- Tango enabled
- Fantastic battery life
- Expandable storage
- High resolution screen
- Dolby Atmos sound
- Large and heavy
- Mediocre camera
- Micro USB
The Lenovo Phab 2 pro is the first Tango enabled phone to be sold. Tango is a new technology from Google using cameras and sensors for Augmented Reality games and apps. Think Pokemon Go when you snap a photo of them in the real world, but better and more accurate to your surroundings.
As impressive as that may be the first thing I noticed about this phone is how huge it is. The display itself is a whopping 6.4 inches. Add to that the top and bottom bezels and you end up with a pretty sizable phone. It makes the already large 5.7 inch Nexus 6P look rather small in comparison.
Not only is it a large phone but it’s also quite thick and heavy. Meaning you will definitely need two hands when using this phone, and it could be a challenge for any shallow pockets out there.
I found the 6.4 inch Quad HD LCD screen is a little lacking in color and contrast. Thankfully you can adjust the color temperature and saturation in settings. However it is sharp and plenty bright for outdoor use. Above the screen is the speaker, notification light, and front facing camera, while below are a set of capacitive navigation keys.
The back of the phone features the usual camera, flash, and fingerprint scanner. As well as the extra big camera and sensors for Tango enabled apps. Because of the low placement you might find yourself pressing on the camera sometimes instead of the fingerprint scanner though. On the right is the volume rocker and power button, while on the left is the nano SIM and microSD card slot that supports up to 128GB.
Sadly on a phone using the brand new Tango technology Lenovo decided to use the old micro USB standard. Something I can’t wait to be phased out so we can all move onto the far superior USB-C.
There are two speaker grills on the bottom giving a nice balanced look. Yet there is only one speaker on the right and the mic is on the left. The speaker is loud, clear and sounds good thanks to the inclusion of Dolby Atmos. Then the headphone jack is found along the top.
The Phab 2 Pro is running Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. Lenovo takes a fairly bare bones approach to Android, sticking pretty close to stock. With the exception of changing the theme of the notification tray and app drawer. Lenovo also includes a few extra features like double tap to wake for example. Although it has an issue with some white icons not inverting color on a white background in the status bar.
The real star of the show on the Phab 2 Pro is augmented reality provided by project Tango. There aren’t many apps or games out there supporting it right now, but it’s still fairly new technology. Tango allows you to place virtual objects on the screen that interact with your physical surroundings.
It’s pretty impressive technology and is certain to only get more useful and fun over time. Right now the apps seem more like proof of concepts. Rather than being very useful or taking full advantage of it’s possibilities. The games themselves are rather simple at this point, but are still fun.
Then of course their are apps from Lowe’s, Wayfair, and Amazon allowing you to place products in your home. Trying to “help” you purchase more from them. The 6.4 inch display really helps here giving you plenty of screen real estate to play with.
The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro is running a Snapdragon 652 with 4GB of RAM. This benches around what a 2015 flagship would, and I really had no complaints about the performance. The only time I saw a stutter or glitch was while using Tango apps. That could be due to the specs but is probably that this technology and the apps are new and not perfected yet.
The camera on the back is a 16MP f/2.2 aperture shooter and sadly does not include optical image stabilization. The app itself is pretty simple and features the regular HDR, Night, and Panorama modes. There is quite a bit of shutter lag when taking HDR photos though.
The front facing 8MP f/2.2 camera is there for all your selfie needs and includes a beauty and group selfie mode.
The photos themselves aren’t great, lacking dynamic range even with HDR on. You often end up with photos either too dark with crushed blacks or skies blown out. Low light images tend to be blurry and can have too much contrast. Overall there are much better cameras out there for under $500.
Battery performance is fantastic on the Phab 2 Pro for normal daily usage. Even after 4 hours of screen on time I still had over 40% left on the battery. I put it through a video rundown test and got a little over 10 hours of playback with 50% brightness.
I was very impressed with this considering it has a 4050mAh battery and a 6.4 inch QHD LCD screen. However keep in mind once you start using Tango apps it will chew through your battery very fast. Thankfully there is also fast charging.
The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro might not be the perfect daily driver for most users. Due mainly to the size and weight. Yet this is a very solid phone, and most likely you’re interested in it for the Tango capabilities. Where that large screen and battery really come in handy.
It may not have the fastest processor or best camera out there. However this allowed Lenovo to keep the price down and make it more affordable for us to try out Tango. It would be a great choice for anyone who is interested in Tango or looking to develop for the platform.