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The Lenovo S660 is a well built phone with an excellent battery, but the beauty is only skin deep and the phone lags behind its rivals in terms of performance. The phone has some software issues as well which sours the experience even more.
On paper the Lenovo S660 lags behind its rivals in every respect. It does not have an HD screen, nor 2GB of RAM and not even a good front facing camera. It almost appears like the Lenovo S660 brought a knife to a gunfight. However, can it redeem itself in other aspects? Can it stand tall against the ZTE V5, Asus Zenfone 5 and Micromax Canvas Nitro? Let’s find out.
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Design and Build
In the current crop of plastic budget phones, the Lenovo S660 has a premium body. Phones in this price bracket are generally made up of plastic but Lenovo has managed a brushed metal back. Thanks to the upmarket build, the phone looks elegant and sturdy at the same time. Even though the phone is ergonomic and easy to hold, the lack of on-screen navigation keys and a large battery makes it big and bulky. This means that the phone is a whole centimeter thick and has weight issues at around 151 grams.
The phone is capable of holding dual SIMs of regular size and has a micro SD card slot which can take memory cards up to 32 GB. Both the SIMs and microSD card go under the back cover and opening the back cover is not an easy task. The phone also comes with a bumper case which has collapsible stand at the back.
All in all, the Lenovo S660 looks good, feels nice and has dependable sturdy feel to it.
Display and UI
The phone has a 4.7 inch IPS display which is complemented by three dimly lit navigation keys at the bottom. The display which only has a resolution of 540 x 960 pixels is balanced and the phone is equally usable outdoors in the sun as it is indoors. One thing to point out here is that the auto-brightness makes the display dim and keeps on fluctuating the brightness even when there is no change in lighting conditions.
As for the UI, Android 4.4 on the phone is wrapped very tightly inside Lenovo’s own custom UI which could be a bothersome affair for people who have used Android phones before, since the UI does not provide an app drawer. The UI looks and animates similar to iOS for the most part which looks good but animations become a bit sluggish under heavy multi-tasking. The phone comes preloaded with a lot of bloatware which take up space and make the home screen look even more cluttered.
The performance of the phone is decent. The extra UI animations and transitions are handled well except for a slight stutter sometimes. Gaming performance of the phone was decent as well and I was able to play many graphics intensive games without any major lag. In our benchmark tests the Lenovo S660 was able to come close to the competition but still lagged behind.
Call quality and signal reception on the smartphone was good but the loudspeaker was a bit muted. Now as far as day to day performance is concerned, the Lenovo S660 worked fine except for two issues which should be addressed immediately- the camera app wouldn’t work sometimes and the screen would wake up spontaneously for no apparent reason. I would also like to add that the MediaTek CPU could have performed better but the heavy UI customizations pushed the performance down.
Camera & Battery
The pictures taken by the Lenovo S660 in daylight conditions were undersaturated and colours came out looking cooler. All in all, the 8MP camera on the S660 is a decent shooter in daylight conditions or well lit rooms. As for the front facing VGA camera, it is just poor. Everything or everyone I clicked from the front facing camera looked like they were painted with pastel colours.
Battery, on the other hand, is a different story altogether. In our battery test the phone clocked just over 7 hours on a single charge. Even under heavy gaming and YouTube the phone was able to manage five and half hours before giving a battery level warning. The phone will easily last a day of normal use.
The Lenovo S660 is a good phone but unfortunately not good enough. In the design and build department it may be even better than the competition but when it comes to performance, it lags behind. So, if you are out to buy a phone around Rs. 10K to Rs. 12K, go for the Moto G (2nd gen) or the Asus Zenfone 5 or the Micromax Canvas Nitro.