Lenovo Vibe Shot Review: An Edgy Sharpshooter

The Lenovo Vibe Shot is a pretty impressive mid-tier smartphone at $479 with a remarkable camera and fairly decent processor. With a 5″ screen and light aluminium frame, this slick phone fits well in the palm of our hands and pockets.

Pros:

  • Powerful 16MP Rear Camera w/ Infra-Red Sensors
  • Decent 8MP Front Camera capable of taking wide-angled selfies
  • Impressive display that’s crisp and clear

Cons:

  • Processor could be better for it’s price range
  • No NFC capabilities

Design

The first thing you will notice with the Vibe Shot is how “blocky” the phone is. It’s sharp on all edges and gives off a very masculine look. Whether or not this is a good thing is really dependent on your personal preference.

The Vibe Shot sports a 5″ screen and a compact build that lets it sit comfortably in your hands. It’s pretty much the ideal size for you to manipulate it with one-hand. It also weights in at only 145g, which is rather light thanks to it’s aluminium frame.

The monolithic build of the Vibe Shot gives off a very glassy and high-tech look. Whilst this looks very futuristic, the reflective surface of the Vibe Shot might not be ideal for use under the glaring Singaporean sun. Furthermore, this glossy cover might cause your Vibe Shot to act as some serious fingerprint magnet that nobody really likes.

Despite the “plastic” and light feel of the Vibe Shot, it is actually a very strong and resilient phone, with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 on the front and rear of the phone. Hence, you don’t have to worry about scratching or damaging your glassy phone.

Of course, this phone also has dual-SIM capabilities alongside an expandable storage slot that lets your phone increase it’s memory to 128GB.

Performance

The Vibe Shot holds the standard Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor alongside 3GB worth of RAM. This is pretty much the industry average for mid-tier smartphones. If you are unsure of what to make out of these specifications, here’s a good article to read.

This translates to a fairly smooth user experience with little lags when using it for daily work purposes. Don’t expect a liquid-like transition between apps or when booting though, delays and lags still do occur when you begin to open up more tabs or when you run memory intensive programmes.

BaseMark OS II tests show that the Vibe Shot performs slightly better than the average when you compare it to other Snapdragon 615 phones, so there is nothing much to complain about it.

Credits: GSM Arena
Credits: GSM Arena

With 32GB worth of internal storage, you don’t have to worry about your phone running out of space, but if you are a media hog like me, you might still need to increase your storage by adding in another MicroSD card.

Camera Quality

The Vibe Shot’s key feature is it’s 16MP camera armed with an infra-red sensor that helps it focus and snap photos fairly quickly.

Shots outdoors are great under well-lit conditions. The details are amazing without a doubt, but that’s only expected of this camera-centric phone.

The true test lies in using the phone for indoor shots under artificial lighting. The shots indoors in average lighting conditions show that the camera is capable of producing decent shots, but the nitty gritty details begin to falter when you start zooming in and looking at the photo in 100%.

Taking product shots with the Vibe Shot
Taking product shots with the Vibe Shot
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There is some noticeable “noise” when you take close-up images

Despite having an IR sensor, the focus technology on the Vibe Shot was slightly disappointing. There were instances when the camera focused into the right focal length and then faded away into a blur again, which made shot-to-shot time a burden.

The front camera was decent with 8MP, I liked the wide-angle of the front camera, that allows you to take more of the background around you and more people in a group shot. Under low-light conditions, the performance of the camera wasn’t spectacular, but still at least on par or better compared to the industry standard.

Video

For a camera phone, the Vibe Shot shoots fairly average quality videos, which was slightly disappointing for a dedicated camera phone. Although it did take fairly clear videos, the resolution wasn’t mindblowing like 4K and it didn’t have an option to focus after the recording started.

To be fair, the video was pretty steady thanks to optical image stabilisation so if you have shaky hands, this might be a phone you want to consider.

User Experience

Like most Android phones, the Vibe Shot has a customised Vibe OS that might take some time to get used to, but it is a fairly cool system.

The overall experience of the Vibe OS was fairly smooth and lags were present, but they didn’t occur too often. They most definitely did not hinder me from working during the day.

The nicest thing about this OS is how you can tweak big things like themes and other small little things to your own preference. The status bar and notification bar was quite impressive and you can set it to view old notifications you swiped away long ago.

You also get to separate your work and private life by creating two virtual “spaces”. Each space can have its own unique of apps, accounts, and passwords. Considering I lead a pretty hectic life, it’s hard to pry away from work at times and that little space gives me room to breathe in my free time.

Battery Life

Credits: GSM Arena

The battery capacity isn’t a “wow” factor, but it did have a good run during my trial thanks to its power-efficient user interface and processor. I could run almost a full day without recharging during working hours. I ran mostly productivity apps during those times, but I did noticed that the battery started to fade alot faster when engaging in graphic intensive activities like playing games and watching videos.

Verdict

For shutterbugs, this phone is most definitely something you should consider. We wouldn’t call this phone a “must-buy”, but it is definitely a solid mid-tier smartphone. It has a good camera, a smooth operating system and a fairly sweet design. It’s most definitely not the best, but certainly at least a notch above the industry average.

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