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Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Review

Lenovo Phab 2 Pro

Posted: , by Stephen S.


Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Review


A really good smartphone is one that's going to feel intentional: that an engineering team set out with a clear vision of the phone they wanted to make, and everything from its design, to the features it offers, serve to reflect that intentional process that brought the handset to life.

For a few years now, Google's Advanced Technology and Projects group has been working to change the way mobile devices see the world, building upon the ubiquitous cameras you'll find on any phone with next-gen imaging and sensor hardware. In concert with advanced software algorithms, that package affords devices the ability to scan and understand the world around them: meet Project Tango.

Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Review
Now Tango's dropped the “Project” bit and graduated from early developer hardware to a device being sold to consumers at large, in the form of Lenovo's Phab 2 Pro. Does the Phab 2 Pro manage to tap into Tango's magic to deliver a smartphone experience that's like no other, and one that makes using your handset as fun and interesting as it was the first time you picked a smartphone up, all those years ago?

Or is Tango not quite ready for prime time, and does the Phab 2 Pro run the risk of feeling like an inevitable tech demo, rather than a really polished, game-changing new contender on the smartphone scene? We've spent the past week getting to know the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro in the interest of finding out.

In the box:

  • Lenovo Phab 2 Pro
  • JBL earbuds
  • Quick charger
  • Micro USB cable
  • SIM tool
  • Safety / warranty notices
  • Quick-start guide


Tango requires a lot of hardware, and we've got to fit all that kit somewhere

Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Review
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Review
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Review
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Review

Lenovo's Phab 2 Pro is an outright giant of a smartphone. At about 3.5 x 7 inches, it's closer in dimensions to a small tablet like the Nexus 7 than many more pocket-friendly smartphones. That's at once a great resource for the phone to take advantage of, giving Lenovo the space to fit in all of the hardware necessary for Tango, as well as the handset's biggest limitation; there's little denying that the Phab 2 Pro is way too big for a phone.

Once you get past the hulking size, the Phab 2 Pro's really a quite traditionally designed handset: metal frame, beveled edges, and even a nice, gradual curve to the phone's back. There's a headphone jack up top, volume rocker and power button on the right side, SIM and microSD tray on the left, and the phone's speaker grille and USB port down below – oddly, a microUSB component, which over the past six months has become an outright rarity in the Android world. Seeing it here, the Phab 2 Pro almost feels like an aging project that was ultimately rushed out the door.

From the middle down, the phone's back panel is pretty standard fare, with a centered fingerprint scanner pulling authentication duty. But start heading north and things get complicated, fast. There's one big-honking camera lens, then a flash, then more cameras, sensors, and all the world-scanning hardware Tango needs to pull off its tricks.

Clearly, building a handset around all that Tango hardware proved to be a formidable challenge, but Lenovo's efforts seem to have paid off; while there's no getting over the ungainly size of the Phab 2 Pro, there's a certain elegance to the stripe of sensor hardware running up and down the phone's back.

Lenovo Phab 2 Pro
7.08 x 3.49 x 0.42 inches
179.83 x 88.57 x 10.7 mm
9.14 oz (259 g)

Lenovo Phab 2 Pro

Asus ZenFone 3 Ultra
7.34 x 3.7 x 0.27 inches
186.4 x 93.9 x 6.8 mm
8.22 oz (233 g)

Asus ZenFone 3 Ultra

Xiaomi Mi Max
6.81 x 3.48 x 0.3 inches
173.1 x 88.3 x 7.5 mm
7.16 oz (203 g)

Xiaomi Mi Max

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page.


Crisp and large, we only wish color reproduction were a little less finicky

Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Review

For as unwieldy as a super-phablet can be as a replacement for a more petite smartphone, at least you get to enjoy the benefits of a nice, big screen. And whether you're browsing the web, watching videos, or interacting with Tango-enhanced apps, who doesn't appreciate a larger, easier-to-see display?

Lenovo gives the Phab 2 Pro a 6.4-inch LCD panel, thankfully with an appropriately high 1440 x 2560 Quad HD resolution. And while it's big and sharp, the screen's qualities start going downhill from there.

For one, it's not particularly bright, and while it's far from the dimmest screen we've evaluated all year, its 425-nits output isn't going to do much for usability in bright sunlight. Though we suppose that Tango itself is more appropriate for indoor use, so perhaps we shouldn't be so hard on the screen in this regard.

Color reproduction isn't great either, with the screen (at default settings) having a lot of trouble differentiating between color intensities: instead of saturation gradually increasing, it ramps up to max far too quickly, and loses a lot of specificity at the upper end of its range as a result. You can tweak the output with helpful display settings, but the standard configuration is atrocious.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro 428
Xiaomi Mi Max 532
View all

  • Options

posted on 02 Dec 2016, 09:09 1

1. antmiu2 (Posts: 381; Member since: 19 Jun 2011)

I hate the shared dual sim tray trend..

posted on 02 Dec 2016, 18:31

2. TrackPhoneUser (Posts: 251; Member since: 21 Oct 2015)

Wouldn't a Tango Tablet be better for in-store use?

posted on 03 Dec 2016, 05:58

3. shield (Posts: 527; Member since: 12 Sep 2015)


posted on 05 Dec 2016, 11:36

5. isprobi (Posts: 696; Member since: 30 May 2011)

I have had this phone for a couple of weeks. It is well built and the large screen is nice and bright. Since the screen is bright I can run it at 50% most of the time which leads to easily making it through a day of 3+ hours streaming news video, Facebook, Bluetooth and wi-fi always on without charging from 7 AM to Midnight. The speakers are nice and loud and even capable of playing music for casual listening with Dolby turned on. The only negatives so far are not a great camera especially in low light, no NFC and the extra sensors for Tango lead to a lower position of the fingerprint sensor that is not naturally where your finger would land. Performance is very good with no noticeable lag after weeks of use.

posted on 06 Dec 2016, 09:58

6. UnbreakableAli (Posts: 4; Member since: 04 Mar 2015)

Why phonearena stopped posting pictures taken by phones in it's full resolution ?

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PhoneArena rating:
Display6.4 inches, 1440 x 2560 pixels (459 ppi) IPS LCD
Camera16 megapixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon 652, Octa-core, 1800 MHz, ARM Cortex-A72 and ARM Cortex-A53 processor
Size7.08 x 3.49 x 0.42 inches
(179.83 x 88.57 x 10.7 mm)
9.14 oz  (259 g)
Battery4050 mAh, 18 hours talk time

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