As more and more people rely on smartphones as their primary camera, certain handsets go the extra mile to replicate features you might find in a point-and-shoot. The latest example of this is Lenovo's new Vibe Shot, which packs a 16-MP sensor with a dedicated shutter button and a host of photo optimization features for both casual users and photography enthusiasts. I spent some hands-on time with the new smartphone, which is coming to select non-U.S. markets in June for $349.
Sporting a sleek aluminum design, the Vibe Shot looks like a premium smartphone in the front and mimics a traditional point-and-shoot on its backside. When held horizontally, the handset's rear panel sports a strip of brushed metal at the top, with a tricolor flash strip and a slightly raised modular lens at the top.
The phone's right edge packs a dedicated shutter button, as well as a switch for toggling between the camera app's Auto and Pro modes. Built for casual photography, Auto mode can do things such as automatically switch to portrait mode when there's a single person in the shot, or switch to a food-optimized setting when you're getting ready to snap a photo of lunch.
If you want more control over how your photo looks, you'll want to use Pro mode. In this mode, you'll be able to toggle parameters such as exposure and white balance via intuitive sliders on the camera app's interface.
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Specs-wise, the Vibe Shot packs a bright 5-inch full HD display, a Snapdragon CPU, 32GB of storage, dual SIM slots and an 8-MP selfie cam. The device runs Android 5.0 Lollipop and is available in red, white and grey.
Lenovo also unveiled its A7000 smartphone, which features a 5.5-inch display and is the first handset to sport Dolby Atmos technology for providing immersive, three-dimensional sound with headphones on. When watching a cinematic demo with Atmos, I was able to clearly hear which direction a chirping bird was flying in, as well as whether falling raindrops were coming from the left or right. The A7000 launches in March for $169.