Phones for ordinary people like you and me are never, ever going to go away. And that is a great thing, not just for the local market but for our individual and collective wallets. Which is why we were excited to swing by the Lenovo A7000 Plus’s official local unveiling today. We just had to see this new feature-rich but budget-friendly Android smartphone in person.

And as luck would have it, we actually got our hands on a unit for review. We’ve been putting it through its paces since this morning and we’ve gathered our thoughts on it here, for you. The A7000 Plus will soon be available in the Philippines. Should you or should you not be waiting for it?

Hardware and design

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The Lenovo A7000 Plus is a new version of a phone that is already out and available in the market today. However, compared to the original, it’s tagged as better, brighter, and faster, despite it being only a little bit more pricier at launch. Here’s a quick list of what you can expect out of the A7000 Plus, feature-wise:

  • 5.5-inch Full HD (1920×1080) IPS touchscreen display
  • 1.7GHz Octa-Core MTK MT6572 processor
  • 2GB RAM + 16GB internal storage
  • microSD card slot (up to 32GB)
  • Dual-SIM support (4G + 2G)
  • 13MP rear AF camera + 5MP front FF camera
  • Dolby ATMOS sound technology
  • Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • OTG support
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop OS
  • 2900mAh removable battery

With the above list of features, we can tell you one thing: Lenovo worked hard to pack in as much bang for the buck as they possibly could with this model.

First off, consider how the A7000 Plus looks. It’s about as basic as a smartphone can get in this day and age. There’s a flat glass screen, a matte plastic back, some bits and pieces of metal all around, and a uniform black color for the entire handset’s body.

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Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course. The A7000 Plus may have focused on function, but it doesn’t look like it neglected form at all.

The first thing we noticed about the A7000 Plus is how light and easy to hold it is in the hand. Even though it has a 5.5-inch screen, it didn’t feel too big even during one-handed use.

Display

Speaking of the screen, the A7000 Plus’s 5.5-inch panel offers a native resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. That’s the kind of screen we expect nowadays on any Android phablet, and we’re glad to see it on the A7000 Plus.

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What’s more, the screen is great in terms of viewing angles and color accuracy. And the automatic brightness adjustment really helps make the A7000 Plus easy on the eyes.

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Camera

The Lenovo A7000 Plus comes with dual cameras, like any proper Android smartphone. The rear camera has a 13-megapixel autofocus sensor, while the front camera has a 5-megapixel fixed focus sensor.

The rear camera is surprisingly good for something that is not marketed as such. In the press release we got from Lenovo Smartphones Philippines at the phone’s local unveiling, the focus was more on the performance of the display, audio, and updated processor (SoC).

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Taking photos with both the rear and front cameras turned out not only easy but a bit rewarding. As photos come out with a good amount of clarity and very little noise in all but the darkest or dimly lit locations.

Audio

In terms of audio, the A7000 Plus boasts Dolby ATMOS sound technology. This gives a unique 360-degree audio experience, and it’s something that you are pretty much not going to get with any other handset (except those that also have Dolby ATMOS in them).

It’s not easy to draw conclusions about this kind of stuff, and experiences with audio and sound quality can often be subjective, but from what we’ve been able to get out of the Lenovo A7000 Plus so far, Dolby ATMOS is really a great addition for making the most out of music and movies.

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Dolby ATMOS even has a dedicated Android app, and it’s available pre-installed on the Lenovo A7000 Plus. Based on our quick tests, when used in coordination with a good pair of proper headphones, you will be able to hear the difference in sound quality immediately.

Connectivity

Connectivity is another thing where the A7000 Plus excels. While other phones in its price range are still stuck at 3G, here it comes with built-in 4G LTE support.

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The A7000 Plus can take in two micro SIM cards at once, although only one of them can actually be used with 4G LTE. Other wireless connectivity features include Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi n.

Software & Gaming

At launch, the A7000 Plus comes with Android 5.0 Lollipop. It uses stock Google Android apps in some areas, with some custom-made and third-party solutions in others.

HD mobile gaming is definitely more than a possibility with this phone, thanks to its use of a speedy 1.7GHz octa-core processor and 2GB of RAM. The 16GB of RAM will also be useful for those certain games that need lots of storage space.

Speaking of storage space, it’s possible to add more to the internal storage with microSD cards. The microSD card slot is located under the back cover, right beside the SIM cards and above the battery.

We haven’t had time to do a full battery test with the A7000 Plus yet, but based on our day with it — remember, we have had it and have been using it since this morning with just the charge it came with out of the factory — it’s not unusual for the battery to last more than one day of normal smartphone use.

For now, we would estimate that the 2900mAh battery can last about 5-6 hours of heavy smartphone use with 4G LTE data running in the background. That may sound underwhelming, but with the power demands of most 4G handsets, that’s actually impressive.

We will update this review next week with full battery test results.

Conclusion

There haven’t really been many choices in the 7k-8k range if you’re looking for a pocket-friendly Android phone with 4G LTE and a long-lasting battery. But now that the A7000 Plus has entered the picture, you can at least add it to your shortlist. The Lenovo A7000 Plus offers good value for your money at its introductory price of only Php 7,999 for its exclusive online release.

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With Lenovo Philippines providing many as 30 different service centers across the country for the day that you inevitably need to use your warranty, and the fact that there are freebies included with every A7000 Plus retail package, it all becomes clear: this phone falls under the “must-have” category if you’re after something with a bright screen, clear camera, good performance, and long battery life.

How and When to Buy

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David Gonzales is a geek, writer, and athlete all rolled into one. He specializes in articulating about novel and often shiny things that tend to make whirring noises. He also writes at SemiCurrent.com.

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