Lenovo A369i Unboxing & Review

Lenovo A369i is one of the four phones announced by Lenovo during the last week of September. It is a entry level phone with reasonably good speclist. Lenovo has good phones in its portfolio, but the phones haven’t been so hot in the market in spite of good specs. So far A390 was at the entry level from Lenovo if we needed latest OS and now A369i has taken the entry position undercutting A390 street price by around Rs.1500/-. MRP of the phone is Rs.6999/-, I bought it online for Rs.5599/-. It does comes cheaper than A390 but also looses the styling, 5 MP camera and GPS although it gets a faster processor.

Main Specifications

  •         1.3 GHz Dual core processor – Cortex A7(MT6572)
  •         512 MB Ram(≈ 470 available)
  •         4 GB ROM(≈ 1.27 for apps & 1.25 for user)
  •         2MP Rear Camera(1.9 MP actual)
  •         Android JelyBean 4.2.2
  •         4″ screen with 800×480 pixel resolution, 240 dpi
  •         Mali 400 GPU
  •         Upto 32GB SD Card
  •         Dual Sim

Phone takes mini sim cards. Only Sim 1 supports 3G and either of the sims can be used for 2G.

In the Box

  •         Phone+Backpanel
  •         Battery
  •         Charger (to be used with data cable)
  •         Data Cable
  •         Headphones
  •         Warranty Card, Quick Start Guide and Product information

Charger, Data cable and Headphones are not of great quality, must be some locally sourced stuff with Lenovo stickers. The stuff that comes with the cheapest Nokia phones is far superior than this.


Checkout my videos on the phone below. Click on “Playlist”(top left) to see the list of videos in this.


 

Design

The phone is available only in black. It is a simple minimal design. A tad bit thick at around 12 mm but the overall design with rounded edges feels good to hold. The back panel is textured and it looks better outside than in the pics. The textured back prevents any finger prints. While the phone looks bland from the back, it looks nice from the front. Build and material quality is good.

The phone is not going to win any design awards, this is not a fancy looker but there is not really anything not to like about. People around may not appreciate the design, but they will not dislike it.

The volume rocker key is placed on the right and power button on the top. Headphone socket and micro usb port are also on the top. There are three capacitive buttons below the screen, these are not back lit but not an issue as we’ll soon get used to these.

Screen

Screen is a 4″ capacitive one with a resolution of 800×480 and the touch response is very good. Display is crisp but not very bright and vibrant. colors are neither great, nor bad. Viewing angles are ok side to side, but fades out on downward tilt. Even the slightest tilt downward makes it difficult to see. Not an issue for regular use, but a concern in gaming especially in tilt based landscape games.

Apps

Phone came pre-installed with some common apps including Youtube, Facebook, Chrome, UC Browser. Apart from these there is also a file manager(stock android doesn’t), Share It(a Lenovo app, an interphone file transfer tool claiming 60x faster speeds than bluetooth) and messaging app for SMS. Some selected applications can be hidden from view using the options available in the launcher.

For some reason, Play store displays a ‘device not compatible’ message for some common apps. These included Yahoo Messenger, Viber and Google Keep. I installed all these three using apk files and they are working flawless. Google KitKat keyboard installed using apk and it makes the phone much easier to use(not as good as SwiftKey or Swype, but a good alternative). Disclaimer: By default you can not install using apk files. Installing using apk files is risky and not recommonded. You will be doing it at your own risk.

Performance

Phone performance is smooth in all the apps I attempted. It is fluid even after installing around 30 to 40 apps and continuously using one after the other without restarting. That should explain its performance in normal usage. Infact my Nexus 7 2012 with the almost same set of apps frequently becomes sluggish while switching between apps and especially after few hours of non usage. A369i does feel occasionally sluggish, but it is snappy 90% of the time.

Calls

Call quality is good, no signal issues or dropped calls. Low volume of the speaker may be a concern for noisy environments. The call recording option while in the call comes in handy when we want to quickly note down and address or phone number being said over the phone.

Call logs displays which sim was used for the particular call.

We can dial the number or we can dial the number of corresponding alphabets and the phone looks up through the phone book, this is a feature of Android.

Gaming

I’m not a hard core gamer, just installed few apps and they are smooth

  • Krrish3 – works
  • Temple Run 2 – works
  • Subway Surf – works
  • Raging Thunder – works, but can’t play because of the screen viewing angle
  • Fishing Joy – Pre-installed – works
  • Diamond Wonderland – pre-installed – works
  • Asphalt 8 – Insufficient space to install error

Camera

Now this is the weakest thing on the phone. The quality of pictures is no where near good. It has a 1.9 MP camera. The quality is not acceptable. By default the camera is set to take pictures at 16:9 ratio and this limits the resolution to 1 MP. To have the camera take pictures at 1.9 MP, the ratio needs to be changed to 4:3.

Why there is no 1.9 MP in 16:9? My understanding – The reason is, the sensor is 1.9 MP and is of 4:3 ratio. When a picture is taken at 16:9 ratio with this, it is essentially disabling the top and bottom portion of the sensor to make a 16:9 sensor at the middle.

There are two on screen buttons one for stills and the other for videos. Shutter sound can be turned off. Direct on screen include a Normal mode, Panorama mode and Smile shutter mode. From the settings we have the option of Geo Tagging, Face Detection, Self Timer and Continuous Shot. For videos there is an option to shoot Time lapse interval videos.

I installed QR Code Reader and it scans the codes in no time, this is the where we can put the camera to good use.

Other

Sound
Sound is ok for the calls but not for musci. Loud speaker and ear piece are not the loudest, but they do the duty. I’d have preferred a bit more volume through ear piece for noisy environments. With the loud speaker grill closed(say while in pocket), you can hardly hear it ringing. With the speaker grill not being raised, even placing the phone on chair or bed significantly reduces the volume.

FM Radio
Uses headphones as antenna and needs them to be inserted for using the radio.

Music Player
Phone comes with Google Play Music for music playback. The headphones supplied are hardly impressive, you will have to invest in a set of headphones to enjoy music.

Launcher
Phone uses a custom launcher by Lenovo. This is smooth and has more functions than the stock android launcher.

  • A total of 9 home screens can be setup.
  • Different transition effects between home screens
  • Different icon styles
  • A full picture can be used as wallpaper without cropping
  • Desktop cleanup setup and white list
  • Icon sizes, icon density on each screen, icon text and text background colors

GPS
There is no GPS, so you get only cellular and WiFi based location. It still works well

Sensors

  • Accelerometer
  • Proximity sensor
  • No Light sensor

I think the proximity sensor is not the traditional type(not sure). It is based on touch screen, if two fingers(or that kind of area) touch the screen while in a call, the screen goes off.

Unlocking Options
Slide, Voice, Pattern, PIN, Password

Voice
Four voice unlock options are available. You will need to first record the voice for these four options before you can use them. These options include Unlock, Unlock and open camera, Unlock and open dialer, Unlock and open messaging.
Google Voice Search – The voice abruptly stops after the rist one or two seconds though the search results are displayed. This is the exact same problem I faced with Karbonn A12+ which I replaced with this phone. Karbonn A12+ also had the same 1.3 GHz processor, 512 MB RAM and Android 4.2.2. I think this problem lies somewhere else and not in these phones.

Sim Management
Only first sim can be used for 3G. We can turn off one of the sims, or keep them both on or off. Select default sim for different actions and also bind some contacts to a particular sim(Android default).

Battery
Good battery. Will last a whole day under normal usage. Unless into gaming and lot of browsing, this should not be a concern at all. With the included charger rated at 700 mA, it should take 2 to 2 and half hours for a full charge.

Heating
Phone becomes warm on continuous use which is normal though many think its a fault. With the antennas continuously at work, this is normal.

Conclusion

For the price at which this is available, it is a good phone for normal use including calls, browsing and light gaming. Mainly flawed by the poor camera, then the viewing angle in one of the directions and (a missing GPS). If these can be neglected, phone performs well in other things. Build quality is good, material used is good. Minimalistic design looks and feels nice to hold. The negatives do not effect my kind of use, so I’m happy with the phone I think I’ll keep atleast for an year if not more.

A point to note is that not many accessories are available for Lenovo products, be it screen protectors, silicon or hard shell cases. Even for the older models of Lenovo, the accessories available in India are limited. The A369i being a new model, there are no accessories available as of now, not even a screen protector. We may or may not get them even after a few weeks. So accessories are limited to universal stuff.

If you have any questions or comments, please post them below and If you are ready to buy the phone, do check out these offers at Flipkart & Amazon.

Enjoy.

Posted in Drop Box, Mobiles
  • Suryatapa saha

    I have lenovo a369i.whenever i am not able to receive any call ph automatically send meaasge to that no like can’t talk now.does this facility of automatic messaging have on this ph?