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Lenovo Vibe Z: hands-on with Lenovo's first 4G LTE Android phone

News by Andrew Kameka on Monday January 06, 2014.

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Lenovo Vibe Z
Lenovo Vibe Z

Lenovo isn't burning up the charts in the western world, but the company is actively trying to spread its wings farther than its current homebase in East Asia. The Vibe Z will be among the first phones to make that happen. On the first day of CES, Lenovo was on hand to showoff its recently announced Vibe Z, a smartphone with a 2.2 GHz quad-core procesor, 5.5-inch 1080p display, and Android 4.3. (Read the full device specs here)

A Lenovo executive confirmed to MobileBurn that the company is formulating plans to sell the Vibe Z in more places, including a foray into Europe by launching the phone in Russia. As he shared this information, I got to play briefly with the device and gain some quick opinions about it. For starters, the phone is ridiculously light, almost to the point that you feel uncomfortable as if it could drop at any instant. The Vibe Z is large in height but thin and spreads its weight out well. It also has a unique build and an appealing screen. Here's a hands-on video highlighting some more of its features, as well as a predictable accessory that will ship with the device.

I have some concerns about the custom version of Android 4.3 software that Lenovo includes on the device. I was not a fan of Lenovo's cartoonish user interface on the Yoga tablets, but there were elements of it that I really enjoyed in the tablet factor. The smartphones once again feature icons and color choices I'd rather do without. I'm sure it makes sense for customers in Lenovo's home market, but I'd rather see them go in another direction from a graphical standpoint.

The software has its merits, especially the eye-catching features in the camera, as you can see in the above video. The camera software is very intriguing and I'd be willing to take a further look at the device if it were to launch in the US market. Perhaps with a replacement launcher or icon pack, the superficial problems could be addressed

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Andrew Kameka
Andrew is based in Miami, Florida.

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