It wasn’t until recently that Lenovo as a smartphone maker was long-forgotten in the mobile market. Their last foray in the Philippines back then was a couple of mid range phones with the late Kobe Bryant (Walang iwanan!) as a global endorser back in 2013. Things didn’t pan out as planned, and well, now they are starting to crawl back into the market now full of aggressively-priced Chinese phone brands such as Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, and Huawei.
Enter the Lenovo K5 Pro. It’s not a new phone by any means, and was launched back in 2018. Lenovo Philippines’ strategy was to go hard at the entry level market by providing good value for the Php5,000 below market – which is a good chunk of most end-users.
For this article, we’ll unbox the and give our review on the Lenovo K5 Pro recently released by Lenovo Philippines.
PACKAGING AND INCLUSIONS
The packaging of the Lenovo K5 Pro is spartan at best – it just includes the main unit, charger, quick start guide, and sim ejector tool. It doesn’t even have earphones included, or the usual jelly case that most entry to high end phones have right now.
DESIGN AND BUILD
The Lenovo K5 Pro is solidly built, measuring at 3.0 inches (75 mm) x 6.1 inches (156 mm) x 0.3 inches (8 mm). The body itself is made up of aluminum and feels very solid. The back has a matte finish so it’s definitely not prone to fingerprints, and feels just great to hold. No fancy color-changing effects here at the back though (which is also a trend for most phones since 2019).
The screen measures at 5.99in and has a 79.1% screen to body ratio, which isn’t really that great right now, given that the trends are in-display cameras to reduce bezels. The Lenovo K5 Pro, however, still has massive bezels both on top and bottom of the screen. This still works though, since the K5 Pro does still have space for a better sensor and a flash on top of the screen. Also – no annoying camera holes on the screen, which is great especially while playing games.
The glass panel is great although it definitely feels like most high-end glass panels being used nowadays. It feels like it’s a mix of glass and plastic because it does have that somewhat sticky feel as times. I dropped the K5 Pro on a tile floor and thankfully, the display didn’t break, so I can attest to its durability. Hehe.
Power and side buttons are located on the right side of the phone, the power button has a textured feel so it feels very easy to grip.
The fingerprint sensor located at the back feels like a very dated design, since I’ve personally been used to having the sensors either at the side or an in-display fingerprint scanner. It still works pretty well though, and there wasn’t any issues with it – it responded quickly and pretty similar to any other fingerprint scanner I’ve tested recently.
PORTS, CHARGING, BATTERY
The Lenovo K5 Pro has a USB Type-C port, which is rated for 18W fast charging. Charging time using the included charger and cable took a little less than 2 hours from 0% to 100% (turned on at 5%). I tried using other chargers (QC3.0/PD chargers, a Huawei supercharger, even a Switch charger) to figure out how to charge it faster but it still indicated as “cable charging” and no “fast charging”, and charging time is still the same.
In terms of stamina, the 4050mAh battery lasted more than a day with semi-active usage (games, facebook, some email), but as with most battery tests, it will differ per person’s usage. With the Lenovo K5 Pro just on standby and started from 100%, it took a little more than 5 days until full discharge (wifi turned on). With very active usage starting the day from 7am (2-3 hours of games, 2-3 hours of facebook and browsing, some calls and chat apps around 1-2 hours and wifi turned on), the K5 Pro still lasted with around 5% until 9pm which is still pretty good.
There’s still a 3.5mm audio jack on the bottom left side of the phone, as well as the speaker grill on the bottom right.
The dual-SIM card tray is capable of accepting either 2 nano sims or 1 SIM and a microSDXC card. The K5 Pro comes with just 64GB of storage so it would seem a bit more practical to just use the second slot for maybe a 128GB or 256GB microSD.
OS EXPERIENCE: ANDROID 8.1
Perhaps one of the things I least liked about the Lenovo K5 Pro is its operating system – and unfortunately, there is no immediate update for it as of now. The K5 Pro comes out of the box with Android 8.1 (Oreo), and anyone who is currently using Android 10 will definitely feel the lack of small details or Android 8.1. Of course, there’s always a lot of options to install other ROM’s for it,
There’s also the downside of not having the latest security updates, some notification controls, as well as gesture navigations. However, since the version of Android 8.1 on the K5 Pro does seem pretty close to the stock version, it’s still great to use, fluid enough, and also doesn’t have a lot of bloatware.
Gaming Experience and benchmarks
Gaming is, by far, probably the best strength of the Lenovo K5 Pro, and with its powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 SoC, and octa-core CPU, it delivered fantastic results. In fact, I was blown away that an almost two-year old phone was able to keep up with the latest games.
I was able to play COD: Mobile smoothly at the highest possible settings (without using Game Booster) and gameplay experience was fantastic. I was simply blown away.
Playing Ragnarok Mobile at high settings did give me some issues especially when doing large scale attacks with multiple players, and there were some skipped frames – but this is normal for most low-end phones, and of course, this game is known for giving even mid-range to high-end phones some problems as well. Overall, it still performed pretty well.
Playing Mobile Legends was also a great experience from the beginning of the tutorial, and didn’t encounter any issues at all.
Overall, playing games using the K5 Pro was a great experience, boosted by its fantastic CPU and GPU, which are the best selling points of this phone.
The AI dual front and dual rear cameras of the K5 Pro are just okay – not really anything to note and just okay for its price. There must have been some great innovations in internal camera technology during the past two years and unfortunately, the K5 Pro does not have any of them. However, if you’re not really into pro-level photography and just want a simple way of taking pictures, then the K5 Pro will not let you down for daily use.
At broad daylight, photos turned out well, although the overall photo seemed a bit dark and colors are not 100% accurate.
With HDR turned on, the photo turned out much better and brighter, although the colors are still not too great. There was some noticeable loss in detail. If you’re not too picky about color saturation, then it’s still a pretty good option.
The Huawei P40 can record in the following resolutions based on its video settings:
- Rear: 4K @30/60FPS
- Front: 1080p @30FPS
Here’s a sample using the rear camera, Full HD @30FPS
At this setting, the video quality is just fine and the image stabilization works out quite well.
Here’s a sample using the rear camera, 4K @30FPS
There is some noticeable stuttering when using the 4K setting at broad daylight.
The front camera produces okay results, and as expected for a low-end phone.
Using the phone with an extremely bright background, the Lenovo K5 Pro still produced a very good result (as far as the subject is concerned) but background details are literally out of the picture.
For a normal selfie with daylight, the results were great and produced results that could rival any mid-range phone. However, skin tones were not too accurate and lacked some proper hues, and skin details was a bit oversmoothened. As I used the K5 Pro longer, I could see that this was the normal style of the cameras no matter any lighting condition.
- 5.99-inch IPS LCD display, 2160 x 1080 (HD) resolution, ~403ppi density 18:9 aspect ratio
- Qualcomm SDM636 Snapdragon 636 (14 nm), powered by an Octa-core CPU (4×1.8 GHz Kryo 260 Gold & 4×1.6 GHz Kryo 260 Silver)
- Adreno 509 GPU
- 4GB or 64GB RAM
- 64GB storage
- Rear: 16 MP, f/2.0, PDAF; 5 MP, f/2.4, (depth), Dual Tone LED Flash
- Front: 16 MP, f/2.0, 26mm (wide); 5 MP, depth sensor, LED Flash
- Fingerprint reader (at the back)
- 4,050mAh non-removable battery with 18W fast charging via Type-C
- Android 8.1 Oreo
The Lenovo K5 Pro is one of the first re-launches of Lenovo Mobile Philippines this 2020, and it’s a pretty strong player in the upper low-end segment. Facing so much competition at this price point, it definitely stands out on overall performance and value. The design and software are a bit dated, but if Lenovo plans to stick with the value proposition that they plan to offer to the market, we’re very excited to see what else they are planning to launch for the coming months.