Lenovo VIBE S1 Lite: hands-on
Back in September of 2015, Lenovo announced an affordable, selfie-centric smartphone called the Lenovo VIBE S1. It featured pretty good midrange hardware and a dual front camera setup for some bokeh effects, all for the reasonable price of $299. Now, the company has announced a more affordable variant of the handset, called the VIBE S1 Lite. Here at CES 2016, we’ve had a closer look at the device.
The first thing we notice in the Lite model is that the curved glass rear has been replaced by a matte-finished plastic cover. That aside, the design language of the VIBE S1 can certainly be seen here, as the phone still has the metal frame around its sides, and retains an elegant look and light weight. The back is still curved, providing nice ergonomics for an already comfortable to hold smartphone.
Just like its bigger sibling, the VIBE S1 Lite has a 5-inch display with a 1080 x 1920 resolution. This results in a pixel density of 441 PPI, giving us a crisp, detailed image. It’s a pretty bright IPS panel, with rich and a bit oversaturated colors, while its viewing angles are slightly harsh.
The VIBE S1 Lite runs Lenovo’s proprietary interface on top of Android 5 Lollipop. It’s generally a light re-skin, with the app drawer completely removed for one reason or another, and a number of experience-enhancing features added either as separate settings or security apps. The interface favors flat and colorful icon design, while its notifications shade and various menus do not stray far from the stock Android look.
Processor and memory
Under its hood, this selfie-centric handset has a 64-bit octa-core MediaTek MT6753 SoC, 3 GB of RAM, and 32 GB of internal storage, expandable via microSD of up to 128 GB. In our short time with the phone, we didn’t notice any stuttering or performance issues. Lenovo’s interface takes it easy on the hardware, and MediaTek’s processor has no issue running whatever we had on screen.
Of course, we would imagine that graphics intensive applications would take their toll on the phone’s performance, but we hadn’t had a chance to test that yet.
The front camera is where Lenovo put a large emphasis with the VIBE S1 Lite. Unlike its sibling — the VIBE S1 — this handset doesn’t have a dual camera setup on the front. Instead, it has one 8 MP Sony-made sensor accompanied by a flash for those times you just have to take a shot of your mug, but it’s just too dark. Additionally, the phone has a selfie panorama function, which will either help with getting more people in a shot, or get a larger shot of the scenery behind you, should there be such.
The backside camera sports a 13 MP sensor assisted by a two-tone CCT (Color Correlated Temperature) flash, which we’ve seen on the Motorola Moto X and Moto Play before.
The competition: Here are some other entry-level handsets we checked out at CES
The Lenovo VIBE S1 Lite will, unfortunately, not be launching in the USA. It will be available in Europe and Asia for about $199. At this price point, selfie aficionados and social network addicts should definitely take a closer look at it.