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Saturday, December 17, 2016

Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Review: The First Tango AR Smartphone


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Experiencing Lenovo's Phab 2 Pro, The First Google Tango-Powered Smartphone

Lenovo introduced the Google Project Tango Augmented Reality-infused Phab 2 Pro smartphone back in June and the product marked a number firsts for both the manufacturer and the industry as a whole. The Phab 2 Pro is the first consumer retail device to support Google Project Tango AR technology, with a multi-camera and sensor array that gives the smartphone the ability to sense and "see" the environment around it, and then map and render virtual augmentations in the environment for the user. The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro is also one of the largest Android smartphones on the market currently, with a ginormous 6.4-inch IPS display and a footprint exceeding 7-inches at its tallest point. Without question, the Phab 2 Pro is every bit a Phablet, if ever there was such a commonly referred to beast.

Equally as notable perhaps, the Phab 2 Pro also represents Lenovo's first commercially available US smartphone, from Lenovo proper, rather than a Moto device from the company's wholly owned subsidiary Motorola Mobility. Moto definitely has its mojo working as of late with excellent, innovative product launches of the Moto Z family with Moto Mods, but can Lenovo flex its muscle in handsets - "for those who do?" If innovation is a key yardstick for you, the Phab 2 Pro's AR skills are certainly a good start. Let's take a closer look...

Lenovo Phab 2 Pro front face
First, spend a few minutes checking out our hands-on preview, then we'll dive into the particulars, experience, and performance analysis...

Lenovo Phab 2 Pro
Specifications & Features
Processor64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon Octal-Core 652 1.8GHz Processor
GPUAdreno 510
System Memory4GB
Internal storage64GB
Storage ExpansionMicroSD - Supports up to 128GB
Weight259 grams (9.14 ounces)
Dimensions179.83mm x 88.57mm x 6.96~10.7mm (7.08 x 3.49 x 0.42 inches)
Display6.4-inch Quad HD (2560X1440) IPS Assertive Display
Battery4050mAh (non-removable), Quick Charge 3.0 Support
Rear Cameras16MP Fast-Focus, Tango Depth Sensor (IR Camera), Tango Motion Tracking (Fisheye Camera)
Video1080p HD video recording at 30 fps, 720p HD video recording at 30 fps, 3-axis electronic image stabilization
Front Camera8 megapixels photos, f/2.2 aperture, 1.4 um Big Pixel
AudioTriple Array Microphone with Active Noise-Cancellation, Dolby Atmos + Dolby Audio Capture 5.1
FM ReceiverFM Radio
Wi-Fi802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0
SIM/Ports2G/3G/4G Nano SIM Card, Nano SIM + TF Card, Micro USB
NetworksGSM: B2/3/5, UMTS: B1/2/3/4/5, FDD LTE: 2/4/5/7/12/17/20/30
SensorsG-Sensor, P-Sensor, L-Sensor, Accelerator, E-Compass, Gyroscope, Hall Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, Fingerprint

The specs of the Phab 2 Pro read fairly standard-issue for a current generation flagship Android smartphone. The caveat here is that Lenovo went with a more mid-range Qualcomm processor in the form of the Snapdragon 652. This should play out favorably with respect to battery life, but hold performance back a bit in gaming with its Adreno 510 graphics engine. However, the Snapdragon 652 has also been optimized by Qualcomm for Tango AR application requirements, which in and of themselves tend to be power hungry due to all the sensors and tracking involved.  We'll have to see for ourselves in the benchmarks, but the rest reads like a standard higher-end setup, with 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage and, thankfully, microSD slot expansion, as well as 802.11ac WiFi.  

Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Kit2
You also get a reasonable well-appointed setup with the Phab 2 Pro with an included AC adapter and micro USB sync and charge cable, along with a set of JBL earbuds that don't sound half-bad. No USB-C available here, but the price is right at $499 unlocked and ready to roll.

Let's get a closer look at industrial design, materials and build quality...

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