Retailing at P11,999 ($238), Lenovo’s entry will likely appeal to budget-minded shoppers. And if aesthetics are a vital consideration, it should pass the eye test, too. The battery — a 4,000mAh lithium-polymer cell — should translate to two days of use, we’re told.
So the question really is: Does the rest of the package — the screen, the cameras, the oomph under the hood — stack up? It’s a mixed bag, but the good news is that it gravitates towards the positive.
Look and feel
The Lenovo K6 Note reminds us of the 5.5-inch ASUS ZenFone 3 Max and the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 in terms of size and structure. It has, as with many of its peers in the category, a metal backplate, though the top and bottom parts feel more plastic than metal. Perfectly understandable considering plastic allows for better cellular reception. Lining the plasticky parts are thin chrome bands that run across the back, extending toward the sides.
The rounded edges and corners of its (mostly) metal unibody frame ensure the phone nestles comfortably in the hand. Width isn’t a problem relative to other 5.5-inchers, as the bezels on the left- and right-hand sides are pretty skinny. And since width is the most critical metric for one-handed use, you’d be happy to hear that the handset is actually a pleasure to use.
We also found the fingerprint reader to be both fast and accurate, able to recognize our index fingers with relative ease.
The top and bottom bezels, on the other hand, are standard fare for the segment, resulting in a model that’s about as tall as most handsets sporting a fingerprint scanner on the front. (Lenovo’s K6 Note, however, has a rear-mounted sensor.)
The power button, located on right side, above the volume rocker, is easily accessible to our thumb or index finger and offers a nice, springy feel when pressed. Another thing worth noting is the inclusion of a capacitive multitask button to the left of the home key; pressing it will bring up the recent-apps screen for sorting through all open apps.
At the bottom edge of the device is a standard microUSB port, which doesn’t support fast charging (oops!), and cutouts for the microphone and speaker. Speaking of, the bottom placement on the Lenovo K6 Note means you can rest the phone face up or face down without worrying about muffling the audio.
At 5.5 inches and running at full resolution or 1080p, the K6 Note’s LCD display is big and sharp enough for purpose, with ample brightness for outdoor use. Viewing angles are generous; however, colors can look a bit unsaturated when you start looking on from an angle.
In general, the colors fall on the cooler side of spectrum, though if you prefer slightly warmer hues, Lenovo has included a vibrant mode in the settings menu. Regardless of whether you actually use it will depend on your viewing preference, but we don’t think you’ll be disappointed with the picture quality, especially if all you’re after is an affordable device for entertainment and distraction purposes.
For more demanding phone users with a little bit more cash to splash, there are better, though not sharper, panels available.
Here’s where things start to get gnarly for the Lenovo K6 Note. Both the 16- and 8-megapixel rear and front cams do a decent job as regular, everyday shooters, and not much else. That can be perfectly fine for entry-level devices, but “perfectly fine” no longer cuts it in the midrange and higher-priced budget choices.
The OPPO F1s, the Vivo V5, and the Vivo V5 Lite all have superior selfie shooters, whereas the Huawei GR5 2017 straps two cameras to its back to snap pictures with blurred backgrounds. The rear cam’s dynamic range could be better, so we recommend shooting in manual or pro mode to get the best results in difficult lighting situations.
Resized sample photos taken with the Lenovo K6 Note
Sitting under the metal backplate of the Lenovo K6 Note is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor, and it’s one of the better low-end to midrange options out there. Pairing it with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable storage is a good, if not fortuitous, call, giving the handset an edge over rival models with less RAM, a less powerful Helio P10 chipset, or both.
We can’t fault the phone’s responsiveness; navigation is slick, and multitasking feels quick and almost seamless, in part thanks to Android 6.0 Marshmallow, which has been skinned with Lenovo’s usual user interface. The custom icons still don’t appeal to us, and the included wallpapers are forgettable.
Now, about that 4,000mAh battery — which is literally one of the biggest features on this model: We haven’t tested it thoroughly yet, so it’s hard to say how long it lasts. Although we do think that the two-day claim will hold true for most people, especially given the power-efficient and cool-running CPU. Being a lithium-polymer cell, it will prove to be durable over time.
The K6 Note attempts to be big and bold with its features and pricing. And though it falls short in some areas, Lenovo should be commended for coming out with a phone that may give the marquee names of the segment a run for their midrange money. If nothing else, it’s a solid pick for those looking for a nice balance between performance and practicality.