Lenovo K6 and K6 Note Review
Interface and Functionality
Clunky Lenovo interface on top of an old version of Android and no promise for updates.
Lenovo is not the most popular phone maker in the Western world by any means, so this could also be your first encounter with the Lenovo Android interface.
Before we go into that, though, let’s make one thing clear: cheap Android phones do not get updates on time. And these two here are already stuck on Android 6.0 Marshmallow from the get-go, with no clear path to the Nougat update. This is preposterous and it happens every year with affordable Android phones, and we will not get tired of pointing out this issue. There should be a way for those phones to stay up to date and not immediately go into software senescence the moment you buy them.
This aside, the Lenovo UI on top of Android 6 is not a pretty one. Sure, you have themes to pick from (none of them are well polished, though, but some of them look tolerable), but the icon style and various menu elements look so outdated and quaint, it’s almost like going back in time.
One of the most important aspects of a modern smartphones is typing on the on-screen keyboard. It’s also one of those critical things that affordable phones do not get right and that does not get mentioned in reviews, yet can be very annoying. The Lenovo K6 and K6 Note are no different: they have an on-screen keyboard with poor vibration feedback and there is a hollow feeling when you tap the screen with your fingers, so at the end of the day we found ourselves making more mistakes when typing than usual.
We also find the UI has plenty of poor English translations, and a few annoying ‘features’ like the always popping up virtual numpad in the dialer app that does not allow us to see more than one number in the recent calls menu.
We do, however, love the three-way (weather, calendar and clock) widgets that Lenovo has developed: they give you all the important information and shortcuts to apps in one tap. But then again the stock apps themselves are not very detailed: the weather app in particular is limited and does not even show per hour forecast.
There is one cool feature hidden in this Lenovo interface that we have never seen on any other phone, and it’s a hidden gem for power users and tinkerers. It’s called a ‘Notification log’ and it’s basically a chronologically arranged log of all the notifications that hit your phone, from app installs, to calls, to the times the phone has been connected to a computer and everything in between. You can clear it, you can filter it, but best of all, you can review it to see all of your phone activity. Of course, this is not something that regular users would need, but if you are a power users you might like it.
Processor, Performance and Memory
The Snapdragon 430 handles itself okay in daily tasks, but it goes out of breath in games.
Both the Lenovo K6 and K6 Note are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 system chip, an affordable octa-core chip. It is clear that these are not phones for gamers, but do they manage to perform well in the daily grind?
The answer is yes. There is a slight stutter in some apps and we noticed that the browser was a bit slow to start, but overall the interface runs fairly smoothly for a budget phone of this caliber.
Of course, benchmarks give a clear conclusion about the budget Snapdragon 430 system chip: it’s not among the fastest, nor is it a chip for gamers. See its scores right below.
In terms of storage, you have a 16GB base option on the Lenovo K6, while the K6 Note storage starts at 32 gigs, and both phones support a microSD card slot, so that you can expand on that initial allowance. 16GB is definitely a bit tight on the K6, so we definitely recommend getting a microSD card along with it.
Internet and Connectivity
Not sold officially in the United States and U.S. LTE bands. Support for 4G LTE on all major European carriers.
The Lenovo K6 and K6 Note are not officially available in the United States, so you should not be surprised that proper support for U.S. 4G LTE bands is missing.
The two phones, however, are sold in Europe and Asia, along with other markets, and they do support the 4G LTE bands required for those markets. Namely, the K6 series come with support for the following bands: FDD bands 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20, and TDD bands 38, 40 and 41 (for China).
Other connectivity options include Wi-Fi b / g / n with support for only the 2.4GHz channel. This is not great because in dense urban areas you often get much slower speeds on this channel, and modern phones come with support for dual-channel Wi-Fi (the second channel being 5GHz) to avoid slow speeds.
There is also GPS and Bluetooth 4.2 on board, but no support for NFC.