Lenovo S860 Review

Lenovo as an OEM in the mobile space is one of the biggest gainers in the recent times. Having acquired Motorola, the company has showed that it is very keen on improving its ground and making a name for itself in the market. The Chinese manufacturer has devices like K900 and Vibe Z in its armory, but smartphones like P780 and S860 are the ones that are attracting the large consumer base.


We have the Lenovo S860 in our labs – a device, which was announced at the Mobile World Congress earlier this year. The S860’s biggest selling feature is its impressive 4,000mAh battery, but how does the device shape up in other aspects? We look at the device in detail to find out an answer.

Retail Package

Lenovo S860 comes in a standard retail box with very minimalistic design language. Inside the package you can find the A/C adapter, headset, USB cable and some leaflets as well as the nice surprise, which is the USB host cable.


Basically, the retail package consists of all the basic accessories that are required for day-to-day usage and in-fact with the inclusion of the host cable, Lenovo is providing more than what its competition has got to offer.


Lenovo S860 comes with a refreshed design and we must admit it’s a welcome change. The S860 is made out of a single piece of metal and we are glad to report that there’s no usage of plastic in the smartphone.


The chrome and brushed metal back along with the metal edges give a premium look to the device – which is something that is rather hard to find at this price segment.

At 190 grams, there’s no doubt that the S860 is on the heavier end by today’s standards, but that also has a lot to do with the solid in hand feel it gives.

On the front of the smartphone we have the 5.3-inch display along with the capacitive touch – home, back and settings menu below it. An array of sensors, the front facing camera and a notification LED is located on the top.


The left side of the smartphone holds the SIM slot, while the right is where we find the power button and the volume rockers. The buttons are made of aluminium and they offer good feedback. Moving on to the top, we can locate the 3.5mm audio jack and the noise cancelation pinhole. The USB port and the speaker grille are seen on the bottom of the device.


The back of the S860 features 8 megapixel sensor and the LED flash is placed just below it. The giant Lenovo branding is bang in the middle. Unfortunately, the back is non-removable, which also means that there’s no way to access the battery.


The only design flaw that we found was the absence of a microSD card slot. Considering the fact that there’s only 16GB of internal memory, out of which 14.5GB are available, the external memory will be missed.


Lenovo S860 sports a 5.3-inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels. These numbers add up to a pixel density of 277 ppi – which is not quite sharp by any standards. However, you will still have a hard time differentiating individual pixels.


The colors on this 720p panel are slightly washed out and sadly the contrast levels aren’t that great either. The screen is not reflective and that’s probably the only thing we like about the display. The viewing angles are just about satisfactory, but we would like to inform you that at extreme angles the colors tend to shift.

So, the display lacks the high-end vibe and is definitely not the best in the class, but considering the price of the smartphone – you would rather take what you are getting.

User Interface

Lenovo announced its latest battery powerhouse, the S860 with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, but the device now ships with Android 4.4 KitKat out of the box.


The operating system is not stock Android and comes with a few home-baked software tweaks. Thanks to the quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM, the S860 runs smoothly without any hiccups most of the time.

All the customary Google applications like Gmail, Drive, Maps and Chrome are on board and with Lenovo’s custom UI – you will be exposed to a skin that offers variety.

For starters, there’s no app drawer and the company has brought all its application to the home screen. Of course, this is not entirely a new thing and it looks like Lenovo has borrowed a leaf from Apple’s OS book.

The first interesting bit of software tweak that the S860 comes with is the theme center. The app offers you a wide range of options for desktop wallpapers, lock screen, system UI, boot animation, notification UI, contact manager and call. So, you get to choose a theme that matches your style.


There’s a home backed power management application as well. The custom software is designed to help you enhance the battery life. The app gives you the freedom to overlook the power management of the device, but we suggest you to use the pre-defined power saving modes that actually work flawlessly.


The software isn’t perfect as it comes with a fair share of bugs, but we are hoping that Lenovo will correct it with timely patches.


Lenovo S860 features a MediaTek MT6582 chipset with quad-core 1.3 Cortex-A7 chipset, Mali 400MP2 GPU and 2GB of RAM. From the outset, the overall and the multi-tasking performance is quite smooth, but we decided to take the S860 for a spin in order to find out more about the raw power of the chipset.

We have also stacked the performance results of the Lenovo S860 against its competition to see where the device stands in the market.

The first test was the AnTuTu, which reveals the overall performance of the smartphone. The S860 scored 18,284 points and found itself right behind the new Motorola Moto G.


Second up was the multi-threaded oriented benchmarking using the Linpack application. The device managed 275.56 points, which puts it ahead of the new Motorola Moto G and the Asus Zenfone 5.


The next challenge was with the Geekbench 3. This test evaluates the cross platform performance of the CPU. Lenovo S860 again found itself in the first half of the table.


Last up was Vellamo benchmarking, which determines the browsing performance of the smartphone.



The primary camera on the S860 is an 8 megapixel unit. The camera is not loaded with features, like most of the flagship models do, but it does come with all the basic ones.

The camera interface is very simple with the basic settings like flash, HDR and camera models right within the reach of your thumb finger. If you dig a bit deep, you will find three categories – camera, video and others.


With the 8 megapixel sensor on Lenovo S860, you can shoot images in macro, panorama, PIP, EV bracket and Face beauty modes.

There’s a 1.6 megapixel secondary front facing camera as well. The focus of the shooter is fixed and is surely not the best to click selfie images.

We took a few samples from the 8 megapixel shooter and we weren’t impressed with its overall performance. The color rendering is quite accurate and that’s probably one of the few good things we have to say about the images.


The depth is broad, but the zoom factor is rather poor. You often end up with pixelated images when you try to capture subject that is far away.

In low light conditions, shooting quality images is a challenge. The pictures look washed out and if you thought increasing the ISO would help, well that’s really not an option as it also increases the noise level in the image. Lastly, the fine detail is limited and so is the dynamic range.

So, if you are a photography enthusiast or if you take a lot of images and care about quality, then we are afraid, this sensor will not match your needs.


This is a section where things get interesting. Lenovo S860 sports 4,000mAh battery, which is among the biggest we have seen in a smartphone. The ample amount of juice pack helps the device to be one of the longest lasting gadgets in the market.

Lenovo claims that the S860 offers about 24 hours on 3G talk time, 43 hours on 2G talk time and lasts for about 960 hours on standby. We are happy to confirm that the assertion is indeed correct. If you are into just talking or browsing and not more into gaming or watching videos, then the smartphone will last for more than 2 days on a single charge.

And guess what? The battery on the S860 has the ability to charge another device. So, if any of your important gadgets are dying without juice, the Lenovo S860 can play the rescue act.


Lenovo S860 is already available in the market and with a price tag of INR 18,000 the device is definitely an interesting offering.

The standout feature is the gigantic 4,000mAh battery and that’s beyond any shadow of doubt.

However, the smartphone is not a powerhouse when it comes to performance, but the quad-core processor, capable GPU and 2GB of RAM can just hold things together – which is more than enough for a mid-range offering.

Software on the Lenovo S860 is a let-down. It doesn’t compliment the hardware configure that is reasonable for the price tab, but as we said earlier, the company can correct it with timely firmware upgrades and patches. The camera is another aspect that can be partially improved with the software.

With a premium design, dual-SIM capabilities and one of a kind battery -the Lenovo S860 has got enough character to sustain in the mid-range market.

Author: Sunil Jamboor Nagesh

He has been reporting tech and reviewing gadgets for quite some time now. SJN in the past has been a part of couple of globally reputed tech publications like GSMArena and AndriodAuthority. He bleeds tech and is always seen with a review unit in hand. Feel free to reach him on twitter - @SunilJamboor or on Google+.