UPDATE: The Lenovo Vibe K4 Note is now on sale in 11street. The first 30 customers to make a purchase from 3-8 March 2016 will receive a free pair of VR goggles. Deliveries will begin from 9 March onwards.
Immersion. An experience people everywhere are looking for this year. An experience that will probably define the rest of this year’s technological advancements. It’s an attractive notion, being able to completely immerse yourself in whatever content it is you’re consuming — be it gaming or videos — and if you add the 360-degree element to that, you can essentially travel the world from the comfort of your home.
It then comes as no surprise that 2016 is the year of Virtual Reality or VR. Put on a pair of VR goggles and boom, you’re in another world. Pop in your headphones and you can basically ignore everything that is going on outside of the virtual reality you’ve created for yourself. Now that’s immersion.
The Mobile World Congress 2016 pretty much set the stage for VR in 2016, with gigantic electronics developers like Samsung and LG offering VR experiences with their flagship devices. But, those devices are expensive and so are the accessories they come with — putting it out of reach for the budget-to-midrange consumer. Well, Lenovo wants to help the little guy out with their newly launched Vibe K4 Note and Vibe X3 — two smartphones that have been purpose built to give users the ultimate VR experience.
Lenovo Vibe X3
The Vibe X3 is the better equipped of the two devices, sporting a large 5.5-inch full HD display on the front with a Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor clocked at 1.5GHz, paired with 3GB of RAM and 32 GB of expandable internal storage powering it on the inside. For optics, it gets a 21-megapixel Sony camera on the rear packing PDAF, with an 8MP front-facing selfie shooter.
Giving it juice will be a large 3,500 mAh battery. It’s also got a bunch of nifty features like a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor and support for 4G LTE. But perhaps the best feature is the dual Dolby Atmos front-facing stereo speakers that has support for Hi-Fi 3.0 thanks to OPA1612 amplifiers from Texas Instruments.
Lenovo Vibe K4 Note
Rounding up the duo is the more budget-friendly Vibe K4 Note. Also known as the A7010, this device features a 5.5-inch full HD IPS panel tucked under Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3 on the front. Inside, it packs a modest MediaTek MT6753 octa-core processor paired with 3GB of RAM and 16GB of expandable internal storage. The camera is a step down from Vibe X3, sporting a 13-megapixel sensor on the rear with PDAF and a fast f/2.2 aperture, plus a 5MP front-facing snapper for selfies.
Perhaps the best feature of all is the dual Dolby Atmos front-facing stereo speakers tucked into the top and bottom corners of the relatively thin bezel. It’s awesome that Lenovo decided to strap a pair of front-facing stereo speakers to their mid-range device, what more a Dolby Atmos enabled one. Keeping the lights on is a modest 3,300 mAh battery.
Can you have a proper VR experience on a budget?
Lenovo unveiled something called TheaterMax, a feature baked into both Vibe devices launched today that is supposed to immerse their audience in a widescreen cinematic experience with the aid of the Lenovo ANTVR headset. Both Vibe devices are the first in Lenovo’s line to incorporate the Lenovo VR technology that lets users view any content — be it movies, TV shows or games — on a super-sized virtual screen.
How good Lenovo’s VR tech actually is, remains to be seen — and be sure we will definitely be testing these out later. I think it’s pretty cool that they’re trying to bring a good VR experience to a lower-to-mid point in the market.
That said, even without the VR component the Vibe devices are pretty attractive handsets on their own. With the Vibe X3 going for RM1,899 and the K4 Note going for RM999, they’re a pretty good deal for the specs, especially that K4 Note with front-facing speakers. Both smartphones will also come running Android 5.1 Lollipop out of the box with Lenovo’s Vibe UI running on top.
The Lenovo ANTVR will be available today onwards for RM99, but you can get it bundled as a free add-on when you purchase either the Lenovo Vibe X3 or the Lenovo Vibe K4 Note at selected stores while stocks last.
If you did notice, Lenovo has already started selling the Vibe X3 at authorised retailers, but this is the first time the K4 Note will be appearing on our shores. I think that being good value as standalone devices is a big plus for these devices as the “VR-enabled” part of Lenovo’s marketing can be treated as a nice little add-on that won’t make the device worse. In a way, it’s kind of like the LG G5 and its optional modules — the device’s success doesn’t necessarily hinge on a single gimmicky feature.
What do you guys think of these devices?