Tutorial: Stock ROM, CWM + Google Play for Lenovo K3 Note (K50-T5)

Tutorial: Stock ROM, CWM + Google Play for Lenovo K3 Note (K50-T5)

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The Lenovo K3 Note has proven itself to be an amazing budget phablet in our review yet there are a few things that you might need to fix before actually using the phone. Some shops pre-install some custom Vibe UI ROM which includes multi-language and Google Play services. While that might seem like a handy thing to have it isn’t in fact since those “shop ROMs” do not support OTA updates, come with lots of bloatware, run much slower than the original Lenovo stock ROM and often include viruses, adware and spyware. Obviously you don’t want to face issues like that, so if you find such a ROM on your newly ordered Lenovo K3 Note, make sure to follow this tutorial to get things straight.

Important notice: You do all steps described in this tutorial at your own risk. The author and gizchina.com can’t be made responsible for any damage you do to your phone.

Things you need:

  • A computer running Windows or a Mac running Windows in Parallels
  • A micro USB data cable
  • This package including all the drivers, software and images you need

Introduction:

First you need to download the linked archive from above. Please make sure to unzip it. You will now get a folder called “lenovo-k3-note-startkit”. In this folder you will find 3 more archives. The archives “Recovery.zip” and “K50-T5_USR_ST1516.rar” need to be unzipped as well. Inside the folder “K50-T5_USR_ST1516” you get out of it you will see three more archives which you unzip as well. The driver is located in “AIO_LenovoUsbDriver_autorun_1.0.14_internal”, the stock ROM is located in “target_bin” and the SP Flash Tool is located in “AIO_Upgrade_Tools_v5.1436.00.000”.

Installation of the driver:

Important: If you use Windows 8 or 8.1 you need to disable driver signature checking before you install the driver. Please follow this tutorial to do so. In case you flashed a Mediatek device on your PC before you don’t need to install the driver at all and can skip this step.

  1. Navigate into the drivers folder and run the setup. Follow the instructions and confirm any message you get.
  2. As soon as the driver installation finished please turn off your Lenovo K3 Note and connect it to your PC. The driver installation should now be finished by Windows.
  3. Remove the phone from your PC again.

Flashing of the original stock ROM:

  1. Run the SP Flash Tool and click on the “Option” menu. Switch to “Download” and set the checkbox next to “DA DL All with Checksum”.
  2. Now click on “Scatter Loading” and navigate to the folder in which the ROM is located (target_bin). Choose the scatter file and open it.
  3. The flash tool should now display a list of images with all checkboxes next to them being set. If this is the case, click the “Download” button and connect the turned off phone to your PC. The flash process should now start. Once it is finished you should see a message with a green checkmark. Please do not touch your PC and your phone while the flashing process runs.
  4. Keep the flash tool opened, disconnect the phone from your PC and boot it up. Now finish the set-up procedure and shut it down again.
Read Also:  Is Lenovo Reviving the ZUK Brand?

Flashing of the CWM recovery:

  1. Hit the “Scatter Loading” button in the flash tool once again and this time navigate into the folder containing the recovery image and choose the scatter file. After loading it the flash tool should again display a list with images with the only checkbox being set located next to the recovery entry.
  2. Now hit the “Download” button once again and connect your phone to the PC. Again the flashing process will start. This time it will finish in just a few seconds. Once the process is completed, disconnect the phone again.

Important: Please do not boot your phone after flashing the recovery image. Lenovo has some security mechanism in place which will replace the CWM with the original Lenovo recovery with every boot. You need to re-flash CWM every time you need it!

Installation of Google Play:

  1. Copy the file “playservices.zip” onto a micro SD card 8don’t unzip it) and insert it into your Lenovo K3 Note.
  2. Now boot the phone by holding down Volume+, Volume- and Power at the same time. Once it turns on you can release the power button but you need to keep the volume buttons pressed until you see the CWM menu.
  3. You can navigate through the menu using the volume buttons and confirm using the power button. Switch to “Install ZIP” and select your SD card as source. Now you choose the previously copied ZIP file and initiate the flashing process.
  4. Once the process finished you can switch back to the CWM main menu and reboot the phone.

Important: The Google Play Services won’t work anymore after OTA updates. In this case you just need to re-flash CWM and re-install them, so make sure you always have the necessary files handy to save time.

Now that’s it already. You will now be able to use your Lenovo K3 Note like any other phone. In case you have questions or any step isn’t clear just drop a comment.

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  • I already did this for my friend’s new Lenovo K3 Note. I went for the CWM. A lot smoother and faster than the Shop ROM the phone shipped with plus no bloatwares too.

    • Seb Star

      lol, cwm is a recovery, it does nothing for the rom… so thats placebo for you

    • Seb Star

      lol, cwm is a recovery, it does nothing for the rom… so thats placebo for you

  • Adam Irvine

    This is good stuff! 😀

  • Leo Santos

    Which version of Android is it? Lollipop 5.1?

  • Lukas Markech

    thanks for this guide. much appreciated

  • Jimmy D

    Will widgets work ok following this method? I have seen examples of widgets not working on the K3 following the flashing of other ROMS.

  • saor

    http://Www.nanjs.cn
    He the guy doing a lot of the Roms
    Developer rom is at 1528.
    Twrp 2.8.6.0 available
    Xda also has a section on it ,so those needrom!

    • alexbruant

      Developer rom is at 1530

  • wpj

    Use ROW ROM which also has OTA updates

  • There is no mention of backing up or restoring apps and contacts which are already on a phone. This should be included for people like me who have never installed a ROM or flashed/rooted a phone before.

    • Basically to give someone the confidence to try this, you should give instructions on how to backup and restore an existing configuration so a user can know how to get back to where they were if they end up bricking their phone.

  • I must say, this multi-language VibeUI ROM as installed from some vendors (and on my phone) is just complete garbage. Tons of bugs like the proximity sensor not working and not being able to access some of the settings due to it crashing (“Unfortunately, XXX has stopped”). Also on mine the screen just went black when an incoming call was answered and then after the call the phone was unresponsive requiring the battery to be removed to get the phone to reboot.

    I know that both Vickmall and Gearbest were shipping their phones with this multi-language version and I think people should request they install something else like perhaps this stock version 1516 ROM or some later version KNOWN to be stable and bug free.

    The multi-language version I have is VIBEUI_V2.5_11520_5.827.1_ST_K50-T5. Avoid it!

  • Except for programmers and tweakers, I think this whole ROM subject is just absurd. Lenovo is dropping the ball big-time for not having more control over the quality of the software their vendors/partners are shipping with their phones. It’s gotta be hurting their reputation, if not sales. Do they actually expect the majority of their customers to be able to, or WANT to, learn about all this ROM, flashing, rooting, backup/restore bullshift??? These are not gadgets for nerds, they are phones – consumer electronic products sold to the general public. Lenovo needs to pull their head out of their azz.

    I’m pretty sure this is a great phone for the money harware-wise. But it’s value quickly diminishes with the hassles involved with futzing with the software. A large % of buyers won’t deal with it. They will buy elsewhere or ship the phone back once they see all the problems. [/rant]

    • This is not specific to Lenovo or the K3 Note but while I’m ranting…
      Another peeve I have is all the dopes with their useless unboxing and so-called “full review” videos on Youtube that don’t show anything even close to testing ALL the features/functions. Nobody will care if an Antutu score is 10% higher, or the camera or screen is 5% clearer, if some other advertised and must-have feature is not functioning at all.
      Most of these videos are little more than sales/marketing spam, and it’s disingenuous (lying) to title them as reviews. Really annoying.

  • mac

    Will you get OTA updates if you do this ?

    • Yes, it is the original Lenovo ROM.

      • alfwil

        can u share the Lenovo ROM link to download please

  • Cory Hoard

    Thanks so much for this post and the ROM. This is much snappier than the Geekbuying shop ROM

  • Alexis T

    Hi Christopher,

    Some users have reported that a virus/malware apk is included in stock ROM, connecting to Lenovo server, and identified as “System Server” (systemserver.apk)

    Can you tell us if this malicious app is present in the stock rom you provided ?
    If this app is indeed packed with the stock rom, can you tell us how to uninstall it ?

    I read we can’t use OTA updates if we have rooted our devices, but we need root to uninstall the malicious app so i don’t know how to solve this problem.

    Thanks a lot

    (and btw thanks for this tutorial, much appreciated)

  • CJ

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the guide. I manage to follow it and update the phone with this (my first ROM flashing attempt). I bought my phone from http://www.everbuying.com and it was completely loaded with bloatware malware and Trojans or what Avast said was and running like crap!!

    Anyway, after all that I see your ROM works well. However, two minor problems that I wonder if you know how to fix? 1. Google Contacts from Gmail just will not sync despite it saying successfully sync on settings; i suspect some cache issue. 2. The automatic phone updates won’t install (some error on reboot about SD card) .

    Back to more expensive, but far easier, Nexus phone for me in future.

    Thanks anyway!! it saved me a lot of hass with your useful guide. I agree with Brad about Lenovo’s foolishness. They should take Apples approach and people just likely brick their phone if playing around with it in this fashion.

  • zohar

    google play not fully working.
    asking me to update google play service. and giving me an error when I am trying to update.
    and not letting me use google keep and google maps if I dont update

    any one know how to fix that problem? or has Gapps that work?
    Thnaks

    • Saad

      u cannnot update the core google services u flashed via CWM like other apps, u have to uninstall all the core google services and flash the latest gapps package(available easily on forums) via CWM again.

  • sopaopbi

    I have one k3 note with that VibeUi installed with a lot of apk that cant be unistalled. But i need a version of this VibeUi that include multilanguage. Does this original rom from lenovo has the multilanguage option? Thank you very much. I love VibeUi…

  • sopaopbi

    I need to know if it is multilanguage. Is it?

    • Saad

      the stock VIBE UI comes with only English and chinese language.

  • Alexis T

    can’t sync contacts and calendar with my google account after this tutorial…

    => setting/account/google/sync doesn’t list “contacts” and “calendar” as possible items to sync (the list is : AppData/Gmail/GoogleFitData/PeopleDetails)

    => opening contacts or calendar and trying to add a google account is impossible because the list of possible types of account to sync with is limited to “Corporate” and “WhatsApp”

    i found a solution for calendar, as installing google calendar from google play forced calendar synchronisation with my google account, but i can’t find a workaround for contacts, as i can not install contacts from google play…

    if someone has an idea…

    (fyi, i checked for the virus/malware shipped with chinese vendor ROMs, and it’s not present in stock ROM…)

    • sopaopbi

      Alexis could you check for me if it is multilanguage? Thank You

      • Alexis T

        chinese / english only

      • Alexis T

        chinese / english only

    • Ricardo Meleiro

      The solution for me was export the google contacts to the CSV format through the google contacts page and import that extension from my lenovo.

  • Mohammed Elmennaouy

    Awesome!
    I’ve looked too much for lenovo k3 note original ROM, finally found it!
    Thank you so much! =)

  • Richard, Chinatech25

    I ordered 2 of these from GearBest both came with different ROM’s one was rooted the other wasn’t, hardly any bloatware on either, I’ve read somewhere maybe on Gizchina.com that the malware is buried in the YouTube and twitter app pre-installed by the vendor, both are now rooted and bloat/malware remove, not flashed the stock ROM yet, have the good play and Gmail contacts sync been sorted.

    Thanks

  • Lukas Markech

    hi. i have followed the instructions but simply cannot get flashtools to detect my phone.
    the phone simply displays a charging icon and time.

    tried on two pcs. i am desperate. any help?

  • -KimieMio™-

    I would like to ask , does vibe ui will be lost when you flashed this stock rom ? I’m using galaxy tab 3 lite and have flashed it once , so I don’t really know about this kind of stuff . I bought Lenovo K3 Note and I want to flash it since there’s a lot of bloatware in i

    • Saad

      stock rom is VIBE UI my friend, it has bloatware, u can disable all the bloatware once u root(i’m using superSU and root uninstaller app) the device. try VIBE UI developer rom from VIBEUI.com, its super fluent.

  • Rajesh

    I have copied my sim contacts in phone memory. My problem is while i am receiving incoming calls I getting the sim memory name only not the phone memory name. Ex: My contact name in sim is Ajay but i changed the name as Ajay Sharma in phone memory for the same number. While I am receiving calls from him in it displays only Ajay(Sim Contact) not Ajay Sharma(Phone Contact). Please anybody can help me. Thanks in advance.

    • Saad

      if u have two contact entries(names) for the same number, the phone will always get confused 😛 , try deleting the sim contact or just disabling the sim contacts

  • Zeleni

    Hey, thank you for the tutorial, works pretty well.
    One question, do I have to delete Google Play store before OTA update or it doesn’t matter?

  • Zdravko Gotovac

    Does this ROM have maxxaudio or dolby atmos?

  • Zdravko Gotovac

    Does this ROM have maxxaudio or dolby atmos?

    • RodPolisher

      It depends. If the phone has the Chinese ROM, then it has maxxaudio. If it has the Indian ROM (also supports many other languages), then it has Dolby Atmos.

      My phone came with maxxaudio because I bought it from a Chinese retailer. It also had lots of other bloatware. I installed the official ROM that is installed on Indian phones and the phone is running much better. There were some pre-installed games and other programs (like Flipkart) that I didn’t need but most of these I uninstalled.

      Also, I have had 3 or 4 OTA system updates. Something that is not available on some of the phones with Chinese ROMs.

      The link to the official Indian ROM is here…

      https://cloud.mail.ru/public/7RTL/N474YBKte

      P.S. My first time to flash a ROM. I followed the instructions above and it worked perfectly/

  • Pamela Dayne

    Hi Chris. Thank you so much for this tutorial. However, after completing Google play services, when i try to enter my phone in English it says “Unfortunately, WLAN has stopped.” I cannot enter my phone now.
    How should I continue from here?

    Edit: Found a solution! Need to update the given vibe ui rom 🙂 then only the playservice works.

    • Ronaldo SV

      Hi, Pamela, I have the same problem. have U solved it? any ideia?

      • Pamela Dayne

        Hi Ronaldo
        I manage to get my phone with this rom working. What i did was, before flashing in the cwm boot recovery, I let this current vibe ui receive and install its software update. This before playstore is installed. After the software update, only the playservice works. Google playstore is now installed with the whole rom working. I hope this will help you too. 🙂

        Good luck!

    • Ronaldo SV

      Hi, Pam,

      thanks for your fast reply.
      after several hours working on it, I´ve made it!

      See what I did: I´ve followed all steps above until the Flashing of the CWM recovery and I didn´t install googleplay, then the phone has the original chinese factore version. The next step I´ve followed the tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4PQqRXSUa4

      I hope this will help you.

      Good luck.

      Ronaldo

  • John

    I updated the thing to 5.1 (latest official rom)… now it runs like the behind of a donkey… it’s lagging… the games are lagging… the apps are lagging… it overheats…the battery charges in thousands of years… can someone give me some pointers on how to fix these problems after the OTA update? Appreciate it.

  • gela81

    help after doing the

    Flashing of the original stock ROM
    phone won’t turn on, screen stays black . . I need help

  • AbdulB1

    Hi I have flashed indian rom on chinese model. Everything works except mobile data. I tried to put correct APN settings but no avail. I can see 4g written on screen’s top left corner but still no data. I have even switched back to chinese developer rom and the problem persists.

  • Andrea Risi

    sapete se le rom stock sono tradotte completamente in italiano e se hanno bug?

  • Amad Junaid

    guide works very well… just 1 thing to add
    –when flashing stock rom… ‘Upgrade Firmware’ should be selected from the dropdown below the scatter loading box
    –When flashing CWM… ‘Download only’ should be selected from the dropdown

  • Robert Dennis

    so I went through the guide, used the links above and the phone was okay for 3 weeks but then all the strange chinese apps started coming back and taking over.

  • Hamze Torabzade

    is it working for vibe ui 2.8 ? because I cant root it with any tool I know, like iRoot, KingRoot

  • alfwil

    can you share the link from where to download it

  • alfwil

    I am looking lenovo-k3-note SW to update as the phone I brought is chinesh and lots of unwanted apps get downloaded automaticly.

  • gxi

    OMFG HOW CAN U WRITE A TUTORIAL AND FROM THE STARTING POINT THE MOST IMPORTANT DOWNLOAD LINK IS NOT WORKING OMFG

  • todd chakaunya

    download link no longer working. please help

    • Ricardo Meleiro
      • sam

        thanks Ricardo!!!!

        • Ricardo Meleiro

          You’re welcome. I need to say that right now I’m using the Nexus V2 ROM. This ROM made my k3 a new device. Everything in that ROM works like a charm, the battery, two chips, wifi and even the camera is better.
          🙂

          • Rob

            Was the installation got the nexus rom the same? and if so, where did you get it from?

  • Ricardo Meleiro
  • -KimieMio™-

    Hello . Just some question before I do the process .
    Does this ROM is rooted ? If so , I’m not installing it .
    Also , @ricardomeleiro:disqus , would you like to share the download link for Nexus V2 ROM ? I would like to try that ROM too .
    Thanks in advance .

  • eric meredith

    Hello,

    I just got my (K50-T5) today & charged the battery to 99% level. When I purchased the phone the seller asked if I wanted the Google Play & others or stock. After reading all the problems before buying I SAID DO NOT TOUCH IT & KEEP THE BOX SEALED!!!FIRST I WANT TO SAY, I AM COMPUTER ILLITERATE!!! Born 1958 I NEVER LEARNED & now only PICK & PECK I got the box UNSEALED . My questions are as follows:

    #1) How can I tell which ROM I HAVE???

    #2) If I have a problem is there any EASY way to FIX IT???

    #3) The phone didn’t even come with an instruction manual, CAN I GET A COPY OF THE MANUAL OF THE WEB????

    Everybody here knows so much, PLEASE WILL SOMEONE HELP ME???

    Respectfully HOPING ,

    Eric K. Meredith

  • eric meredith

    Hello,

    I just got my (K50-T5) today & charged the battery to 99% level. When I purchased the phone the seller asked if I wanted the Google Play & others or stock. After reading all the problems before buying I SAID DO NOT TOUCH IT & KEEP THE BOX SEALED!!!FIRST I WANT TO SAY, I AM COMPUTER ILLITERATE!!! Born 1958 I NEVER LEARNED & now only PICK & PECK I got the box UNSEALED . My questions are as follows:

    #1) How can I tell which ROM I HAVE???

    #2) If I have a problem is there any EASY way to FIX IT???

    #3) The phone didn’t even come with an instruction manual, CAN I GET A COPY OF THE MANUAL OF THE WEB????

    #4) I have ENGLISH ON MY PHONE, BUT CHARGING IT, RIGHT BELOW THE BATTERY ARE CHINESE WRITING??? SHOULD IT BE LIKE THIS OR WHAT’S THE PROBLEM????
    Everybody here knows so much, PLEASE WILL SOMEONE HELP ME??? I FEEL SO STUPID FOR ASKING ALL OF THESE QUESTIONS. PLease HELP ME??

    Respectfully HOPING ,

    Eric K. Meredith

  • Hi there! I have a HUGE issue! I bought a Lenovo k3 Note and the seller had already rooted the phone and installed a stock ROM. Somehow ( think because I factory reset phone) bricked my phone. I have been trying everything to fx it, but am having no luck whatsoever 🙁 I try to use the flash toll, however, when I connect my phone to my pc the battery charging screen appears which prevents my pc from proceeding with flash tool. I don’t know what to do, I just got this phone and am scared that I will not be able to fix it. When I power on my phone it stays at “Lenovo” (I guess the boot screen) screen. Can you please help me? Pleeeeease!!! Thank you so much in advance for any/all help offered!

  • Naveed Ahmed Siddiqui
  • Salvador

    Hello, does this ROM work for the Chinese version K50-t3s?
    The seller sold it already flashed so that it would work for both FDD and TDD LTE instead of just TD used in China. Would flashing it affect this function?

  • Varinsha Becceea

    Can someone please help me? I’ve done a factory reset on my Lenovo K3 Note but after starting the phone on, I’m having the problem ” Unfortunately WLAN has stopped”. I’m not being able to use the phone.