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If you’re in the market for a large-screened smartphone, one that’s an ace at handling multimedia, you owe it to yourself to check out the Lenovo Vibe K5 Note.

The K5 Note is a large, sleek number that’s intended for multimedia junkies and other folks who crave a big phone that will perform admirably whatever the circumstance. It also comes with a portable VR headset and remote – making for quite the competitive package.
Read our review of the Lenovo Vibe K5 Note right here!

Thoughtfully put together

With the Vibe K5 Note, Lenovo has taken its line of K-phones further. Older phones in this lineup, such as the K3 Note and K4 Note, were made mostly of plastic (the K4 Note did feature a bit of chrome, but still had a plastic body), but the K5 Note is all-metal. It comes in two attractive colors, champagne gold and platinum silver.

And it’s stylish, featuring elements that draw the eye. Chamfers take pride of place around the phone’s edges and amp up the visual drama, and at the rear, the major elements – the LED flash, 13MP camera, and rear-mounted fingerprint scanner – are all aligned, in line with the company’s Art of Balance design concept. These are subtle design touches, but they contribute to the K5 Note’s overall feeling of having been thoughtfully designed.

The K5 Note’s 5.5-inch full-HD IPS LCD display takes pride of place up front – it’s a bright screen that offers decent contrast and viewing angles. Backlit capacitive keys sit down below, and a single speaker vent is located on the lower end. The bezels are appreciably thin on either side.

The phone has quite decent ergonomics and isn’t very heavy (it’s surprisingly light despite its screen real estate), making it a cinch to use using just one hand.

Overall the K5 Note is a big phone that doesn’t hide its size, but thanks to its good design it’s still a pleasure to hold and use.

Put through its paces

The Vibe K5 Note packs a decent punch with its 1.8GHz octa-core processor and 3GB of RAM. This makes it powerful enough to manage practically all of what we threw at our test unit.

The usual things people use smartphones for nowadays, including calls, texts, browsing and surfing, and social media, were managed with aplomb and without lags or crashes.

The non-removable 3,500mAh battery is good for over 12 hours of continuous multimedia playback, a boon for travelers or for those who can’t take the time to plug in and recharge.

The K5 Note runs Android 5.1 Lollipop with Lenovo’s own VIBE user interface and is upgradeable to Android 6.0. The VIBE UI itself is closer to stock Android than previous Lenovo UIs, but is still different in some key ways – for instance, it features a custom notification panel and a Secure Zone feature which allows users to run two instances of the same app simultaneously.

The phone has 32GB of internal storage, which can be expanded all the way up to 128GB via microSD.

The K5 Note’s 13MP rear camera and 8MP front camera also function alright, both producing quite decent images in well-lit situations. We tried shooting Full HD (1080) videos and also found the phone to be a good performer in this regard.

VR virtuoso

The K5 Note’s main differentiator and draw is the inclusion of Lenovo’s ANTVR portable VR headset and remote as part of the standard package. ANTVR works with Lenovo’s TheaterMax technology, standard in some of its smartphones, to provide a simple yet engaging VR experience.

Hold down the power button on the K5 Note, and a menu will pop up containing selection choices including power off, airplane mode, and VR mode. Upon selection of the final option this button, the display will split into two equal halves. When the phone is paired with the ANTVR headset, the split images blend into a single one – and the phone will be all ready for the VR experience.

We found this feature to work exactly as advertised. We tried watching a movie on our test K5 Note and enjoyed how much more immersive and personal the experience was versus watching it on the screen without any sort of VR enhancement.

We also found the ANTVR set to be a pleasure to use. Some other VR sets like Google Cardboard feature round lenses, but this one mounts square lenses in order to offer a 100-degree field of view. Moreover, the set’s also designed such that eyeglass wearers can wear and use it with their glasses on – a definite boon for those who can’t do without eyeglasses.

And the set also features a strap and padding, ensuring that it can be used completely handsfree. This makes it terrific for watching 360-degree videos, say on YouTube, not to mention for playing VR games – no need to keep holding one’s hands up when using this headset.

The bottom line

The Lenovo Vibe K5 Note is a phone that we believe can run with the best the segment has to offer. It’s a pleasure to use, having been blessed with a good feature set, power to spare, and a decent battery.

And it’s a multimedia standout thanks to its good screen – and most especially its included VR package and solution.

Overall, for these reasons, the K5 Note is well worthy of being added to one’s smartphone shortlist.

 

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