Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite: User Review

by WebStep Blogger

About 2 months ago my carrier made me an offer. I get a better contract and they give me either the Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite or the Sony Xperia E5. From my standpoint, it was a hard choice. I was switching from a downing flagship device to mid-range smartphone. And this was giving me the chills… Well, it doesn't now. Because I found out that the game has changed.¬†And that's pretty clear from the specifications of the Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite. Quick specs overview:
  • Screen:¬† 5″ / 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera:¬† 13 MP¬†/¬†8 MP front
  • Processor:¬† MediaTek¬†/¬†Octa-core, 1300 MHz
  • RAM:¬†2GB
  • Battery :¬†2700 mAh
  • Memory :¬†16GB + MicroSD (up to 32GB)
  • OS: Android 5.0
The Lenovo has bigger screen resolution and more powerful¬†processor. It also packs more RAM and a¬†bigger battery than the Sony Xperia E5. But there is more to this smartphone than I thought. So without any further ado here is my Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite review:  


The back side of the Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite

Underneath this elegantly matte aluminum cover lies a 2700 mAh non-removable battery.

For starters, the Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite has a big 2700 mAh non-removable battery. I found out that it takes about 2h+¬†to charge it and it holds for a whole day of moderate to active use. Just to put it in perspective, if you listen to music, play games, use social media and enjoy some reading, the Lenovo will serve you well. When it comes to heavy gaming, the battery holds up for about 4h – 5h. That being said, we have to keep in mind that the S1 Lite comes with some power-hungry hardware. So I would say that the battery holds quite well considering the performance you get. FYI:¬†I saw some people complaining about fast battery drain. I never had this issue, but I guess it might be due to the OTA updates. My advice is to perform a factory reset after every update. I found this to be the best fix for a wide range of performance issues among many smartphones. So far I had 2 OTAs, 2 factory resets and a perfectly fine battery life.¬†  


Left and Right profile of the Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite

The Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite is only 8.6 mm/0.34 in thick.

Let me just tell you that the Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite is a best! It comes with the¬†MediaTek MT6753 Octa-core @ 1.3 GHz. I agree, it's a power drainer, but it delivers amazing performance. Surprise, surprise! For a fraction of the cost, the Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite delivers top-notch performance. Moreover, it's so rare for a device in this class to get such a serious¬†CPU!¬†I told you the game has changed… There is no lag when browsing menus or serfing the web. Watching a videos and playing a games also¬†retains the same smoothness. As I'm writing this post I take the occasional¬†break to play some Asphalt Xtreme. In those sweet moments, you can see how the¬†ARM Mali-T720 MP3 GPU pulls it off. Again, the game runs smoothly and the graphics are just gorgeous! Still, the performance part of this Mid-Range Android Smartphone Review won't be complete without some benchmarks. So here are the results from AnTuTu and¬†Geekbench:
Screenshot of the AnTuTu benchmark results of the Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite

AnTuTu benchmark results.

Screenshot of the Geekbench 4 benchmark results of the Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite

Geekbench 4 benchmark results.


An image of the top and bottom side of the Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite

The Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite comes with a standard 3.5mm jack, a single speaker and a noise cancellation microphone.

The Vibe S1 Lite is one of the best looking mid-range phones. And I stand behind my word! It has an¬†aluminum body so you get that premium feel. It's lightweight and just about right for single¬†hand use. The S1 Lite comes in 2 colors. White and blue. Personally, I had to go for the blue one. There is just something in the aluminum matte that got my attention. Yet 1 thing drives me crazy. Kind of… The¬†capacitive buttons are not lit. Yep, that's exactly what I thought… What's wrong with those engineers!? Anyway, for me that's not a deal breaker since using them comes quite naturally. But it took me a few days to get used to using the smartphone in the dark. Other than that the buttons¬†are positioned on a reasonable distance away from the screen. So you will rarely¬†press any of them by mistake. Moving to the side, the power and volume buttons are also easy to reach. They offer a nice click and show great durability after 2 months of constant screen locking and unlocking.  


Oops! You got me there. Yes, I got a new phone and I dropped it a few days after. I got a tiny scratch on the upper side, but that's all. Please, use protectors! Other than that, the phone fell a few times off the table and the couch. It is still working like a charm with no other damage. Based on that I would say the phone is as durable as any.¬†I would also tell you to get a decent case for the phone (again). The aluminum back looks quite fine, but I am sure that a big drop will leave a mark. It's better if you play it safe!  
This is what I'm talking about. It's really not a big deal.

This is what I'm talking about. It's really not a big deal.



I feel like I need to share this. And you'll probably think I'm crazy but what can I do about it… Here it goes… I don't use my camera. (What!?) There, I said it! Don't get me wrong, the Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite has a decent camera. I just don't have anything to photograph. Regardless, I did some shots to discuss the quality.
A shot from the rear camera of the Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite

The rear camera produces sharp and detailed images.

A low light shot from the rear camera of the Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite

On low-light settings, the camera adds a bit of noise. Note: My photos are rarely focused.

For starters, the main camera offers 13MP, f/2.2 aperture,¬†a¬†BSI sensor, dual LED flash and phase detection autofocus. As far as shooting modes you get Panorama, HDR, Live Photo, Motion Track and Wide Angle photography. In my opinion, this camera will get you a rather standard experience in terms of options. You can set up a voice or gesture command for the shot taking. You also get the usual tweaks like white balance, ISO, etc. The rear camera of the Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite is also capable of capturing Full HD video. As I said, I don't use the camera that often. Yet I find it quite well performing with 1 minor remark. I can notice a bit more noise when shooting in low light settings. The Front Facing camera is also well-performing. If you happen to be a selfie-lover you'll be happy with what it has to offer. It's 8MP with¬†f/2.2¬†aperture,¬†1.4 micron photosites¬†Sony sensor and¬†1.4 ¬Ķm pixel size. You also get a front flash which is still a pretty rare among modern smartphones. You also get a nifty little feature to help you slim your face a bit. He, he… We all know that cameras tend to put a few pounds on.
A photo from the front facing camera of the Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite

A dog selfie in a low light setting.



On the top of the Best Features list, I am definitely¬†putting¬†the display! The Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite comes with a full 5″ display which is pretty standard¬†screen size nowadays. But that's not the hidden gem! The screen comes with the mind-blowing resolution of 1920 ? 1080px and pixel density of 441ppi. Those numbers translate beautifully when it comes to images and colors. The details are ultra sharp and the colors are extremely vivid. And that's awesome since you rarely see such a great screen in Lite or Mini devices. Furthermore, the effect of the¬†IPS panel is also quite visible. The viewing angle is wide enough with no visible color changes. Another benefit of the screen is the brightness capability. I tell you, even if the sun was right above your head, you can crank up the brightness and you will see everything¬†perfectly clear! At the same time, enjoying this smartphone in the dark is easy. You can dim the display to a point where it emits just about enough light. I just love it, it's a total eye saver!  
A photo of the lowest screen brightness of the Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite

Lowest screen brightness. The shot was taken with the rear camera of another Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite.

A photo of the full screen brightness of the Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite

Full-screen brightness. The shot was taken with the rear camera of another Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite.

  Second in the Best Features are the 2GB of RAM. And I'm super biased here! Personally, I won't pick a smartphone with less than that and neither should you. Nowadays¬†the amount of RAM in¬†smartphones is a pretty good indicator of their performance. The 2GB in the Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite ensures¬†you will have a¬†smooth experience while multitasking. Jumping between apps in a rapid¬†fashion only works when your phone can access the app data… fast. And although the modern smartphone uses eMMC chips, rather than little spinning discs to store your data, RAM is still times faster. Another great perk is the speaker. You gotta meet me halfway¬†here. I'm a person and just like everyone else. I need my smartphone to play me some music or video while I'm washing the dishes. In that regard, I find the sound quality and the loudness of the speaker quite decent. I mean¬†for a device in this price range. My days of boring dishwashing¬†are long gone. Hooray!  


Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite front display with visible Lenovo Launcher

This is the stock home screen of the Lenovo Launcher.

  When it comes to the Worst Features list I have only 2 main concerns. And the first one being the OS and the preinstalled apps. If you get the 16GB¬†version of the Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite you will be able to enjoy only about the half of that. Somehow the Android OS and the preloaded Lenovo apps are eating about 8GB¬†of your storage. This used to be a bummer but I feel like all smartphones are facing this issue. Good news is that the Lenovo has a slot for an SD card but that brings me to my second concern with this device. The expandable¬†storage is limited to only 32GB. I don't get why. Currently, I'm using the 32GB ¬†SD card from my old phone and that's fine. But knowing that I cannot expand on this doesn't make me fly. Another small drawback is the actual slot. The phone can support 2 sim cards. But if you want some extra storage you'll have to go only with just 1 sim. FYI:¬†I read on some forums that going for 2 sim cards has its limitations. Some users report that your main card will support 4G network¬†but the second one will only handle 2G. Also, some users¬†are¬†reporting an issue with the GPS. For some it tends to jump around streets, not being able to get a precise location. Well, I don't have this issue either. I use Google Maps and so far my experience has been as expected. ¬†  


A photo of the back side of the blue Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite.

Blue matte aluminum. Such a beauty! Also, the plastic cover came with the phone.

I find the Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite to be quite the performer. It comes prepacked with amazing hardware that helps you blaze through the newest games. While at the same time delivering super smooth user experience. The display is vivid and great for both outdoor and indoor use. If your carrier supports 4G network, the Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite provides an extremely fast data connection. The phone is easy to handle with a single hand and holds itself up when we talk about esthetics. The rear camera offers 13MP and great image quality (for the price class) with some struggles in low light settings. The same goes for the front-facing camera. 8MP, useful features for selfie-lovers, decent image quality and some struggles when good light is missing. Of course, there are the minor drawbacks when we look at the storage capacity. If you need a phone that can hold up an enormous amount of data you better look somewhere else. But if you look for a device that can get the work done, in a stylish and performance oriented manner, the Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite might be what you need.
A photo of thevfront side of the blue Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite.

The little dots on the screen are from a badly installed scratch protector. It also came with the package.

You have to agree here, for the price of $199 (approximately Rs. 13,250) this phone gives you so much to play with. You know, when I was getting this phone I was considering saving some money for something better. It turned out I don't have to! I can safely say that this phone simply has all I need. So to wrap this up I would say that my overall score is 9/10.
The Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite is not perfect, but in some ways, it's a serious competitor even to some old flagship devices.  It's just great performance for a low price. I definitely recommend it!
So if you want to learn some more about the Lenovo Vibe S1 Lite or you are ready to find a retailer, check the official website here: