January 03, 2014, 10:20 AM — In a flurry of budget also-ran device releases from Lenovo, the just-unveiled Vibe Z stands out. Not only is it the company's first LTE-compatible phone, it also boasts some quality mobile innards to boot.
Most US consumers are probably only scantly aware that Lenovo, the Chinese-based manufacturer best known for laptops, even makes smartphones. And there's a reason: The company's mobile offerings haven't been anything special, and only a handful have actually made their way to the US market.
Lenovo has no stated plans to introduce its latest round of smartphones into the US market, which is unfortunate. From a spec viewpoint, that new Vibe Z is right up there with other marquee handsets.
For example, The Vibe Z boasts a 5.5-inch 1920 x 1080 display at 400 ppi. While not an exact apples-to-apples comparison (excuse the pun), the 4-inch display of the iPhone 5s only measures in at 1136 x 640 with 326 ppi.
The Jelly Bean 4.3-fueled Vibe Z is powered by a quad-core Snapdragon 800 2.2Ghz processor, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of internal storage. It also comes with an impressive 13-megapixel rear shooter, and a 5-megapixel front camera.
Overall, while the Vibe Z isn't on the bleeding edge of mobile, it certainly is on the cutting board--at least until the 2014 generations of handsets make their debuts.
To reiterate: the Vibe Z will only be available in a few Asian markets at launch. Of course, even if the Vibe Z were to attempt to compete in the US, its hefty off-contract $549 price tag would have to come down, as top-shelf handsets like the Moto X see their price tag fall under $400 .
And the rest
In addition, Lenovo announced three lower-spec (and lower-cost) non-LTE handsets that the company didn't even bother bestowing with a proper, non-industrial name.
The S930 and S650 will be available off-contract for $319 and $229 respectively. Both the 6-inch 1280 x 720 screen'd S930 and 4.7-inch 960 x 540 display'd S650 are powered by the MediaTek quad-core processor and run on Android 4.2.
Meanwhile, the $219, the A859 has a 5-inch screen with a 1280 x 720 display and is powered by a MediaTek 6582 processor. Like the S-series phones, the A859 offers dual-SIM cards for greater cross-border mobility.