With local companies like Cherry Mobile, MyPhone and Starmobile releasing rather powerful smartphones at insanely cheap prices every now and then, it’s pretty obvious that international companies and manufacturers’ market shares in the mid-range arena are gradually decreasing. But this crazily tight competition doesn’t seem to discourage Lenovo as the popular electronic brand goes full force in introducing their smartphones in the Philippines. And you probably have also felt this especially when you’ve already seen or heard NBA player Kobe Bryant saying “walang iwanan” while holding his Lenovo mobile phone.

lenovo-s560-review

Lenovo now has a variety of Android smartphones available in the market, including the semi-old, mid-range Lenovo IdeaPhone S560 which they sent to us for review. This is actually my first time to use a Lenovo mobile device; find out whether or not this smartphone impressed me. But before proceeding to our actual review, here are the key features of the IdeaPhone S560:

  • 4” IPS WVGA Capacitive LCD @233ppi
  • MediaTek MT6577 1GHz dual-core processor
  • PowerVR SGX 531 GPU
  • 512MB RAM
  • 4GB Internal Storage
  • Expandable up to 32GB
  • HSPA 14.4Mbps
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 3.0 w/ A2DP
  • 5MP autofocus camera
  • VGA front-facing camera
  • GPS w/ A-GPS support
  • 2000mAh Battery
  • Android Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0

The IdeaPhone S560 is a dual-SIM, dual-Standby device that can support 3G/HSPDA network for the first SIM slot and just 2G (GPRS/EDGE) for the other.

Unboxing

lenovo-s560-unbox

The standard sales package of the IdeaPhone S560 (aside from the unit itself) includes: standard 2000mAh battery, USB power adapter, microUSB cable, 3.5mm jack headset, quick start guide, and warranty card.

Hardware & Design

Although this device is almost entirely covered by plastic, it pretty feels solid when held. Hefty it may be, the S560 appears to be one of the most elegant phones of its class. Its navy blue and black colors look really attractive. The back panel has a plastic finish, which may look like a glass at first but it’s not. The major downside of its back panel, however, is that, the moment you actually start using the device, it will easily get scratched (thin lines and the-like), which clearly turned us off. It’s prone to ugly fingerprints and smudges.

lenovo-s560-dimensions-ports-peripherals-inputs

In terms of inputs, there are four capacitive buttons up front: options, home, back and the multitasking switcher. The volume rocker and the dedicated camera key are properly position on the phone’s right side while there’s none on its left. On its top part, the microSD port is flanked by the 3.5mm audio jack (left) and power/sleep button (right).

The volume controls can be found on the top left hand side, with the power button across from it on the top right, while the microUSB port and audio jack are on top, and the mic is below.

Display

The IdeaPhone S560 flaunts a 4-inch display. It has a WVGA resolution with 480 x 800 pixels and ~233 pixel density. It uses an IPS display, giving it more decent screen display with wide viewing angles.

lenovo-s560-android-review-techbuzz-verdict

The IdeaPhone S560 flaunts a 4-inch display. It has a WVGA resolution with 480 x 800 pixels and ~233 pixel density. It uses an IPS display, giving it more decent screen display with wide viewing angles.

Camera

The IdeaPhone S560 comes with two cameras: the VGA front-facing camera, which apparently allows you to do video calls via Skype or similar apps, and the 5-megapixel autofocus rear camera, which unfortunately does NOT come with LED flash.

lenovo-s560-front-rear-cameras

The S560′s rear camera captures images with mediocre quality. It takes decent shots in a well-lit environment or in any place where the lighting can be controlled. However, as expected, the quality gets grainy in dimmer areas; the absence of a flash makes the camera “unusable” in the dark. Here are the sample photos taken using the IdeaPhone S560:

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camera-sample-3

camera-sample-4

As for the video recording, the Lenovo S560′s takes better video quality than that of the Cherry Mobile Thunder. And just like taking still photos, video recording delivers much better in direct sunlight or a well lit environment. Unfortunately, it CANNOT record 720p videos. Below is our video camera sample:

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Sound

Music lovers are going to love this as the IdeaPhone S560 is equipped with two powerful speakers powered by DOLBY Digital Plus: one is placed near the camera and the other is on the bottom.

lenovo-s560-review

The enhancement of the audio may not be that spectacular but it’s pretty much noticeable. Thus, you’ll end up listening to music with the Dolby Mode all throughout.

Performance

One major thing that surprised and impressed us is its responsiveness. The whole “touch experience” is pretty nice and smooth. It’s definitely one of the few entry-level Android smartphones with snappy responsiveness.

As for this droid’s performance, watch our hands-on video below:

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What we also liked about this device is its virtual keyboard. Aside from the fact that it works well with the good responsiveness of the screen giving better accuracy when typing (for an entry-level smartphone), it also “smartly” suggests words to the user (somehow the same with the SwiftKey keyboard app).

lenovo-s560-benchmarks

The IdeaPhone S560 managed to get a rating of 22.0 on Nenamark2, 5,931 on AnTuTu, 2,699 on Quadrant, and 1,091 for HTML and 361 for Metal on Vellamo.

Note: The numbers above may not exactly tell us how this device really performs but at least they give us an idea how it will perform. And it seems like these numbers are saying that the processor(s) used perform(s) really well.

Battery Life

One of the best things about Lenovo smartphones is that, their battery lives last longer than the usual ones. The IdeaPhone S560 comes with a large 2,000mAh battery which lasted almost a day with moderate to heavy usage and over three days with light to moderate usage.

lenovo-s560-physical-battery

Perhaps, the default app called Lenovo Powersaving has somehow helped this smartphone to last long enough, most especially on standby time.

Verdict

With a suggested retail price of Php6,999, you can never go wrong in choosing this device. Aside from the usual text-and-call tasks, the IdeaPhone S560 has also the ability to meet your basic needs like social networking, e-mails, web browsing, gaming (e.g. Temple Run, 4 Pics 1 Word, Subway Surfers), etc.

What we liked:

  • Good touchscreen / responsiveness
  • Good & smooth performance (thanks to its dual-core processor)
  • Dolby Mode feature
  • Long battery life

What we did not like:

  • Plastic back panel (can be easily scratched / prone to fingerprints & smudges)
  • No LED flash
  • Unlikely to get firmware updates

lenovo-s560-android-review-techbuzz-verdict

Choosing the IdeaPhone S560 would be a great decision! Especially if you’re looking for a dual-SIM Android smartphone with decent specs at a price you can afford, this device should be included (or even top) in your list!

The Lenovo IdeaPhone S560 is available in most (if not all) Lenovo Mobile stores nationwide with a retail price of Php6,999.

RATING: 7.5 / 10

In case you’ve overlooked it, you can watch our hands-on video of the IdeaPhone S560 here:

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Lenovo IdeaPhone S560 Specifications
BODY 125 x 63 x 12.3 mm (155 g)
DISPLAY 480 x 800 pixels, 4.0 inches (~233 ppi pixel density)
IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen
Multitouch, up to 4 fingers
MEMORY 4 GB internal storage
microSD slot, up to 32 GB
512 MB RAM
CONNECTIVITY HSDPA, HSUPA; GPRS; EDGE
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot
Bluetooth v3.0 with A2DP, EDR; microUSB v2.0
CAMERA 5 MP, 2592×1944 pixels, autofocus
Geo-tagging
480p@30fps video recording
Secondary: VGA
FEATURES Dual-core 1 GHz Cortex-A9 MTK 6577 processor
PowerVR SGX531 GPU
Android OS, v4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
OTHER FEATURES Sensors: Accelerometer, proximity, compass
Messaging: SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM, RSS
Browser: HTML
Radio: FM radio, buit-in antenna
GPS: Yes, with A-GPS support
Java: Yes, via Java MIDP emulator
Others: SNS integration, MP4/WMV/H.264/H.263 player, MP3/WAV/eAAC+/AC3/FLAC player, Organizer, Image/video editor, Document viewer, Google Search, Maps, Gmail, YouTube, Calendar, Google Talk, Picasa, Voice memo/dial, Predictive text input
BATTERY Li-Ion 2000 mAh battery
Stand-by: Up to 250 h
Talk time: Up to 8 h
COLORS Deep Blue
AVAILABILITY Already available
PRICE Php6,999

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Ram Mancelita is the founding Editor of TechBuzz. He has been recently awarded as the 2013 Technology Blogger of the Year and the 2012 Best Cebu Technology Blogger by the Cebu Bloggers Society and Best Cebu Blogs Awards, respectively. Get to know him better by visiting his personal blog at Mancelita.com or following him on Twitter at @mancelitaRam.