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Lenovo S5 Pro camera looks outrageous for a sub-$200 phone

Lenovo has announced the S5 Pro in China for the equivalent of around $187 — and its camera looks immense.

Published onOctober 22, 2018

Lenovo S5 Pro smartphone renders on a blue staircase.
  • Lenovo has revealed its new midrange phone, the S5 Pro, in China.
  • The dual rear camera, with 2x optical zoom, looks outstanding considering the phone’s price.
  • Whether the photos are representative of the real-world experience, we can’t yet confirm.

Lenovo has launched the S5 Pro, a new midrange handset wielding dual-cameras on the front and rear. The company announced the phone in China last week after previously teasing it on Weibo alongside some impressive, purportedly real sample shots.

We were skeptical about these photos in our initial post on the matter, given the way Lenovo’s recent marketing efforts have been going. The company originally teased the Lenovo Z5 with a full-screen display only for it to end up looking quite different. The Z5 Pro has also been teased, and with a near bezel-less screen. This is yet to materialize.

Therefore, when the S5 Pro shots arrived — and looked quite stunning — we suspected it may be part of another misleading marketing ploy. However, this appears not to (entirely) be the case.

I’ve put the new photos on top and the previously teased below in the gallery (above). The new photos don’t look as good as the originals, but they appear to be genuine.

The two major cityscape photos look to have been taken from around the same area, and the city portion of the image looks essentially the same in both photos. As we suspected at the time, the sky of the bottom image looks somewhat fake and the latest image hasn’t captured the light and color nuance in the same way. The difference in sunlight, cloud cover, and time of the day alone probably wouldn’t be responsible for such a difference in quality there.

LG and Lenovo reportedly working on secret tablet with a 13-inch foldable display
LG logo CES 2018 2

So some or all of the previous photos may have been touched-up, and perhaps the new ones too, but if the latest photos are representative of the final experience, they are still seriously impressive. The brightness and saturation are superb, and the candle-lit, low-light shot is lacking the grainy noise you might expect of a low-end device. What’s even more surprising is that seven of these are supposedly photos taken at 2x zoom. Given there’s no mention of optical image stabilization on the cameras, however, photos in the hand may turn out a little different.

The other device specs are far more modest (nothing like the rumors, which may in fact relate to the Z5 Pro), which will be bad news if you want a totally premium phone. If all you’re after is a low-priced phone with a great camera, this currently looks like a near-unbeatable option.

Lenovo S5 Pro smartphone in a person's hand.

Lenovo S5 Pro specs

  • Display: 6.2-inch, FHD+ (2246 x 1080), 18.7:9
  • Chip: Octa-core, Qualcomm SDM636
  • RAM: 6GB
  • ROM: 64GB/128GB (microSD card expansion up to 256GB)
  • Rear camera: 12MP + 20MP dual camera with F/1.8 aperture lens + F/2.6 aperture lens, 2x optical zoom, autofocus, HDR, AI support
  • Front camera: 20MP + 8MP infrared, AI support
  • Battery: 3,500mAh, 15W fast charge support, USB Type-C
  • Software: ZUI 5.0 (Android 8.1 Oreo)
  • Extras: Fingerprint sensor, headphone jack, infrared face ID

The takeaway here is not just that the rear camera looks good (hurray), but that Lenovo delivered on the initial promise of an impressive camera. Not only that, it’s achieved it at a solid price too. The S5 Pro is going on sale tomorrow, October 23, in China for CNY 1,298 — the equivalent of around $187. It may cost more than that if it is to arrive in the UK or U.S., but if it’s anywhere near that price, it looks like it would be a standout Android value proposition.

I’ve reached out to Lenovo about the possibilities of a wider S5 Pro launch, and on the status of the Z5 Pro, and will report back if I receive anything.

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