Gadgetslab: Lenovo S850


2014-07-18 08.49.06

Apart from making excellent PCs, Lenovo has a whole line of very impressive mobile phones. They have always offered a little something extra in order to separate themselves from the rest of the market. Their latest device, the S850, is no exception, striking a very nice balance between power and a reasonable price point. It’s a very fine line to tread, but we got to spend a little time with the device, and here’s what we found out.

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Design 4.5/5

The Lenovo is a solid looker. The combination of straight lines and rounded edges is reminiscent of the current design trends in the market. Glass panels on the front and back of the device give it a very sophisticated look and rich feel in hand, plus afford it a little extra protection from scratches. It’s not listed as being any particular kind of toughened glass, but it held up well in the time it stayed in my pocket.
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It’s a comfortable size, even with a larger-than-average 5.3-inch screen. Whether it’s because of the thin profile, nicely-rounded edges, or the extensive use of glass, the S850 is a great phone to hold. While it’s a little on the light side for its size, it still bears enough heft so as not to come across as cheap or flimsy. In any case, Lenovo has built a reputation on having sturdy, reliable hardware, and their smartphones are really no different. It’s solidly constructed, and didn’t creak or flex at all, even when we tried to get it all out of shape.

The front of the device is a little on the large size, as the S850 does have a thick bezel on the top and bottom of the device, owing to the configuration of the hardware under the hood. It does, however, give the capacitive buttons a space all their own, giving you the whole screen back. It’s not a deal-breaker by any means, but may be a little distracting for some.

Hardware: 3.5/5

The Lenovo S850 has a large 5.3-inch, 720×1280 IPS screen with a pixel density of about 277 PPI. It’s a little on the low side compared to other devices, but does the job quite well. There’s good color saturation, brightness, and the individual pixels aren’t really visible unless you really stick your nose in there, which we don’t think is something you folks do very often.

It packs 16GB of non-expandable storage, a Mediatek MT6582 chipset, and a quad-core 1.3GHz Cortex A7 processor, paired with 2GB of RAM. Though it does pack a large screen, power consumption isn’t quite so bad given the resolution. In any case, battery life should be of little concern, as the phone has an absolutely massive 4000mAh battery.

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Connectivity is standard on the device. You have Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-Fi b/g/n, a microUSB port with OTG capability, and HSDPA connectivity. No surprises here, but it has a solid set of connectivity options that lets you get your job done without having to worry about being disconnected.

User Experience: 4/5

Apart from just having good looks, the S850 is a performer. It had no trouble keeping up with my demands, be they high-quality video, a few graphics-intensive games, or video recording. I was able to stream music via Spotify while browsing the Internet without a problem. Lenovo has their hardware down, and it performs flawlessly.

The UI is simple and uncluttered, which is a relief, as most manufacturers who choose to do some sort of overlay tend to overdo it a little bit, and miss the whole point of the Android operating system. Features are, thankfully, easy to access, and navigation throughout the different levels of the UI is intuitive and straightforward; just like Android is supposed to be. Other manufacturers should take notes.

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The camera on the S850 is a little behind the curve, sporting an 8MP deal with Auto-focus and an LED flash, and a secondary 1.6MP camera on the front. Shots from the main camera were perfectly acceptable, though if you have been spoilt by other cameras, it might have a bit of trouble meeting your expectations. For capturing daily snapshots, interesting things on the street, and the occasional photo for IG though, it should be more than sufficient.

Battery life on this device is impressive, as expected. With such a large battery and, aside from the screen size, features that aren’t really power hogs, you can manage about two whole workdays on the device, with a few extra hours to spare if you don’t tether or check your phone every other minute as I do. There’s a lot of room to cram a battery into this thing, and Lenovo made the most of it by doing just that, and it’s still not so large as to make you want to keep from carrying it around.

Value 4/5

The Lenovo S850 comes with at a sticker price of PHP 15,999. That’s not nearly as expensive as other flagship devices out there, but it still manages performance that will give other phones a run for their money. The price, performance, and Lenovo’s reputation as a trusted smartphone manufacturer all make for a phone that’s a bit ahead of the curve when it comes to value for money.

What’s hot:

  • Great design
  • Huge battery
  • Easy, uncluttered interface


What’s not:

  • Could stand out more from competition

Bottom line:
If you’re looking for a relatively affordable flagship from a brand you know you can trust, this is a good bet.




Dimensions (5.89 x 3.03 x 0.41 in)

Weight 190 g

Screen IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors

Size        720 x 1280 pixels, 5.3 inches 277 ppi

WLAN   Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot

Bluetooth            v3.0,

Operating System: Android OS, v4.2 (Jelly Bean), upgradable to v4.4.2 (KitKat)

Chipset:  Mediatek MT6582

CPU: Adreno Quad-core 1.3 GHz

GPU: Mali-400MP2

Mobile Data:      HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps