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Lenovo K9 Review: An Acceptable Effort in a Crowded Affordable Android Space

Lenovo makes a comeback to the Indian smartphone market, after what seemed to be a pause for almost an year, and competes against Xiaomi and Honor.

Md. Waquar Haider | News18.comwaquarhaider2

Updated:November 14, 2018, 4:49 PM IST
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Lenovo K9 Review: An Acceptable Effort in a Crowded Affordable Android Space
Lenovo makes a comeback to the Indian smartphone market, after what seemed to be a pause for almost an year, and competes against Xiaomi and Honor.
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Lenovo makes a comeback to the Indian smartphone market, after what seemed to be a pause for almost an year. An year is a long time in the smartphone space. A lot of companies launch two flagship phones in that period of time. Whichever way you look at it, Lenovo has a lot of catching up to do. A lot of weight sits on the shoulders of the Lenovo K9, which is priced at Rs 8,999. Truly an affordable Android phone, and it battles against the Xiaomi Redmi Y2 and the Honor 7A. The Redmi Y2, is for selfie lovers. Its front camera tech sets it apart from the rest, although the results are more or less consistent among other products by Xiaomi. While priced at Rs 8,999, Honor 7A offers dual rear cameras, Full View display, Face Unlock, and more. But is this Lenovo phone better than any of its rivals?

Perspective: What the K9 is all about
The Lenovo K9 is the successor to the K8 and comes with four cameras in total – two at the front and two at the back. Interestingly, Lenovo K9 hasn’t joined a number of other smartphones to sport the notch at the top of display – though it comes with an 18:9 display. It has an aluminium alloy frame with “dual-glass protection” on the rear and comes in two colours – Blue and Black. Lenovo K9 packs a 5.7-inch HD+ display with an aspect ratio of 18:9. It is shielded by a 2.5D curved glass on the top of the display. The smartphone runs Android Orea-based ZUI skin and is powered by an octa-core MediaTek MT6762 processor. It packs 4GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard storage that can be expanded via microSD card up to 128GB. The K9 has a 3,000mAh battery, a rear fingerprint sensor along with an AI-based facial recognition system. On the software front, it runs on Android Oreo 8.1.

Design: Functional, but not much more
In terms of design, the front of the Lenovo K9 Core has an all-black finish. Sporting a glass sandwich design, the device is also very slim, with the thickness measuring 8mm. The SIM tray is on the left, while volume rocker keys along with power button are placed on the right and are conveniently located for single-handed operation. Lenovo has added a bit of texture to the power button so it’s easily distinguishable from the other buttons. The fingerprint sensor is located on the back panel, but Lenovo may as well have placed it on the front, given the huge bezels that surround the display. This is certainly not going to win any thin-bezel competition. The handset’s dual shooters on the rear are stacked horizontally and are housed inside a minuscule protrusion. An interesting feature added here is the inclusion of a USB Type-C charging port. Lenovo has kept one eye on the future and has opted for this instead of the traditional micro USB port.

lenovo k9

Display: Large screen, but the bezels remain
Lenovo K9 features a 5.7-inch screen features a tall 18:9 aspect ratio, and a resolution of 1440 x 720 pixels. Be it for the basic daily work or for a bit of video streaming, this screen remains more than acceptable. The 18:9 aspect ratio display makes for a good viewing experience and adds to the style quotient. With 2.5D curved display, the handset feels comfortable in the hand and holding it for long periods of time for watching movies or playing games. The display is quite bright and produces vibrant colours with sharp text details. Indoor photos in a typical office with sufficient lighting are bright enough but suffer from noise at the same time Focussing in the dark takes much longer.

Camera:
The smartphone houses dual 13-megapixel and 5-megapixel cameras at the front and back. It features AI for features like bokeh and beautify. The camera is pretty good for the price too. The camera is slightly better than what I expected. It actually performs quite well, in most lighting conditions. The cameras are capable of shooting striking shots in good lighting condition. This camera basically takes decent photos in a proper light, along with acceptable shots in reduced light. The cameras do a decent job of detecting edges in portrait mode too. You get a bokeh slider to adjust the background blur while shooting. The colour reproduction and details in photos are average.

The front-facing camera has a beauty mode which makes your face look a bit dolled up, which can be turned off when you don't want to use them. That said, it doesn’t look as bad as seen on other handsets in this budget segment.

lenovo k9

Performance:
The Lenovo K9 is powered by MediaTek’s Helio P22 processor which is built on the 12nm architecture. It comes coupled 32GB internal storage. The microSD card expandability is also present on the Lenovo K9, which is a hybrid SIM slot. In my day-to-day usage, I found the performance to be average. Loading of apps took the usual one or two seconds and playing of casual games were handled well. However, if you are interested in playing graphic intensive games such as PUBG, you will not get the ultimate gaming experience. While using the K9 to access social media apps like Facebook and Instagram is smooth and stutter free. In summary, performance on the phone in this price range is still not bad. As long as you don’t intend to multitask heavily, you should be fine. The Lenovo K9 runs Android 8.1 Oreo in a mostly stock avatar. It does come with a few bloatware apps like UC Browser, App Daily, Sonic Runners Adventures and much more. The battery on the Lenovo K9 is a 3,000mAh unit. The battery fails in delivering a day’s backup while using the internet. Also, with a USB Type-C charging port you get fast charging as it comes with a 2A/5V 10W power adapter.

lenovo k9

Verdict:
The Lenovo K9’s its ticking off most of the boxes. It is doing most things well, with a comfortable to use display, a functional design and performance that would be adequate for most apps and even moderate multi-tasking requirements. That said, this isn't a phone that may offer the best gaming experience and the camera tends to struggle in low light or inadequate lighting. However, the Lenovo K9 seems to be doing enough to hold its ground in the fight against Honor and Xiaomi's budget devices.



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