14 Jul 2012
By : Rico Cruz
Affordable Ice Cream Sandwich
Lenovo, one of the most recognizable names in PCs, made its way to the mobile phone market last October, with a handful of feature phones and one Android smartphone, the A60. Being targeted at the budget-conscious set, the A60 came with dual-SIM functionality and ran Android 2.3 “Gingerbread”, which was still the main Android build for smartphones as Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” had just been released.
Lenovo P700 is one of the first dual-SIM ICS smartphones to hit the market, and is the most affordable at PhP 10,999.
Slowly but surely, the cold confectionery is becoming the new standard, thanks to huge sales of the latest models, all of which come with Android 4.0, like the Samsung Galaxy S III. Of course, not everyone can afford a PhP 30,000 smartphone, but now, ICS is available with the launch of more budget-friendly models like the HTC Desire C, which has a price tag of PhP 10,990. Selling for around the same amount (PhP 10,999) is the Lenovo P700, which one-ups the Desire C by adding dual-SIM capabilities (just like its predecessor, the A60) and a large-capacity 2500mAh battery. Other specs include a 1GHz single-core CPU, a 4-inch IPS LCD with a resolution of 800 x 480. This might not sound too sharp compared to the HD panels on the flagship Android models out there, but we found the display to be very crisp and clear, with plenty of brightness to spare.
Unlike the super-slim flagship phones from Samsung and the like, the Lenovo P700 is quite thick and heavy, due to its high-capacity battery and dual-SIM circuitry. The overall design is actually quite clean, and reminds us of the earlier HTC smartphones. We can see here on the right side the phone’s volume rocker and camera button.
Unlike most ICS smartphones, the P700 has a four-button setup (L-R): Options, Home, Back and Tasks.
On top you will find the phone’s 3.5mm audio port and micro-USB port.
The phone’s rear cover has a very cool carbon fiber-like texture which is punctuated by the 5-megapixel main camera and speaker.
Removing the battery reveals the phone’s dual SIM card slots and microSD card slot which accepts cards with up to 32GB storage capacity. The phone has about 3GB internally.
The 2500mAh battery of the P700 is what makes it quite large and heavy, but should translate to exceptional battery life
Not Your Average Entry-Level
During our review of the A60, we found that Lenovo didn’t change much on the interface of the stock Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS. With ICS, the story is the same, although Lenovo has added the “Lotus” shortcut widget which we saw on their tablets, along with some redesigned circular icons. With its 1GHz CPU, which is pretty fast for something at this price point, we were able to navigate said UI quite smoothly (although it wasn’t snappy), without lags to speak of, except in some video playback during our battery test. Our smartphone battery test consists of playing an 800 x 480 video on loop at maximum volume and brightness, with Wi-Fi on and constant email and Twitter updates. Under these conditions, the P700 lasted a very impressive 487 minutes, or 8 hours and 7 minutes. Take note that our battery test is meant to push it to its limits. A result of over 8 hours could easily translate to 24 hours or more in real-life usage.
The 5-way “Lotus” shortcut widget is completely customizable.
Lenovo did not customize the ICS UI much, but they did design it in such a way that it is quite clean and simple.
As for system tests, we ran the P700 through our Quadrant benchmark test, and stacked it up against the similarly appointed but much more expensive HTC One V. Despite the almost identical specifications, the P700 came out on top, but by a narrow margin. It must be noted though that the One V has a much higher SRP of PhP 16,990 and does not have dual-SIM function nor a high-capacity battery, having only 1500mAh.
We also tried the P700 as a gaming device. Need for Speed: Shift ran very well on the handset, but it manifested lagging when it handled Dead Space. See the videos below:
As for imaging, we found the P700’s 5-megapixel camera to work pretty well outdoors in direct sunlight, but without an LED flash, it struggles when the sun goes down, resulting in some pretty blurry photos. Video on the other hand, is pretty much what one would expect from a cellphone camera, despite the HD resolution. Check out the samples below for a closer look.
As far as entry-level Android smartphones go, this is one of the most bang for bucks model we’ve seen so far. For PhP 10,999 you get a decently-performing ICS handset, with dual-SIM capabilities, and solid battery life. Some may balk at the relatively bulky form factor, but there’s good reason for it, and for the budget-conscious among us, we don’t think it’s going to be a problem. If you’re on the lookout for an Android smartphone for around PhP 10,000, this may be your best bet. If you want to know more about the P700 or other Lenovo smartphones, check out their official website.