Lenovo K5 Plus, the successor the enormously successful A6000 series, is all set to go on open sale in less than two hours on Flipkart, but at Rs 8,499 — can it really compete against models like Coolpad Note 3 Lite and Xiaomi Redmi Note 3?
Besides, can it overcome the divide between entry-level and mid-range segments?
One of the interesting things about India’s phone market is the prevalence of pricing and demand clusters. People who go out to buy a phone usually have a clear budget in mind. There are the entry-level buyers who want to spend only “around Rs 5,000-6,000”, and there are the mid-rangers who want to spend “around Rs 10,000”.
The A6000, the predecessor of the Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus that is opening sales today, tapped into the first category of buyers even though it was priced Rs 6,999.
The K4 Note, the second-biggest seller for Lenovo in India, catered to the Rs 10,000 market.
UPDATE: Lenovo sold 45,000 units on Day 1.
The K5 Plus, unfortunately, falls exactly in the middle of these two price bands, and could find some challenges in attracting its target audience.
The primary reason is one of confusion: Is K5 plus an entry-level phone, or a mid-ranger?
In other words, why spend Rs 8,500 on K5 Plus when I can buy a model like the Infocus Bingo 20 for Rs 1,000 less or the Coolpad Note 3 Lite for Rs 1,500 less and still get more RAM than the Lenovo model? In fact, the Coolpad Note 3 Lite even offers me a fingerprint sensor — something the Lenovo model lacks.
Put another way, if I can dip into my pocket for Rs 8,500, why not put in another Rs 1,500 and go for the Redmi Note 3, which is also going on sale today?
Or, if I’m really concerned about budget, why wouldn’t I go for the Phicomm Energy 2 which will save me Rs 3,000?
Of course, this is not to say that the Lenovo K5 Plus is not worth the extra amount. It probably is. For example, the Phicomm Energy 2, which is priced Rs 3,000 lower, has a 720p display, while the K5 Plus has a full-HD one.
In addition, the Lenovo model also supports TheaterMax virtual reality technology.
But the question is — will the target audience care?
If someone really wants to use their phone with a VR headset and cares about getting a 400 dpi screen vs a 300 dpi one, will they not be willing to shell out an extra Rs 1,500 and go for the Redmi Note 3, or even the LeTV Le 1s by putting in another Rs 1,000?
For an extra Rs 1,500, the Redmi Note 3 offers a processor with about 20-25% more power, a fingerprint sensor, better 4G capabilities and a bigger and most likely a better display. Would someone who cares about display resolution — the primary selling point of the K5 versus models like Coolpad Note 3 Lite and Phicomm Energy 2 — not care about these points?
We should be able to find out in coming hours or days, depending on when Lenovo releases its sales statistics for the K5 Plus. Meanwhile, you can let us know what you think below.