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Photo-centric smartphone has heaps of camera settings and a 'pro' mode switch

Lenovo's photo-centric Vibe Shot smartphone has a 'pro' mode switch for extra camera control. Here's everything you need to know.

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BARCELONA -- Lenovo's new smartphone is aimed squarely at those obsessed with taking photos with their smartphones. The Vibe Shot has buckets of photo settings, plus some interesting camera hardware and a 'pro' mode switch for extra control over your snaps. We've gone hands-on with this snapper-centric smartphone at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, so read on for everything you need to know.

Smart and Pro mode switch

The Vibe Shot's camera-centric approach starts with two keys on the side of the phone. One is a shutter button, which gives you something physical to tap when you want to take a photo, while the other is a switch to toggle between 'smart' and 'pro' mode.

When the camera app is open and the switch is toggled to smart mode, the experience is much like using any other smartphone camera, though Lenovo has bundled some intriguing object-identification tech. This sees the Vibe Shot identifying the subject of your photo and switching into an appropriate mode -- for instance if you're pointing at a person, it'll move into portrait mode to try and get a better photo. Onscreen guides, meanwhile, will help you move the phone into what it believes is the best position for taking a great shot.

In pro mode, meanwhile, you get a slew of extra customisation options, including dials to adjust white balance, depth of field, aperture and ISO. Tinkering with these will slow down your photo-taking, but if you're lining up a very particular shot and know your way around the settings, this gives you more control.

Pro mode gives you extra controls. Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Hardware

The Vibe Shot uses a 16-megapixel sensor in a six-piece modular lens, which sits next to a tricolour flash that Lenovo says will adjust for the amount of ambient light in your surroundings. It has an infrared focus, too, which will hopefully mean your snaps lurch into focus with less delay. There's an 8-megapixel front-facing camera too, for pixel-packed selfies and video chat.

The Vibe Shot wears its photographic streak on its sleeve, with a style that calls to mind the classic film cameras of old. Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Elsewhere, you get 3GB of RAM, a 5-inch display, a quad-core processor and Android 5.0 Lollipop, which is the latest version of Google's mobile operating system, and grants you access to a vast range of downloadable apps.

Outlook

The Vibe Shot will absolutely live and die on the quality of the photos it produces, and that's not something we'll know about for sure until it comes time for the full review. For now, though, it's pleasant to see Lenovo trying something a bit different, and finding ways to put a new spin on a smartphone. The Vibe Shot will cost $349 (which translates to roughly £226 or AU$447) when it goes on sale in June.

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