Lenovo announced a trio of new Android smartphones at MWC, and the Lenovo S660 is the most affordable in the lineup. Yet, it packs the same 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek system chip as the others, a relatively high-res 8-megapixel rear camera, and a brushed-metal finish. Not bad for a device that costs $229 off-contract, is it? The other big highlight? A huge, 3000mAh “all day battery” that is also user replaceable.
We took the affordable S660 for a hands-on spin at MWC trying to get a first impression of it. Read on.
The brushed metal back is definitely a surprise and a rarity on such an affordable device. No wonder it’s one of the highlights of the Lenovo S660, while most others in its class are plastic. It’s not among the slimmest (9.95mm), or lightest (0.33lb) phones out there, though. Yet it is sturdy and the metal back should resist scratches and fingerprints better.
Apart from that, the Lenovo S660 comes with a 4.7-inch IPS display with a resolution of 540 x 960 pixels (qHD), and that relatively low resolution is probably the biggest compromise involved in this phone. Still, we would not say this is a deal-breaker - pixel density comes in at around 240ppi, and while some pixelization is visible, it’s not terrible by any means.
What’s better, the S660 surprised us with its high brightness and decent colors. At least that was our initial impression, we’ll test the device more rigorously at a later point.
Interface and functionality
The Lenovo S660 is rocking Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, which is a bit of a disappointment given that most devices at MWC come with 4.4 KitKat on board. Still, we’re talking about a very affordable phone here and the difference from 4.2 to 4.4 is not all that drastic after all.
What matters more here is the custom Lenovo skin on top of Android. It’s unlike most skins we have seen in that it overhauls the stock Android experience replacing the home panel with an app drawer. That’s right you just have all your apps straight on the home panel, like on an iPhone actually. Luckily, the S660 is an Android device, so you can easily change most of this via a custom launcher.
Neatly, the S660 supports dual SIM connectivity, a nifty feature for savings some money on your monthly bill and stay connected.
Processor and memory
There is a 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6582 chip under the hood with 1GB of RAM that should be more than enough for delivering a smooth Android experience.
In real use, the Android interface runs nearly perfectly smoothly without any noticeable slowdowns, and that’s great. The handset ships with Mali 400 graphics that should be perfectly capable of running casual games. More demanding games, though, would put a lot of stress the chip sweat, but with a slight lag, it should be able to run them.
Internal storage is set at 8GB, but luckily you can expand it via microSD cards of up to 32 gigs.
The Lenovo S660 features an 8-megapixel rear camera (and that’s a higher than the average resolution for its class), and a 0.3-megapixel VGA front shooter. The camera should be capable of recording 1080p videos, but we’ll only be able to tell you more about it after we snap some shots and analyze them. Stay tuned.
Lenovo S660 hands-on: large battery and brushed metal in a dirt-cheap package
All in all, we’re excited to see features like a metal body and a huge battery in such an affordable phone. For a device that costs $229 off-contract, the S660 makes a surprisingly convincing case and our expectations are high for this little phone. Lenovo is starting off the year on a good foot, and the MT6582 quad-core chip seems to be at the core of its strategy, showing us how good an affordable Android phone can be. What about you, do you like the S660?