen edges. You can feel the edges with you finger and it could protect the screen a bit if it drops. The device contains a capacitive home, back and menu button below the screen and they do not contain a back light. The home button does not have the usual home/house as a symbol, but it looks a shamrock. Furthermore, you'll see the usual sensors, a speaker, a camera and a notification led.
The screen itself is dark enough to fit the whole. The device has a length of 152.6, mm, a width of 76.2 mm, and a thickness of 7.99 mm. The device is quite thin and with 146 grams not heavy. The size and weight of the body are pleasant for a 5.5-inch device; the K3 Note is not too big or too heavy.
The back is just as simple and flat as the front, only the edges on the left-and right bend very slightly were they meet the sides of the phone. This is not the case for the top and bottom of the backcover. The plastic back cover has a white color and in certain lighting conditions it may also seem like silverish. The cover is matte, so you hardly notice any fingerprints.
The 13MP camera is placed in the upper corner. The lens does not protrude and it's surrounded by a silver edge. Below the camera Lenovo placed a double flash. In the other top corner you'll find a second microphone and not far from it a speaker grill. Normally the speaker grill is placed horizontally, but Lenovo placed it vertically and slightly below the speaker grill you'll find Lenovo's logo. The back side of the phone is not very remarkable or unique, but the placement of the speaker is quite uncommon.
The sides of the phone are completely flat and basically the battery-cover covers the sides. For example, phones with a metal frame contain a back cover that only covers the back of the phone, but the backcover of the Lenovo K3 Note also covers the sides of the phone.
All buttons are placed on the right side and from top to bottom you'll see the volume rocker and the smaller power button. Both buttons have a silver color and they are very easy to reach. The left side is completely flat and it contains nothing.
The bottom only contains the main microphone and next to you'll find the slit to take off the back panel.
Centered at the top you'll find the micro-USB connector and next to it the 3.5mm audio jack.
Underneath the backcover you'll find the removable Li-ion battery. The battery sits tight in the case and it's actually not very easy to remove. However you can open the backover very easily because of the slit. Underneath the battery you will find the usual printing and some stickers with information. Additionally, you can clearly see that SIM slot 1 supports a USIM and provides support for 4G, 3G and 2G. SIM slot 2 only supports 2G. Both sim slots support a Micro SIM (3FF) card. Next to SIM slot 1 you'll find a micro SD slot.
You can use the K3 Note on-handed, but not everyone will be able to reach all corners with his or her thumb. The K3 Note is reasonably compact compared to other 5.5 "phones. The device feels very light and it also feels good in your hand. It doesn't look very expensive or luxurious due to all the plastic, but nevertheless the device seems well built and finished.
Have a look at extras - at the very end of this review - to watch the above pictures in high resolution.
The screen of the K3 Note seems to be better than average and it shows a very acceptable images, especially for its money. The screen has a decent amount of sharpness and it has a nice contrast.The color reproduction seems to be fine: all the colors look quite accurate, but I find white a bit yellowish at times.The IPS technology provides great viewing angles, but you can clearly notice a decrease in brightness, contrast and color saturation at an angle. The screen has no problems with backlight bleeding, only at the bottom a little, but nothing serious.
Below you''ll find some pictures of the FHD screen of the K3 Note and also comparison to the HD screen of the UMi Hammer and the FHD screen of the Honor 6 Plus. I also borrowed a screen comparison to the Meizu M1 Note and the Xiaomi Note 4G from a Chinese review. The same review states a maximum brightness of 390cd / m². Personally, I find the maximum brightness of the K3 Note average.
[sub] [i] Note: The screens are set at maximum brightness and where possible at standard display-mode. The Meizu M1 Note clearly has a higher brightness (584 cd / m²) than the rest of the screens. Also keep in mind that there could be panel lottery [/ I] [/ sub]
Original test pictures
The K3 Note has a replaceable battery with a capacity of 3000mAh and a voltage of 4,35V. This makes the amount of energy 11,40WH. Many unknown or smaller Chinese smartphone manufacturers sometimes state a higher battery capacity than the actual value. I don't expect this from Lenovo and I therefore assume that the battery contains the stated capacity.
3000mAh is obviously a good amount and in practice the battery life of this phone is rather good. Normally it shouldn't be a problem to reach the end of the day. Please note: this can vary greatly per user. However if you don't activate your screen a lot it should be possible to reach 1,5 to 2 days.
I ran the PCMARK battery life test which simulates daily activities, such as typing text, scroll through documents, web browsing and photo editing. You can see its great score below.
Lenovo has added a number of battery-saving modes, more about this in the software paragraph. The K3 Note charges in about 2 hours and 10 minutes due to the quick charge feature. This is almost as fast as, for example, the OnePlus One. In addition, the manufacturer also promises 4 hours of talking time with only 15 minutes of charging.
At the end of 2013, the Taiwanese MediaTek came with their first True Octa-Core system-on-chip (SoC), called the MT6592. Tthis meant that the chip could use all the eight cores at the same time. The first True Octa-Core SoC had eight ARM Cortex-A7 processors and a Mali-450 MP4 GPU, but it did not have on-board LTE support.
The Lenovo K3 Note is powered by the newer and improved MediaTek MT6752. This is also a "true octa-core configuration. The MT6752 is produced by the 28 nm HPP (High Performance Plus) process and has eight Cortex-A53 cores with support for ARM's 64-bit ARMv8-A architecture. The processor cores can reach a maximum clock speed of 1.7GHz and they are assisted by the Mali-T760MP2 GPU at 700MHz. The SoC is connected to 2GB lpddr3 memory that works at 800MHz and it uses a 32 bit single-channel memory controller.
The K3 Note offers everything you would expect from a device of this caliber. It supports WiFi n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and LTE. It also contains 16GB of storage and a micro-SD slot.
The K3 Note is very fast in practice due to the relatively fast hardware. Android works fine and smooth. You can clearly see the power of the MT6752 in the benchmarks results. The processing power is great and it's comparable with with the current high-end models, but the GPU has less power, for example, it is noticeably slower than the Adreno 330 GPU of the Snapdragon 801. However, it is clear that the MT6752 contains a lot of power and it's able to realize a smooth and fast Android experience.
Note: the K3 Note doesn't support all 4G (LTE) bands/frequencies and this can be a problem in some (European) countries, for example, the Netherlands. Make sure you double-check the supported frequencies in your country and the ones of the K3 Note.
I ran some benchmarks on the K3 Note to test the speed of the CPU, GPU and browser. You can use the benchmark results to compare it with other devices. You can see the results and a comparison below.
|Peackeeper||922 (905 Chrome)|
|Kraken||11014.7ms (10792.2 chrome)|
|GFX Manhattan||6.2 fps (381.7)|
|GFX T-Rex||16 fps (869,5)|
|AndEBench Native||21265 (1 Thread 2671)|
|AndEBench Java||1791 (1 Thread 294)|
|Geekbench Single core||818|
|Androbench - sequential read||153.37 MB/s|
|Androbench - sequential write||51.36 MB/s|
|Androbench - random read||17.59 MB/s|
|Androbench - random write||3.14 MB/s|
I have compared the outcomes of the K3 Note with the results of other devices. I picked the Galaxy S6, One M8, M1 Note, Hammer and the M690 +. All devices have different hardware configurations, so you could draw a conclusion. You can find the specifications and the results below.
|Devices and Specs|
|Samsung Galaxy S6 | 2560x1440 | Exynos 7420 | 3GB RAM|
|HTC One M8 | 1920x1080 | Snapdragon 801 | 2GB RAM|
|LENOVO K3 NOTE | 1920X1080 | MEDIATEK MT6752 | 2GB RAM|
|Meizu M1 Note | 1920x1080 | MediaTek MT6752 | 2GB RAM|
|UMi Hammer | 1280x720 | MediaTek MT6732 | 2GB RAM|
|Mijue M690+ | 1280x720 | MediaTek MT6952 | 1GB RAM|
The results compared:
The Lenovo K3 Note comes with Android 5.0 Lollipop and contains the Vibe 2.5 UI skin. Visually you'll notice a lot of difference compared to stock Android. The interface looks like a mix of different skins and Lenovo has changed all things in the interface such as notifications, home screens, icons and menus.
At the first boot you'll see different selection screens, for example, language, wifi, data, Lenovo ID, etc.
The lock screen looks pretty standard: it includes a clock, the date and SIM/rpovider info. You can unlock to the homescreen, but you can also swipe directly into the dialer or camera app. The the main menu (app drawer) has been removed and all the apps are placed in three pages. The first page contains a widget and a number of apps. The second page is completely filled with apps and the third page contains 4 apps.
Lenovo preloads a lot of bloatware and unfortunately you can't remove them without root. The K3 Note contains a lot of cleaning and optimization apps, for example, the annoying DU booster and DU battery saver.
The notification screen has IOS-8-like design and the 15 toggles will only appear if you swipe down twice. Once opened you can also adjust the brightness or click the settings logo.
The settings menu looks different and it also contains other options. It has a white background and the icons are colorful. It mentions Android 5.0 as OS and also 16GB of storage, with 10.22GB of free space. The entire OS takes up 4.81GB and the pre-installed applications 728MB. The menus launch quickly and they are pretty logical. However if the device wakes-up from a long sleep, things seem to work a little slower, but after a short while it works fine again. Here and there you'll still find some Chinese characters, but not at crucial places, so nothing annoying.
Back to the battery: as described earlier Lenovo added some battery saving options. These options can be found in Power Manager (it replaces the regular Battery or menu). In this menu you can also check the power consumption of hardware and software. You can also activate Ultimate Power Saver. This options will deactivate most of the apps and will only activate calling, texting and the clock. With Smart Switch you can activate this feature automatically according to a schedule. Lenovo also included a Stanby power saver and power saving helper. Another addition is Character settings: in this menu you can activate various shortcuts and alternative unlock methods, for example, double-tapping or quick camera access.
You can change the visuals a bit by using another theme in the Theme Center. The device is not rooted and as I mentioned before a lot of apps (bloatware) is preloaded. Unfortunately you can't remove them without root. Next to all the optimization apps you'll find, for example, three preloaded browsers: UC Mini, Baidu and Maxthon Browser. I personally didn't like any of them so I had to install Chrome anyway which worked a lot smoother. Vibe UI works fine and remains stable, but occasionally I received the message that the - annoying - DU booster has stopped working. The software is rather good, but there is certainly room for minor improvements.
Lenovo SnapIt is the default camera app on the K3 Note. The app opens rather fast and it working with it is simple. Te main screen contains the usual options and somewhere in the corner there is an option to activate panorama, different effects and a QR scanner. It also induces a separate settings menu in which you set and adjust a number of things, for example, resolution, aspect ratio, white balance, scene mode, ISO, location info, storage and so on. It is quite logical and classified and the entire app works fine.
The K3 Note has a camera of 13 megapixels supported by dual flash. The camera is placed at the back in the corner and the flash slightly below it. The camera shoots pictures at 13 megapixels at a resolution of 4160 x 3120 pixels. The details of the photos reveal a maximum aperture of f / 2.0 and a focal length of 4mm. The camera supports auto-focus and it can record in Full HD,
The K3 Note has all the tools to shoot great pictures, at least on paper. You can shoot rather good pictures in good light conditions. The pictures contain somewhat detail and usually not a lot of or no image noise.The colors seem to be reasonably accurate, but the dominant flashlight sometimes ruins this. The device has a tendency to use the flashlights in decent lighting, which makes the colors less accurate and the pictures overexposed, but fortunately you can easily turn it off. In the dark. However in darker situations the flash does perform well (much better than the majority of the Chinese (budget) devices).
I have a feeling that the camera sensor and the lens are able to shoot decent pictures, and this is mostly the case in proper light situations, but somehow making pictures with the K3 Note feels like a inconsistent experience. Sometimes the colors seem less accurate and occasionally the focus is off. Close up pictures look very good and on the whole, the camera quality is reasonable. I think that maybe with a software update a few things can be improved.
For comparison I chose the UMi Hammer (13MP) and the Xiaomi M2A (8MP). The first series of photos are taken by the K3 Note with default settings (13MP, 4: 3). Below them follows a comparison.
Comparison between the K3 Note, Hammer and M2A:
Lenovo K3 Note (p1)
UMi Hammer (p1)
Xiaomi M2A (p1)
Lenovo K3 Note (max. zoom)
UMi Hammer (max. zoom)
Xiaomi M2A (max. zoom)
Lenovo K3 Note (p2)
UMi Hammer (p2)
Xiaomi M2A (p2)
Lenovo K3 Note (flash, zoom-text)
UMi Hammer (flash, zoom-text)
Xiaomi M2A (flash, zoom-text)
Have a look at extras - at the very end of this review - to watch the above (camera)pictures in high resolution.
Below I will deal with other features of the device such as the GPS, WIFI, speakers and call quality.
The Wifi reception of the K3 Note is stable and has a very good range. Its range is better than that of the Xiaomi M2A and the UMi Hammer. At the same location the K3 Note performs better: the device has a better signal strength, and a higher download and upload speed. From left to right you can see the results of the K3 Note, Hammer and M2a.
The GPS in the K3 Note works fine. The Xiaomi M2A (Qualcomm), which also supports GLONASS, detects more satellites and gets a quicker fix, but the signal strength is comparable to the K3 Note. Normally, the K3 Note detects 13 satellites and makes connections with approximately 7,8 or 9 satellites. The first screenshots below are from inside the house and the second ones are from near a window. From left to right you can see the results of the K3 Note, Hammer and M2a.
Near a window
Call quality and reception
The reception and call quality are both fine and they are both comparable to other phones I've used.Voices are clear and the speakers work fine. Another plus: the device contains two microphones.
The speaker is pretty good and it seems to perform above average. Its volume is rather good and audio sounds clear. The bass it produces sounds a bit better than I'm used to and it doesn't sound distorted at high volumes. Audio through the headphones seems average: it's not bad, but not great too. If you plug in some earphones you can use the FM radio. According to a Chinese review the maximum volume should be 90dB. It is also good to know that the music app includes different options like sound effects, a song scanner and a lyrics option. I recorded the speakers performance of the K3 Note and the UMi Hammer. You can clearly hear that the K3 Note does a better job.
Speakers K3 Note vs Hammer: http://picosong.com/jngp/
00:00 till 10:00 K3 Note | 00:10 till 00:25 Hammer
00:25 till 00:46 K3 Note | 00:46 till 01:00 Hammer
01:00 till 01:19 K3 Note | 01:19 till 01:45 Hammer
01:45 till 02:03 K3 Note
The Lenovo K3 Note offers hardware which is pretty similar to current high-end models, but than at a lower price. The device does not feel luxurious nor very cheap, but it is well made. The screen contains enough sharpness due to the Full-HD resolution, but it does not excel in other aspects. The maximum brightness of my device looks average, but overall it looks good and it can keep up with the competition. The K3 Note also features Android Lollipop, 4G (LTE), two SIM slots, a micro-SD slot and its battery life stands out in a positive way.
Software has still room for improvement, for example, the amount of bloatware (preloaded apps) and the translations could be better. The camera is decent, but its performance is inconsistent. 5.5-inch will not be pleasant for everybody and the lack of support for all the 4G-frequencies can be a bummer for some.
However, you get a powerful smartphone for approximately $179 and it is made by a decent and well-known manufacturer. The K3 Note feels smooth and quick in practice due to the processor and the amount of memory. If Lenovo could improve the camera through a software update, the K3 Note won't have any disadvantages, besides the 4G frequencies and availability (import). All in all Lenovo offers a great device for a small sum of money.
Update: the amount of bloatware is less in the official ROM. The multilingual ROM which Pandawill installs contains more "junk". In addition, there are several (custom) ROMs based on Android 5.1 that enhance the software experience.
- Comparison: K3 Note next to other devices
- Inside the K3 Note / parts
- Extra/ useful links
|Lenovo K3 Note(5.5'')||152.6 x 76.2 x 8 mm | 146g|
|Jiayu S3 (5.5'')||152 x 75.5 x 8.9 mm | 160g|
|Meizu M1 Note (5,5'')||150.7 x 75.2 x 8.9 mm | 145g|
|Honor Play 4X (5.5'')||152.9 x 77.2 x 8.65 mm | 165g|
|Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G (5.5'')||154 x 78.7 x 9.45 mm | 188g|
|Apple iPhone 6 Plus (5.5'')||158 x 77.8 x 7.1 mm | 172g|
|Oneplus One (5.5'')||152.9 x 75.9 x 8.9 mm | 162g|
Comparison: K3 Note next to other devices
Inside the K3 Note / parts
Extra/ useful links
Rooting is possible and I recommend it too, at least if you know what you're doing. How to can be found in the XDA forum, for example.wsitedesign schreef op vrijdag 15 mei 2015 @ 05:39:
What about rooting and custom roms? Are they possible?
Custom ROMs is another thing. At the moment there isn't any custom ROM available, except for one that removes all the bloatware (see needrom). However, in the (near) future I expect some more ROMs, but keep in mind that this is a MTK device and that you'll be limited in your choices when it comes to other ROMs.
In other words if you want to have more options have a look at popular Qualcomm devices.
Maar waarom zoveel tijd voor zo'n matige review?
Hij heeft een matig scherm, in de meeste gevallen 3G only en moet het doen met een matige mediatek. Kreeg je de telefoon gratis in ruil voor de review?
Allereerst bedankt voor je compliment. Ik snap alleen je punten niet. Het scherm is zeker niet matig, maar eigenlijk gewoon goed voor een toestel van rond de 150 euro. Daarnaast is de Mediatek MT6752 verre van matig. Dat beschrijf ik ook nergens. De kracht van de processor kan zich meten met de huidige chips die je in high-end modellen van 500+ euro vind. Ja, de GPU is wat minder dan die van die chips, maar zeker niet (te) langzaam. Wat betreft het frequenties gebeuren - dat heeft de OnePlus One ook en die verkoopt volgens mij ook niet verkeerd. Waarom zoveel tijd in een review stoppen? Omdat ik het leuk vind om te doen.erik schreef op zaterdag 16 mei 2015 @ 20:17:
Het is een prachtige review.
Maar waarom zoveel tijd voor zo'n matige review?
Hij heeft een matig scherm, in de meeste gevallen 3G only en moet het doen met een matige mediatek. Kreeg je de telefoon gratis in ruil voor de review?
Dit is de Engelse variant, de Nederlandse staat gewoon in de reviewsectie. Daar link ik ook naar toe helemaal aan het begin van de review.jip_86 schreef op dinsdag 19 mei 2015 @ 11:51:
Veel werk, maar volgens mij makkelijker om ze niet op tweakblogs te zetten maar in de reviewsectie. Dan komt je review ook naar voren als je zoekt op het product. Dat is nu niet het geval.
Ik heb idd besteld met pandawill en laten verzenden met DPD, wat ongeveer 10 dagen duurt, zie ook hier. Je kunt ook voor de gratis verzending kiezen dat duurt ongeveer 2-4 weken of bijvoorbeeld DHL wat 3-7 dagen duurt. Ik heb met DPD geen bijkomende kosten gekregen en met free-shipping ook nooit en met DHL altijd a 35 euro.dutchcrusader schreef op dinsdag 19 mei 2015 @ 12:51:
Mooie uitgebreide review! Door deze review ben ik aan het overwegen om dit toestel te bestellen. Ik zie dat jij hebt besteld bij Pandawill. Hoe lang was je bestelling onderweg? Waren er nog kosten aan verbonden? Ik bedoel importkosten en btw.
Ik heb hem als een soort van probeersel gewoon besteld om te kijken of het wat zou zijn.
Ik heb er gemengde gevoelens bij. De bouwkwaliteit die ik gewend ben is het gewoonweg niet, en dat mag je natuurlijk ook niet verwachten van een toestel van dit kaliber en prijsniveau. Toch is dat de reden dat ik kijk naar iets anders.
Die van mij heb ik daarom ook te koop gezet (zie vraag/aanbod bij productpagina).
Ik heb overigens wel de bloatware (bijna helemaal) weg gekregen na rooten. Alleen heb ik wel dat de app-logo's weer op hun plek terug komen soms, zonder dat ze werken.
pleaz ?? i would be very thankful
hey lux als het goed is krijg ik mijn lenovo k3 note binnen een week binnen als je het dan nog nodig hebt moet je ff mailtje sturen naar firstname.lastname@example.org schreef op zondag 14 juni 2015 @ 00:47:
hello ! i did something bad , and forgot to backup the OS of my lenovo k3 note and now is rooted without his great interfacee, so could you make an backup of yours and send it to me
pleaz ?? i would be very thankful
Actually it is your seller that installed the bloatware, not Lenovo. They install unofficial custom rom for multi lanaguage/play store and also loads of bloatware.
Is the 3g function really firmly tied to slot1? This would significantly cripple the flexibility we were used to in previous generations of MTK dual sim phones.
To ensure that there is no other connection, like WiFi, that could improve/assist the GPS's performance. This applies for GPS performance of course and they are all on flight mode btw.Chip. schreef op zondag 19 juli 2015 @ 13:25:
Why are the Hammer and M2a standing in flight modus? Maybe that may impact the results.
[Reactie gewijzigd op zondag 19 juli 2015 13:32]
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