Summary:

Lenovo’s latest smartphones aren’t game changers, but the Vibe Z is its first device to feature support for 4G LTE.

Vibe Z

Before the phone announcements are likely to come roaring in next week at CES, Lenovo decided to take the wraps off of its latest devices a bit early. The company announced four new smartphones on Thursday, the most notable being the Vibe Z, which is Lenovo’s first phone to feature 4G LTE connectivity.

The Vibe Z is also Lenovo’s highest-end new offering by far. It’s a 5.5-inch device, which places it firmly within the “phablet” category, and it features a 1920 x 1080 IPS display, which works out to a sharp 400 pixels per inch (ppi). There’s also a 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, a 13-megapixel rear camera, 5-megapixel front and a 3,000 mAh battery. Overall, it sounds quite similar to many other high-end phablets we’ve been seeing over the last few months now.

At 0.31 inches thick, the Vibe Z is slightly leaner than the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and LG G2. And Lenovo claims the phone features a laser-etched, “fabric-feel” rear cover, which makes me think of the faux-leather finish on the back of the Note 3. But the biggest news is support for 4G LTE. The Vibe Z is Lenovo’s first smartphone to offer 4G LTE compatibility, which is pretty significant as LTE continues to spread across the globe. Lenovo still doesn’t offer phones in the U.S., but they are quite popular in China, which is currently in the midst of a massive LTE rollout through China Mobile.

Lenovo S930

The Vibe Z will become available starting in February for $549 in Indonesia, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and the Philippines.

In addition to the Vibe Z, Lenovo also announced phones two new phones in its S series. The S650 is a 4.7-inch phone powered by a 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek chip featuring the same laser-etched design as the Vibe Z for $229. The new S930 also features a fabric-feel design, with comparable specs to the S650, though it packs a 6-inch 720p display for $319.

Finally, in the A series (which seems to stand for affordable), the A859 is the least expensive new model, starting at $219. For the price you get a 5-inch, 720p display, though it features a more standard glossy plastic casing compared to the rest of the new models. All of these prices are without a contract.

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