Lenovo Vibe Z is a 5.5-inch Full HD beast of a phone

The slender Vibe Z packs a glitzy Full HD display and Android 4.3, as well as a throbbing quad-core processor -- could Lenovo be the one to watch in 2014?

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Nick manages CNET's advice copy desk from Springfield, Virginia. He's worked at CNET since 2005.
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Lenovo's looking to extend its laptop dominance to Android devices, extending -- or rather retracting -- its range of Google-powered tablets to a new smart phone, the promising Vibe Z.

The Vibe Z is a far cry from the company's dismal IdeaTab from this time last year. Where that miserable bit of junk had an appalling screen and ancient Android, the Vibe Z packs a glimmering Full HD display (for 401 pixels per inch on its 5.5-inch screen) and Android 4.3, which looks fairly lightly skinned.

It doesn't cut any corners on its innards either, with a Snapdragon 800 quad-core 2.2GHz processor -- a must-have for any phone that takes itself seriously -- and a meaty 2GB of RAM. There's 16GB of storage, but no word on a microSD card slot.

Lenovo says the Vibe Z's skinny 7.9mm, 147g frame is made of either silver or titanium. I assume that's just a code for a colour option, and it's not hewn from a genuine precious metal, but Lenovo's UK rep was unable to clarify that.

As for cameras, there's a 13-megapixel main snapper with f/1.8 for low-light shooting, and a 5-megapixel front camera with an 84-degree viewing angle for wide-angle selfies.

Out next month in the Middle East and Asia for $549 (£335), the Vibe Z will make its debut at the Las Vegas gadget smorgasbord that is CES, but there's no guarantee it will come to the UK. We'll be going hands-on with it there in the next few days -- keep an eye on our event page for tonnes more.

Are you eager for new players on the Android phone scene? Could computer behemoth Lenovo be the next big thing in blowers? Pour your approval or scorn into the comments section, or over on our gold-plated Facebook page.

Update 3 January: Added pricing, (lack of) UK availability and non-clarification on precious metals.