Phone camera or camera phone? Increasingly more people turn to their phones to take snaps rather than owning a dedicated camera system and Lenovo has its own push to try and win over camera-centric customers: the Vibe Shot.
Despite the terrible name and poor lens positioning towards the outer edge of the body, there are some camera smarts in the Vibe Shot well worthy of attention. The quick-launch camera and dedicated shutter button position make for ease of use, but the one feature that really caught our attention is the Smart/Pro physical switch on the phone's body.
It's not quite a full-on mode dial with heaps of dedicated settings, but no other phone manufacturer has yet implemented a physical switch for juggling between automatic and manual shooting modes. We think it's rather nifty.
Within the Pro mode there are five curved control sliders - for white balance, focus distance, ISO sensitivity, exposure compensation, shutter speed - to tailor for any level of manual control. The arrangement is similar to the setup found in the Lumia 1020, making for easy click-and-drag adjustment. All five settings can be shown by dragging away from the virtual shutter button, or instead individual controls can be pulled from dedicated icons instead.
Focus speed is super-fast too thanks to an infrared autofocus system. Press on the screen and the usual Android symbol will appear and, at least in the semi-spotlit room we were in to see the product, will whizz a subject into focus.
At the core of it all is a 16-megapixel sensor, which is back-side illuminated (BSI) for improved low-light results, paired with an optically stabilised lens to keep things steady.
As a phone the spec is solid rather than truly flagship: a 5-inch 1920 x 1080 resolution panel, Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 chipset, Android Lollipop out of the box, and a slender 7.3mm build head-up proceedings.
So far, so good. The build quality is equally sturdy, with that silver-colour strip to the rear adding a point of interest, but the device we saw had a small bump defect which looked odd. Which is a shame in a device that has an interesting take on the phone camera / camera phone debate.
The Lenovo Vibe Shot has a US price of $349, whether you choose the red, white or grey finish. No UK price as yet, which more than likely means this Lenovo won't surface on these shores.