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Lenovo Vibe X3

19,999

This is a well-designed phone. The metal frame, chiselled speaker grille and high-quality plastic back panel give the Vibe X3 a premium look. Given the big 5.5-inch screen, the size of the phone has been kept well in check—the index finger reaches the fingerprint sensor on the back without any extra effort.

Lenovo has packed in a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, currently the second-most powerful chip in Qualcomm’s line-up, along with 3 GB RAM. The interface has been redone as well, giving a stutter-free performance, with enough headroom to open a dozen apps in the background. The 3,500 mAh battery easily lasts a day with medium usage, and even heavy users won’t be fretting till dinner time.

The 5.5-inch IPS (in-plane switching) display is really bright and reproduces rich colours without looking saturated. The display settings offer three options: Comfort (warm white colour for comfortable reading), Super Bright and Custom modes. A slight blue tint is visible, but the deep blacks otherwise make this excellent for watching videos.

The Vibe X3 has a 21-megapixel camera and uses the Sony IMX230 sensor, also seen in the Moto X Play. True to past experience, this pulls out well-distinguished colours. The daytime photos are detailed and etch out shadows well. In low-light photos, the noise is quite apparent and the details tend to get lost. A software update to tweak the image-processing algorithm can solve these shortcomings, because the Sony optics being used are very capable.

The highlight of this phone is its media capabilities, specifically the audio—including the Dolby Atmos certification. The phone has the Sabre 9018K2M DAC (digital to analogue converter) for hi-definition audio and uses a Wolfson 8281 audio processor. Hook up the phone to a powerful speaker or headphone, and the massively improved sound quality is apparent.

There really isn’t much to criticize about the Vibe X3—it hits the right notes in terms of performance and design, and even packs in high-quality audio hardware that is usually seen in flagship phones. The only shortcoming is perhaps the camera, but that can be ironed out with software updates. Among the phones in the 20,000 price point, this seems to be the best choice by far.

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