The new Lenovo K10 Note is one of the few phones under Rs. 15,000 to carry a telephoto camera that sets it apart from the crowd. While most companies seem to add additional wide-angle cameras, it's nice to see Lenovo out of the box here. Lenovo K10 Note price in India starts at Rs. 13,999 for the 4 GB variant that we will review today.
In this segment, the Lenovo K10 Note competes directly with mobile phones such as the Realme 5 Pro (test), the Vivo Z1 Pro (test) and the Xiaomi Mi A3 (test). On paper, Lenovo's latest offering is well-equipped to face the competition. It has a large battery, a high-resolution display and a powerful processor. It's time to find out if the Lenovo K10 Note is worth considering.
Lenovo K10 Note Design
In our first impression article, we talked about the simplified design of the Lenovo K10 Note, which is nice but not exactly eye-catching. The housing is made of plastic, which is of good quality and the phone feels sturdy. We also liked that the back and sides are made from a single piece of plastic, which makes it comfortable to hold. However, this "Knight Black" color variant of the Lenovo K10 Note, which we had for testing, cannot be kept clean. Dirt on the plastic back is not easy to wipe off, making the phone look messy just a few moments after it is lifted. At least for the time being, the phone will only be commercially available in this color.
The volume buttons and the on / off button on the right side fit well on your fingers, as does the capacitive fingerprint sensor on the back. You will receive a hybrid dual SIM slot on the left that supports 4G VoLTE in both slots. You can expand the internal storage with a microSD card, but instead of a second SIM card. All connections are at the bottom of the Lenovo K10 Note. The 3.5mm headphone jack can be annoying when playing a game with wired headphones and holding the phone in landscape mode. Fortunately, the speaker isn't easy to block because it's placed over the USB Type-C port.
There is a 6.3-inch full HD + LCD display on the front that produces good colors. There is no gorilla glass, but according to Lenovo, the K10 Note uses panda glass. The viewing angles are also good and after a week we found that the brightness is more than sufficient for outdoor use. The display has a dewdrop notch and although the bezels are not very slim, it is also not very thick. The same applies to the chin below, which is only slightly thicker than the other sides. The notification LED in the earphones is a nice touch.
The rear fingerprint sensor recognized our fingerprint almost every time, but Lenovo added an overlay animation when the display wakes up, making the overall process a bit slower than we would like. There's a face unlock, but it's Android Pie's standard Smart Lock feature, which is a bit slow and doesn't work in low-light conditions. That's why we didn't rely on it when testing the phone.
The Lenovo K10 Note comes with an 18W quick charger, a Type C cable, a SIM eject tool, and some manuals. There is no suitcase in the box that would have been useful.
Lenovo K10 Note specifications and software
As already mentioned, the Lenovo K10 Note is equipped with a powerful processor, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 SoC. This octa-core chip is based on a power-saving 10 nm manufacturing process and has good computing and graphics capabilities. In fact, this chip has a better graphics chip than some of the newer Snapdragon 600 series chips in this segment, e.g. B. the Snapdragon 675.
The phone is available in two types of RAM and memory – 4 GB RAM and 64 GB RAM (13,999 Rs.), Which we are testing, and 6 GB RAM and 128 GB RAM (15,999 Rs.). Both versions receive dual band WiFi according to 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5, USB OTG, FM radio, GPS and Dolby Atmos for speakers and headphones. The sensors include an ambient light sensor, a proximity sensor, a gyroscope, a compass and an accelerometer.
The Lenovo K10 Note runs on a custom version of Android 9 Pie, but the customization is not very extensive, so the overall appearance is even closer to that of Android. Well, in our first impressions of the phone, we mentioned that there was a very slight delay or a very slight jerk that was occasionally visible in the system animations, but after about a week of use, this was not very troublesome.
The notification shadow should only show you two rows of toggle switches. Instead of swiping down a second time to show more buttons, swipe left. The order of the switches can be adjusted. The Lenovo K10 Note has a large clock widget on the home screen that shows you the weather, two of your recent apps, and other random apps from the Play Store. A swipe up from the home screen takes you to the app drawer.
The Settings app also has some additional features, e.g. B. a 4D U-Touch menu, in which you can swap the navigation keys with three keys for gestures. The remaining menus are sensible. Unfortunately, our test device was still in the May 2019 security patch, which is quite outdated. We would also have liked other additions, such as a screenshot editor or a built-in screen capture that we are used to from other Android skins.
The Lenovo K10 Note didn't have a lot of bloatware and there was no problem with spam notification ads. However, there are some not too useful apps pre-installed. App Daily is Lenovo's curated app store, which is pretty much superfluous, and there are some pre-installed games like Asphalt Nitro, Puzzle Pets, and Spider-Man: Ultimate Power. Fortunately, you can uninstall the games if necessary.
Lenovo K10 Note performance and battery life
The Lenovo K10 Note feels relatively compact despite the large display. The slim body and light weight of the device make the phone easy to use. Even one-handed operation is possible, although reaching the top corners of the screen is still difficult.
The 4GB variant we tested ran very well with Android. Apps loaded quickly and even heavy games ran well. The phone did not heat up during normal use, but the back became somewhat warm when playing. In PUBG Mobile, which ran well with the "High" default setting, the phone did not overheat or become uncomfortably hot even after playing for 30 minutes. We received 1.62635 points in AnTuTu and a graphic mark of 30.229 points in the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited test in benchmarks.
The Lenovo K10 Note did a good job with media playback. The display showed expressive colors. High-definition videos looked good and the single speaker got pretty loud thanks to the Dolby Atmos enhancement. You can choose between three presets in the Settings menu: Dynamic, Music or Movie. The surround sound effect is not too pronounced due to a single speaker, but makes the audio sound louder.
The battery life was also good. The 4050 mAh battery lasted 13 hours and 14 minutes in our battery loop test, which wasn't very high in relation to the battery capacity, but the real battery backup was much better. With regular use, which usually includes chat apps, a bit of music streaming, camera usage, and a bit of gaming, we easily managed to run for almost a day and a half.
On days with less active use, we received almost two full days of operation with one charge. The Lenovo K10 Note has an 18W fast charge, but with a battery of this size it still feels a little slow. For example, the battery charges only 63 percent in an hour, and it takes almost two and a half hours to fully charge the battery.
Lenovo K10 Note cameras
The Lenovo K10 Note has a triple camera setting on the back. This includes a 16 megapixel primary sensor with an aperture of 1: 1.8. an 8-megapixel telephoto camera with 2x optical zoom and an aperture of 1: 2.4 and a 5-megapixel depth camera. The main sensor has PDAF, so the focus speed was fast. The telesensor took a little longer to lock the focus and we often had to tap the subject to get the right exposure.
We didn't have the best weather here last week, sorry for the somewhat grim rehearsals. When capturing landscapes, the primary sensor of the Lenovo K10 Note was able to capture good details, the colors were not oversaturated and the white balance was generally good. We also liked that the images were not sharpened too much, so that when the photo was enlarged, there was hardly any grain at all. While details in the center of the frame are generally sharp, objects on the sides tend to have softer details.
Close-ups have also worked well, but we often had to tap the viewfinder to get the right exposure. Just bringing the phone closer to our subject did not always bring the right exposure. The telephoto camera has a 2X optical zoom and the details were generally good with sufficient lighting. Edges around objects that weren't that sharp are the main sensor, but with enough light we took some good pictures.
Focusing was a little slower, making shooting fast-moving objects such as pets a challenge. In very poor lighting conditions, the camera relies on a digital zoom instead of changing the sensors. Although the image quality is generally decent, we have not found that it is drastically better than, for example, the double digital zoom of a large sensor camera such as the Realme 5 Pro (review).
The portrait mode of the Lenovo K10 Note is referred to as "dual". Allows you to add additional background blur to your subject. The degree of blurring cannot be adjusted before or after the picture is taken. After you press the shutter button, it takes a few seconds for the photo to be saved. Edge detection was good and portraits of people had pleasant skin tones. You also get a panorama and a pro mode where you can set the shutter speed and save a DNG RAW file.
In an interior scenario with relatively little light, the Lenovo K10 Note managed to take relatively clean pictures without much noise. Details are also quite well preserved, although finer details such as people's faces look grainy and are not very pronounced. In very poor lighting conditions, the main camera tried to capture good details. The images looked good on the phone's display, but when we zoomed in we noticed blurry textures and grain. There is a night recording mode for the main camera that gives good results indoors, but it is not very effective outdoors in low light conditions. The resulting image looked lighter, but the details were still not entirely correct.
The 16 megapixel selfie camera of the Lenovo K10 Note records selfies in very average quality. Even if the beauty filters were deactivated, the skin structures looked sharply sharpened and the colors were not always right. There is a beauty mode with a number of preset beauty effects. You can also create a custom beauty filter for your face that you can use to “improve” various aspects of your face such as cheekbones, nose, eyes, etc. and save it as a template for future use. What is surprising is that there is no flash – screen lit or otherwise – so you get stuck with poorly lit selfies in low light.
The Lenovo K10 Note records videos with a resolution of up to 4K, but the colors were greatly exaggerated. Continuous autofocus works very well, however. The image quality is also fairly average, especially when shooting landscapes. At 1080p, the quality is a bit better, but there is no stabilization, which is disappointing. In low light conditions, the camera does a good job of reducing noise, but the lack of any stabilization can make videos unusable. Audio is also a problem since it generally sounds thin.
On paper, the K10 Note is a good comeback attempt by Lenovo in the budget segment. The price is also reasonable for both models as it ticks most of the right boxes in this segment. It's light, has good app performance, the display is lively, the battery life is solid, and the rear view cameras are decent as long as there is enough light. Adding a telephoto camera was a nice touch from Lenovo, as apparently no one in this segment is doing this. However, we have found that using digital zoom on competing smartphones can achieve comparable results.
Areas where the Lenovo K10 Note could have done better are the body finish. The plastic back is a nightmare to keep clean. The software isn't as feature-rich as some of the other custom skins, and the cameras struggle in low light. The lack of electronic stabilization is also a little disappointing, and the selfie camera isn't that big either.
All in all, the Lenovo K10 Note is perfectly acceptable, but other phones at similar prices like the Realme 5 Pro (test) and the Xiaomi Mi A3 (test) offer better value for money.