About 2 months ago my carrier made me an offer. I get a better contract and they give me either the Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite or the Sony Xperia E5. From my standpoint, it was a hard choice. I was switching from a downing flagship device to mid-range smartphone. And this was giving me the chills… Well, it doesn't now. Because I found out that the game has changed. And that's pretty clear from the specifications of the Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite. Quick specs overview:
- Screen: 5″ / 1080 x 1920 pixels
- Camera: 13 MP / 8 MP front
- Processor: MediaTek / Octa-core, 1300 MHz
- RAM: 2GB
- Battery : 2700 mAh
- Memory : 16GB + MicroSD (up to 32GB)
- OS: Android 5.0
BATTERY LIFE & CHARGINGFor starters, the Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite has a big 2700 mAh non-removable battery. I found out that it takes about 2h+ to charge it and it holds for a whole day of moderate to active use. Just to put it in perspective, if you listen to music, play games, use social media and enjoy some reading, the Lenovo will serve you well. When it comes to heavy gaming, the battery holds up for about 4h – 5h. That being said, we have to keep in mind that the S1 Lite comes with some power-hungry hardware. So I would say that the battery holds quite well considering the performance you get. FYI: I saw some people complaining about fast battery drain. I never had this issue, but I guess it might be due to the OTA updates. My advice is to perform a factory reset after every update. I found this to be the best fix for a wide range of performance issues among many smartphones. So far I had 2 OTAs, 2 factory resets and a perfectly fine battery life.
PERFORMANCELet me just tell you that the Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite is a best! It comes with the MediaTek MT6753 Octa-core @ 1.3 GHz. I agree, it's a power drainer, but it delivers amazing performance. Surprise, surprise! For a fraction of the cost, the Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite delivers top-notch performance. Moreover, it's so rare for a device in this class to get such a serious CPU! I told you the game has changed… There is no lag when browsing menus or serfing the web. Watching a videos and playing a games also retains the same smoothness. As I'm writing this post I take the occasional break to play some Asphalt Xtreme. In those sweet moments, you can see how the ARM Mali-T720 MP3 GPU pulls it off. Again, the game runs smoothly and the graphics are just gorgeous! Still, the performance part of this Mid-Range Android Smartphone Review won't be complete without some benchmarks. So here are the results from AnTuTu and Geekbench:
DESIGNThe Vibe S1 Lite is one of the best looking mid-range phones. And I stand behind my word! It has an aluminum body so you get that premium feel. It's lightweight and just about right for single hand use. The S1 Lite comes in 2 colors. White and blue. Personally, I had to go for the blue one. There is just something in the aluminum matte that got my attention. Yet 1 thing drives me crazy. Kind of… The capacitive buttons are not lit. Yep, that's exactly what I thought… What's wrong with those engineers!? Anyway, for me that's not a deal breaker since using them comes quite naturally. But it took me a few days to get used to using the smartphone in the dark. Other than that the buttons are positioned on a reasonable distance away from the screen. So you will rarely press any of them by mistake. Moving to the side, the power and volume buttons are also easy to reach. They offer a nice click and show great durability after 2 months of constant screen locking and unlocking.
STRENGTH & DURABILITYOops! You got me there. Yes, I got a new phone and I dropped it a few days after. I got a tiny scratch on the upper side, but that's all. Please, use protectors! Other than that, the phone fell a few times off the table and the couch. It is still working like a charm with no other damage. Based on that I would say the phone is as durable as any. I would also tell you to get a decent case for the phone (again). The aluminum back looks quite fine, but I am sure that a big drop will leave a mark. It's better if you play it safe!
CAMERAI feel like I need to share this. And you'll probably think I'm crazy but what can I do about it… Here it goes… I don't use my camera. (What!?) There, I said it! Don't get me wrong, the Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite has a decent camera. I just don't have anything to photograph. Regardless, I did some shots to discuss the quality. For starters, the main camera offers 13MP, f/2.2 aperture, a BSI sensor, dual LED flash and phase detection autofocus. As far as shooting modes you get Panorama, HDR, Live Photo, Motion Track and Wide Angle photography. In my opinion, this camera will get you a rather standard experience in terms of options. You can set up a voice or gesture command for the shot taking. You also get the usual tweaks like white balance, ISO, etc. The rear camera of the Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite is also capable of capturing Full HD video. As I said, I don't use the camera that often. Yet I find it quite well performing with 1 minor remark. I can notice a bit more noise when shooting in low light settings. The Front Facing camera is also well-performing. If you happen to be a selfie-lover you'll be happy with what it has to offer. It's 8MP with f/2.2 aperture, 1.4 micron photosites Sony sensor and 1.4 µm pixel size. You also get a front flash which is still a pretty rare among modern smartphones. You also get a nifty little feature to help you slim your face a bit. He, he… We all know that cameras tend to put a few pounds on.
BEST FEATURESOn the top of the Best Features list, I am definitely putting the display! The Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite comes with a full 5″ display which is pretty standard screen size nowadays. But that's not the hidden gem! The screen comes with the mind-blowing resolution of 1920 х 1080px and pixel density of 441ppi. Those numbers translate beautifully when it comes to images and colors. The details are ultra sharp and the colors are extremely vivid. And that's awesome since you rarely see such a great screen in Lite or Mini devices. Furthermore, the effect of the IPS panel is also quite visible. The viewing angle is wide enough with no visible color changes. Another benefit of the screen is the brightness capability. I tell you, even if the sun was right above your head, you can crank up the brightness and you will see everything perfectly clear! At the same time, enjoying this smartphone in the dark is easy. You can dim the display to a point where it emits just about enough light. I just love it, it's a total eye saver! Second in the Best Features are the 2GB of RAM. And I'm super biased here! Personally, I won't pick a smartphone with less than that and neither should you. Nowadays the amount of RAM in smartphones is a pretty good indicator of their performance. The 2GB in the Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite ensures you will have a smooth experience while multitasking. Jumping between apps in a rapid fashion only works when your phone can access the app data… fast. And although the modern smartphone uses eMMC chips, rather than little spinning discs to store your data, RAM is still times faster. Another great perk is the speaker. You gotta meet me halfway here. I'm a person and just like everyone else. I need my smartphone to play me some music or video while I'm washing the dishes. In that regard, I find the sound quality and the loudness of the speaker quite decent. I mean for a device in this price range. My days of boring dishwashing are long gone. Hooray!
WORST FEATURESWhen it comes to the Worst Features list I have only 2 main concerns. And the first one being the OS and the preinstalled apps. If you get the 16GB version of the Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite you will be able to enjoy only about the half of that. Somehow the Android OS and the preloaded Lenovo apps are eating about 8GB of your storage. This used to be a bummer but I feel like all smartphones are facing this issue. Good news is that the Lenovo has a slot for an SD card but that brings me to my second concern with this device. The expandable storage is limited to only 32GB. I don't get why. Currently, I'm using the 32GB SD card from my old phone and that's fine. But knowing that I cannot expand on this doesn't make me fly. Another small drawback is the actual slot. The phone can support 2 sim cards. But if you want some extra storage you'll have to go only with just 1 sim. FYI: I read on some forums that going for 2 sim cards has its limitations. Some users report that your main card will support 4G network but the second one will only handle 2G. Also, some users are reporting an issue with the GPS. For some it tends to jump around streets, not being able to get a precise location. Well, I don't have this issue either. I use Google Maps and so far my experience has been as expected.
OVERALL REVIEWI find the Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite to be quite the performer. It comes prepacked with amazing hardware that helps you blaze through the newest games. While at the same time delivering super smooth user experience. The display is vivid and great for both outdoor and indoor use. If your carrier supports 4G network, the Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite provides an extremely fast data connection. The phone is easy to handle with a single hand and holds itself up when we talk about esthetics. The rear camera offers 13MP and great image quality (for the price class) with some struggles in low light settings. The same goes for the front-facing camera. 8MP, useful features for selfie-lovers, decent image quality and some struggles when good light is missing. Of course, there are the minor drawbacks when we look at the storage capacity. If you need a phone that can hold up an enormous amount of data you better look somewhere else. But if you look for a device that can get the work done, in a stylish and performance oriented manner, the Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite might be what you need. You have to agree here, for the price of $199 (approximately Rs. 13,250) this phone gives you so much to play with. You know, when I was getting this phone I was considering saving some money for something better. It turned out I don't have to! I can safely say that this phone simply has all I need. So to wrap this up I would say that my overall score is 9/10.
The Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite is not perfect, but in some ways, it's a serious competitor even to some old flagship devices. It's just great performance for a low price. I definitely recommend it!
So if you want to learn some more about the Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite or you are ready to find a retailer, check the official website here: