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Why Lenovo K6 Note makes little sense vs K5

Lenovo has chosen to launch the K6 Note via the offline channel in India and will unveil the official price of the model on Wednesday.

Though the model would have been priced around the Rs 12,000 mark via online sales channels, it is now likely to be priced higher at around Rs 14,000-15,000 because it is being sold through the offline channel.

UPDATE: The price of the 3+32GB version is Rs 13,999 and that of the 4+64GB version is Rs 15,499. It will be available via ‘offline’ stores.

Smarrtphone brands typically price their offline models 15-20% higher compared to online-model models to account for the higher margins that have to be paid to offline retailers and distributors.

Unlike online portals such as Flipkart and Amazon — which can charge a commission of only a couple of hundred rupees — offline distributors and retailers together charge 10-15% of the total price of the phone as their margin.

And in case of a phone like the Lenovo K6 Note, the sales and distribution cost will range between Rs 1,200-2,000 compared to around Rs 300-400 if the same model was to be sold via online retail.

NOTHING TO WRITE HOME ABOUT

The K6 Note, coming four months after the introduction of the K5 Note, is practically identical to the older model that is available exclusively from Flipkart at Rs 12,000.

Besides the operating system, the only two points of difference are battery size — 3.5 Ah for K5 and 4.0 Ah for K6 — and the 16 MP camera on the newer model compared to the 13 MP shooter on the older one.

As far as the camera on the K5 Note is concerned, the best way to describe it would be to call it average, and that is not as bad as it sounds.

Main cameras on the Rs 12,000-range phones — such as that found on Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 — have been big disappointments in recent times, and have been responsible for dragging down the overall rating of the phones on user reviews.

Though the 13 MP camera at the back and the 8 MP shooter on the front are not exactly sweeping users off their feet, they are not massive let-downs either.

Like is the case with most mid-range cameras, user reviews suggest they perform very well when there’s ample light, and leave something to be desired in low and artificial lighting conditions.

The other key point of difference between the two models is battery, with the K6 Note likely to sport a 4 Ah unit compared to the 3.5 Ah unit on the K5.

Battery back-up is a crucial factor that determines people’s choices of smartphones, and it’s really difficult to argue against going for a model with a slightly bigger battery. That said, if the price differential is Rs 2,000-3,000, one should again check one’s options.

Finally, the two devices also differ in their processor and chipsets. While the K5 has the MediaTek P10, the newer model has the Snapdragon 430.

In case of the chipset, the K5 holds a slight edge.

The MediaTek P10 contained in the older model come with Category 6 LTE (compared with Cat 4 in Snapdragon 430). The P10 also supports faster DDR3 memory (933 MHz) compared with Snapdragon 430, which can only support 800 MHz memory. We don’t know whether the K5 comes with faster RAM or not, but we can tell you that its chipset does support faster RAM.

Because of Cat 6 LTE support, the K5 Note can technically go up to 300 Mbps of download speed via carrier aggregation, while the K6 Note maxes out at 150 Mbps. Many Indian 4G operators have plans to support carrier aggregation over the next few months.

In short, the choice of whether or not to go for the new K6 Note depends almost entirely on 1) whether you mind paying an extra Rs 2,000, and 2) whether you value a slightly more capable chipset with faster LTE or a slightly bigger battery.

The older model gives a screen-on time of around 5-6 hours, while the newer model is likely to bump it up to 6-7 hours.

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