Sunday, February 17, 2013

Dad's Review - Lenovo A800 Smartphone

Not all Dads are willing to splurge enormous amount of sweat in order to have top of the line smartphone so his alarm clock would have melancholic and surreal tune, lol. I have a Blackberry 8110 model 2008 and I use it only as an alarm clock while in jobsite since I need to use a company issued Ex mobile phone that is allowed in hazardous location.

However, my life turned-around few days back when I lost my Blackberry in my workplace and eventually found it again after more than a day of searching frantically. My Yemeni colleagues were amazed when I told them that I treasured my SIM card more than my Blackberry. They understood and laughed upon seeing my 2008 model Blackberry and told me that nobody would waste his time on my ancient mobile thus I found it again; I can't blame them since my family has the same observation. Moreover, they inquired whether my Blackberry can also change the channel of my room TV; just because they sport new iPhones, HTC's and Samsungs they look upon my old Blackberry as some sort of remote control.

Fast forward, I got hold of my newly released Lenovo A800 smartphone yesterday. It took me sometime before I was able to play my favorite rock songs on it. Sometimes I wonder why I can trouble-shoot and analyze complicated control system and still find it difficult to download my favorite "Angry Birds" game. Fortunately, my youngest kid was able to assist me in this regard without sweat.

textured backside for better grip

I chose Lenovo A800 due to its price and specs. It's bang for the buck smart-DAD-phone. Here are some details about this affordable smartphone:

* Dual Core - 1.2 GHz
* Android 4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
* 5MP camera / 4GB ROM / 512 MB RAM
* IPS capacitive screen - 4.5 inches
* Dual SIM
* FM radio / Google Maps / GPS
* And other functions I am not familiar with (yet)

About the battery, it was fully charged yesterday and after intermittent wifi use, text with the kids, a call to the wife, photo shoots, few hours of Angry Birds, and self-study how to disable the vibration it still has some juice left; I believe it would last until tomorrow under normal use. You can't expect a Dad to be always online unless the wife is also playing City Ville, not to mention that he can't even use it while driving. Anyway, nobody would buy a mobile phone mainly because of its battery but I assure you that my Lenovo has a bigger battery (2000 mAH) than my wife's Blackberry Curve thus it is more powerful, if I may say so.

Panoramic shot from our roof top

Last night, my youngest kid informed me that my phone was capable of Panoramic shot. I was elated because I have seen this function in the new iPhone. He was correct. I looked stupid shooting our room while turning around several times and stopped when my wife shouted at me since I was blocking her view while watching her favorite primetime show. Shortly thereafter, I got dizzy hence I believe that a disclaimer should come with this function stating that continuous use of Panoramic shot can cause dizziness and possibly nausea, LOL. Surely age is catching up.

great shot for foodie at Mann Hann - zoom in at reduced size (800 x 600 pixels)

Lenovo's Indoor shot - Orange is the color of the day at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok

Thai noodle with fishball and shrimp at Sidewalk, Pratunam, Bangkok - at 2560 x 1920 pixels 

outdoor sample shot with HDR at 800 pixels
As expected, camera is not that great when use indoor. Grainy pics and dark spots would be visible when indoor lighting is not sufficient; the camera lacks an LED flash. On the other hand, once you have a good source of light such as making outdoor shots then the resulting pictures are generally acceptable and sometimes great. I am now playing with HDR setting. Once I have familiarize myself with correct setting this smartphone can assist me in producing decent shots in our future trips.

By the way, my Lenovo doesn't have a front camera; it is not a big deal for me since I always see my family during my vacation every month. At least, I know that I got a nice specs smartphone at affordable price in lieu of some features which I don't need.

I connected it to my laptop using the supplied cable and whoa! I was able to download many of my favorite songs to its external SD card; I can even use my Lenovo as external camera for my laptop. When I played my music using the built-in speaker, the sound was acceptable though it lacks the oomph compared to my son's Sony smartphone but mine can produce louder volume without sacrificing clarity. However, once you connect the earphone you can boost the bass level and manipulate the the sound effect.

airplane mode - drop down menu

The drop down menu was cleverly incorporated in home page, making it pretty convenient to control wifi / Bluetooth / GPS / Data and other functions such as Airplane mode. I bought a SONY (noise-canceling) Walkman MP3/MP4 players few years back since I can't use my mobile phone to listen to my favorite music while I am inside the plane for safety reason but now I can simply set my Lenovo in airplane mode and enjoy my music or movie.

I love Angry Birds! I can play its different levels without any lag or delay. More so, Subway Surf shows great graphic and clear sounds as well. The only thing I am not very fond of is when I return to home page after the game, there are few seconds delay before the widgets start appearing back on my home page.

I love the Google Maps application too since it can show me the way from my point of origin even up to  Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte. I haven't tried the GPS function yet. This could had been a great help during our Pagudpud road trip last Christmas, eliminating my improvised printed Google maps. Nevertheless, we have several road trips ahead of us this year and hopefully my Lenovo can assist us in determining the correct road to travel.

In addition, unlike other large smartphones with smooth cover that can be a fingerprint magnet, my Lenovo has textured back cover thus improving the grip factor as well. Aside from that, the back cover is clip-type; just unclip the corner and you are free to pull the entire back cover. To return it back, just press it along the edges until the entire cover locks itself to the body.

I forgot to mention that my sub 7000 pesos Lenovo smartphone, aside from earphone and charger, comes with free 4 GB micro SD and small digital clock. The SD card is worth several hundred pesos and the best thing is it's free; all Dads love freebies! I bought my Lenovo at one of the telecom shops at 5th floor of The Annex, SM City. It comes with 1 year warranty in labor and parts. Presently, you won't find Lenovo A800 in all Lenovo shops yet.

By the way, I haven't found any accessory yet for this model even after visiting several gadgets and accessory shops. Even those universal pouches can't accommodate the large screen size of my Lenovo. Interestingly, due to its behemoth screen, it would be easier for any Dad to use its "SMS" function without the aid of reading glasses, LOL.

To add, I have been searching for two days in Bangkok and still can't find an appropriate pouch or case for my Lenovo though it makes great shots as long as there is sufficient lighting.

Revised: 23 Feb 2013

After few days of intermittent use, it would take me a couple of hours before I am able to fully re-charge my Lenovo's battery. I'd try to fully discharge and re-charge it several times. Perhaps, battery re-charging time will improve.

About the camera, its location at the corner can be annoying especially when you are taking shots in landscape position. While supporting my Lenovo to avoid camera shake, my left hand finger would sometimes obstruct the lens. Anyway, after a while I get used in holding it correctly while taking landscape shots.

To add, the wife enjoyed my Lenovo during our flight to and fro Bangkok City due to its airplane mode. She even fell asleep while listening to her favorite music; sounds was better than her Blackberry Curve.

Fortunately, I found finally a universal leather pouch suitable for my Lenovo at Pantip Plaza, Bangkok City. It costs me 150 THB or around 210 pesos. Great place for consumer electronics. By the way, my Lenovo got some attention from some locals while we were in Bangkok; I don't know if this model has been released in Thailand.

Revised: 27 Feb 2013

Due to an inquiry about the active dual calls below, I tested my unit with assistance form my Yemeni staff. We observed the following:

- Using two local GSM SIM cards, active dual calls are not working. I can receive call from any of the 2 SIM card perfectly but once I accept a call, the other SIM appeared to be in "OFF" mode to the caller. I can't find any dual calls settings or enable mode on my unit. Anyway, for a Dad, it is better this way to prevent confusion especially when your wife and girlfriends would call you at the same time. Perfect, LOL!

- My unit accepts WCDMA (3G) SIM card for slot 1 while it is limited to GSM (2G) SIM card for slot 2.

- To clarify, WCDMA is different from CDMA. My staff tried their CDMA SIM card to my unit and in case it works they would ask me to buy Lenovo A800 in Philippines for them. Unfortunately, their CDMA SIM card didn't work on my unit. Upon investigation, WCDMA (3G) is completely different from CDMA (2G) hence I suggest that you buy your smartphone in your country. Otherwise, make sure that the smartphone you plan to buy abroad is compatible to your home country's telecom standard.

Revised: 17 Mar 2013

I got hold with my new Samsung Galaxy S3 few days back. Well, you can't compare orange with apple. However, there are several plus in my previous Lenovo compared with my new S3. Aside from having bigger battery and dual SIM, the sound is a bit louder than my new S3. The Lenovo's built obviously has cheaper feeling but I prefer a heavier load and I missed the textured back cover unlike the finger-print magnet and easy to scratch S3 back cover. In addition, the airplane mode is built-in on the Notification or drop-down menu whereas for S3 you need to press the power button before you can access the airplane mode. Moreover, I can listen to FM radio even without the earphone unlike in S3 which requires the headset before it can play the FM radio. Of course, for other functions like camera, LED flash, etc. S3 outweighs my previous Lenovo.

By the way, I got my new S3 through a 24 months plan; no cash-out (ideal for a Dad like me). I need to pay 1500 pesos (41.10 pesos = 1 USD) per month for 24 months contract with Smart Philippines. The agent was offering me the latest Iphone for 2,500 pesos per month but I prefer a bigger screen due to my poor eyesight thus I selected the Samsung S3. I am planning to make a Dad's review for my latest telephone, lol. My wife is happy with her new Lenovo smartphone and she loves playing Temple Run 2.

Revised: 15 April 2013

11 October 2013

Read this: Don't use a microSIM with adaptor to this mobile phone. Both SIM card slots of my Lenovo can't detect any SIM anymore. The metal parts of the SIM slots can easily get entangled and damaged by removing/inserting the microSIM adapter. I have no option now but to visit their main service center at Greenhills. I am just wondering why in my other mobile phones, I can easily remove or insert a micro SIM with adaptor without damaging its metal connectors.

Moreover, unlike other mobile phones' SIM slot where you simply need to press the SIM card for it to be ejected this Lenovo's SIM slot is different. Once you have inserted a SIM card it is pretty difficult to remove it. In fact I used a tweezer just to remove the SIM card inserted at the 2nd or bottom slot.

16 October 2013

Visited the main service center of Lenovo at #19 (Jafer Place) Eisenhower Street, North Greenhills; just beside Club Filipino. Since it was holiday yesterday the service shop was closed for business but the owner entertained me upon learning that I drove from San Mateo area. They replaced the entire dual SIM slot assembly. I left my Lenovo at 11:30 AM and returned back at 1:00 PM. He asked me to bring a photocopy of the receipt for their record.

I paid 250 pesos service charge and 450 pesos for the dual SIM slot assembly. I can't ask for warranty service since the damaged was caused by improper use of microSIM adapter. Nevertheless, the shop's owner and his staff were quite nice to deal with.

My Lenovo is now working fine. I still used my microSIM minus its adapter.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and Dad's review maybe different from trendy kids' expectations. 

See my post: Business (Foodie) Trip in Bangkok for other Lenovo shots.