Sunday, July 19, 2015

Gear Revew: Lenovo Smartphones

So you're undoubtedly saying to yourself; never mind all your international tomfoolery and musings about mortality, X. What kind of phone you packing these days?

Well, I'm glad you asked.

Believe it or not, I didn't get a smart phone until 2013!

Before that I was sticking with the good old reliable Nokia hockey pucks. Man, I loved those things - you could hurl them across the room and smash them into bits, and usually you could then just snap them back together like a Lego and they worked just fine.

I think between 2002 and 2009, back in Russia, I owned about nine or ten of them. They usually got lost or stolen during drinking binges. But they were the most affordable phone you could get - between $50 and $100 and that time. (Although I usually bought them "second-hand" at the outdoor market.) 

But around 2009 I noticed the quality of the cheap Nokias was falling -- I had one just die on me, without even dropping it in a toilet or accidentally kicking it down a staircase.

Then the second one I bought died also, seemingly of heat prostration, on a beach in Dubai in 2013. Its little screen turned black, all the liquid crystals seemed to burst.

So I decided to go ahead and get a smart phone.

I'd already owned an Apple Ipod Touch (which died after a year in the Kingdom) and an iPhone 3, a hand-me-down from my mom, that only worked in America. I wasn't impressed with Apple's complicated iTunes bullshit or it's reliability.

The first smartphone I purchased was a Samsung Galaxy Ace, which also died almost immediately. It was under warranty so they repaired it, and it ended up going to my girlfriend's mom.

In the interim, the second phone I purchased was a Lenovo A850 with a 5.5 inch screen, and this I fell in love with. Great camera, fast and responsive, dual SIM, reasonable amount of memory, and a screen great for reading e-books (which is the main thing I used it for.) And I got it on sale for about $110.

This I left in a taxi cab in Riyadh about a month later.

So I replaced it with it's smaller cousin, the A560, and this I love also, if perhaps not as much as the larger one.

It meets all my requirements -- it works pretty well (even in America and a half-dozen other countries I've tried to use it in), it costs less than $100, and it's pretty tough. It's survived several nasty spills out of pocket while bike riding, for example, without even a cracked screen.

Several reviews on Amazon complain about the Chinese operating system, but I easily switched mine to English language and it runs Android and Google stuff with no problem.

It is starting to get a bit laggy though, as regards the apps and internet, so I probably need to upgrade soon. I think this is the longest I've ever owned a phone, actually, so I can retire it with honor, letting it rest in peace, and get the larger one, which I see is currently available on Amazon for $85.

(Edit, July 21st: These are not affiliate links. There are no affiliate links on this blog.)


Jug Jugette said...

Wat da souk is going on wid X? What's next, how I took up pelmanism?
Get a grip, X. Being over forty is no excuse.

Some Guy in America said...

I agree with being impressed by Lenovo's phones. I had an A360 or so but was impressed by how usable they were and recommend them to someone who just wants a reliable smartphone. The camera was a little lame though so I wound up "upgrading" to a Korean VEGA A850 (another overlooked budget brand) which is roughly analogous to the Lenovo although I think the camera is a sight better.

brian said...

As someone who has volumes of music, podcasts, and audiobooks, I'm tethered to Apple phones forever. That being said, I like iPhones much more then Androids, but I guess it's about what you're used to using. Now, how's the job hunt?

Anonymous said...

I'm not a fan of the new direction this blog is taking. Perhaps you're practicing doing reviews you hope to make money on (fair enough)...but come on! I'm not sure your readers - escape artist English teachers and those disaffected with 9 to 5 in 'the West' - want to hear more about the world of spirit-sucking gadgets unless its some kind of new sex toy. Does the Marques de Sade have a blog?

englishteacherx said...

Did neither of you doofuses bother to look at the link from 2006 in which I was writing about buying and losing phones. New direction indeed.

brian said...

My fave lost phone story was the one where the Russia cops stole the phone with the titty pic inside.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps I should phrase it this way: your blog has always been a great read - for years in fact...hardly a bum post. I'm just a bit surprised you are suddenly doing gear reviews (they personally don't appeal to me, but I only speak for me) there some kind of reason for this?

englishteacherx said...

Just as a change of pace ftom the relentless bad news about TEFL and my current life

Anonymous said...

Fair enough, God knows Tefl gets old. But maybe being the artist formerly known as English Teacher X will be like the Elvis '68 comeback for you...older, different yet still got it.

Anonymous said...

Elvis '68 comeback = ditto what Anonymous said.

Please, come back STRONG x. Non-apologetic, no-holds-barred. Life is too short for anything else. We believe.

Life is a 1-time thing. Do it your way.

Anonymous said...

at the same time though, x, have the good sense to leave youth to the young. Reading about you blacking out and going to class drunk and such would be sadder than funny, at this point.

englishteacherx said...

Walking that fine middle line between interesting older fellow and disgusting old bastard is a delicate one indeed. "If you want to be an old man long, you must be an old man soon." - Marcus Aurelius.

I got so many helpful / interested comments after the backpack post I'm surprised as this vitriol.

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Chris said...

My flip-phone is doing well. No regrets except for the occasional want of GPS. I do notice that other people care a hell of a lot on occasion though. The impression that I've gotten, on occasion, is that it's because hey can't believe that I'd miss such a crucial social signal.