Lenovo Vibe X2 Review: Does a unique design and powerful SoC make for a great phone?


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Lenovo kicked up a fuss back at IFA 2014 with the launch of the Vibe X2. Let’s see if all the noise was worth it for this LTE equipped MT6595 octacore smartphone.

When Lenovo launched the Vibe X2 at IFA 2014, the phone was one of the first to be released with an octacore MT6595 processor, and also boasted an attractive design with a unique layered design. Since the phone launched we have been itching to test a model compatible with international cellular frequencies and recently that dream came true!

Lenovo Vibe X2 Review : Specifications

Lets have a quick glimpse at the specs before we talk about our experiences with the Lenovo Vibe X2. The handset packs a powerful Mediatek MT6595M SoC. In case you wonder about the “M”, this SoC features a lower frequency of 2GHz compared to the 2.2GHz of the “normal” MT6595 found in the Meizu MX4 we reviewed a while back. The GPU in the MT6595M is also a little slower than normal too.Even with slightly slower speeds available, the MT6595M is a good chip and more than capable of most users daily use.

Lenovo combined the MTK chip with a 5-inch 1080p display, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of internal memory. Mediatek chips offer dual SIM support, and the Lenovo Vibe X2 gets room for 2 x LTE SIM. Camera specifications of the Vibe X2 include a 5 mega pixel front camera and a 13 mega pixel rear camera. Juice is provided by a 2,300mAh battery cell.

Lenovo Vibe X2 Review : Packaging, Design, Build Quality

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The packaging for the Vibe X2 mimics the layered design of the phone itself, with 2 separate draws that include your phone and other accessories.

One drawer contains the phone plus an envelope containing some documents and the SIM tray tool, the second drawer holds the USB cable, headphones and wall charger. Lenovo even provide a protective case for the Vibe X2 to keep the beautiful phone from getting damaged over time.

The unique layered design of the Lenovo Vibe X2 is a real attention grabber, it is something that no other phone maker to date has done. It’s a very good-looking phone, one of my top 5 best looking phone of 2014, that combines bright colours with a simple styling.

Unusually you will find a dock connector on the rear of the Lenovo Vibe X2 which allows you to use a range of accessories. Thankfully the designers of the phone have made it match the overall look and feel of the device.

Lenovo have obviously gone to a lot of trouble building a phone that looks unique, but how about the actual quality of the construction? This is where Lenovo have slipped up a little. The physical buttons are loose and ‘rattle’ in the body, and overall the X2’s build quality doesn’t match that of other MT6595 phones such as the Meizu MX4. The Lenovo Vibe X2 definitely only is “for the looks”.

Lenovo Vibe X2 Review : Display

We all want the best performance from our screen, and with intense colours, bright back light and sharp, readable text, the Lenovo Vibe X2 is a brilliant display. The screen is manages to create very vivid colours which pop out from the panel and reproduce images really well. If you do find the intensity of the display a little off-putting don’t worry as Lenovo have built-in screen contrast, and saturation control to the ROM so you can personalise the look and feel to how you like.

Lenovo Vibe X2 Review : Performance

Some might worry about the performance of the MT6595M being worse than the one of its bigger brother. While this assumption might be partially confirmed by some benchmark results, in real-life you will hardly notice the difference. We’ve not managed to max the SoC out with any high-end games nor apps nor massive multi-tasking. It runs just as smoothly as you would expect from a phone featuring a modern high-end processor. Put the Lenovo Vibe X2 next to any Snapdragon 801 powered phone, and you won’t notice any difference in real-life use. Mediatek have really come on leaps and bounds producing some very impressive hardware even budget phones can enjoy!

Lenovo Vibe X2 Review : Vibe UI 2.0

The Lenovo Vibe X2 features a custom ROM called “Vibe UI 2.0”. While Lenovo finally managed to create a nice-looking interface, there are some issues that are still present.

After the first boot, the drawer-less launcher is untidy with apps all over the place requiring you to tidy things up before you begin to use the phone. While creating folders to neatly pack away all the useless bloatware we came across some odd things like the fact that Lenovo has pre-installed two calendar apps!

Going in to the settings was a nightmare too, menus are very badly structured and we hard a hard time finding our way through the device and getting to settings that should be easy to find. There are even bugs when turning the phone from portrait to landscape mode, one being that the brightness control in the quick settings menu disappeared.

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Another very annoying thing is some security application constantly running in the background, which can’t be disabled at all. This application appears to consume lots of RAM, as there only is 700MB of free RAM on average. If you think you will be able to fix some of this stuff by installing a new launcher, you unfortunately are wrong. The Lenovo launcher can’t be replaced!

Like many of you we decided to see if there was an update available for the Lenovo Vibe X2 to see if those issues had been fixed. This represented another issue in that the OTA updater crashes as soon as you launch it meaning you will have to manually update the phone!

Fingers crossed the developer community get’s hold of the Vibe X2 as it is plain to see that Lenovo do not know how to make a ROM!

Lenovo Vibe X2 Review : Reception Quality

Let’s leave the negative area and look forward to some more positive points about the Vibe X2, that being reception quality. During our test we’ve had a very high signal strength in all areas for both mobile networks and Wi-Fi. LTE was tested thoroughly and works like a charm. The Vibe X2 is pretty much always able to connect to a 3G network. The only downside we want to mention is the fact, that Lenovo went for a Micro + Nano-SIM combo for Dual-SIM support. Anyone not having a nano-SIM will have to get a new card or cut their existing card.

GPS performance is top-notch also, just as it was with the Meizu MX4. Mediatek really has done an amazing job with the MT6595, enabling you to get “instant GPS fixes”. The GPS test on the screens below has been done on an extremely cloudy, snowy day.

Lenovo Vibe X2 Review : Sound Quality

The internal media speaker of the Lenovo Vibe X2 is a tad disappointing. It doesn’t sound terrible and reaches a fairly acceptable volume level, but it lacks “richness”  and bass, we were expecting a little more at this price. Lenovo are marketing the Vibe X2 with a JBL external speaker as an accessory, so it is possible that Lenovo decided external speaker quality isn’t that important.

Thanks to the Mediatek MT6595 chip and build in Wolfson audio though, the Vibe X2 sounds great when connected to a wired speaker, or set of headphones/earphones.

Lenovo Vibe X2 Review : Camera

Nowadays most of us even associate a pricey phone with a high quality camera. So how is the Lenovo Vibe X2 performing with its 13MP f/2.2 shooter? Well, in daylight the camera performs pretty well. We’ve been able to capture a few very nice scenes with perfect colors and amazing details.

As soon as the light starts to disappear though the Vibe X2 struggles. It is almost getting impossible to create decent low-light images, and the focus stops working properly. This appears to be some kind of software bug, but hasn’t been fixed yet. Not even the very bright LED flash is of help here, which pretty much makes the camera unusable under anything but perfect light conditions. In addition, the noise is fairly high, which probably is caused by the bad aperture value.

Lenovo Vibe X2 Review : Battery

Battery capacity isn’t something Lenovo has been generous with. 2,300mAh sound like nothing, considering it has to power a high-end SoC. While we can confirm that the battery life of this handset is nothing outstanding, we have to admit that it rarely leaves you stranded. Lenovo somehow managed to squeeze out a day of battery life from the small battery, with some special optimizations to the SoC management and LCD backlight. Optionally, there’s a battery pack available, which you can attach on the rear of the phone, connecting to the pins on the back. This will double the battery life of the handset, but the thickness just as well.

Lenovo Vibe X2 Review : Conclusion

Without a doubt, Lenovo created a potentially amazing device here. It looks beautiful and unique. It also boasts very good performance and an excellent screen, which obviously not every Chinese phone is able to deliver. But with bad software, some quality flaws and the poor low-light performance the Lenovo Vibe X2 is lacking and not really a phone we could recommend! For comparison the DOOGEE DG850 managed to outperform the Lenovo in camera tests and DOOGEE are a much smaller brand than the mighty Lenovo!

If Lenovo could fix the software, improve the camera and drop the price to around $200 for us outside of China, we could get on board with the phone, but as it is it is overpriced.

Thanks to Aliexpress reseller Eternal Team, whom we purchased the Lenovo Vibe X2 from.

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