Lenovo Phab2 Review: No longer a smartphone, but not yet a tablet

Lenovo Phab2 Review: No longer a smartphone, but not yet a tablet

Lenovo introduced several devices at the end of 2016 before fully focusing on the Moto line. Among others, the Phab2 series was presented, the youngest device in which the hero of the review became.

This is a large device located on the border between smartphones and tablets. Initially, it cost a lot, under 20 thousand, but now it has become significantly cheaper.

What else attracts Lenovo Phab 2, in addition to its size, is it worth buying it-our review will help to find out. Judging by the characteristics, there is nothing special about the phablet, it is a typical state employee. But in some ways, it still stands out against the background of alternatives.

Body

The phablet is made in a plastic case, stylized as metal. The panel is monolithic, it also covers the side faces of the smartphone. Despite the plastic, the device turned out to be quite weighty, 225 grams. This is even more than the Xiaomi Max 2 (in the course of the review, I will compare it with it more than once, since it is the main competitor). The dimensions are also slightly larger: 175×90 mm, with a thickness of 9.5 mm.

To understand why the smartphone is so big, it is enough to turn on the screen. Then it immediately becomes clear that there is a wide black frame around the matrix, like LeEco. In advertising renderings, the display seems a little larger than in reality. The front layout is standard, there are three touch buttons under the screen (without backlight), above it there is a speaker, a camera and sensors.

The back panel is solid, there is a camera with a flash at the top, the manufacturer’s name and the Dolby Atmos logo are at the bottom. Since the back is plastic, there are, of course, no antenna dividers.

The right side contains wide volume and power control keys. The “rocker” is smooth, but the power and lock key has a ribbed surface. They are located quite well, it is not difficult to reach out with your finger to unlock.

The left side of the smartphone contains a card tray, which is extended by a hairpin. It stands out because it is not located strictly flush. The difference is small, a fraction of a millimeter, but because of it, the slot does not merge with the case.

The upper end of the smartphone contains a 3.5 mm headphone jack and a second microphone. Its presence pleases.

At the bottom of the smartphone there are two symmetrical grilles, behind which the microphone and speaker are hidden. The microUSB port is located between them.

Display

The Lenovo Phab 2 display has a huge diagonal by the standards of a smartphone, 6.4″. But the resolution is modest, 1280×720. This feature brings the gadget closer to tablets, where HD resolution is still found on 8″. But among smartphones, manufacturers are trying to avoid HD-matrices with diagonals greater than 5.5″.

The screen is of high quality, the viewing angles are good, and the brightness margin is sufficient, about 400 cd/m2. Of course, when viewing the close-up, individual pixels will catch your eye, but to avoid this, an “eye protection mode” is provided: if you look at the display from a distance of less than 30 cm – the smartphone will issue a warning.

The display is covered with glass of an unknown manufacturer. The sensor is responsive, it supports up to 10 simultaneous taps.

Hardware features

Lenovo Phab 2 works on the basis of the MT8735 chipset. As you can guess from the first digit 8, this is a chip focused specifically on tablets. In fact, it is the MT6735 version for tablets and contains the same 4 Cortex A53 cores with a frequency of up to 1.3 GHz. The graphics on board are still the same Mali T720 MP2, but with slightly raised frequencies.

This is a budget solution both in terms of performance and overall capabilities. The chip copes with web surfing, watching videos, playing games, but not all of them will go to high settings. In the AnTuTu test, Lenovo Phab 2 scores 34 thousand points.

The results in Geekbench 4 are also modest: only 603 points in single – core mode, 1618-in multi-core mode. This indicator only confirms the modesty of the chip’s capabilities.

But the RAM in the Lenovo Phab 2 is quite enough, 3 gigabytes. The drive is also not the smallest, 32 GB. There is a slot for a memory card, but it is combined with the second SIM card slot.

The communication module supports LTE, including Band 20. But Wi-Fi is single-band, the 802.11 ac mode does not support. Bluetooth is also not the latest, version 4.0. There is a navigator with GPS and GLONASS support, it finds satellites quickly, displays the position correctly. So the Lenovo Phab 2 is quite suitable for the role of a car navigator.

The set of sensors on board is small: lighting, proximity, compass and gyroscope. There is no fingerprint scanner, there is no NFC either, but there is a radio. The sound component is certified by Dolby Atmos, there is a proprietary equalizer and support for virtual 5.1 sound. The sound in the headphones is really not bad, but the speaker does not stand out in any way. The same Mi Max 2, on the contrary, is not impressive in headphones, but it has two clean and loud speakers with a separate amplifier for each.

Battery and autonomy

The battery capacity of the smartphone is 4050 mAh. It seems to be a lot, but it is also worth considering the large size of the smartphone display. Therefore, the indicators of autonomy are good, but nothing more. You can watch videos at full brightness for up to 9 hours, web surfing in the auto-brightness adjustment mode drains the battery in 12 hours. In moderate use mode, you can get up to 3 days of autonomy.

Unfortunately, Lenovo Phab 2 does not support fast charging technology. The standard power supply replenishes the charge to 100% for a little longer than 3 hours, which is quite a lot.

Cameras

The main camera of the Lenovo Phab 2 has a resolution of 13 MP. A standard 1/3″ matrix with 1.12 microns pixels and support for phase autofocus is used. It is equipped with optics with an aperture of F/2.

In all respects, the camera is very close to the cameras of Xiaomi Redmi Note 4X or Meizu M5 Note. Therefore, there is nothing surprising in the fact that she shoots at a similar level. The pictures are of tolerable quality, but they lack sharpness.


Sometimes the dynamic range is also not impressive: there are shadows and highlights in the pictures. But in general, this is a typical level of shooting quality for a state employee, nothing unusual.


Lenovo Phab 2 has one feature that still distinguishes it from the mentioned smartphones. It supports augmented reality functions and allows you to add virtual objects to the photo.

These objects do not shine with realism, and in general, the function is in an almost test state. But, nevertheless, it allows you to add vegetation to the picture or place a virtual animal in the frame.


There seems to be no practical benefit from AR-functions, but its very presence pleases. After all, these are only the first steps of the manufacturer in this direction, and even in a budget device, and then the possibilities should only expand.

Software

Lenovo Phab 2 runs Android 6. It is almost a clean system, with minimal functional changes. Among the advantages, you can note a slightly edited curtain. The icons in it are arranged more closely, and the brightness adjustment slider is shifted down, which increases convenience with this screen size.

The system works smartly, does not cause any complaints. Of course, there is no instant rendering of GUI elements, but the animations are smooth, without jerks and suspensions. Switching programs is also fast, thanks to a sufficient amount of RAM.

Full Features

Pros and cons of Lenovo Phab 2

Positive:

  • large screen;
  • AR functions;
  • a good navigator.

Minuses:

  • HD-screen resolution;
  • medium cameras;
  • the price tag is not always justified.

Alternatives

The cost of Lenovo Phab 2 differs greatly from different sellers. Because of this, sometimes Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is a very good and almost equivalent alternative. It has a slightly better ergonomics, a FullHD screen, a better camera (although without AR), more powerful hardware, impressive autonomy.

Selfie lovers should like the Sony Xperia XA Ultra. It has a smaller screen, but FullHD, and the camera in front has a resolution of 16 MP, is equipped with an OIS system and a flash. This device is also more powerful in hardware. Only a battery with a capacity of 2700 mAh can upset you.

The Meizu M3 Max is also slightly smaller, but it is equipped with a FullHD display, more powerful hardware, and its battery supports fast charging.

Conclusion

Lenovo Phab 2 is a great smartphone for those who do not need powerful hardware and strong cameras. It is suitable for those who use a smartphone to read, watch videos with headphones and navigate. For this, it has a large screen, Dolby sound, and a good navigation module. The camera takes pictures of acceptable quality and can please with AR functions.

If you need a powerful phablet “for everything”, then Lenovo Phab 2 is not the best option. And it’s not just about the budget hardware, but also the price. Some sellers still have it at about 20 thousand, and for this money Mi Max 2 looks much preferable.

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