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Hands-on: Lenovo Vibe X2, Z2 and Z2 Pro – desirable ‘droids that we can’t have

The Lenovo Vibe X2, Z2 and Z2 Pro are three new Android handsets that the Chinese phone maker doesn’t plan on bringing to the UK, but we wish it did.

Lenovo Vibe X2, Vibe Z2 and Vibe Z2 Pro

There are those brands and companies who make serious waves in the mobile space, just not in markets that include ours. Despite a growing number of devices like the Lenovo Miix 2 making their way to the UK, we’re still left in the dark when it comes to the Chinese manufacturer’s Android smartphones.

That said, thanks to the magic of an international trade show like IFA, we were able to get up close and personal with a trio of new handsets that we suspect could make their mark on the UK market should they ever touch down here in Blighty.

Lenovo Vibe X2

There’s something strange about throwing wood elements on a smartphone that gets design junkies all excited. The original Moto X teased us with its bamboo back cover, but the Lenovo Vibe X2 caught our eye on the company’s stand as it offers up a full wooden back plate.

Lenovo Vibe X2

Lenovo describes the Vibe X2 as one of the first devices with a ‘layered design’ and whilst it’s not a feature that mobile users have been clamouring for, it creates an appealing look, separating the slivers of impressive technology packed into this tempting Android smartphone.

Unlike its launch partners it does away with the unibody construction and for the most part feels more plastic, but maintains a level of premium with its slim profile at just 7.27mm.

The hardware on offer from the Vibe X2 isn’t to be sniffed at either. The 5-inch Full HD panel doesn’t look like the best or brightest around, but it’s perfectly suitable for enjoying HD movies or the snaps you capture on either of the phone’s cameras – a selfie-centric 5-megapixel front-facer and 13-megapixel auto-focus offering on the back.

Vibe X2_side Vibe X2_camera Vibe X2_layers

The inclusion of a 2GHz octa-core processor, 2GB RAM and 4G won’t go amiss either, although as with both of its launch partners, the Vibe X2 forgoes removable storage and lets you manage your data between the 32GB internal memory and cloud storage.

Whilst that wood finish was what caught our eye on the day, it’ll also be available in white, gold, red and dark grey options.

Lenovo Vibe Z2

The baby of the bunch (at least with regards to hardware grunt), the Vibe Z2 is a unibody device with a wraparound-brushed metal outer frame. The hardware controls live on the right side, the SIM slot on the left and the storage and battery are locked away tight inside, offering up 32GB (non-expandable) and 3000mAh (non-removable) respectively.

Vibe Z2

As with HTC’s new offering and Alcatel OneTouch’s latest affordable 4G phone, the Vibe Z2 is one of the few 64-bit processor-laden Android devices on the market, sporting a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 that offers pretty good performance based on our brief encounter, as we swiped around its Vibe UI (running atop Android 4.4 KitKat).

Vibe Z2_screen Vibe Z2_side Vibe Z2_camera

The reliance on hardware capacitive keys dates the design a little bit, but the use of a 13-megapixel rear snapper with OIS and a monster 8-megapixel front-facing sensor more than make up for this fact. To top things off, there’s also an attractive 5.5-inch 720p HD display on the front that pushes out bright, accurate colours and serves its purpose well for movie fans on the go.

Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro

The crème de la crème in Lenovo’s IFA smartphone lineup is unquestionably the Vibe Z2 Pro. Despite its limited availability, it’s been specced to tackle the best smartphones on the market including the LG G3, newly announced Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and the rest of the top-tier Android crop.

Vibe Z2 Pro

This primarily comes as a result of its killer screen – a 6-inch Quad HD IPS LCD with a broad colour gamut and wholly usable viewing angles. As with the Pro-less Vibe Z2 it employs a wraparound unibody and physical capacitive keys below the display. Whilst the screen itself demands attention, the overall design of the body is, as with the vanilla Vibe Z2, a little uninspiring.

The camera receives a bump over the Z2 with a 16-megapixel sensor, backed up by OIS and a dual-LED flash, again arranged in the same manner as its brother. The front snapper gets upped, billed as a 5-megapixel ‘selfie camera’ for good measure too.

Should you want to push games onto the Z2 Pro, it should be able to handle everything and anything from the Play Store thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core chip clocked at 2.5GHz and the 3GB of RAM Lenovo’s tacked on too.

Vibe Z2 Pro_screen Vibe Z2 Pro_side Vibe Z2 Pro_camera

The only other shortcoming is the lack of a removable back as a result of this particular unibody design. That means you’re limited by a maximum 32GB of internal storage, although we’re less worried about the mammoth 4000mAh battery.

As Lenovo will no doubt price these new handsets competitively, we’re intrigued to see how well they stand up to better known rivals and hope that the company decides to broaden its smartphone market reach soon.

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