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Lenovo's 16-megapixel Vibe Shot is a smartphone that looks like a camera

Nicole Lee , @nicole
03.02.15
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Even though Lenovo unveiled new tablets a little over 12 hours ago, it isn't quite done with Mobile World Congress announcements just yet. Now it's taking the wrapper off three more devices, two of which are Android smartphones that you probably won't be able to get in the US. One is the Lenovo Vibe Shot, a superslim handset that looks eerily like a camera, while the other is the Lenovo A7000, apparently the world's first smartphone to come with Dolby Atmos. The third new product of the bunch is the simply named Lenovo Pocket Projector, a tiny little projector that's pretty versatile for its size.

Gallery: Lenovo Vibe Shot | 14 Photos

Arguably the most interesting of the lot is that Vibe Shot 2-in-1 camera phone, a handset that looks deceivingly like a point-and-shoot at first glance. Indeed, its design is rather reminiscent of the Sony TX series of cameras with its minimalist look, squared edges and slender profile. The Vibe Shot is only about 7.3mm thick and sports a lightweight aluminum frame, with Gorilla Glass sandwiching the phone on both the front and the back. It felt almost a little too skinny when I was handling it, and I was afraid that I might drop and break it at times. Still, it has a really nice premium feel thanks to that glass-and-metal body. On the front is a rather gorgeous 5-inch full HD display, with a relatively slim bezel on the left and right sides.

Of course, the star of the show here is that camera. On the back is a 16-megapixel unit with a six-piece modular lens, a low-light back-illuminated sensor, a tricolor flash, optical image stabilization and a "photo luminosity" feature that adjusts the image's overall clarity and color based on surrounding light. There's even an infrared focus on board, which Lenovo claims will give the phone a much faster tap-to-focus ability. I tried it out a few times during a demo and while I can't say it's exactly 2x faster, it certainly felt quick enough where I didn't sense any noticeable lag. Accompanying that lens is also a physical shutter button and a volume rocker that'll double as a zoom control. Those who yearn for quality selfies aren't left out either, as it has an 8-megapixel front-facing camera.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There's also an interesting toggle on the side that switches the camera between "Smart" and "Pro" modes. "Smart" mode is essentially an auto mode that provides a general guide for good shots. It'll help you home in on the right way to frame an image, and once it likes what you've lined up, it'll let you know whether it's "good" or "perfect." The "Smart" mode also has an intelligent object-recognition feature built right in, with face recognition plus the ability to identify certain shapes as "food." So, for example, when we aimed the camera at a coffee cup, it immediately kicked in the preset settings for pictures of food. "Pro," on the other hand, gives the user much finer control over camera settings like ISO and white balance -- you can adjust them by swiping through a semicircle on the right. Photo quality looked pretty good from my limited hands-on, but it's difficult to say for sure without further testing.

As for the rest of the Vibe Shot, it ships with Android 5.0 Lollipop, a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 32GB of storage plus a microSD card slot option that supports up to 128GB cards, WiFi and LTE, plus dual-SIM capabilities.

Gallery: Lenovo A7000 | 11 Photos

Next on the smartphone list is the Lenovo A7000 and its main claim to fame is that it has Dolby Atmos. Of course, Lenovo already introduced the surround sound technology in a couple of its lower-end Android tablets, but the A7000 is apparently the first-ever smartphone with the feature. You'll need a pair of headphones to really get the full impact of it, but when you do, it's fairly impressive. I tried it out with one of the Dolby Atmos video demos and it really does feel like the sound was moving around my head, like I was right there in the thick of the rainforest. The rest of the specs are decent -- a 5.5-inch 720p display, 7.9mm thickness, 140-gram weight, a MediaTek True8Core processor with LTE and a dual-SIM card slot for carrier hoppers; plus it ships with Android 5.0 Lollipop.

Gallery: Lenovo Pocket Projector | 4 Photos

Last but not least is the Lenovo Pocket Projector, which is exactly as its name describes. It's compatible with not just Android devices, but also anything that can stream via Miracast or DLNA. It has a 50-lumen high-contrast engine, the ability to project images up to 110 inches wide, twin speakers and a neat little 90-degree rotating lens that lets you project images even onto the ceiling. And if you'd rather not stream anything, it has local storage in the form of a microSD card slot that can accommodate up to 32GB cards. Running unplugged, the Projector should last about two hours on battery without needing to be charged again.

You already know both phones won't be available in the US, but maybe you'd like to know their pricing and availability anyway. The Vibe Shot will be sold in white, red or gray options for a rather pricey $349 starting in June. The A7000, on the other hand, should be available this month, comes in black or white (there'll also be a yellow version that'll be exclusive to China) and is much cheaper at $169. The Pocket Projector is also available starting this month for $199 each.

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