The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro is the first smartphone to include Tango, a new technology from Google that enables augmented reality (AR) gaming and utilities. All you have to do is look through the Phab 2 Pro, and you’ll see objects and information overlaid onto the real world. You can use these features for both practical purposes and fun: measure items with just your phone, see how new furniture or decor will look in your home, and even raise virtual pets, to name a few.
I’m walking around the conference room, aiming my Tango phone at the space between two chairs where Lenovo executives are sitting. A third empty chair, a plush leather one, sits on the carpet. I’m walking around it, seeing how it looks. But it isn’t real: it’s augmented, generated by an app on my phone screen. As I move around, it stays in place convincingly. I think to myself…I could use this to furniture-shop for my living room without even lifting a finger.
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The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, the world’s first Tango-enabled smartphone, is now available on shelves and online, and studios around the world are using the Phab 2 Pro as a working model to develop innovative Tango apps. As a result, the Phab 2 Pro will be delivering on the original Tango experience on a number of new apps, which have introduced unique AR and VR experiences to the phones of new Tango users.
As Lenovo’s first serious crack at breaking into the stream of conversation-sparking smartphones, the Phab 2 Pro is an interesting place to start.
It’s a hulking, chiseled Android Marshmallow device, which doesn’t earn it any points for originality. But, here’s what does: it’s the first phone to ship with Tango, Google’s new environment-scanning augmented reality (AR) setup.
Buy Lenovo PHAB2 Pro at Amazon for $499.99
lenovo phab 2 pro release date
The Phab 2 Pro serves as the launch-point for the experimental technology that could very well go on to be a household name in the next wave of smartphones, if not even sooner in the company’s own Moto Z as a rumored Moto Mod.
Sure, Tango’s current app count is small, but it’s plentiful enough to showcase its potential, allowing users to flex their inner interior decorating skills, build a Hot Wheels track in the middle of the room, and inject silly holograms of sorts into the real world, to name some examples.
Although not without its issues, the tantalizing Tango functionality is undoubtedly this phone’s killer app. But, is that enough of a reason to buy this phone?
For $499 (£499), you’re getting a lot of phone for the money, with a next-gen feature that makes it stand out from the rest, to boot. But without Tango, the Phab 2 Pro comes up a bit short on reasons to buy in compared to more powerful alternatives, OnePlus 3T and the ZTE Axon 7.
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro price and release date
lenovo phab 2 plus specification
Looking for this Tango-enabled phone? You won’t find it in your local brick-and-mortar retailers. It’s only available online through Lenovo’s site (US, UK) for $499 (£499) plus tax.
The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro comes unlocked, but will only work on GSM networks. In the US, this excludes Sprint and Verizon from the supported carriers list.
This price puts it in direct competition with devices, like the OnePlus 3T, Nexus 6P and the iPhone SE. But, of course, only the Phab 2 Pro has the ability to Tango. Plus, it’s just an absolutely massive phone, which could qualify it as a capable tablet replacement for some.
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Redefines what you’ll consider to be a “big” phone
Compared to the massive Tango dev kit, this is an engineering marvel
A familiar design that leaves us wanting something more unique
If you’re after a smartphone that will fit easily into your pocket, the Phab 2 Pro isn’t it. This 6.4-inch device weighs 259g – over a half pound, and just shy of the Apple iPad Mini 4 – and measures up at 179.8 x 88.6 x 10.7mm. It’s just massive all around.
But, its large size serves another purpose than just its vibrant 2K screen. It provides enough wiggle room for Google’s Tango technology inside, too. Jumping straight to the phone’s backside, the space made for the multi-camera setup takes the place of where you’d usually find a fingerprint sensor. Don’t worry, it’s here, but much lower and thus, more awkward to reach, than you might be used to.
The matte-textured, gun metal enclosure of the Phab 2 Pro gives off a familiar look and feel, like the OnePlus 3, if it had sharp edges. Flipped around to its front, the glass covering the IPS panel takes on a bit of a curve around its edges, which definitely gives off a high-end quality. However, the thick bezels surrounding the screen take away from that a bit.
lenovo phab 2 plus smartphone review
Around its thick, flat edges, you’ll find the usual arrangement of buttons and features. On its bottom, there’s a micro USB port fit between two speakers. Given the sheer size of this phone and its bezels, it would have been nice to have sound firing toward the user instead of away from them. The volume rocker and power button are easy to access without looking, as is the 3.5mm jack on its top. Lastly, the left side hosts the SIM and microSD card tray.
These include many high quality AR/VR games such as Hot Wheels Track Builder, Fury of the Gods or Crayola Color Blaster. At its core, however, Tango is a tool meant to make your phone more useful. Take, for instance, the Phab 2 Pro’s preloaded Measure app, which uses Tango’s depth perception capabilities to quickly measure interiors and real world objects (and allows users to see the measurements displayed in augmented reality). And there are now a diverse range of retail, education and camera apps that promise to the re-imagine the way you use your smartphones.
The retail experience is changing with Tango. Lowe’s and Wayfair have both showcased Tango apps that let users place actual-size furniture or home furnishings in their interiors before reaching a purchase decision, saving them on trips to the store. Users can view, walk around and examine these home additions through the screen of their Phab 2 Pro as if they were actually there. Another interior design app, iStaging, pairs the spatial perception features of Tango with its own Immersive Reality® technology to let users design their interiors right from the Phab 2 Pro.
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Users will have the opportunity to walk around the furnishings, floor tilings and even wallpaper they’ve chosen in their own homes to see if they fit. They’ll also be able to take pictures of the design to share with their friends or family. And if they can want to make a purchase, they can order the item straight from the app.
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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?
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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
Micro USB cable
Safety / warranty notices
Tango requires a lot of hardware, and we’ve got to fit all that kit somewhere
I’m not sure what to call the Phab 2 Pro, but since “Phab” is likely a play on “phablet,” let’s go with that. That’s true enough – it is a mobile device larger than any phone, with a big tablet-like touchscreen. But by any standards, it’s monstrous. At 179.8 x 88.6 x 10.7 millimeters, it’s 17-percent taller than a Galaxy Note 5.
The huge 6.4-inch QHD (2,560 x 1,440) display is its best feature. While the adaptive brightness setting has a tendency to overcompensate, its size and resolution otherwise make for a very pleasant viewing experience. The sharpness and clarity are favorable, plus there’s none of that overly-blue white balance or oversaturation that leaves eyes feeling fatigued. Trained eyes immediately pick up that this is an IPS display, not an AMOLED one.
The Phab has capacitive home, back and recent apps buttons; the fingerprint sensor is on the back. Back placement is always a little harder to access, but on a phone this size, it’s extra unwieldy. I found myself dumbly thwacking the camera lens instead of the sensor on more than one occasion.
Due to its size, the Phab 2 could make a fairly good multimedia player, as long as you could find a way to prop it up. The audio backs up the big screen well, especially if you use headphones. There are twin grilles at the bottom of the phone, though there is only one speaker. It’s louder than many others, but its low fidelity is especially noticeable at lower volumes.
lenovo phab 2 pro plus
The camera 16 MP rear/8 MP front camera has ample resolution and auto-focuses well, but it lacks the kind of software and hardware tricks that are making phones like the iPhone 7 Plus and Google Pixel rock the photography world. And with the camera being mounted on such a large device, we run into increased clumsiness and camera shake. The camera’s not out of date per se, but it’s nothing special.
Lastly, this behemoth phone has a hulking battery to match. The 4,050 mAh battery means major staying power for non-Tango applications. In our standard battery test (streaming one hour of video over Wi-Fi at constant luminescence) the phone’s battery life dipped only 8 percent, better than any other phone we’ve tried. But bear in mind that Tango demands much more battery power than video streaming. I’d estimate that battery life drops 2-3 times faster while using Tango apps.
Software & performance
Software is Android 6.0 Marshmallow, and the OS is near-stock (but without the charming simplicity of the HTC 10 or Google Pixel experience).
Its Snapdragon 652 octa core processor may be optimized for Tango, but according to benchmarks, it falls short of speedier and less specialized processors. Geekbench 4 has it clocking in at 1.40 GHz with a 1481 single core score, which ranks behind many of this year’s big-name flagships like the Galaxy S7, S7 edge and OnePlus 3.
Without going into more painstaking nerdery, it’s sufficient to say this device can handle common tasks like web surfing, social media and video streaming handily, but don’t expect a careful or glitch-free presentation. I’ve run into a fair amount of small, temporary issues, such as the inability to sign into my Google account, the phone showing a landscape display when it should be in portrait mode, and the occasional crashed app.
What is Tango?
lenovo phab 2 pro 64gb
Now that we’ve got Phab 2 basics covered, we can dive into its headlining feature. Tango is a Google technology that only recently shed its “project” moniker. Without relying on external signals like GPS or Bluetooth, Tango determines the device’s position and orientation as well as the measurements and positions of objects in the surrounding environment.
Although Tango has a number of exciting possibilities, such as indoor navigation and the ability to measure physical objects from a distance, its main focus is mobile-based augmented reality (mobile AR), or the ability to superimpose virtual objects into real-world surroundings. Just hold your phone up and look through the display to see virtual elements populated within the environment around you.
If augmented reality makes you think of Pokémon Go, you’re not wrong – Pokémon is a prime example of a mobile AR game. But it is not Tango-reliant, and it has several shortcomings that Tango could mitigate.
For example, Pokémon relies on a GPS signal, so play is limited to the outdoors. With Tango, the critters could hide indoors, even behind household structures like counters or furniture. Tango is also capable of placing creatures and objects more convincingly into their surroundings, with a dramatic reduction in the “hovering” look pervasive in Pokémon.
Tango also enables a certain degree of object permanence and smarter maneuvering of virtual objects. Plop down an object in one area, look away, and it will still be where you left it. Because of the 3D mapping capabilities, you shouldn’t see virtual objects stuck inside walls, crossing into other objects, or spliced onto something else. If a person or animal walks in front of your screen, the virtual object will be rendered in front of or behind it accordingly.
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And there’s more than a modicum of utility in mobile AR, apart from gaming. What would your home look like decorated a certain way? Will this couch fit in that space? Current Tango apps hint at the overwhelming amount of possibilities.
Not worth it – yet
The Phab 2 Pro runs Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, and while we know that involvement with Tango doesn’t necessarily also mean Nexus-level access to the latest Android builds, it’s still a little disappointing we don’t get Nougat. Perhaps that’s a limitation of Tango itself, but split-screen apps would have looked great on a display this big.
Since Marshmallow’s been discussed to death, we’re mainly going to focus on the Tango-specific aspects of the Phab 2 Pro’s software, but it is worth pointing out one especially weak point of the phone’s Android interface: notifications. By default, notifications show up as black text, and depending on the background you’re using, that can make them insanely difficult to see.
Tango apps extend from simple augmented-reality measurement tools, to games, to apps that even let you perform a scan of the room you’re in and create a 3D reproduction you can view from any angle.
That all sounds very promising, and Tango apps can be a whole lot of fun to use, but they’re also plagued by a few problems – some more serious than others, but all annoying.
Image: 1 of 3
For one, Tango just doesn’t seem very stable. Throughout testing, we routinely encountered error messages that the Tango system had crashed, or that apps just couldn’t connect to Tango’s cameras in the first place.
Tango apps – Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Review
Tango isn’t very stable – Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Review
There’s a lot going on with the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro smartphone, a dizzying array of things to consider. The first is that it’s massive, barely qualifying as a phone, with a 6.4-inch display and hard, chamfered edges that make it feel like a weaponized phablet. The second thing to consider is that this a Lenovo phone. For people in China, India, or Vietnam, this is not an anomaly. But in the US, where we prize our high-priced iPhones and Samsungs and various other Android phones, Lenovo is a brand-new entrant.
The third and most important thing to consider is this is the only device you can buy right now that supports Google Tango. Tango is Google-made software that, combined with specific hardware, offers advanced 3D sensing. If basic augmented reality creates a flat layer of digital information on your smartphone screen — think Pokémon Go, with the game content built on top of your real world — Tango goes beyond that, to the point where it interprets and measures spaces and objects around you and then lets you interact with digital things as though they’re really, physically there.
Tango still isn’t fully realized. It’s glitchy: apps sometimes freeze up or crash, and a few of its most promising apps are also the least intuitive. And there still aren’t that many apps to use with it. But when it works, it’s fun. It’s at least one step beyond a gimmick, and it’s easy to see how it could enhance the whole mobile experience if it comes to more phones.
Here’s what most people said to me when they saw the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro in my hands, in this order: Wow, that’s a huge phone, followed a few minutes later by, How did that cat get in my living room? I’ll explain the cat thing, but first, the phone hardware.
The $499.99 Phab 2 Pro is big hunk of brushed aluminum alloy with a 6.4-inch quad-HD display. Its physical build really isn’t bad once you get past the size: the display is coated in Gorilla Glass and it has shiny aluminum edges that give it a solid feel. It has a fingerprint sensor on the back; loud, powerful speakers; fast charging capabilities; it even has — wait for it — a headphone jack. And as with most larger phones, it accommodates a giant battery.
“The Phab 2 Pro has three rear cameras, which are a critical part of the Tango experience”
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Review: The First Google Tango Smartphone
Last Updated: January 21, 2017
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For the past few years, Augmented Reality has been a dream but it’s finally becoming a reality (no pun intended). The Pokemon Go game became a rage, with people appreciating its AR mode and now, Lenovo has come out with its first Google Tango smartphone, dubbed the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro. Google Tango has been a project that the folks over at Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group have been working on for the past few years but it’s only now that the project has seen the light of day in full fledged form. So, if you have always wanted to see how dinosaurs would look like standing next to you or if you want to see if a sofa you want to buy fits in your space or not, well, Google Tango has you covered.
The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro is the first Google Tango smartphone and it’s the only one you can buy right now (the Asus Zenfone AR arrives in Q2 2017). The device has been making a lot of headlines, all thanks to the moniker, “the first Tango device”. However, the device is indeed a risk for Lenovo because there are a lot of questions around the device, as well as Tango. Is Google Tango ready for prime time? Is the 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 you want to know how the first Tango phone fares. So, let’s find out everything in our review of the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro. Let’s begin, shall we?
In The Box
Before we starting talking about the device itself, let’s take a look at the in-box contents of the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro:
The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro
Quick Start and Warranty guides
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro In the Box
While the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro box does look unique, the contents inside are pretty generic and something that we’re used to seeing in most smartphones. The inclusion of JBL earphones is certainly a nice touch though.
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Specifications
Dimensions 179.8 x 88.6 x 10.7 mm
Weight 259 grams
Display 6.4-inch of Quad HD (2560x1440p) resolution
Processor 64-bit Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 processor
RAM 4 GB
Storage 64 GB, expandable up to 128 GB
Cameras 16 MP rear camera with dual-tone LED flash and laser detection autofocus, 8 MP front-facing 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
Design and Hardware
Talking about the design and build of the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, the first thing you will notice when you first take the device in your hands in the enormous size and heft of the device. With its massive 6.4-inch display and metal unibody design, the Phab 2 Pro is by no means, a pocket-friendly device. If you thought the iPhone 7 Plus, Pixel XL or even the Nexus 6P are huge devices, well, think again.
The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro looks and feels like a beast. It measures 179.8 x 88.6 x 10.7 mm and weighs in at a hefty 259 grams. If you plan on using the Phab 2 Pro as your daily driver, be ready to look very absurd when you are talking on the device.
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Review 1
If you forgive the substantial weight and size of the device, the Phab 2 Pro looks like most other Lenovo smartphones out there. The front features a full slab of Gorilla glass, with 2.5D curved edges. On the bottom, there are the three navigation buttons and the top features a multi-color LED, an 8 MP camera, earpiece and proximity sensors. The left side of the device features the SIM and microSD tray, while the right side features the volume rockers and the power/lock button. On the bottom, there is the microUSB port along with the speakers and the top features the 3.5 mm headphone jack. While I like the fact that there’s the 3.5 mm jack, I would have preferred the USB Type-C port instead of the now ageing microUSB port.
The rear of the device is where the most action lies. It features the Tango logo (along with Lenovo’s), fingerprint sensor, the huge depth perception sensor and a rectangular bar that packs in the dual-tone flash, the IR emitter and the 16 MP camera. The Tango module features a couple of cameras. One packs in an infrared emitter to determine the distance from objects while the other is a wide-angle camera with a fish eye lens to support the device’s motion tracking system.
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Review 2
When it comes to the looks, the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro looks like a premium device, thanks to chamfered edges and a brushed metal aluminium back with antenna bands. Also, the device might be gigantic but it is easy to hold due to its slightly curved back. It’s available in two versions: Gunmetal Grey and Champagne Gold. We have the Gunmetal Grey version with us and it looks amazing. If you can get past the massive size and bulk of the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, you will find a smartphone (or phablet) that looks great.
With so much focus on its AR capabilities, we are glad that Lenovo has incorporated a huge 6.4-inch IPS LCD display of Quad HD (2,560 x 1,440p) resolution. On paper, it seems like a great display but I wasn’t too impressed by it. While the text and everything else looks crisp and sharp, the display isn’t very bright (425 nits at maximum brightness), which would have been understandable had it been an AMOLED display.
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Review 4
When you compare it other LCD packing devices like the iPhone 7 or even the AMOLED-packing Pixel, the brightness just falls short.
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Review vs iPhone 7 vs Pixel
On the brighter side of things, viewing angles are great and the color reproduction is good but if you are a fan of AMOLED displays, you’ll miss the vibrant colors. Having said that, since it’s an “assertive” IPS LCD display, you can customize the hue and colors in the display settings of the device. To sum things up, the display on the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro does not really match flagship standards but it’s still pretty decent.
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Display Effects
Google Tango has been in works for more than a couple of years now and it’s supposed to revolutionize Augmented Reality on smartphones.The technology identifies objects in the real world along with depth and their dimensions to better overlay 3D objects in the real world. So, how is the Google Tango experience on the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro?
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Review 3
When you first set up the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, you are greeted with the “Discover Tango” screen at the end, which introduces you to the Tango experience through a demo that shows you how the tech uses depth perception, area learning and motion tracking to
overlay 3D objects in the real world. Phab 2 Pro also comes with the Tango app pre-loaded, which is home to the various Tango-enabled apps. The device comes with 3 apps pre-installed.
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Google Tango App
There’s the Measure app, which as the name suggests, lets you measure length, height and even volume of objects. You can even take pictures of the measurements you make. The accuracy of the app is debatable but it’s still a good example of how AR can come in handy.
Google Tango Measure App
Another pre-installed app is Amazon Product Preview, which as of now, only lets you see how certain TVs will look in your wall. It works great and you can even buy one of the TVs from the same page. The third pre-installed app is the Lenovo AR Camera, which lets you put AR pets alongside you.
Amazon Product Preview Google Tango App
Other than that, there are around 35 Google Tango-enabled apps on the Play Store. There are fun games like Ghostly Mansion, in which you are ghost exploring a 3D mansion. Some cool apps like Solar Simulator, which brings various objects from the space into your living room. There are also various apps that let you see how a furniture looks or fits in your house. As of now, the number of apps isn’t great but the number should increase in the near future, with more Tango devices upcoming.
When it comes the experience, Google Tango is amazing when it works. The technology is still fairly budding and so, inaccuracies are understandable. Having said that, Google is certainly on the right direction and we hope the company continues to innovate on the AR front.
Lenovo AR Camera Google Tango App
The Android Experience
The Google Tango platform is definitely the USP of the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro but it’s important to know about the Android experience, if you are shelling out 500 dollars. I haven’t really been a fan of Lenovo’s Android skin and so, I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro features an Android build that is mostly stock. Sure, there are some elements that remind you that this is a Lenovo device, like the notification shade & app drawer UI, different icons when compared to stock Android, bundled apps like SHAREit, McAfee Security, AccuWeather, its very own Gallery and Camera app etc. However, the interface is mostly stock, which is something I definitely love about the device.
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Review UI
While it looks like stock Android, Lenovo has added a few of its very own options and features. For instance, there’s Lenovo’s Smart Assist, which brings features for one-handed usage, double tap to wake, Smart Reduce (reduces ringtone volume when you pick up a call) etc.
Lenovo Smart Assist
All is not good though. The device comes with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, which is a shame, considering Android 7.0 Nougat has been here for quite a few months now. Nougat’s features like multi-window would have really enhanced the experience on the Phab 2 Pro. While we can expect the update to arrive sooner or later, it would have been much better had it come with Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box.
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Review 5
The cameras are an essential to showcase the Google Tango AR platform and thus, the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro features some power-packed cameras, at least on paper. On the front, the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro features an 8 MP camera, while the back features a 16 MP camera with laser detection autofocus and a dual-tone LED flash.
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Review 6
Talking about the rear camera first, it’s surprisingly not that impressive. It does take some great shots when there’s ample light but it struggles when it comes to low light photography. I’ll recommend you to use the HDR mode to capture photos because it does take better photos. However, photos taken in low light or at night come with a lot of noise, and they are even a bit blurry, thanks to its focusing problems. Even with that laser autofocus module, the rear camera has its problems focusing. There’s “frame lagging” too, that is, when you move the device, the camera viewfinder just takes too much time to reposition. We don’t know if that’s a software problem but if it is, we hope Lenovo fixes it with a software update.
The conclusion is, if you use the Phab 2 Pro camera to take shots in daytime, you will be pleased but not so much if you love taking photos in low light or at night. Here are some shots I took from the camera with HDR mode turned on:
Video recording with the 16 MP rear camera isn’t that impressive either. My biggest gripe is the fact that the device is limited to recording 1080p videos and considering the device packs in a QHD display, it’s a shame it does not even take advantage of the display’s full resolution, let alone record 4K videos. There are focusing problems but other than that the videos are.
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Review 7
Moving on to the front-facing or the selfie camera, as people like to call them these days. The 8 MP camera does an okay-ish job, really, and the fact is, I have seen way better selfie cameras on other devices. While it takes clear photos, the colors just look a bit washed out and the camera sensor is a bit inconsistent in capturing light. Overall, the front camera on the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro should be good enough for your occasional selfie but don’t expect it to take mind blowing photos. Here’s a selfie our very own Devinder took:
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Review Camera Sample 5
To sum things up, I find the cameras on the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro to be just average and considering the cameras have such a big role to play in AR, it’s sad. Having said that, if you just want to experience Google Tango, you should be fine with the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro.
When it comes to the internals, the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro does not qualify as a very high-end device. Under the hood, the device is powered by the 64-bit Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 processor with Adreno 510 GPU. There’s 4 GB RAM for all your multitasking needs, along with 64 GB internal storage (expandable up to 128 GB).
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Review 12
The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro is big, but that’s not the only reason it’s different. It’s the first Android smartphone with Tango, a computer vision technology that uses the Pro’s camera and specialized processing to detect space and positioning.
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro
Think of it as a hyper local and more detail-driven GPS, which recognizes you’re standing three feet from a wall rather than 2.3 miles from the nearest Starbucks. Google hopes Tango will enable better augmented reality (AR) apps, 3D mapping, indoor navigation, all with a better sense of environmental awareness.
We took a Lenovo Phab 2 Pro review unit for a spin to find out if this 6.4-inch Android phablet is good enough to justify its $500 asking price, and to see Tango on a consumer device.
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Build & Design
The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro is a supersized smartphone. It measures 7.1 x 3.5 x 0.4 inches, and weighs .57 pounds. It has a 6.4-inch display, and is closer to a small tablet in size than a smartphone.
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro back panel
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro back panel
There’s a reason there are so few smartphones with displays beyond 5.7 inches. Even with thin bezels, anything larger it’s just too big a screen to fit on a compact device. One-handed operation is impossible, even gripping it with one hand is tough. Using it as a real phone is also extremely awkward. And forget about carrying it in your pocket. This is a backpack or purse kind of device.
The flipside is that the big screen is better for multimedia, productivity, and all the AR goodies Tango offers. This is arguably more important than being able to use a phone with one hand.
Either way, the point is the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro is BIG, and you’ll want to test it out in person before committing.
Otherwise, it looks like a standard smartphone. The display has slightly raised glass with standard Android capacitive soft keys on the bottom and an ear speaker and front-facing camera on the top. The back panel is a single piece of gunmetal gray aluminum that extends and flattens around the sides.
The cool aluminum provides a quality impression, and shrugs off fingerprints and smudges very well. Such a big smartphone probably won’t survive many drops, so a case is highly recommended.
A volume rocker and textured power button sit on the right, and the microSD/SIM tray sits on the left. A 3.5mm audio port sits on the top (where it should be), while two speakers sit on the bottom, with a microUSB input in between. Once again, we’re disappointed by another new smartphone shipping without USB Type-C
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro volume rocker and power button
The back panel has a slight curve, and houses two antenna stripes, along with the back-facing cameras, sensors, flash, and fingerprint sensor. There are three cameras in total, but only one functions as a traditional shooter. The other two enable Tango’s tricks. The bottom camera is circular, just like the fingerprint sensor directly underneath it. These feel similar and are easy to confuse by touch alone. Too many times we blindly pressed the camera trying to unlock our Lenovo Phab 2 Pro review unit.
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro top
Hands on: Lenovo Phab 2 Pro
Digital TrendsJune 9, 2016
The real world melts into the virtual with Lenovo’s giant Phab 2 Pro.
While the rest of the tech world has been creating VR headsets and new worlds in which to escape, Google and Lenovo have been working on a phone that augments the world we already live in: the Phab 2 Pro.
Google’s Project Tango uses an array of cameras, sensors, and software to map spaces in three dimensions. The first ever Tango device was a reference design tablet made by Google for developers, but the Phab 2 Pro brings this 3D mapping tech to a smartphone that anyone can buy.
The Phab 2 Pro isn’t just a milestone because it’s the first Project Tango phone, but also because it’s the first Lenovo phone to ever reach American shores, where the company is better known for laptops than phones.
We got an early demo of the Project Tango phone in New York ahead of Lenovo’s Tech World event to see how far the tech has come.
It’s gigantic, but smaller than a tablet
There’s a reason why Google’s first Project Tango device was a tablet – all the sensors, cameras and other hardware to make it work take up space. Lenovo and Google worked together on the Phab 2 Pro to make room for all of Project Tango’s specs, in a smaller design.
The result is a 7-inch phablet with a 6.4-inch Quad HD screen that’s bigger than any phone you’ve ever seen. It looks more like a small tablet than something you’d slide into your pocket and call a phone, but it is decidedly smaller than Google’s reference design tablet. Packing all the same power into a device that’s smaller than the first Nexus 7 tablet is an accomplishment for Lenovo. It may not be the 5 or 5.5-inch phone you’re used to, but it’s still manageable.
The aluminum body feels sturdy, and the chamfered edges give it a bit of grip. You can see some of the Project Tango tech on the back of the device, including a 16-megapixel PDAF Fast-Focus camera, a depth sensor, and motion-tracking sensor. But that’s not all of it. There’s also a G-Sensor, P-Sensor, L-Sensor, E-Compass, Gyroscope, Hall Sensor, and vibrator. No, we don’t know what they all do either, but they all assist with mapping space in three dimensions.
A specially made Tango Edition Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 octa-core processor and 4GB of RAM enable all the high-level processing that goes on when the Project Tango phone is mapping space. Although the Snapdragon 652 isn’t a processor commonly found in high-powered phones, Lenovo assured us that this optimized chip is the result of a special partnership between Qualcomm and Google that was literally made for the job. The Snapdragon 820, which is found in most flagship smartphones from 2016 — including the Samsung Galaxy S7, the LG G5, and the HTC 10 – runs too hot for the processor-intensive tasks of 3D mapping with Tango.
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro: first Tango-enabled phone after Pixel
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro is the world’s first phone to be compatible with Google’s Tango after its very own product ‘Pixel’. Google Tango is an application that is used for indoor augmented and virtual reality. It studies your surroundings using the camera of your phone and integrates it with the videos, pictures, and games that we use. Special AR VR games have been created keeping the Tango in mind. Pokemon Go, Ingress and Delta T are examples of such games.
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro: A class apart
The list of Lenovo Phab 2 Pro specifications includes a state of the art tech specs that one would expect from a premium smartphone. The massive 6.4-inch Lenovo Phab 2 pro display is designed to impress. With the integrated Dolby Atmos sound enhancement unit, binge watching videos, movies and experiencing Tango would be a moment to remember.
The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro’s price is currently market around INR 30,000. At this price it on par with what the competition has to offer. The One Plus 3T, Moto Z play, Asus Zenfone Zoom are its competitors. After Google’s Pixel, it’s Lenovo Phab 2 Pro and Asus Zenfone AR that has revolutionized the way the game of AR VR and Tango.
The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro battery life is long, thanks to its massive 4050 mAh battery that is designed to save power on the go. Like the Lenovo P2 , the battery in this does wonders when you get below 15% charge.lenovo phab 2 pro
16+8Mp camera unit which features phase detection autofocus, depth & motion tracking sensors for the best Tano Experience
Powered by 4050 mAh Li-Ion battery and has Fingerprint, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass features
Boots on Android OS, v6.0 (Marshmallow) and houses 64 GB on-board storage
The dual camera on the rear is what bags all the credits of the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro camera review. The dual camera lets you get the perfect Bokeh effect along with multi-point focus. This can be done while clicking a picture and even after clicking one. Just like the experience, one gets from the famous iPhone 7.
In this competitive smartphone space the competition is high. Brands like Xiaomi, Lenovo, and Motorola thrive to provide its user the best of features while keeping the price reasonable. The same motto has been applied here. Hence Lenovo Phab 2 Pro’s price in India is at 30,000 in Flipkart. Get yours now
The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro’s 6.4-inch display has a 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution, resulting a dense 459 pixels per inch. That’s very sharp for a display this size. It’s an LCD IPS, and with it come all the strengths and weaknesses of the technology. Whites are particularly bright, blacks could be deeper. Overall, it lacks the pop and saturation of today’s high-end AMOLED displays, but the difference is slight enough that it’s only apparent in a direct comparison.
The display is also plenty bright at max setting, and while glare is persistent, it’s easy enough to see outdoors as to not be rendered useless.
Here’s the standard smartphone boilerplate: smartphone displays range from good to great. The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro is a small step below the market’s best (iPhones and Galaxies).
We had high hopes for the speakers, given the device’s size. They prove adequate, which is perhaps the best thing we can say about smartphone speakers (they are generally awful across devices). The sound is pleasant and balanced, though flat overall. Sound volume is appropriate for personal use.
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Performance
The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro has an eight-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 processor (1.8 GHz), along with 4GB RAM and 64GB capacity. This is a midrange chipset that sits below the Snapdragon 820 found on the late 2015 and early 2016 flagships, and closer to the 810. It also has Adreno 510 graphics, which is even slower compared against the 820’s Adreno 530.
In real-world usage, it performs well. It’s stable, at least when running non-Tango apps (more on that below). Our Lenovo Phab 2 Pro review unit handled everything we threw at it, including demanding games like Modern Combat 5. It’s 4GB RAM goes a long way when dealing with open browser tabs and switching between apps. The fingerprint sensor was reliable in testing as well.
Comparing it against more powerful smartphones reveals the chipset’s limitations. The Google Pixel XL, with its Snapdragon 821, is a far smoother smartphone, which is most evident moving from the lock screen to the home screen. In fact, our Lenovo Phab 2 Pro review unit would reboot to the startup screen after unlocking, following a power cycle. It happened too consistently to be a bug, and proved annoying.
Other than that, there’s little functional difference between the 652 and more powerful chips outside of the fluid aesthetic. It’s an acceptable trade off given the price difference between the two devices.
According to Lenovo, the chipset is custom designed to handle Google Tango’s AR needs. If you worry about heating of your Android devices, you’ll be happy to know that Phab 2 Pro has been designed in a way that the heat dissipates from outer edges of the metal frame and it’s cooled down quickly, thanks to the shielding on the processor.
All of that aside, you must be wondering, how does the device perform in real life? Well, I found the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro’s performance to be average. While it handles certain day to day tasks with ease, it does struggle a bit when it comes to intensive apps. For instance, I usually browse the web on Chrome, while also multitasking between Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram and for my personal use case, the device performs decently. However, there was this occasional hiccup and dropped frame rates when it comes to extensive Tango apps and games.
Harga Lenovo Phab 2 Pro – Lenovo patut berbangga diri sekarang karena ia menjadi vendor pertama yang bisa menciptakan sebuah Smartphone Project Tango pertama di Dunia yakni Lenovo Phab 2 Pro. Apa itu Project Tango ? Project ini adalah project dari Google terbaru yang menawarkan sebuah kemampuan navigasi, visualisasi dan gaming yang bersifat Augmented Reality serta Virtual Reality.
Dengan kemampuan project Tango, Lenovo Phab2 Pro bisa memindai objek 3 dimensi dan meletakkan sebuah benda virtual reality di dalam ruangan melalui layar Smartphone yang disebut juga sebagai Augmented Reality. Perbedaan antara Smartphone Android biasa dengan Smartphone Android Project Tango adalah pada bagian kamera. Dimana kamera Lenovo Phab 2 Pro ini memiliki sudut lebar hingga 160 derajat yang juga disertai kemampuan motion tracking dan kamera yang bisa merasakan jarak alias dept camera.
Dilihat dari spesifikasi layarnya, Phab 2 Pro mengusung layar yang besar yakni 6.4 Inches dengan bekalan resolusi mencapai Quad HD dan juga kerapatan pixel hingga 459 ppi. Sayangnya disini, kami belum mengetahui apakah layar Lenovo Phab 2 Pro sudah dibekali Corning Gorilla Glass atau belum. Sistem operasinya sudah memakai Andorid 6.0 atau Marshmallow.
Dapur pacunya bisa dibilang memuaskan dengan harga Lenovo Phab 2 Pro yang ditawarkan. Smartphone ini dibekali prosesor Octa Core 64 bit dari Qualcomm Snapdragon 652. Pada bagian grafisnya mengandalkan Qualcomm Adreno 510 yang terbilang mumpuni untuk menjalankan beberapa aplikasi dan game yang sangat berat.
Lebih lanjutnya soal kapasitas penyimpanannya sudah disediakan ruang internal sebesar 64 GB diserta slot microsd hingga 256 GB. Namun slot microsd tersebut bisa dipakai jika slot kartu SIM keduanya tidak sobat pakai. Untuk kapasitas RAM nya pun terbilang mumpuni yakni 4 GB yang lebih dari cukup untuk menjalankan berbagai aplikasi social media dan browsing dengan lancar.
Berbicara soal browsing, sobat di HP Lenovo Phab 2 Pro juga akan mendapatkan konektivitas yang terbilang cukup lengkap dari dukungan jaringan 4G LTE, Slot Kartu Dual SIM, Micro USB, GPS, Bluetooth dan Wifi. Untuk urusan kamera, Phab 2 Pro juga cukup unggul pasalnya selain memiliki kemampuan dept camera ia juga membawa lensa beresolusi tinggi yakni 16 MP yang juga berfitur Phase Detection Autofocus dan mampu merekam video 4K.
Pada bagian kamera depannya menggunakan kamera beresolusi 8 MP yang sudah mendukung video beresolusi Full HD. Jadi bisa juga Lenovo Phab 2 Pro menjadi perangkat selfie Android terbaru dari sobat deteknokers yang juga ingin merasakan sebuah pengalaman Augmented Reality di Smartphone Android. Yang merupakan pengalaman yang masih jarang dijumpai di Smartphone Android lainnya.
Kelengkapan sensornya terbilang cukup lengkap dari sensor sidik jari, accelerometer, gyro, proximity dan compass. Ia juga memiliki kemampuan pengisian ulang daya baterai yang cepat alias fast charging. Baterainya memiliki kapasitas besar hingga 4050 mAh. Yang diklaim mampu bertahan cukup lama untuk pemakaian aktif.
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Review 8
I did a benchmark of the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro in a couple of apps, AnTuTu Benchmark and Geekbench 4. Well, it did quite decently and here are the results:
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Benchmarks
Call Quality and Speakers
As I have mentioned, the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro is massive and if you plan on using it for phone calls, well, good luck with that. Having said that, I made a few calls from the device and the call quality seems decent. I could listen to the caller clearly and the caller too suggested that the voice was clear enough.
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Review 9
When it comes to speakers, the device packs in loud speakers, comparable to that on an iPhone 7 but it lacks the bass I would have liked. Plus, it features Dolby Atmos support, which claims to bring loudness without distortion, enveloping sound field etc. for an enhanced music experience. The Dolby Atmos app on the device brings various sound profiles, which really enhance the sound experience when you have earphones plugged in.
Dolby Atmos App
The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro comes with a fairly large 4,050 mAh battery, which is more than what most smartphones (even high-end ones) offer. While the advantage with a larger battery is slightly negated due to the huge display but it still performs admirably. On heavy usage, the device lasts for a day and a half. On moderate usage, the device easily lasts for a couple of days. The Phab 2 Pro does run out of battery quickly when running Tango apps.
So, if you plan to constantly use Tango apps, you can expect it to still last for around 7-8 hours. Well, the battery performance is where I find the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro very impressive.
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Battery
The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro packs in the connectivity options that we’ve come to expect from a modern-day smartphone. There’s WiFi dual band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, Dual SIM, USB OTG support and microUSB 2.0 connectivity. It also packs in the important sensors like fingerprint scanner, proximity, gyroscope, compass and accelerometer. Apparently, the only thing it lacks is NFC support.
The guts are what make this a midrange phone, not a premium one. It runs on a customized version of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 652 processor, which is okay but doesn’t match the performance of Qualcomm’s current top-of-the-line mobile processor, the Snapdragon 821. When it comes to still images, its cameras are pretty subpar; even in average, stable conditions, like under office lighting, photos snapped with the 16-megapixel rear camera looked noisy.
But the cameras are where things get interesting, because they’re a part of the Google Tango experience that comes with this phone. There are three cameras on the back of the phone, plus the standard selfie camera on the front. In addition to the rear 16-megapixel RGB camera, the Phab 2 Pro has a wide-angle fisheye camera and another camera with an infrared emitter. These, combined with the accelerometer, gyroscope, Snapdragon processor, and a custom-built depth sensor module, all make Tango work.
Normally, you know where you’re going and what objects lie in front of you when you’re moving through a three-dimensional space, but the phone doesn’t. In this case, the phone does. It not only tracks motion, but also has depth perception thanks to the IR emitter and other sensors. So when you’re running a Tango app, the cameras are mapping out an area, sensing depth, and remembering the space around you (you can actually see the IR emitter flickering while you’re running an app).
The example that Lenovo has shown most often in early demos of Tango technology involves furniture. Specifically, using the phone to measure a room and “place” digital furniture around the room so you can try before you buy. You can put a lamp on your desk, or a wall hanging right above your desk, and see how it all looks. You can plop a virtual couch in the corner of the room, walk up to it, walk around it, and see how it fits. This is the ultimate representation of Tango as a utility, but it gets a little more fun than just interior decorating (which, really, is a commerce play).
“With Tango, you can plop a virtual couch in the corner of the room and see how it fits”
The super simple apps, or ones that were downright silly, were more fun to use. There’s an app called AR Pets that places a dog or cat in your living space. It jumps up on your coffee table and paws at your smartphone screen; it is bizarre, and adorable. Bubbles is a mind-numbingly dumb and addictive app that lets you blow virtual bubbles into the universe and pop them with your finger. With the app Woorld, I planted virtual flowers all around our office, and watered them with virtual clouds, hanging from the ceiling.
You can easily see the educational opportunities with Tango, too. The Dinosaurs Among Us app, created in partnership with the American Museum of Natural History, lets you place dinosaurs in your real-life environment. You can hang framed illustrations of dinosaurs on your walls. A little digital placard next to your wall hanging will tell you all about the archaeopteryx dinosaur, as though you’re in an actual museum.
There are only around 35 Tango-optimized apps in Google’s Play Store right now, which isn’t many. Some apps, like Holo, feel straight-up beta. The apps that are supposed to be more useful — like the Wayfair furniture app, or the Lowe’s home improvement app — are the ones that feel buggy or unintuitive. When you fire up the Wayfair app, there is literally nothing on the interface that tells you how to use it. (You have to tap on a nondescript search icon to start searching for furniture, it turns out.) And if you decide you want to buy something, you’ll have to do it from the main Wayfair app, not the Tango one, which is called Wayfair View. Sometimes I would place an armchair in the room, and only figure out how to move it a dozen swipes later.
“Tango still feels like an experiment ”
This only goes to show that Tango, while officially launched, is a mixed bag. It still feels experimental. And I wouldn’t recommend buying the $500 Lenovo Phab 2 Pro just for the phone itself unless you happen to be looking for a gigantic, midrange Android phone right now.
But this is only the first real implementation of Tango on a smartphone. Google has indicated that the future of Tango may be in indoor navigation, which would be another valuable use case; and another exec has suggested that this combination of cameras and sensors could someday be as commonplace in smartphones as GPS. If and when that happens — if Tango were to become more polished and accessible, and if tons of apps were optimized for it — then it becomes a conversation about whether to buy a phone based on it. Right now, it’s mostly kittens and couches in living rooms. Then again, some of the most game-changing tech we use every day started out as just “fun.”
Tango isn’t very stable
Another problem is that the data generated by Tango isn’t extremely reliable. Using your phone to measure distances has great potential, but when you can only get approximate figures – as with Tango – that tool becomes a lot less useful.
Then there’s speed, and while simple Tango-based apps don’t have a huge problem there, more advanced ones like Matterport Scenes seem to push the Phab 2 Pro to its limits, resulting in slow scan speeds. And even with the phone’s 4GB of memory, we still hit out-of-memory errors when attempting to scan entire rooms.
For all these complaints, there’s a ton of potential in Tango’s software, but a lot of it is still in need of refinement. And despite Lenovo’s delays in releasing the Phab 2 Pro, the phone’s software experience still feels very much in the beta stage.
Processor and Memory
Would Tango apps benefit from a little more performance?
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Review
Considering the advanced software processing going on with Tango, when we first learned of the Phab 2 Pro we were more than a little surprised to hear about Lenovo’s choice to power the phone with a Snapdragon 652 chip, instead of something like an 820. As a result, the phone exhibits the same kind of upper-middle-end performance as handsets like the Alcatel Idol 4S or the Honor 8.
Considering the Phab 2 Pro’s $500 price point, we can understand the decision not to give the handset a super high-end processor, and honestly the 652 does a very strong job – it should be more than sufficient for many common smartphone tasks.
But like we mentioned when discussing Tango apps, there are also plenty of times when it feels like we’re pushing up against the limits of performance. Our big question there is whether the bottleneck is in the choice of processor, limitations of the Tango hardware, or the need for optimizations in core Tango libraries (as well as apps taking advantage of all that scanning hardware). And unfortunately, there’s no one obvious answer.
The 64GB of internal storage is great to see, and microSD expandability is the icing on the cake. And though the 4GB of memory should be sufficient, we did hit memory-limit errors when experimenting with third-party Tango apps. While that could just be a bad app or two, we’d still keep in mind that Tango memory requirements may exceed those of standard apps.
At this point, Tango apps are very limited, and they fall under a few different umbrellas – entertaining, useful or proprietary. Many of them are silly apps and games, where the biggest draw is simply being amused at something incongruous – like a dinosaur or spandex-clad wrestler – in your living room.
Screenshot generated from Dinos Among Us, a Tango app created in conjunction with the American Museum of Natural History
Woorld is a game/app along these lines with the most developed and absorbing premise. Essentially, you’re just creating a mini-world prompted by a helpful-yet-confused block character. Pin clouds, the sun and moon to your ceiling; plant flowers and build houses on the floor. Eventually, you develop a thriving cartoon ecosystem. Phantogeist is an example of a game that misses its mark. Walk around your space to fight off alien creatures that pop out from nowhere. But performance is glitchy. In my case, foes would sometimes get stuck in walls and around furniture, or walk through my dog.
There are also utilitarian apps like Measure and MagicPlan, which use Tango’s space-mapping abilities to take measurements and lay out floor plans without needing a ladder and a tape measure. If these tools worked without a hitch, they’d be tremendous, but as they currently stand, they need some polishing.
Screenshot from Measure, a promising yet imperfect Tango app
For example, Measure (which comes pre-installed on the Phab) doesn’t always let me begin and end a measurement where I’d like it to be. On a window with a corner partially obscured by a planter, I couldn’t get an periphery measurement of the window. The cursor works in a manner similar to the magnetic lasso tool in Photoshop, automatically locking to the boundaries of objects. The problem is, it doesn’t always lock to the boundary I have in mind, like measuring a window pane instead of a sash or sill.
Current offerings in proprietary apps are made by Lowe’s Home Improvement and Wayfair. These are essentially interior design apps that let you “try on” products in your home. It is rather amusing and effective way to visualize a space, but the major limitation of these apps is that they work best in empty rooms, since you can’t move or alter objects that are already there.
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.
+ 10 images
Front view | Side view
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.
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iStaging offer products from a range of brands, including HomePlaneur, PIXERS, Arredoclassic and HOLA. iStaging’s Floor Planner app is also among a number of apps that allows designers and real estate professionals to measure and map their interiors. Matterport and its Tango software are allowing users to capture an accurate 3D model of an indoor environment, offering virtual house tours for people interested in a property. Meanwhile, Sensopia’s MagicPlan lets you measure your rooms and draw floor plans just by taking pictures.
Tango also looks set to revolutionize education, with apps like Dinosaurs Among Us that allow viewers to walk among life-sized Velociraptors. Students can learn by exploring these virtual dinosaurs, where information referencing the latest research from paleontologists at the American Museum of Natural History is overlaid over various features of the dinosaur. Another educational app that’s perfect for the classroom or the home, Angstrom Tech’s Solar Simulator at Scale, lets teachers, parents and children project a scale model of the solar system into their living room, hallway or gym. The user starts by “placing” the sun at one end of an enclosed space in the real world—let’s say, the living room. Then the user moves to the far end of the room to place Neptune. Once that’s done, the app automatically scales the solar system to fit into your living room. Users and their friends can then walk among the planets in augmented reality, and find out just how far Saturn is from Earth.
You can also film yourself and friends with a hologram of your favorite celebrity or character. The aptly named “Holo” mixed-reality app will soon be available from an exciting new studio called 8i. Holo allows users to add augmented reality holograms to real-world environments such as a living room or shopping mall. These holograms come in “holopacks,” comprising photorealistic 3D holograms of animals, celebrities, fictional characters, athletes and musical artists. Once you’ve added the hologram, move it around, resize or rotate it – then add as many holograms and virtual assets as you want to design your tableau. And when everything’s ready, get yourself and/or your friends into the picture to put on final touches. Then take a photo or record a video you can share with friends on Twitter or YouTube.
A lot has happened to the Tango ecosystem in the past few months since the Phab 2 Pro was first launched. The first wave of apps promises to be just the beginning, with the benefits of owning Tango-enabled smartphone multiplying along with the number of apps that are coming down the pipe in 2017. And we can’t wait to tell you more about them.
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro available now at
Download apps on Google Play.
Full 2017 CES press kit at
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phab 2 pro
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro The phone comes with a 6.40-inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 1440 pixels by 2560 pixels. Lenovo Phab 2 Pro price in India starts from Rs. 25,990.
The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro is powered by 1.8GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 processor and it comes with 4GB of RAM. The phone packs 64GB of internal storage that can be expanded up to GB via a microSD card. As far as the cameras are concerned, the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro packs a 16-megapixel primary camera on the rear and a 8-megapixel front shooter for selfies.
The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro runs Android 6.0 and is powered by a 4050mAh non removable battery. It measures 179.80 x 88.60 x 10.70 (height x width x thickness) and weigh 250.00 grams.
The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro is a single SIM (GSM) . Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, NFC, 3G and 4G. Sensors on the phone include Compass Magnetometer, Proximity sensor, Accelerometer, Ambient light sensor, Gyroscope and Barometer.
World’s first Google Tango phone
Motorola’s new Moto Z ditches the headphone jack
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If you haven’t used Google’s Project Tango, or don’t even know what it is, let me simplify: it’s a depth-sensing 3D camera system that can scan the world around you and help place virtual objects in the real world. It might be the future of where smart cameras are headed. And it could be a sign of how phones might evolve further into world-scanning powerhouses.
Google’s been developing Tango for years as a way to measure distances in 3D space, map out indoor areas, and create virtual and augmented reality, floating virtual objects into real space. Now, Lenovo’s got the world’s first ready-to-buy Tango phone, and it’s calling it the Lenovo Phab2 Pro. And it’ll be available this September.
Update, November 1: After an short additional delay, The Phab 2 Pro is now on sale.
What Tango can do
The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro is a phone that should make you sit up and take notice, but maybe not for reasons you expect. It’s the first handset with Google’s Tango augmented-reality (AR) software, which can add cool virtual objects and realities to the world you see on the phone screen. Think of it as a more accurate, grown-up version of Pokemon Go. The Phab 2 Pro does this by measuring and tracking the space around you. But (and it’s a big one), the dozen or so available apps are buggy, inconsistent or just plain bad, and the phone hardware itself fails to stand on its own.
If you’re really into building AR apps and testing them, the Phab 2 Pro is your only real-world tool — at least until the Asus Zenfone AR hits store shelves (scheduled for sometime the second quarter of 2017). Previously leaked by Qualcomm, the ZenFone AR will support Google’s Daydream View VR headset and apps, and feature a revamped tri-camera system that can achieve depth sensing 3D scanning and augmented reality through Google Tango. If nothing else, the Zenfone AR demonstrates that AR can be delivered in a slim, lightweight package. Still, we don’t know whether it will improve the issues we experienced with Tango’s limited content and inconsistent quality.
And even if it sounds unbearable to wait until the ZenFone AR makes its debut, I nevertheless recommend you avoid the Phab 2 Pro. It truly feels like a work in progress — not a full-fledged system for either the hardware or the software. And, because it fails to live up to its single purpose, AR, it’s not something you should even consider buying.
You can lay out an elaborate pattern of AR dominoes right on the floor, and watch them all fall down.
Here’s what’s good:
The 6.4-inch screen makes everything easy to see
There’s a high-capacity 4,000mAh battery and a fingerprint reader
The phone’s $500 price keeps it relatively affordable (it converts to about £400 or AU$670)
You get a sense for how AR can enhance your life (more below)
Here’s what’s bad:
The phone’s huge and heavy — I have small hands and couldn’t comfortably type
It runs Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, not the current 7.0 Nougat
Photos can be grainy and dull, and take 5 seconds to process fully, even in abundant lighting
I often smudged the camera when trying to use the rear fingerprint reader to unlock the phone
There’s no NFC, which also means no Android Pay
Call quality was sometimes awful (the other end couldn’t hear me), and once, it took three attempts to eject the SIM card tray. The aluminum body and glass screen sustained fine scratches
The battery dies a quick death when you use AR
AR apps are sometimes confusing and can be buggy. For example, graphics on some games are terribly low-fi and some are prone to freezing. Apps that measure and track the room, like Lowe’s Vision, don’t always work accurately or easily to measure and place virtual items.
Apps superimpose items like virtual pets, dinosaurs and dominoes over the real-world surroundings you see through your screen, but don’t interact with them convincingly. Dominoes hang off a table’s edge instead of falling to the ground. Virtual dogs and cats run through their loops without being aware of people or objects that exist in the scene. seen Tango in action many times, doing all sorts of funky things: simulating furniture shopping, navigating museums, diving in giant VR aquariums. Tango has been in a developer-kit tablet for a while, where it was used for lots of experimental ideas. Tango’s chief skills are depth-sensing, location-mapping, and placing virtual objects into reality with a better sense of accuracy. On the tablet, most apps were used in landscape mode. On the Phab2 Pro, most Tango apps are still landscape-mode oriented, too.
Comms WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, WiFi Direct, hotspot
Bluetooth 4.0, A2DP
GPS Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS
Radio FM radio
USB microUSB 2.0
Features Sensors Fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
Messaging SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM
– Project Tango
– Fast battery charging (Quick Charge)
– MP4/H.264 player
– MP3/WAV/eAAC+/FLAC player
– Photo/video editor
– Document viewer
Battery Non-removable Li-Ion 4050 mAh battery
Misc Colors Gunmetal Grey, Champagne Gold
Price About 550 EUR
Tests Performance Basemark OS II: 1623 / Basemark OS II 2.0: 1596
Basemark X: 15210
Display Contrast ratio: 1784:1
Loudspeaker Voice 64dB / Noise 66dB / Ring 81dB
Audio quality Noise – 92.2 / Crosstalk – 63.5
Endurance rating 96h
The apps I got to try were varied. One placed virtual furniture in the room I was in, allowing me to experiment with what would fit in real, physical space. Lowe’s is making one of the first potential Tango killer apps with Lowe’s Vision, which measures living space and then can layer in additions, furniture and decor to model in the space. Think Microsoft HoloLens, but instead of floating in front of your face you’re viewing things on your phone screen. The rear trio of Tango-enabled cameras have an infrared depth-sensing, a wide-angle lens, and can track motion.
There was another app where I was able to walk around the room I was in, while the Tango camera started generating a 3D photo-mapped model of where I was. This is Tango’s most amazing feature: with a bunch of these, you could walk around and map out interior spaces in full 3D. Tango’s also unique because it can not only measure, but learn about the shape of areas: where objects begin and end, and where walls and doorways are. At Google I/O, Google said it’s aiming to use this tech to map out interior places with the accuracy of outdoor maps. Maybe it’s to beef up Google Maps’ worldwide database. As an everyday person, however, I’m not still not sure how this would help anyone.
We tend to think of nothing more powerful in this world than a child’s sense of wonder—the mindset of someone who views the world as a blank slate of possibility. It’s a world built to be explored, captured and filled in with imagination. With the launch of the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, Tango technology will be able to recreate this very feeling in the very devices we carry.
Indeed, our smartphones have evolved to exist in a space that’s very similar to our children. They are the centers of our world. We take them with us everywhere. And we don’t really know what our lives would be without them.
But unlike infants, our phones—up until this point—have lacked even the most basic concept of their awareness. They don’t realize where they are, where they’re going or even show a rudimentary understanding of the world around them. They can’t learn through tactile sensing, or by feeling out their environment the way toddlers expand their understanding of the physical world by fumbling around objects. But Tango’s smartphone technology promises to fundamentally change all this.
Tango is all about augmented reality, or in other words, inserting virtual objects into your real-world environment through the eyes of a smartphone. How does it do this? As you might have guessed, cameras and sensors.
The accelerometer, gyroscope and rear-facing sensors work in tandem to gather visual information about your environment, like where the walls are, as well the position of the phone within that space. The Phab 2 Pro does all of the hard work and does it well, leaving you free to walk around and have some fun.
Buy Lenovo PHAB2 Pro at Amazon for $499.99
The motion sensor that helps Tango tick
But, how much fun is there to be had? That depends. It’s easy to be impressed with such a technology, especially if this is your first time experiencing it. Though like any new platform, Tango’s biggest problem is that it’s short on worthwhile experiences. Heck, Pokemon GO’s AR function is as entertaining as most of what’s available.
Sure, the library of apps is sure to grow, and the novelty of getting face-to-face with a dinosaur doesn’t really fade. And, yep, it’s pretty nifty to place a life-size appliance in my room just to see how it’d fit. But, it speaks volumes that the most fun we had with Tango involved inserting wrestlers and a Donald Trump impersonator into our world.
Gaming experiences, like Ghostly Mansion, are fun, but limited in scope, mostly just working to show off the room mapping capabilities of Tango. But, in most cases, they highlight just how constrained the platform feels when limited to a phone screen. These experiences don’t allow for the level of escapism that, say, the Google Daydream View headset does.
There has been chatter of Google eventually bringing its AR and VR ventures together, and after seeing what Tango is capable of, it seems like the perfect fit. Currently, no mobile VR headsets support inside-out tracking (no external sensors required), so a Tango/Daydream-compatible phone and headset would really pave new ground.
But let’s keep focus on the now. Until more developers hop aboard the Tango train, the lasting appeal of its apps isn’t likely to sail past being anything but a mild diversion.
Unless you like to be on the frontline of emerging technology, investing for Google’s AR feature alone currently isn’t worth it. On the flip side, if you have little ones roaming around, they’ll love Tango endlessly, and the Phab 2 Pro is a cheap way of getting in the door.
To understand Tango, it’s helpful to visualize smartphones up until now as unthinking, unfeeling black boxes. The world that exists around your phone is a primordial expanse of nothing.
So this is our starting point for smartphones: In the beginning, there was nothing. And then there was Tango. The Tango-powered Phab 2 Pro is like a child that’s starting to understand that there’s a world outside of it, as it emerges from the darkness. Children can do this through senses—sight, touch, hearing etc. The Phab 2 Pro does this through cameras, which act as windows allowing the phone to peer out into the world. Three of the Phab 2 Pro’s four cameras are sensors that allow it to actually see the world for the first time. These sensors process the information around them through three core technologies.
Motion tracking is the first, most rudimentary form of sensing available to a Tango phone. Through the Phab 2 Pro’s fisheye camera (which can identify edges and corners) and its inertial measurement unit (which tells it how fast its going and in which direction its turning), Tango lets your phone understand its position in a room–next to the fridge, moving around in your hand or resting on a desk. Of course, that doesn’t mean it can understand what any of these objects do. It’s not aware, for instance, what the desk it’s resting on is for.
Next, your phone, like a child, will need to remember and learn from what it’s seen, which is where area learning comes in. It can allow a Tango phone to remember what it sees, and then saves and recalls that information through cloud-sharing on a central database. A Tango-enabled phone that enters a room that a previous Tango phone has been in and understood will be able to recognize it immediately. Area learning is why we say that the more you use your phone, the more intelligent it becomes.
Finally, your child’s vision comes into the sharpest focus when it can finally sense the shape of the world around them, which is what depth perception comes into play in Tango phones. One of the ways (and there are several) in which the Phab 2 Pro can perceive depth is through a time-of-flight sensor, which sends infrared beams to an object – and calculates how far your phone is from that object by the time it takes for the beam to get there and back.
Taking Tango for granted
Up until recently, the only way that phones could interact with the world is through GPS—a technology that, we should note, has fundamentally changed our phones and overall economy. Think of the consumer phone use cases for GPS. Not many come to mind immediately, of course, besides allowing you to find your way around or getting traffic information. You probably think you’d be able to do without GPS on any given day. But then, how would you use FitBit, Periscope, Uber or even Tinder without it? Would Google, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat—companies whose mobile revenue model depends on entirely GPS—work the same way? The reality is we’ve taken GPS for granted. Without it, many of our favorite apps and phone functions wouldn’t work properly (if at all).
We’d like to think that Tango will change our lives the same way GPS has transformed the way we engage with the world through our smartphones. The use cases and apps will inevitably grow in number, popularity and usefulness. But Tango itself has ambitions to even go beyond this.
Tango’s vision is to organize the world’s spatial information—which means that all the world’s objects and spaces will one day be accessible to you by using your Tango-enabled phone in much the same way as Google lets you search virtual information. Want directions to the nearest washroom? Your phone can too you where to go. Misplaced your wallet? Your phone will tell you that you left it at the office. Visiting the London art gallery and trying to find out more about that sculpture? Look at the object through your phone and you’ll be able to access a wealth of crowd-sourced information, or find guided audio explanations. This is where our sense of wonder kicks in. It’s not about location finding. Looking for your Uber? Tango will tag the vehicle with a unique marker through AR space. The types of apps that could potentially be powered through this technology would potentially surpass anything coming before it.
But for this to truly happen, we’ll need to get Tango into the hands of as many people as possible, to make it as ubiquitous as GPS. We want a world in which Tango is a technology that’s pretty much taken for granted, like the ABS steering and power windows on your car, or NFC chips on your phone. To do that, we needed a damn good phone to kick things off.
The best phone for Tango
That’s why we’ve made the Phab 2 Pro the most affordable possible to house the powerful Tango technology, retailing at $499 US. The Phab 2 Pro features a customized Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 processor designed for Tango, with GPU and graphics fine-tuned for Tango functionality. Infineon’s Time-of-Flight sensor, based on partner pmd’s depth-sensing technology, enabled the Phab 2 Pro’s depth perception capabilities. With five different partners across five time zones, including Google, Qualcomm, Infineon and pmd, resolving the many engineering challenges arising from taking Tango from a 7-inch devkit that prioritized Tango functionality to a 6.4-inch phone necessitated around-the-clock coordination.
But we also needed a phone that could stand on its own as a best-in-class flagship device. Nowhere is this more evident than through the revolutionary audio and video capture functionality of the Phab 2 Pro. Think about recording a video of your child’s first words or a double encore of your favorite band at last night’s concert. This is the only phone that’ll be able to reproduce the exact sounds and hit the right notes when capturing life-changing moments you’ll want to save forever for posterity. This is first phone in the world that can capture 360-degree immersive sound of live recordings through Dolby® Audio 5.1 sound capture, Dolby® Atmos and a 3-microphone array with active noise cancellation. The phone’s on-board 16MP camera also supports 4K video recording. This phone is also built for watching video, snapping pictures and reading, with a 6.4-inch screen offering pin-sharp QHD (2,560 x 1,440) resolution and assertive display.
Tired of guessing how things could look in your dining room? Or whether something will fit in the space between your fireplace and your sofa? With just your phone and Tango utilties apps, you can visualize new appliances, décor, and furnishings in your home before purchasing. Home store Lowe’s has created a Tango utilities app for just this purpose.1 Tango technology will allow customers to see how their home improvement visions translate into reality like never before,” said Richard Maltsbarger, Lowe’s Chief Development Officer. “By bringing the Phab 2 Pro to Lowe’s, we want to empower customers with a tool to help them design, start, and complete their home improvement projects with confidence.” So whether you’re considering a new kitchen or a just a new stove, you can see exactly how it will look and fit in your space before committing to any purchases.