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Lenovo Vibe X2: Hands-on review at IFA 2014

Lenovo today announced many of its intentions for the future and, surprise surprise, it revolves around mobile.

At the head of a shiny, packed-out IFA booth, the Chinese company took the stage and revealed all. Its takeover of Motorola is still ongoing, but Lenovo reckons the deal will be completed soon and it's clear that the company considers this a major milestone.

Though it hasn't had the best run of luck lately, Motorola is still a big name brand, and the sheer excitement revolving around the Moto 360 smartwatch has helped restore some of its old swagger. It sounds like the partnership could do both companies a whole world of good.

When you think of Lenovo, your mind doesn't immediately conjure up images of snazzy smartphones. You may instead think of the brilliant ThinkPad range, or the excellent collection of Yoga devices. The company wants to change this.

This afternoon, it outed two new additions to its slowly-expanding smartphone portfolio: the Vibe Z2 and X2. While they obviously won't have the likes of Apple and Samsung running scared, they might just cause some of the other mid-range manufacturers a headache or two.

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This article will focus on the Vibe X2, which has been branded "the world's first 'layered' smartphone." Unfortunately, this isn't quite as exciting as it initially sounds. Rather than something like Project Ara, "layered" instead refers to something purely cosmetic. The sides (as well as top and bottom) of the smartphone consist of three different coloured stripes, which Lenovo hopes it can pass off as innovation.

True, I've not seen anything like it before, and it's a quirky little touch but it's hardly revolutionary. The fact that a significant chunk of the launch event was dedicated to how the company sources special bamboo to be used as a layer for the X2 - which, I concede, I found pretty interesting - says more about the rest of the specs than anything else.

It packs a very decent 5in, 1,920 x 1,080 pixel resolution display, which offers a pixel density of 441PPI. The 13-megapixel rear camera and 5-megapixel front-facing snapper are also nothing to be sniffed at. Samsung's new Galaxy Note 4 only manages to squeeze in 3.7 megapixels worth of joy into its secondary camera.

The 2,300mAh battery isn't great, delivering an approximate 19 hours of 3G talk time. Not good, to borrow the overall Lenovo tagline, for those who do. Heavy usage would no doubt leave you in serious trouble. To avoid this situation rearing its ugly head, I'd advise investing in a decent external power pack.

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The X2 will run Android 4.4 KitKat straight out of the box, so no worries there. The 2GHz Mediatek MT6595 octa-core processor and 2GB of RAM will let you get by, but running multiple heavy-duty applications simultaneously will probably not go down too well. The lack of NFC is certainly a disappointment.

Read more: IFA 2014: Live news, picture and analysis from Berlin (opens in new tab)

However, it must be noted that this isn't a smartphone designed to do battle with the HTC Ones and Sony Xperias of this world. Lenovo has placed this firmly within the mid-range bracket, and in this area it's a strong offering. The design is certainly eye-catching and the specs are solid but unremarkable. Simply put, it's a good mobile for consumers on a budget (we'll let you know UK pricing as soon as it's announced).

Lenovo has laid down a real marker and it will be interesting to see what it can cook up in the near future once it has been enriched by the knowledge, experience and resources of Motorola.

Aatif is a freelance copywriter and journalist based in the UK. He’s written about technology, science and politics for publications including Gizmodo, The Independent, Trusted Reviews, Newsweek, and ITProPortal.