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Lenovo Phab 2 Pro review: the first Google Tango smartphone

In recent years, augmented reality has been a dream but is finally becoming a reality (no pun intended). The Pokemon Go game became a fury, with people appreciating its AR mode and now, Lenovo came out with its first Google Tango smartphone, nicknamed the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro. Google Tango was a project on which people from the Advanced Technology group Google's Projects has worked in recent years, but only now that the project has seen the light of day in full form. So if you've always wanted to see what dinosaurs would stand next to you or if you want to see if a sofa you want to buy fits your space or not, well, Google Tango has you covered.

The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro is the first Google Tango smartphone and the only one you can buy right now (the Asus Zenfone AR arrives in the second quarter of 2017). The device made a lot of titles, all thanks to the moniker, "the first Tango device". However, the device really is a risk for Lenovo because there are many questions about the device and Tango. Google Tango ready for prime time? Phab 2 Pro a revolutionary AR device? Should you buy the first Tango phone or wait for a more refined product? Well, we are sure we want to know what the first Tango phone rates are like. So, let's find out everything in our Lenovo Phab 2 Pro review. Let's get started, should we?

In the box

Before we start talking about the device itself, let's take a look at the contents of the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro package:

  • The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro
  • microUSB cable
  • Charger adapter
  • JBL earphones
  • Quick guide and warranty guides

While the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro packaging is unique, the contents inside are quite generic and something we are used to seeing in most smartphones. The inclusion of the JBL earphones is definitely a nice touch.

Lenovo Phab 2 Pro specifications

dimensions 179, 8 x 88, 6 x 10, 7 mm
Weight 259 grams
Display 6.4 inches Quad HD resolution (2560x1440p)
Processor Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 64-bit processor
RAM 4GB
storage 64 GB, expandable up to 128 GB
Cameras 16 MP rear camera with two-color LED flash and laser detection autofocus, 8 MP front camera. Google Tango module (a wide angle camera and an infrared emitter)
Battery 4, 050 mAh
sensors Fingerprint scanner, proximity, gyroscope, compass, accelerometer
connectivity WiFi dual band 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac, Bluetooth 4.0, Dual SIM, microUSB 2.0
Price $ 499

Design and Hardware

Talking about the design and construction of the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, the first thing you will notice when you first take the device in your hands in the huge size and weight of the device . With its impressive 6, 4-inch display and metal unibody design, the Phab 2 Pro is by no means a pocket device. If you thought the iPhone 7 Plus, Pixel XL or even the Nexus 6P were huge devices, well think again.

The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro looks and feels like a beast. measurement 179, 8 x 88, 6 x 10, 7 mm and weighs 259 grams . If you plan to use the Phab 2 Pro as a daily driver, be prepared to sound very absurd when you speak on the device.

If you forgive the weight and size of the device, the Phab 2 Pro looks like most other Lenovo smartphones. The front has a plate full of Gorilla glass, with 2.5D curved edges . At the bottom, there are the three navigation buttons and the top has a multicolor LED, an 8 MP camera, a receiver and proximity sensors. The left side of the device equipped with SIM and microSD tray, while on the right side there are the volume adjustment buttons and the power / lock button. On the bottom, there is the microUSB port together with the speakers and the upper part has the 3.5mm headphone jack. Although I like the fact that there is a 3.5mm jack, I would have preferred the USB Type-C port instead of the now old microUSB port.

The back of the device where most of the action is located. Presents the Tango logo (together with Lenovo), the fingerprint sensor, the huge depth perception sensor and a rectangular bar that contains the two-color flash, the IR emitter and the 16 MP camera. The Tango module features a couple of cameras . One pack in an infrared emitter to determine the distance from objects while the other a wide angle camera with a fish eye lens to support the device's tracking system.

As for appearance, the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro does presents as a premium device, thanks to the beveled edges and the back in brushed aluminum metal with antenna bands. Additionally, the device could be gigantic but easy to hold thanks to its slightly curved back. available in two versions: Gunmetal Gray and Champagne Gold . We have the Gunmetal Gray version with us and it looks amazing. If you can get past the huge size and mass of the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, you will find a smartphone (or phablet) that looks fantastic.

Display

With so much attention to its AR capabilities, we are delighted that Lenovo has incorporated a huge one 6.4-inch IPS LCD display with Quad HD resolution (2, 560 x 1, 440 p) . On paper, it looks like a large display but I wasn't impressed. While the text and everything else looks crisp and crisp, the display is not very bright (425 nits with maximum brightness), which would have been understandable if it had been an AMOLED display.

When comparing it with other LCD packaging devices such as the iPhone 7 or even the Pixel with AMOLED packaging, the brightness is not sufficient.

As for the bright aspects, viewing angles are excellent and the good color reproduction, but if you are a fan of AMOLED screens, you will miss the bright colors. That said, since an "assertive" IPS LCD display is possible customize shades and colors in the device display settings. To sum things up, the display of the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro doesn't really correspond to the top standards, but still quite decent.

Google Tango

Google Tango in business for more than a couple of years and should revolutionize augmented reality on smartphones. Technology identifies objects in the real world along with depth and size for superimpose better 3D objects in the real world . So how's the Google Tango experience on Lenovo Phab 2 Pro?

When you first install the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, you are eventually shown the " Discover Tango ", which introduces you to the Tango experience through a demo that shows how technology uses depth perception, area learning and motion detection to superimpose 3D objects in the real world. Phab 2 Pro is also supplied with the preloaded Tango app, which hosts the various Tango enabled apps. The device comes with 3 apps pre-installed .

There is the Measure app, which as the name suggests, allows you to measure length, height and even volume of objects . You can even take photos of the measurements you make. The accuracy of the app questionable but still a good example of how AR can be useful.

Another pre-installed Amazon Product Preview app, which as of now only lets you see how appear some televisions in your wall . It works great and you can even buy one of the televisions from the same page. The third app pre-installed Lenovo's AR camera, which allows you to put AR pets by your side .

Other than that, there are about 35 apps compatible with Google Tango in the Play Store. There are fun games like Ghostly Mansion where you are a ghost exploring a 3D villa. Some interesting apps like Solar Simulator, which bring various objects from space into your living room. There are also various apps that allow you to see how a piece of furniture looks or fits in your home. As of right now, the number of apps isn't big but the number is expected to increase in the near future, with more Tango devices coming soon.

When the experience comes, Google Tango incredible when it works. The technology still quite budding and therefore, the inaccuracies are understandable. Having said that, Google is certainly in the right direction and we hope that the company will continue to innovate on the AR front.

The Android experience

The Google Tango platform is definitely the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro's USP, but it's important to know the Android experience, if you're paying 500 dollars. I've never been a fan of Lenovo's Android skin, so I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro features a Android build that mainly available . Of course, there are some items that remind you that this is a Lenovo device, such as the notification shadow and the app drawer user interface, different icons than Android, bundled applications such as SHAREit, McAfee Security, AccuWeather, its Gallery app and Camera etc. However, the interface mostly stocks, which is something I definitely like about the device.

While it appears to be standard Android, Lenovo has added some of its options and features. For example, there is Smart Assist from Lenovo, which offers functionality for one-handed use, double tap to wake up, Smart Reduce (reduces the ringtone volume when answering a call), etc.

All not good for. The device equipped with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallowwhich is a shame, considering that Android 7.0 Nougat has been here for several months. Nougat's features like multi-window would have really improved the Phab 2 Pro experience. While we can expect the update to come sooner or later, it would have been much better to have it come with Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box.

Cameras

Cameras are essential to showcase the Google Tango AR platform and therefore, the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro has some powerful cameras, at least on paper. In the front, the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro equipped with a camera from 8 MP, while the part rear features a 16MP autofocus camera with laser detection and a two-color LED flash .

Speaking first of the rear camera, surprisingly not so impressive. It takes some fantastic shots when there is a lot of light, but yes strains when it comes to photography in low light . I will advise you to use HDR mode to take photos because you can take better photos. However, photos taken in low light conditions or at night have a lot of noise and are also a bit blurry, thanks to the focus problems. Even with that laser autofocus module, the rear camera has its own focus problems . There is also the " frame lagging "that is, when you move the device, the camera viewfinder takes too long to reposition it. We don't know if it's a software problem, but if we do, we hope Lenovo will fix it with a software update.

The conclusion that if you use the Phab 2 Pro camera to take photos during the day, you will be satisfied but not so much if you love taking photos in low light conditions or at night. Here some shots that I took from the camera with the HDR mode activated:

Video recording with the 16MP rear camera is also not that impressive. My biggest complaint is that the device is limited to recording 1080p video and considering the packages of devices in a QHD display, a pity that it doesn't even take advantage of the full resolution of the display, let alone record 4K video. There are focus problems, but other than that the videos are.

Turning to the front camera or selfie, as they like to call them these days. There 8 MP camera it does a job okay, really, and the fact that I've seen better selfie cameras on other devices. While shooting clear photos, the colors seem a little faded and the camera sensor a little inconsistent in capturing the light . Overall, the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro's front camera should be enough for your occasional selfies, but don't expect it to take incredible photos. Here is a selfie that our Devinder took:

To summarize things, I find the cameras of the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro only average and considering that the cameras play such an important role in AR, sad. That said, if you want to try Google Tango, you should be comfortable with the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro.

Performance

When it comes to the interior, the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro doesn't qualify as a high-end device. Under the hood, the device powered by 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 Octa-core processor with GPU Adreno 510 . Are available 4 GB of RAM for all multitasking needs, in addition to 64 GB of internal memory (expandable up to 128 GB) .

According to Lenovo, the chipset custom designed to handle Google Tango's AR needs. If you worry about the heating of your Android devices, you will be happy to know that Phab 2 Pro has been designed so that the heat disperses from the outer edges of the metal frame and cools quickly, thanks to the shielding on the processor.

Other than that, are you wondering, how does the device behave in real life? Well, I found the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro's performance on average. Although I manage with ease certain daily activities, a problem when it comes to intensive apps. For example, I usually surf the Internet on Chrome, while I also multitask between Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram and for my personal use case, the device works in a decent way. However, there was this occasional hiccups and falling frame rates when it comes to extensive Tango apps and games.

I made a reference of the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro in a couple of apps, AnTuTu Benchmark and Geekbench 4. Well, it was quite decent and here are the results:

Call quality and speakers

Like I said, the huge Lenovo Phab 2 Pro and if you're going to use it for phone calls, well, good luck. Having said that, I made some calls from the device and the quality of the call seems decent . I could clearly hear the caller and the caller also suggested that the voice was clear enough.

When it comes to speakers, the device with speakers, comparable to that of an iPhone 7, but lacks the bass I would have liked. In addition, it offers the support Dolby Atmos, which claims to bring the volume without distortion, wrapping the sound field etc. For an improved musical experience. The Dolby Atmos app on the device offers various audio profiles, which really improve the sound experience when the earphones are connected.

Battery life

The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro equipped with a 4,050 mAh battery big enough, which is more than most (even high-end) smartphones offer. While the advantage with a larger battery slightly denied due to the large display but continues to be admirable . In case of intense use, the device lasts for a day and a half. With moderate use, the device easily lasts for a couple of days. The Phab 2 Pro drains the battery quickly when running the Tango apps.

So if you plan to use Tango apps constantly, you can expect it to last for around 7-8 hours. Well, the battery performance where I find the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro very impressive.

connectivity

The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro packs the connectivity options that we expect from a modern smartphone. Dual band WiFi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac, Bluetooth 4.0, are available Dual SIM, USB OTG support and microUSB 2.0 connectivity. It also includes important sensors such as fingerprint scanner, proximity, gyroscope, compass and accelerometer. Apparently, the only thing that lacks NFC support .

Professionals:

  • Premium metal unibody
  • A look into the future with Tango
  • Great battery life
  • Value for money

Versus:

  • Huge and bulky
  • Inconsistent performance
  • Medium camera

Lenovo Phab 2 Pro: a look into the future of AR

As you may have noticed, the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro is not without its flaws. a huge device, it staggers when it comes to performance and features a disappointing camera, but if you take into account that the first Google Tango phone is being offered for $ 499, you might know it's not really a bad deal. You're getting a decent smartphone, along with a glimpse into the future of AR. However, there are a number of other smartphones in the same price range that offer better performance. There is OnePlus 3T, Moto Z, ZTE Axon 7 etc. That said, if you want to try Google Tango and can't wait for the Asus Zenfone AR, you should get the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro.

Well, that's all for my Lenovo Phab 2 Pro review, but I'd like to know your views on the first Google Tango phone. Hear your thoughts in the comments section below.