One thing has become certain with most smartphones launched this year so far – that the notch is the in-thing and it will definitely have people talking about the device, no matter what.
This notch trend is the result of the continuous effort by manufacturers for achieving the true full-body display. Probably, there’s no smartphone, popular enough, which has been successfully able to arrive at that radical design yet. Indeed, there’s the recent Oppo Find X and the Vivo Nex smartphones that have shown some major efforts in achieving the no-notch full-body front design, and they have got quite close as well, but the solutions they come with (pop-up camera) is not up to everybody’s taste and it does raise questions regarding the mechanisms longevity. Also, it risks water/dust proofing.
Now, during the pre-launch buzz surrounding the Lenovo Z5, the company misled everyone into believing that the Z5 will actually be a true full-body display smartphone in all segments combined. There were leaked renders of the same, in fact, Lenovo itself teased with a picture showing half the screen revealing enough to show that there’s no notch (and bezel) at the top. We all were genuinely excited.
But the actual phone turned out to be quite opposite than what was advertised. There is a notch, and not the smallest one either, and there is a good enough chin at the bottom as well. Hardly a true full-body display. Lenovo did receive good criticism from the people and the media alike for this lie.
On the other hand, there’s the Nokia X6 which also joined this no-more-elite group of notched smartphones, but it did with much less fuss. On Nokia’s part, there has been no drama whatsoever about adopting the notch, they just did it and acknowledged that it’s cool to have one.
These two phones are yet to be launched in India, and as far as the Nokia X6 is concerned, it is quite heavily speculated that it could be launched on July 19. Currently, both smartphones are available in China only. But, we have them already and here is our comprehensive Lenovo Z5 vs Nokia X6 comparison.
NOKIA X6 SPECIFICATIONS
– Aluminium frame with front and back glass body
– 5.8-inch IPS LCD, 1080p x 2280p, 435 ppi
– Android Oreo 8.1
– Snapdragon 636 octa-core chipset, Adreno 509 GPU
– 4 GB RAM, 32 GB internal storage (expandable up to 256 GB, 4/6 GB RAM with 64 GB storage also available)
– Dual camera with 16 MP + 5 MP primary and secondary lenses respectively. Primary lens gets f2.0 aperture, PDAF, gyro-EIS. Secondary lens is the depth sensor with f2.2 aperture
– Front 16 MP camera with f2.0 aperture
– Fingerprint sensor, Face unlock system
– 3,060 mAh battery
LENOVO Z5 SPECIFICATIONS
– Aluminium frame with front and back glass body
– 6.2-inch IPS LCD, 1080p x 2246p, 402 ppi
– Android Oreo 8.0 with ZUI interface
– Snapdragon 636 octa-core chipset, Adreno 509 GPU
– 6 GB RAM, 64 GB internal storage (expandable)
– Dual camera with 16 MP + 8 MP primary and secondary lenses respectively. Primary lens gets f2.0 aperture, PDAF.
– Front 8 MP camera
– Fingerprint sensor
– 3,300 mAh battery
DESIGN & BUILD QUALITY
Regarding the design and the build quality, there’s one thing we can generally conclude about the smartphones of today – at least anything at the lower mid-range and beyond usually has satisfying overall appearance and built.
This remains same with the Lenovo Z5 and the Nokia X6. Built on aluminium frame and glass body, both phones emit very similar look and feel, and both look good. However, there are subtle differences between the two phones, like – edges of the X6 (where the frame joins the front/back body) is smoother to touch compared to the Z5. Then there’s chrome/silver finish to the outer ring of the X6’s fingerprint sensor and the camera housing whereas the same things on the Z5 are color-matched with the rest of the body.
Both phones have camera humps, but the one on the X6’s back is longer as the hump houses the LED flash as well (while the on Z5, the flash is outside the camera hump).
However, there’s one thing that I personally do not like is the glass back on both the phones. First of all, neither phone has wireless charging, so it is quite pointless to have a glass back just for the aesthetic reasons especially when a glass body is by all means more vulnerable than a metal body. There’s no doubt we are usually conscious while putting the phones down on a table or on any hard surface just because of their glass backs. It is a bit irritating.
DISPLAY, SOFTWARE & USER INTERFACE
The Lenovo Z5 and the Nokia X6 have some similarities in the display department, just like they have in design. Both phones deliver Full HD+ resolution (1080p x 2246p in Z5 and 1080p x 2280 in X6) on IPS LCD panels. But the Z5’s screen is larger at 6.2 inches compared to the 5.8 inches on the X6 (which is large enough).
Talking about the color reproduction, both screens are vibrant with good saturation, but we noticed that the Nokia’s display is a touch sharper when looking at the same imagery on the two phones side by side. This is probably because of higher ppi on a slightly smaller screen with same resolution. Also, the Z5’s display delivers a slightly warmer tone throughout the UI while the X6’s screen is more neutral or balanced. When comparing them side by side, it feels that the X6’s display is slightly cooler than it should be, but looking at the two screens in isolation, we find the X6’s display to deliver more neutral White Balance. We prefer the X6’s display more.
Regarding the software, we have a couple of irritations with the Lenovo Z5’s OS. First of all, there’s an option called “True Full Screen Mode”, available under the Display settings, the description of which says “The display area on both sides of the notch screen will be fully used”. Now, we assumed that turning it ON/OFF would show the notch and hide it respectively. But it doesn’t work like that. It only works in certain situations, for example, it works with YouTube. Turning this option ON would allow the user to stretch the video to the full screen (in the landscape mode of course). And when this option is OFF, the video cannot be stretched. This option has no effect on various native apps like messaging and gallery. Suffice it to say that it was a bit confusing (and time consuming as well) to figure it out in the beginning. It shouldn’t be like this.
Secondly, there’s a “U-Touch” feature under the ‘Lab Features’ settings, which basically allows us to hide the three software Android function keys (Back, Home & App Switcher) from the bottom of the display and gives the option to perform their respective functions using gestures. I mean, wouldn’t it be appropriate to have this U-Touch option available under the “Personalization” settings? After all, making any kind of changes to how things look on the screen is part of personalization, right? And seriously, Lenovo, what kind of a name is U-Touch?
Thankfully, Nokia X6 doesn’t have such confusions in its list of settings. While it doesn’t have any kind of option to hide related to the notch, which is alright in our opinion, it does have the option to hide the Navigation bar (or the Android function keys). And it is very appropriately accessible under the “Gestures” settings. No need to make things complicated.
Other than this, both the Z5 and the X6 come with Android Oreo out of the box (Z5 with Oreo 8.0 and X6 with Oreo 8.1). The Oreo on the Z5 has a different look and feel compared to the one on the X6 because of the ZUI customization of Lenovo. In comparison, the Oreo on the X6 has the stock Android feel to it. Furthermore, while the X6 has a conventional way of accessing the quick settings options (along with notifications) by swiping down from the top, the Z5 works in an iPhone-like manner – swiping up from the bottom to access a number of quick settings and swiping down from the top to see various notifications.
What can we really expect out of two lower mid-range smartphones running the Snapdragon 636. That’s right, the Z5 and the X6 both have the same processor bundled with the same GPU – Adreno 509. However, these specs start to distinguish a bit from here on. The Z5 comes with 6 GB of RAM while the X6 has 4 GB of it. The Z5 has 64 GB of internal storage while the X6 gets 32 GB of it. Although, in both cases, the storage is expandable.
On the go, the Z5 feels snappier in comparison even though the X6 is no slouch against the Z5. But when it comes to booting up the phones, we have observed that the X6 is a bit inconsistent in its booting time. Sometimes, it takes longer to boot up. When it comes to loading the apps, the Z5 seems to have a marginal advantage over the X6, but really it doesn’t make any difference in the usage. Of course, the Z5 with 6 GB of RAM onboard should definitely make it noticeable.
Interestingly enough, when it comes to switching between the apps there’s hardly any difference between the responsiveness of the two phones. The 2 GB less RAM, the X6 is as responsive as the Z5 when using various apps, whether native or downloaded. For example, switching between social media apps or camera, scrolling a page on any of such apps, the X6 and the Z5 are absolutely on par with each other. However, in the X6, closing a number of open apps through the App Switcher happens with a hint of a stutter. Overall still, we do feel that having 6 GB of RAM is overkill in a lower mid-range smartphone because the processor (a 600 series Snapdragon) is itself a mid-range processor. So really, what kind of an advantage can we expect with a 6 GB RAM phone over a 4 GB RAM phone when both of them have the same 636 chipset. Negligible, mostly.
Gaming – Like we said, same processor, same GPU but 4 GB of RAM against 6 GB of it. It really doesn’t make any difference in gaming. Continuous and rapidly changing framerates in a graphic-heavy car racing game delivered similarly overall smooth experience in both the phones. We are happy to say we didn’t really face any worth mentionable framerate drops, of course, there were a few stutters here and there, but those never caused any hindrance. In fact, and we are really digging deep here, we observed that the X6 produced marginally better detail in graphics compared to the Z5. For example, in certain situations, objects like clouds appeared with higher detail in slight terms in the X6. Overall, the difference is small enough to be negligible. The point is, the Z5 is not better than the X6 at least in terms of gaming.
There’s one more irritating observation with how the Lenovo’s ZUI customization works. And this is related to gaming. If you have the three Android function keys enabled at the bottom of the display (or the U-Touch option disabled), then those function keys will be visible while gaming by default, which means they will be cutting-off some part of the display. In order to hide those Android function keys (aka Navigation Bar), go to “Game Mode” under the Settings, then turn OFF the “Disable navigation bar and U-Touch” option. Seriously, this is totally unnecessarily complicated. These are completely unwanted options because naturally, nobody likes to see the Navigation bar on their screen while playing. So why make the user interface like this at all in the first place?
Lenovo, you really need to consider redesigning your ZUI functionality.
The Z5 and the X6 are trendy phones, with the notch and all! And yes, they have dual camera setups at their respective backsides and a single one at the front. For the Lenovo Z5, it is the 16 MP primary + 8 MP secondary lenses at work while for the Nokia X6, there’s the 16 MP primary + 5 MP secondary combo. The aperture size for both the primary lenses in the Z5 and the X6 is f2.0, which doesn’t really inspire much confidence especially for lowlight photography. But, let’s see some samples.
DAYLIGHT HDR IMAGES
– Generally, both the z5 and the x6 cameras are tightly matched in terms of producing detail. However, especially in the daylight conditions, we like the HDR versions of the x6 more than the z5 since the x6 HDRs tend to enhance the detail even if it’s a marginal improvement. On the other hand, z5 also highlights shadowy areas quite well, but it is a bit inconsistent in that aspect, and in certain conditions, it actually loses the detail here and there.
– Also, the z5 remains noticeably warmer compared to the x6 in all kinds of lighting conditions. While it tends to shift the White Balance towards realism, mostly in the daylight conditions due to the sun, we find the colors more realistic from the x6’s camera. At the same time, x6’s White Balance is more neutral.
NIGHT (or LOWLIGHT) IMAGES
NIGHT HDR IMAGES
– In lowlight conditions like Night time, images from the z5 become nosier compared to the x6. Once again, the z5 continues to produce images with a warmer tone, which gives WB a realistic tone in the presence yellow lights, but once again, colors appear to be slightly more realistic from the x6. Also, both cameras suffer with overexposure.
– In the night time HDR versions, images from z5 remain nosier compared to the ones from the x6. And while the z5 highlights the shadowy areas quite well, it is a bit inconsistent and doesn’t consistently improvise on the detail. The x6 produces pictures with higher consistency even if they might not be too impressive themselves.
PORTRAIT (or BOKEH) IMAGES
– Coming to the Portrait or Bokeh images, we like the ones from the z5 a bit more. While the WB is slightly on the warmer side but the intensity is lighter (compared to its daylight and night time pictures), so this actually makes it more realistic than ever. Also, the color reproduction is good and tends to match to those from the x6. Also, x5 tends to lose some sharpness and detail from the subject through Live Bokeh mode.
– As far as Selfies are concerned, we have a slightly higher preference to the x6 selfies. Colors are more natural and we like the neutrality of the WB from the x6 more.
The Z5 and the X6 come with 3,300 mAh and 3,060 mAh batteries respectively. The Z5 can deliver up to 1 and a half of runtime while the X6, in our experience so far, is slightly behind with 1 day runtime. Also, on heavier usage, the X6 appears to lose its charging numbers at a quicker rate than what we see in the Z5. You can say we are tiny bit unsatisfied with the X6’s battery life, at the same time, it is quite manageable.
Also, the charging times of the batteries in these two phones are close. The Z5 takes a little over 2 hours to fully charge the battery while the X6 takes around 2 hours to do the same.
CONCLUSION – WHICH PHONE WE ENDED UP LIKING MORE?
Here is our take from this comparison:
– Design wise, both phones are very similar, but the X6 is more manageable because of its compact size. Also, the feel at the edges is better in the X6.
– Display wise, we prefer the X6 a little bit more. We find it a bit more neutral. In certain situations, the Z5’s display appears to be unnecessarily warm.
– Software wise, both have Android Oreo, but we hate a number of UI functionalities in the Z5. They are totally unnecessary according to us.
– Performance wise, both handsets are on par especially in gaming.
– Camera wise, we believe that the X6 has a slight edge in this aspect as well.
– Battery wise, the Z5 is better but the X6 is manageable as well.
So, the Lenovo Z5 and the Nokia X6 are yet to be launched in India. While Nokia has announced that the X6 will be available globally from July 19 (and we believe that includes India), but there’s no such information from Lenovo regarding the Z5. But whenever these two phones come here, our best guess is that the Z5 and the X6 will be priced at a range of Rs 13,000-14,000. It is a good price, but then they will be slugging it out with the likes of the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 (which has a massive 5,000 mAh battery), the Redmi Note 5 Pro and the old workhorse Honor 7X. It will be interesting, but for now, the Nokia X6 is our winner from this comparison.