UPDATE: Price in India is Rs 8,499 and availability will be on demand starting from 12 pm next Wednesday on Flipkart.
Lenovo, the king of Indian 4G market last year, has a lot riding on the K5 Plus because of a rather disappointing turn of events after it launched the K4 Note at a price of Rs 11,999 earlier this year.
While the K4 Note was supposed to be a massive seller, in actual fact, the numbers turned out to be not as great a success as its predecessor the K3.
The reason? The entry of two new models — the LeTV Le 1s and Xiaomi Redmi Note 3.
While the Note 3 is not much of a competition because it will take at least one month for decent stock availability, the LeTV Le 1s is very much available to anyone who wants to buy a phone right now.
And what’s more – both the 1s and Redmi Note 3 are clearly superior models compared to the Lenovo K4 Note, starting from the powerful processor to flaunting premium features like quick charging.
UPDATE: The highlights of the announcements from the press conference are being updated here.
CAN K5 PLUS SAVE LENOVO?
Lenovo badly needs a win in the Indian market to remain in contention in the face of competition, especially the onslaught from LeTV Le 1s.
As we noted above, the other competiitor — Redmi Note 3 — is not as big a headache as it remains a rival largely in name. Actual stocks of Redmi Note 3 is not present to sufficiently impact the market, nor has Xiaomi revealed when it can increase the stock availability in India.
That said, the K5 Note cannot really compete with LeTV Le 1s in terms of specifications and competence for various reasons. The Vibe K5 is an entry-level phone with a full-HD display, while Le 1s is a mid-range phone with nearly high-end specifications.
This is apparent when one looks at the chipsets of the two devices. The K5 is built on the rather weak MSM8939 processor from Snapdragon 616 chipset. The performance of this chipset is around the halfway mark when you compare it to the Helio X10 inside the LeTV model.
While the X10 scores about 5,800 on Geekbench 3 benchmark tests, the MSM8939 scores only about 3,200. Even the Redmi Note 3 scores 3,500 points.
In other words, in terms of processor, the K5 is at the same level as the K4 Note, except for the fact that K4 Note has 3 GB of RAM vs 2 GB for the new model.
The second factor is the display. While the LeTV and Redmi models have 5.5-inch displays, the K5 has a smaller, 5-inch screen. This is not, by itself, bad, as many people prefer a smaller phone compared to a 5.5-incher.
However, the smaller screen doesn’t really aid in gripping the phone that much better. The width of the Le 1s is 7.4 cm, while the K5 is 7.1 cm in width.
Similarly, 4G support in the new model is at Cat 4, same as Le 1s. However, one advantage that the K5 Plus has is support for VoLTE or 4G voice.
Most of the other specifications are as expected — 13 MP plus 5 MP camera, Dolby Audio, dedicated memory card slot and so on.
PRICING TO BE KEY
Given that the new Lenovo phone is already starting out as a clearly lower speced phone, all attention shifts to its pricing.
To sufficiently detract attention from the Le 1s, the K5 Plus has to be cheaper by at least Rs 2,000, preferably by Rs 3,000. That would imply a price of Rs 7,999 to 8,999.
However, the price that was suggested at the time the phones were revealed internationally was $150, which is over Rs 10,000. However, we believe that the price will be kept low so that people who want to go for a Rs 12,000 phone can buy the K4 Note, while the K5 Plus caters to those who don’t want to get into five digit territory as far as the price is concerned. We will know by 12 pm.
To watch the live webcast of the launch, see below.