Lenovo Vibe Z press (4)

>With CES 2014 around the corner, big tech companies are already announcing their plans for the show and the year that just started. Among the first ones is Lenovo, the Chinese PC giant that recently announced plans to double down on its internationally smartphone business.

Today Lenovo unveiled its first LTE smartphone, the Vibe Z, a high-end 5.5-incher sporting great specifications and a few features that set it apart from the pack. In addition to the new flagship, Lenovo took the wraps off three more smartphones ranging from 4.7-inch to 6-inch, the S650, S930, and A859.

Lenovo Vibe Z specifications and features

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 Quad-core processor @ 2.2 GHz
  • Android 4.3 OS (Jelly Bean)
  • 5.5-in Full HD 1920×1080 IPS, 400 ppi “20/20 Vision display”
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16 GB internal storage
  • 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0
  • 13 MP rear camera, f1.8 aperture lens
  • 5 MP front camera, 84° wide-angle shots
  • 3000 mAh, talk time up to 33 hours
  • 147 grams, 7.9mm thick
  • Available in Silver and Titanium

The Vibe Z features a “laser-etched, fabric-feel rear cover” and is impressively thin, considering the beefy 3,000 mAh battery that powers it. While most of its spec sheet is standard fare for late 2013 flagship devices, the Vibe Z shines in the imaging department – the 13MP sensor is paired with an impressive f1.8 lens that should make for some glorious bokeh effects and good low-lighting shots. On the front, the 5MP sensor and wide-angle lens will make video calls look great, and Lenovo added some of its own features to the camera app to let you add “fun effects” to your images. On the software side, you get Android 4.3 with Lenovo’s typical overlay on top, and the addition of gestures and motion sensing support throughout the operating system.

Price and availability

The Lenovo Vibe Z will become available for a relatively attractive $549 starting in February in the following markets: Indonesia, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and the Philippines. No word on availability in other locales, though Lenovo recently pledged it would begin selling smartphones in more markets this year.

Lenovo S650, S930 and A859

Lenovo calls the new S650 a “beautiful device without the heavy price tag”, and while the first part of the description is subjective, the $229 starting selling point is indeed very enticing. For that low price tag, you get mid-range specifications and the same “laser-etched fabric-feel design” of the Vibe Z. Powered by a quad-core MediaTek chip running at 1.3GHz, the Lenovo S650 comes with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage that can be extended with up to 32GB thanks to the microSD card slot. The display is a 4.7-inch LCD panel of 960 x 540 resolution translating in an unexciting 234 ppi. You get the same gesture and motion controls from the Vibe Z, but this is just Android 4.2, instead of 4.3. Completing the picture are the 2000 mAh battery, the 8MP rear camera with LED flash and the paltry 0.3 shooter on the front.

Moving on to the S930, the device is similar to the cheaper S650, with the obvious difference being the 6-inch display of HD (1280 x 720) resolution. Lenovo sells the S930 as a media consumption device, touting the large display and the dual front-facing speakers with Dolby Digital Plus DS1. Besides the bigger display, other updates include a generous 3,000 mAh battery and a slightly better 1.3MP front camera.

Finally, the A859 is the middle child of the pack, coming with a 5-inch display and the same MediaTek quad-core processor clocked at 1.3GHz. The slightly bigger size allows for a small improvement in battery capacity, which is 2,250 mAh on the A859, but for the most part, this device is very similar to S650.

Price and availability

The Lenovo S650 costs $229, while the 6-incher S930 goes for $319. The A859 is actually the cheapest of the bunch, going for an attractive $219. All three devices are available today in all markets where Lenovo is currently selling smartphones.

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