The Vibe series often breathes fresh air into the stale smartphone design segment and the Lenovo Vibe Shot wants to serve double duty by trying to break into the difficult high-end smartphone photography market as well.
We still fondly remember the Vibe X2 design and while the Vibe Shot is different, we think we'll remember it for a while too. It features a metal strip on the back to hold the camera and all its friends, which makes it look more like a compact camera than a smartphone.
The camera is indeed the main focus of the feature sheet. It has a 16:9 BSI sensor with 16MP resolution and optical image stabilization. It's augmented by a triple-LED flash and laser autofocus. You get a couple of hardware controls too - a two-stage shutter key, an Auto/Pro mode switch, the volume rocker turns into a zoom control to boot.
The Vibe Shot design is based on the aluminum frame and glass sandwich that rules the Android high class, but the camera strip on the back really breaks up the monotony. We especially like the Carmine Red version, which paints the metal frame in sports car red.
Despite its premium design, this Lenovo is a mid-ranger at heart. Its 1080p screen and Snapdragon 615 chipset put it in the same mid-premium segment that the HTC One A9, Moto X Play and others occupy.
This mid-premium segment came to be mainly because people want a device that looks and feels premium, but the new features each year's flagships bring have become even more far-fetched. Will you ever use those features? Perhaps, perhaps not.
That's not to say the Lenovo Vibe Shot doesn't have premium features. The camera comes fully-loaded for photos (not so much for videos), the storage is fairly generous (the competition comes with 16GB as base or no microSD slot) and we were wowed by the screen as soon as we powered it on. It's just that the gimmicks are out (and some genuinely useful functionality along with them, unfortunately).
Here's the deal with Lenovo phones - their popularity is quite regional. Either you've never seen one or they are quite popular where you live. Can this one spur a more global adoption? Or at least further raise the popularity of Lenovo handsets? Let's crack open the box and find out.