Lenovo launches the Lemon 3 to compete with Xiaomi’s Redmi 3

by: John DyeJanuary 13, 2016


Earlier this week, Xiaomi turned heads around the world when they put out the Redmi 3, an impressively spec’ed and priced handset with a full metal body, a 5-inch HD display, octa-core Snapdragon 616 SoC, and a monstrous 4,100 mAh battery. The device is so competitively priced at $105 that some are expecting it to have a drastic effect on the Chinese mid-range smartphone market, seeing as many phones with these specs are selling for three times the price. Now Lenovo is stepping up to the plate with their own insanely priced handset: the Lemon 3.

Spec-wise, the Lemon 3 is nearly identical to the Xiaomi Redmi 3. Both have 5-inch HD displays, both are running the same Snapdragon chip, both have 2 gigs of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. Both also have a 13 MP main camera and a 5 MP selfie-snapper. Price tag on the Lemon 3? Same as the Redmi 3: 699 RMB ($105 US).

Redmi 3-press1See also: Xiaomi Redmi 3 announced with full metal chassis and 4,100 mAh battery for $10549

Why buy a Lemon over a Redmi, then? Well, although the displays are the same size, Lenovo’s boasts a higher resolution than its Xiaomi counterpart. The trade-off is that the Lemon 3’s battery is nowhere near as incredible as the Redmi 3, which can literally last for days. So it looks like if you’re stuck between these two, your decision will hinge on whether you value longevity over screen quality. Hard call here.

No word on either of these devices being available outside of China for now, but with the amount of attention they’re both getting overseas, who knows what’s in the cards for the future? Now it’s your turn. Given the choice between the two, which would you pick? Let us know which and why in the comments!

Next: Best cheap Android phones (December 2015)

  • Jerome

    Seriously? I bought a lemon? Who thought of that name?

    • DDD

      Sir, it’s a Lenovo Lemon, thank you very much.

    • Karly Johnston

      They wanted to call it SailFish but it had a negative connotation.

    • Roberto Tomás

      lol yeah, right? well, in the chinese advertising, this is just part of the Vibe X3 release they are doing .. it should be thought of as a Vibe X3 Lite. The name of this phone is 乐懞X3 青春版 = literally “happy mist” (vibe) “X3” “youthful edition” (lite)

      Interestingly, the Vibe X3 is also called the Lemon X in some english-speaking markets: where sometimes even the media claims that is the name in chinese, but it is not.

    • John

      You understand the marketing campaign is mimicking a famous US one right? The famous Volkswagen bug marketing campaign where they called the car a lemon.

      • Jerome

        Sure, 95% of bananas & melons out there would think of that :-)

    • Hey, lemons have feelings too.


  • AbbyZFresh

    At this rate. Andorid phone profit margins will be next to nothing because of these Chinese companies.

    • My name is….


    • nonotz

      its bad for them , yes …. but its good for us.. i dont think lenovo will goes bankrupt even with no margin for lemon. their aim now just to kill xiaomi

    • jerry

      Yes, but the costs to manufacture is falling too I would have. Since the “decoupling of many apps from OS to PlayStore” under lollipop, it means manufacturers are responsible for fewer apps – so R&D spending is down.

      The strong competition between MediaTek, Qualcomm, Intel and Nvidia means the silicon chips in our devices do more than ever at cheaper prices (I’m thinking audio/video hardware acceleration for one). This along with lollipop’s software around VP9/Opus means the manufacturer is responsible for less. Fewer R&D expenses.
      So, yes profits are falling, but so are costs!

    • Scr-U-gle

      Its already in the minus for the vast majority of manufacturers.

      This is terrible for consumers in the long term. Why, because the OEMs can’t spend on R&D, that’s why they default to android and make generic factory phones that really are all the same.

      Why else does every roid phone just ape the iPhone features a year or two later.

      • The hell? Not only has the iPhone been copying Android features left and right for the past several years, but much of the R&D that goes into Android is done by Google and not the OEMs. The OEMs too are not doing any real R&D on the hardware — they get parts from suppliers like Samsung.

        The only feature the Android phones have really copied from Apple in the past few years is the fingerprint scanner. Everything else is the other way around — Apple copying screen size, dropdown status screen, stylus, live wallpaper, higher megapixel cameras, more than 1GB of RAM, always-on listening for Siri, and split view multitasking.

        • Scr-U-gle

          You really should know what you are talking about before you make a buffoon of yourself.

          The Adrone features you state were from the iOS jailbreak community. I am guessing you never heard of the Apple Newton?

          Live wall paper since the 4s, Siri copied by Google in Google now (which is the reason Andy Rubin was soft-fired), and I believe bigger screens was the iPad.

          You really are clutching at straws when you seem to think a bit more ram is a feature, split screen (Microsoft who share a cross party licence since they copy everything from Apple.)

          Desperate times call for desperate measure.

          What did happen to the Google Sooner phone and G1? Oh that’s right, the iPhone happened!

  • moew

    Lemon = Car with major problems.

    Wow…. just wow Lenovo.

    Oh and “dolby” rear facing speakers… hahahaha yeah, Lemon now applies for that spec.

  • strupper2003

    i’d go for the battery advantage

  • William

    Lenovo Lemonade :)

  • vmxr

    but no lemon in lemon :(


    I’ll save my money until they announce the Lenovo POS™ that is supposed to feature FUBAR™ OS which will make my brain drip

    • scoupdogg

      cant find anything about fubar os??



    • peerpressure

      Actually, I’m holding out for the Lenovo SNAFU

  • EasyCare

    That clock is so MIUI.

  • bob

    they should bring it to india so xiamo will launch redmi 3 quickly to stay in the competition ,otherwise xiaomi is gonna dump all the unwanted phones in Indian market and take lot of time to bring phones like redmi 3 to india

  • Carlos

    I mean, are these phones really low end? This and the Redmi 3, in specs and hardware completely outperform the likes of Moto G and still costs like 50eur cheaper?? Cool :)
    Wondering if they could ever manage to keep thoses prices if they got into the European/US market with VAT and other taxes added..

  • Tony JK

    XIAOMI REDMI 3 for the win!!
    720p screen is SUFFICIENT on a 5inch phone. 1080p is great and all but I’d rather have 3 days of battery life on a fine display rather than charge it TWICE A DAY for a slightly better resolution. Also MIUI works similar to iOS with lots of features, better and smoother than Lenovo’s LAME OS…

    • androidDude0923

      Sufficient? No. Its not. And Miui sucks, just copying iOS d3 sign and throwing whatever feature they can think of on it.

      • Tony JK

        720p is ENOUGH on a 5 inch display. It gives 300ppi…. The human eye can’t see ppi after 399 so there’s no point in a 1080p 5 inch display… Sure its always great to have one… But like I said 720p is truly SUFFICIENT. I barely noticed a difference in my Galaxy S4 (441ppi) and Moto G 3rd Gen… Which both have 5 inch displays but S4 had full HD while Moto had HD. The only noticeable difference was the AMOLED panel on the former.
        And I doubt if you’ve used a Xiaomi Device before, which is why you think it sucks. It DOES not. I’m not saying it’s amazing either but it’s a simple and easily accessible OS and FAR BETTER THAN LENOVO’s shitty OS. Yes they masquerade iOS UI, and That’s GOOD. It even has really neat features going for it. There’s really no reason to choose a Lemon 3 over a Redmi 3

        • EasyCare

          Also Xiaomi provides better updates compared to Lenovo. Lenovo usually updates their phones to newer version once.

          • Tony JK

            Yeah true that

        • sachouba

          “The human eye can’t see ppi after 399 so there’s no point in a 1080p 5 inch display…”

          That’s not true…

          • Tony JK

            But does ppi matter?

            The interesting thing about devices that boast a higher ppi that 400 is that your eyes can’t see the high concentration of pixels at normal smartphone viewing distances. Your naked eye can only see densities of up to 399, so you won’t be able to tell the difference between a device with a ppi of 400 and 440 (the Samsung Galaxy S4, for example).
            Source : knowyourmobile. com/makes/20613/pixels-inch-ppi-what-it-means-and-how-its-calculated

          • sachouba

            “at normal smartphone viewing distances”
            That’s exactly the problem : the number of ppi an eye can see only depends on the viewing distance. At 300 ppi, you won’t notice the pixels if you look at the display in bright light with your arm extended. But if you look at a red image, in low light, with a display near your eyes (or even worse : in VR !), it will change everything ! In these conditions, a 430 ppi display isn’t sufficient at all (neither is a 5 inch QHD display).

          • Maybe the naked eye of the guy who wrote the article you’re quoting.
            Quite a lot of people can differentiate densities above 400. THAT SAID — I agree with you, at more than 400 PPI it doesn’t matter anymore. At least, it doesn’t to me.

        • redmi 3 ftw

          don’t forget that redmi 3 has a built in IR Blaster. with a dedicated app.

          • Tony JK

            Yes OFCOURSE how can I forget! :)

        • Sorry dude. 720p is “enough” but it’s not pleasurable.
          720p on an 5″ is still pretty close to iPad Mini 1st Gen resolution ickiness. It is passable and it’s usable, but it sucks.

          • Tony JK

            Well I’d digress. It’s really not as bad as you’d acclaim. Passable and usable are for qHD resolutions 960×540 or so on a 4.5 inch display…. Like the Moto E. 720p is pretty sufficient and actually quite enjoyable as long as the screen is 5 inches or lower… Also Erwin bro you seem to be forgetting that we’re dealing with super budget phones here hovering around $100. At that price one really cannot be cribbing over the resolution, but instead be glad that they actually offered an HD screen at all! Also the massive 4100mAh will only prolong with lower pixels to push. I see nothing short of victory there…

          • Well “suck” is a subjective term. Like I said it’s usable/enough, but when you’ve gotten used to a 1440p or even just a 1080p screen for so long going back to 720p is so jarring.

            For the budget segment that is still used to using 720p, though, I could see this not being an issue at all. Quite a lot of people would go for the longer battery life, I’d imagine. At the $100 pricepoint really I don’t see any reason for anyone not to get either of these phones, unless said phones aren’t available in their country.

            These phones kill like a lot of $200 or even $300 phones. For instance, I don’t know how LG’s K Series is going to survive with phones like this on the market. Even if you imported them from abroad they’d still probably be cheaper than an LG K7 or K10.

  • Paul

    I would not buy this solely due to the name….. “What phone have you got?”…. ‘a lemon’ lol…. As lenova begin to drop moto brand, so does its shares….

  • Henry Ly

    The button layout seems somewhat annoying to me.

  • Jonathan Kramer

    Great to see so many comedians here though this story definitely merits the humor. I think another good analogy would be the Seinfeld show, ‘ a show about nothing’. Maybe Lenovo could engineer the Meh Phone.. the phone nobody wants or needs! :)

  • Lenovo’s camera at this price sucks. My Lenovo a5000 has horrible camera performance. And it’s $50 more expensive. Get redmi 3 instead.