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Lenovo Lied About the Design and Features of Its New Z5 Phone

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A few weeks ago, Lenovo’s vice president, Chang Cheng, teased images of a device unlike anything else on the market. The new Lenovo Z5 would, according to Cheng, be the company’s new flagship device. It would be based on “four technological breakthroughs” and “18 patented technologies,” and it would be the first smartphone with 95 percent screen coverage, including no notch whatsoever. As of today, we know Lenovo wasn’t telling the truth about the entire affair.

To bolster his point a few weeks ago, Cheng sent out a sketch of the device, shown below:

LenovoTeaser1

Now, a sketch for a device can be just that — a sketch, an artist’s concept, not a finished product. But Cheng also shared two supposed images of the device on social media. The first shows a phone without a notch and an edge-to-edge display. The second shows the bottom edge of the device. There appears to be no bezel here, either. We’ve created a merged image of both of the separate shots, shown below:

Bottom left on the left, top left on the right.

In the image above, you’re looking at the upper and lower left of the device. Note that there’s no notch and that the edge-to-edge bezels extend to the sides as well as the top and bottom. These images and Lenovo’s claims got attention from the entire mobile industry. Analysts speculated that the “four technological breakthroughs” likely related to a (presumed) front-facing camera, screen-embedded fingerprint readers, embedded speakers, or some other new innovation that allowed for the creation of such an expansive screen. The most expansive modern phones dedicate roughly 91 percent of their front surface area to displays; Lenovo’s claimed 95 percent put it in a league of its own.

Now that we’ve established what the Lenovo Z5 isn’t, let’s look at what it is.

LenovoZ5

Image by the Verge

That’s… not exactly what Lenovo pitched or showcased. The screen doesn’t extend to the bottom of the phone the way the image showed, and there’s absolutely a notch where no notch should be. It’s possible to argue that the photographers’ hid the bezel at the bottom by photographing the display while off, but there’s no explaining why the photos and sketches Lenovo showed off in mid-May show no notch at all.

Left: What they teased.

Right: What they released. pic.twitter.com/p5U0YsXgFu

— Artem Russakovskii (@ArtemR) June 5, 2018

Actually, there is an explanation. It’s called “Lenovo lied.” This isn’t a situation where a company showed off a prototype device at CES that doesn’t much resemble the final hardware it shipped six months later. Just three weeks ago, Lenovo’s VP claimed the Z5’s screen covered 95 percent of the device. It doesn’t. He distributed images and design sketches purporting to show that the phone had no notch. It does.

If you have the chance to buy a Z5, our advice is simple: Don’t. Don’t buy a phone — or any product — from a company willing to lie in its own official advertising and design sketches. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter why the company lied. If Lenovo is willing to blatantly misrepresent its product to customers just weeks before it ships, it isn’t a company you should trust to make good on any other promise or claim.

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