Notebookcheck

Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Smartphone Review

Allen Ngo, 12/05/2016

Tango for the masses. The first consumer Tango smartphone is a bit larger than expected and doesn't always work perfectly, but it is thankfully wrapped in a solid and potent design.

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The Phab 2 Pro is Lenovo's flagship model in its mainstream Phab 2 series and it also marks the manufacturer's first smartphone to officially launch in the United States. In order to distinguish the Phab 2 Pro from the sea of other alternatives, Lenovo has outfitted the device with Google Tango and is currently the only consumer smartphone available with such a feature. This indoor positioning and 3D camera technology was highly vaunted by Lenovo at CES 2016 and we've been told that the manufacturer has at least a 6-month exclusivity deal for use on its devices. As a result,Tango devices from competing manufacturers may not be available for purchase until the latter half of 2017.

Aside from Tango, the Phab 2 Pro is also one of the larger smartphones available with its mighty 6.4-inch QHD screen. In order to keep MSRP under $500 USD, however, a few common features had to be cut and so the smartphone can sometimes feel like a flagship offering brought down by some mainstream hardware.

Lenovo Phab 2 Pro (Phab Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
4096 MB 
Display
6.4 inch 16:9, 1440x2560 pixel 459 PPI, 10-point capacitive, IPS, glossy: yes
Storage
64 GB eMMC Flash, 64 GB 
Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm, Card Reader: MicroSD, 1 Fingerprint Reader, Sensors: Proximity, Accelerometer, Magnetometer, Photosensor, Gyroscope, Barometer
Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.0, Dual SIM, LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 10.7 x 179.8 x 88.6 ( = 0.42 x 7.08 x 3.49 in)
Battery
4050 mAh Lithium-Polymer
Operating System
Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Camera
Primary Camera: 16 MPix PDAF, depth and motion tracking
Secondary Camera: 8 MPix f/2.2
Additional features
Tango, McAfee Security, Netflix, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
259 g ( = 9.14 oz / 0.57 pounds) ( = 0 oz / 0 pounds)
Price
500 USD

 

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Case

The Phab 2 Pro gets a much-needed redesign compared to the modest original Phab and Phab Plus. The metal chassis is rounder on the back and the chrome-cut edges and corners give off a higher-end feel. Additionally, plastic strips run along the top and bottom of the device for optimal antenna reception not unlike on most current smartphone designs.

Build quality is flawless on our test model and the chassis feels solid from top to bottom. We can notice no uneven gaps between materials while the heavy weight gives a firm impression with almost no creaking or warping when attempting to bend the device. Large smartphones may bend more easily down the center, but the new Lenovo is quite thick even for its size for increased rigidity.

Whereas 5-inch smartphones are generally in the 150 g to 200 g range, the 6.4-inch Phab 2 Pro is quite hefty at almost 260 g. Combine this with the >10 mm thick design (or 8.9 mm thick at its thinnest) and you have a phone that is uncomfortable to use with only one hand for extended periods. The user's palm, for example, can very easily make contact with the edge of the screen for accidental inputs. Our comparison pictures above show just how much larger the Phab 2 Pro is compared to a standard iPhone 6.

Connectivity

The standard Micro-USB 2.0, 3.5 mm audio, and dual Micro-SIM slots are available here. Like on most dual-SIM smartphones, the MicroSD slot is shared with the second SIM slot. Some users may complain about the lack of USB Type-C, but there's no denying that the tried-and-true Micro-USB port will be instantly compatible with existing cables without any adapters needed.

USB OTG is supported and we experienced no issues when connecting generic mice and keyboards. The cursor and typing latency, however, will not be as instant as on a standard desktop. Other features like NFC or MHL are not available on the Phab 2 Pro.

Bottom: Micro-USB port
Bottom: Micro-USB port
Left: Dual-SIM slot
Left: Dual-SIM slot
Top: 3.5 mm audio
Top: 3.5 mm audio
Right: Volume rocker, Power button
Right: Volume rocker, Power button

Software

Tango software, of course, is the focus of the smartphone. Instead of pre-loading the device with dozens of Tango apps, Lenovo offers a single app that acts as a gateway to finding and downloading all kinds of Tango apps available. The list is short at just under 30 apps at the time of writing and most are simple augmented reality games (WOORLD, Raise, Hot Wheels, etc.) for children. Tango apps benefit from the roomy 6.4-inch screen since they almost always utilize superimposed images. A large screen appears to be key to a smooth interactive Tango experience and may be the reason why Lenovo's first Tango smartphone is as big as it is.

Unfortunately, the experience is far from perfect. Virtual objects tend to jitter or clip through real-world objects that may be positioned closer to the camera. Users who have interacted with a Microsoft Kinect platform will have a good idea of the imperfect tracking here. Renderings are real-time, but textures are extremely basic with flat colors and almost no depth for a very cartoony experience. It's hard to shake off the "first generation" or "beta" feel that many of these initial Tango apps offer.

Beyond the entertainment value, Lenovo and Google have vaunted the ability to see and place virtual furniture into rooms before purchasing the product. Current apps include Wayfair and Lowe's with the latter being much more developed than the former. The Wayfair application crashed at least twice during use and its in-app catalog is not a full representation of its online selection. Inputting the same keywords onto the app, for example, can often bring up no results while the online store can return hundreds of matches. When a 3D model is finally rendered, it can be clunky to simply rotate or move and the final result can sometimes feel more frustrating than helpful.

Larger furniture pieces like couches or tall bookshelves are more difficult to place as the smartphone camera must be further away from the area of interest. This makes Tango awkward to use in small rooms since the rear camera carries no optical zoom capabilities.

Can Tango work outdoors? We attempted to measure the distance across the street and the heights of houses, but the software and its cursor become very jumpy. Anything more than 8 or 10 meters away and the depth perception of the camera will begin to struggle.

Android 6.0.1 default Home screen
Android 6.0.1 default Home screen
Drop-down menu
Drop-down menu
Dial menu
Dial menu
Dual-SIM GSM capabilities. CDMA users are out of luck
Dual-SIM GSM capabilities. CDMA users are out of luck
Vertical measurement is not always perfect (actual table height: ~76 cm)
Vertical measurement is not always perfect (actual table height: ~76 cm)
Accuracy does not appear to be any better or worse than Intel RealSense (actual length: ~88 cm)
Accuracy does not appear to be any better or worse than Intel RealSense (actual length: ~88 cm)
Rendered objects will often clip through real-world objects and can be a pain to drag or rotate
Rendered objects will often clip through real-world objects and can be a pain to drag or rotate
Hot Wheels is perhaps the most stable and fun free Tango AR application currently available
Hot Wheels is perhaps the most stable and fun free Tango AR application currently available

Communication and GPS

Dual-band WLAN is supported up to 802.11ac with integrated Bluetooth 4.0. Real-world average transfer rates are fast in the 250 to 300 Mbps range when standing one meter away from our Linksys EA8500 test router, though not as fast as the latest Pixel XL from Google under similar conditions.

The integrated GPS appears to be more accurate than on our G3 comparison according to GPS Test. TTFF is fast even without WLAN assistance and we experienced no issues when used for navigation purposes. When compared to a dedicated Garmin 500 GPS, the Phab 2 Pro is less accurate around corners as is common on most smartphone GPS modules.

GPS Test (Phab 2 Pro)
GPS Test (Phab 2 Pro)
GPS Test (LG G3)
GPS Test (LG G3)
Phab 2 Pro
Phab 2 Pro
Phab 2 Pro
Phab 2 Pro
Garmin 500 (control)
Garmin 500 (control)
Garmin 500 (control)
Garmin 500 (control)
Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Google Pixel XL 2016
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (Linksys EA8500, 5.0 GHz)
515 MBit/s ∼100% +65%
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
313 MBit/s ∼61%
Huawei Mate 9
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (Linksys EA8500, 5.0 GHz)
259 MBit/s ∼50% -17%
Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (Linksys EA8500, 5.0 GHz)
32.9 MBit/s ∼6% -89%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Google Pixel XL 2016
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (Linksys EA8500, 5.0 GHz)
435 MBit/s ∼100% +67%
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
261 MBit/s ∼60%
Huawei Mate 9
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (Linksys EA8500, 5.0 GHz)
165 MBit/s ∼38% -37%
Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (Linksys EA8500, 5.0 GHz)
31.2 MBit/s ∼7% -88%
Discussion

Telephone and Call Quality

Dual nano-SIM slots are available which, while common overseas, is uncommon in the United States. The primary SIM slot is compatible with 4G GSM networks in the U.S. whereas the secondary slot is limited to 3G. We experienced no issues connecting to the 4G networks of AT&T or T-Mobile during our time with the test unit. T-Mobile reception is only average at around half bars even in the outer San Francisco bay area.

Call quality is good with no major static or skips for both the caller and receiver (in this case a LG G3). The speakerphone is surprisingly very clear owing in part to the wide frequency range of the integrated speaker. Its maximum volume is loud and introduces no major static or sound imbalances to be one of the better speakerphones we've tested.

Cameras

Camera quality from the rear 16 MP sensor is good with more natural colors compared to the rear camera on the LG G3. Images tend to be slightly more overexposed, however, as can be seen below where the brightly-lit green grass and white buckets are more difficult to distinguish between them on the Phab 2 Pro. The 0.3-second auto-focus works as advertised and reacts much more reliably than on cheaper budget smartphones.

The camera is poor in low-light conditions and its slow integrated Flash does little to help. Pictures are blurry with distracting noise, though such results are common on most smartphones and the Phab 2 Pro is no different.

Video quality is good as blurring is kept to a minimum when panning across a scene. Unfortunately, the camera can only record up to 1080p at 30 FPS whereas the latest flagship smartphones can reach higher frame rates and higher native resolutions like on the Galaxy S7. It would have been excellent to be able to record at the native QHD resolution of the Phab 2 Pro, for example.

Phab 2 Plus
Phab 2 Plus
Phab 2 Plus
Phab 2 Plus
Phab 2 Plus
Phab 2 Plus
LG G3
LG G3
LG G3
LG G3
LG G3
LG G3
Phab 2 Pro
Phab 2 Pro
Canon EOS Rebel XSi
Canon EOS Rebel XSi
LG G3
LG G3

Accessories and Warranty

Included extras are a Quick Start guide, pair of earbuds, Micro-USB cable, PIN needle, and AC charger. The USB cable is capable of both charging and data transfer whereas some budget alternatives have charging-only cables.

Warranty is the standard 12-month limited protection in the United States.

Input Devices and Handling

The 10-point capacitive touchscreen responds swiftly and reliably including around its corners and edges. Onscreen text, for example, will appear with minimal delay even for fast typists and the large screen will naturally reduce the number of mistypes. On the flip side, typing on the Landscape orientation will be difficult for smaller hands since the center of the display can be hard to reach for the thumbs. Swype-like features and predictive typing are both included on the default onscreen keyboard.

The bottom bezel houses the traditional Back, Home, and Tabs touch-sensitive backlit buttons in that order. Meanwhile, the fingerprint reader on the back works reliably and quickly no matter the orientation of the finger. The main issue is the awkward positioning of the fingerprint reader near the center of the back of the phone. It simply does not feel as natural to use compared to front-facing fingerprint readers as users will have to hold the phone at an optimum position first to use the rear reader before readjusting the hand again to hold the smartphone more comfortably.

Display

The large 6.4-inch QHD (2560 x 1440) screen distinguishes the Phab 2 Pro from much of the competition. Subjectively, colors and text are crisp and the PPI is dense enough that we cannot notice the screen door effect even when up close.

Outside of its size and high resolution, however, other aspects of the screen don't quite match the competition. Maximum backlight brightness sits at under 500 nits compared to 550 nits and over 600 nits on the iPhone 7 Plus and Zenfone 3, respectively. Contrast is good, but not as deep as on the Huawei Mate 9 and colors are not as accurate as well. Response times are average and ghosting is much more noticeable here on the Phab 2 Pro compared to the screen on the iPhone 7 Plus.

There is no major backlight bleeding with only slight unevenness around the top and bottom edges of the screen.

Minimal uneven backlight bleeding
Minimal uneven backlight bleeding
Subpixel array (459 PPI)
Subpixel array (459 PPI)
465.7
cd/m²
489.5
cd/m²
466.8
cd/m²
474.3
cd/m²
472.4
cd/m²
482.2
cd/m²
485.6
cd/m²
498.1
cd/m²
471.9
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro Basic 2
Maximum: 498.1 cd/m² Average: 478.5 cd/m² Minimum: 8.22 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 93 %
Center on Battery: 472.4 cd/m²
Contrast: 980:1 (Black: 0.482 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 5.52 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 5.31 | - Ø
Gamma: 2.19
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro
IPS, 6.4, 1440x2560
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Retina HD, IPS, 5.5, 1920x1080
Huawei Mate 9
IPS, 5.9, 1920x1080
Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
IPS, 5.5, 1920x1080
Google Pixel XL 2016
AMOLED, 5.5, 2560x1440
Response Times
44%
13%
6%
161%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
58.4
29
50%
57
2%
56
4%
4
93%
Response Time Black / White *
38.8
24
38%
30
23%
36
7%
4
90%
PWM Frequency
59.52
238.1
300%
Screen
43%
26%
-0%
11%
Brightness
479
553
15%
680
42%
633
32%
408
-15%
Brightness Distribution
93
97
4%
93
0%
93
0%
85
-9%
Black Level *
0.482
0.35
27%
0.42
13%
0.66
-37%
Contrast
980
1591
62%
1657
69%
997
2%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
5.52
1.4
75%
4.3
22%
4.9
11%
4
28%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
5.31
1.3
76%
4.8
10%
5.8
-9%
3.2
40%
Gamma
2.19 110%
2.21 109%
2.33 103%
2.26 106%
2.19 110%
CCT
7826 83%
6667 97%
7255 90%
7840 83%
7037 92%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
63.1
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
99.83
Total Average (Program / Settings)
44% / 43%
20% / 23%
3% / 1%
86% / 75%

* ... smaller is better

Color analyses with an X-Rite spectrophotometer reveal average grayscale and a slightly uneven RGB balance. This is reflected upon on our color saturation tests as some colors are more accurate at higher saturation levels while the opposite is true for others. Yellow, for example, is represented more accurately at higher saturation while Green is more accurate at lower levels.

Grayscale
Grayscale
Saturation Sweeps
Saturation Sweeps
ColorChecker
ColorChecker

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
38.8 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 7.2 ms rise
↘ 31.6 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 94 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (27.3 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
58.4 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 23.2 ms rise
↘ 35.2 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 250 (maximum) ms. » 92 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (42.9 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 59.52 Hz30 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 59.52 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 30 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 59.52 Hz is very low, so the flickering may cause eyestrain and headaches after extended use.

In comparison: 59 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 456 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 10420) Hz was measured.

The wide IPS viewing angles make both landscape and portrait modes possible without any major color or brightness degradation. This is advantageous when outdoors in order to reduce inevitable glare as the backlight is not powerful enough to overcome direct sunlight. Visibility under shade is good since the large screen makes it easier to zoom when needed.

Outdoors under shade
Outdoors under shade
Outdoors under sunlight
Outdoors under sunlight
Outdoors under sunlight
Outdoors under sunlight
Wide IPS viewing angles
Wide IPS viewing angles

Performance

The octa-core Snapdragon 652 SoC is found on a small handful of mainstream devices including the LG G5 SE, Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro, and even Lenovo's own Yoga Tab 3 Plus tablet. Raw CPU performance is surprisingly close to that of the Snapdragon 821 as found on the Google Pixel XL according to both 3DMark and Geekbench benchmarks. When compared to the Snapdragon 801 flagship of 2014, the newer mid-range Snapdragon 652 performs significantly faster.

The catch here is that the integrated Adreno 510 GPU is significantly slower than the ARM Mali-T880 MP12 GPU found on flagship smartphones like the Galaxy S7 or the ARM Mali-G71 MP8 in the Huawei Mate 9. Thus, while processor performance is respectable, the GPU paired with the Snapdragon 652 is merely average. The discrepancy is enough that the final AnTuTu 6 score for the Phab 2 Pro is noticeably lower than costlier flagship smartphones. The older Adreno 330 is about 50 to 60 percent slower than the Adreno 510 according to 3DMark benchmarks.

System RAM is plentiful at 4 GB with about 2.4 GB free when idling on the Home screen.

Vellamo 3.2 Multicore
Vellamo 3.2 Multicore
BaseMark OS II
BaseMark OS II
Geekbench single-core
Geekbench single-core
Geekbench multi-core
Geekbench multi-core
AnTuTu Benchmark v6 - Total Score
Google Pixel XL 2016 (Version 6.2.1)
138641 Points ∼75% +62%
Samsung Galaxy S7
127902 Points ∼69% +50%
Huawei Mate 9
124087 Points ∼67% +45%
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro
85438 Points ∼46%
Sony Xperia XA
48331 Points ∼26% -43%
Fairphone 2
37549 Points ∼20% -56%
Geekbench 4
Compute RenderScript Score
Google Pixel XL 2016
7047 Points ∼93% +109%
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro
3373 Points ∼45%
Huawei Mate 9
3191 Points ∼42% -5%
Fairphone 2
1839 Points ∼24% -45%
64 Bit Multi-Core Score
Huawei Mate 9
5629 Points ∼27% +63%
Google Pixel XL 2016
4167 Points ∼20% +21%
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro
3448 Points ∼16%
Fairphone 2
1307 Points ∼6% -62%
64 Bit Single-Core Score
Huawei Mate 9
1947 Points ∼38% +33%
Google Pixel XL 2016
1513 Points ∼30% +3%
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro
1462 Points ∼29%
Fairphone 2
798 Points ∼16% -45%
3DMark
Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.1 Unlimited Physics
Google Pixel XL 2016
2044 Points ∼84%
Huawei Mate 9
1997 Points ∼82%
Sony Xperia XA
1283 Points ∼53%
Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.1 Unlimited Graphics
Google Pixel XL 2016
2863 Points ∼88%
Huawei Mate 9
2142 Points ∼66%
Sony Xperia XA
357 Points ∼11%
Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.1 Unlimited
Google Pixel XL 2016
2629 Points ∼93%
Huawei Mate 9
2108 Points ∼75%
Sony Xperia XA
425 Points ∼15%
Fairphone 2
Points ∼0%
Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited Physics
Huawei Mate 9
2104 Points ∼16%
Google Pixel XL 2016
2009 Points ∼15%
Sony Xperia XA
1249 Points ∼9%
Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited Graphics
Google Pixel XL 2016
4406 Points ∼39%
Huawei Mate 9
2421 Points ∼21%
Sony Xperia XA
525 Points ∼5%
Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited
Google Pixel XL 2016
3483 Points ∼30%
Huawei Mate 9
2343 Points ∼20%
Sony Xperia XA
603 Points ∼5%
Fairphone 2
Points ∼0%
Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.1 Physics
Huawei Mate 9
2117 Points ∼83% +5%
Samsung Galaxy S7
2022 Points ∼79% 0%
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro
2014 Points ∼79%
Google Pixel XL 2016
1935 Points ∼76% -4%
Sony Xperia XA
1236 Points ∼48% -39%
Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.1 Graphics
Google Pixel XL 2016
2820 Points ∼52% +274%
Huawei Mate 9
2294 Points ∼43% +204%
Samsung Galaxy S7
2216 Points ∼41% +194%
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro
755 Points ∼14%
Sony Xperia XA
306 Points ∼6% -59%
Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.1
Google Pixel XL 2016
2560 Points ∼66% +192%
Huawei Mate 9
2240 Points ∼58% +155%
Samsung Galaxy S7
2170 Points ∼56% +147%
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro
877 Points ∼23%
Sony Xperia XA
422 Points ∼11% -52%
Fairphone 2
Points ∼0% -100%
Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics
Huawei Mate 9
2123 Points ∼82%
Samsung Galaxy S7
2010 Points ∼78%
Google Pixel XL 2016
1902 Points ∼74%
Sony Xperia XA
1259 Points ∼49%
Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics
Google Pixel XL 2016
3935 Points ∼51%
Samsung Galaxy S7
3018 Points ∼39%
Huawei Mate 9
2448 Points ∼32%
Sony Xperia XA
525 Points ∼7%
Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0
Google Pixel XL 2016
3180 Points ∼65%
Samsung Galaxy S7
2715 Points ∼56%
Huawei Mate 9
2367 Points ∼49%
Sony Xperia XA
603 Points ∼12%
Fairphone 2
Points ∼0%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics
Samsung Galaxy S7
19944 Points ∼29% +76%
Google Pixel XL 2016
18222 Points ∼27% +60%
Huawei Mate 9
15104 Points ∼22% +33%
Sony Xperia XA
12138 Points ∼18% +7%
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro
11364 Points ∼17%
Fairphone 2
4301 Points ∼6% -62%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score
Huawei Mate 9
35626 Points ∼8% +69%
Samsung Galaxy S7
33348 Points ∼7% +58%
Google Pixel XL 2016
32652 Points ∼7% +55%
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro
21103 Points ∼5%
Sony Xperia XA
10916 Points ∼2% -48%
Fairphone 2
10153 Points ∼2% -52%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score
Samsung Galaxy S7
29015 Points ∼15% +64%
Google Pixel XL 2016
27766 Points ∼14% +57%
Huawei Mate 9
27364 Points ∼14% +54%
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro
17727 Points ∼9%
Sony Xperia XA
11156 Points ∼6% -37%
Fairphone 2
7796 Points ∼4% -56%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Physics
Fairphone 2
4422 Points ∼7%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Graphics
Fairphone 2
7283 Points ∼2%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Score
Fairphone 2
6368 Points ∼4%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Physics
Fairphone 2
4282 Points ∼3%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Graphics
Fairphone 2
10184 Points ∼1%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score
Fairphone 2
7796 Points ∼4%
BaseMark OS II
Web
Huawei Mate 9
1076 Points ∼70% +11%
Google Pixel XL 2016
977 Points ∼63% +1%
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro
966 Points ∼63%
Samsung Galaxy S7
957 Points ∼62% -1%
Sony Xperia XA
717 Points ∼46% -26%
Fairphone 2
9 Points ∼1% -99%
Graphics
Google Pixel XL 2016
5017 Points ∼58% +209%
Huawei Mate 9
3939 Points ∼46% +143%
Fairphone 2
1768 Points ∼21% +9%
Samsung Galaxy S7
1723 Points ∼20% +6%
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro
1623 Points ∼19%
Sony Xperia XA
669 Points ∼8% -59%
Memory
Huawei Mate 9
3850 Points ∼100% +98%
Samsung Galaxy S7
2244 Points ∼58% +16%
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro
1940 Points ∼50%
Google Pixel XL 2016
1677 Points ∼44% -14%
Sony Xperia XA
1076 Points ∼28% -45%
Fairphone 2
433 Points ∼11% -78%
System
Samsung Galaxy S7
4217 Points ∼64% +84%
Google Pixel XL 2016
3889 Points ∼59% +69%
Huawei Mate 9
3616 Points ∼55% +57%
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro
2297 Points ∼35%
Sony Xperia XA
2289 Points ∼35% 0%
Fairphone 2
1401 Points ∼21% -39%
Overall
Huawei Mate 9
2772 Points ∼84% +70%
Google Pixel XL 2016
2378 Points ∼72% +46%
Samsung Galaxy S7
1987 Points ∼61% +22%
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro
1626 Points ∼50%
Sony Xperia XA
1043 Points ∼32% -36%
Fairphone 2
317 Points ∼10% -81%

Legend

 
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 MSM8976, Qualcomm Adreno 510, 64 GB eMMC Flash
 
Huawei Mate 9 HiSilicon Kirin 960, ARM Mali-G71 MP8, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
Google Pixel XL 2016 Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro, Qualcomm Adreno 530, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Fairphone 2 Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 MSM8974AA, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Sony Xperia XA Mediatek Helio P10 MT6755, ARM Mali-T860 MP2, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy S7 Samsung Exynos 8890 Octa, ARM Mali-T880 MP12, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash

Browser-based benchmarks show the Phab 2 Pro to be roughly on par with the Google Pixel XL and about 50 percent slower than the Galaxy S7. The Lenovo handily outclasses the Fairphone 2 and its older Snapdragon 801 SoC and Adreno 330 GPU.

Octane V2 - Total Score
Samsung Galaxy S7
13161 Points ∼29% +49%
Huawei Mate 9 (Chrome 54)
11897 Points ∼26% +35%
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro (Chrome 54.0.2840.85)
8837 Points ∼20%
Google Pixel XL 2016 (Chrome 53)
8690 Points ∼19% -2%
Fairphone 2 (Chrome 54.0.2840.85)
4249 Points ∼9% -52%
Sony Xperia XA (Chrome 51)
4046 Points ∼9% -54%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score
Sony Xperia XA (Chrome 51)
9609.8 ms * ∼16% -167%
Fairphone 2 (Chrome 54.0.2840.85)
7772.9 ms * ∼13% -116%
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro (Chrome 54.0.2840.85)
3597.8 ms * ∼6%
Huawei Mate 9 (Chrome 54)
2733.7 ms * ∼5% +24%
Google Pixel XL 2016 (Chrome 53)
2653.6 ms * ∼4% +26%
Samsung Galaxy S7
2561.5 ms * ∼4% +29%
WebXPRT 2015 - Overall Score
Samsung Galaxy S7
166 Points ∼29% +50%
Huawei Mate 9 (Chrome 54)
152 Points ∼26% +37%
Google Pixel XL 2016 (Chrome 53)
126 Points ∼22% +14%
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro
111 Points ∼19%
Sony Xperia XA (Chrome 51)
72 Points ∼13% -35%
Fairphone 2 (Chrome 54.0.2840.85)
65 Points ∼11% -41%
JetStream 1.1 - 1.1 Total Score
Samsung Galaxy S7
74 Points ∼0% +46%
Huawei Mate 9 (Chrome 54)
68.6 Points ∼0% +35%
Google Pixel XL 2016 (Chrome 53)
55.4 Points ∼0% +9%
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro (Chrome 54.0.2840.85)
50.703 Points ∼0%
Sony Xperia XA (Chrome 51)
27.5 Points ∼0% -46%
Fairphone 2 (Chrome 54.0.2840.85)
20.656 Points ∼0% -59%

* ... smaller is better

Storage Devices

Sequential read rates from the internal 64 GB eMMC is on par with the Sony Xperia XA and Google Pixel XL while its sequential write rates are faster and closer in performance to the Galaxy S7 or Huawei Mate 9. These latter smartphones are about twice as fast as our Lenovo in terms of sequential read rates.

The integrated MicroSD reader performs faster than the one on the Mate 9 and is on par with the Xperia XA and Galaxy S7. Our Toshiba Exceria Pro M401 MicroSD test card is rated for up to 90 MB/s and 80 MB/s read and write, respectively, and our AndroBench numbers below are fairly close at about 72 MB/s and 55 MB/s.

Lenovo Phab 2 Pro
64 GB eMMC Flash
Huawei Mate 9
64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
Google Pixel XL 2016
32 GB eMMC Flash
Sony Xperia XA
16 GB eMMC Flash
Samsung Galaxy S7
32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
AndroBench 3-5
30%
26%
-21%
40%
Sequential Write 256KB SDCard
54.81 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
29.53 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
-46%
50.68 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
-8%
53.6 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
-2%
Sequential Read 256KB SDCard
71.88 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
53.97 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
-25%
72.87 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
1%
72.33 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
1%
Random Write 4KB
12.92
8.77
-32%
14.56
13%
10.6
-18%
16.01
24%
Random Read 4KB
38.53
94.69
146%
87.67
128%
22.05
-43%
85.9
123%
Sequential Write 256KB
138.01
142.92
4%
83.38
-40%
68.64
-50%
145.72
6%
Sequential Read 256KB
254.99
594.23
133%
258.23
1%
240.43
-6%
483.82
90%

GPU Performance

The integrated Adreno 510 GPU can be found on a number of mainstream devices including the Sony Xperia X Compact smartphone and the Asus ZenPad 3 8.0 tablet. 3DMark Sling Shot puts it well above the ARM Mali-T860 MP2 in many budget MediaTek SoCs by about 150 percent while the very high-end ARM Mali-T880 MP12 in the Galaxy S7 is another 200 percent above the Lenovo.

Can a mid-range GPU sufficiently play games on a large QHD screen? We were able to run both Asphalt 8 and N.O.V.A. 3 without any hitches, but frame rates appear to be below 30 FPS especially on Asphalt 8. The games are still very playable even though the lower frame rates become more apparent when at this large of a screen size.

Epic Citadel
Epic Citadel
Lightmark
Lightmark
Lightmark - 1920x1080 1080p
LG G5
25.26 fps ∼71% +203%
Huawei Mate 9
19.14 fps ∼53% +130%
Samsung Galaxy S7
13.86 fps ∼39% +66%
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro
8.33 fps ∼23%
Huawei Mate 8
7.9 fps ∼22% -5%

Emissions

Temperature

Surface temperatures are generally flat across both sides of the smartphone regardless if the system is idling or under stress. There is a single hot spot, however, on the bottom of the device closest to the Home button. This is generally away from the user's palms and fingers during regular use and so we never found this to be an issue.

When compared to the iPhone 7 Plus or Huawei Mate 9, the Phab 2 Pro runs cooler as the device averages in the low to mid 30 C range compared to the high 30 C to low 40 C range on its two competitors.

Max. Load
 34.8 °C34.2 °C37 °C 
 35.2 °C34 °C41.6 °C 
 34.8 °C33.6 °C36 °C 
Maximum: 41.6 °C
Average: 35.7 °C
33.4 °C33.8 °C34.2 °C
33.6 °C33.8 °C34 °C
33.6 °C34 °C34 °C
Maximum: 34.2 °C
Average: 33.8 °C
Room Temperature 20 °C | Fluke 62 Mini IR Thermometer
Maximum load (front)
Maximum load (front)
Maximum load (back)
Maximum load (back)

Speakers

Two sets of grilles are on the bottom edge of the device, but only the set to the right of the Micro-USB port will emit sounds. Sound quality from the monaural speaker is better than expected from a smartphone. Lower frequency sounds are better reproduced as shown by our microphone measurements below for more balanced music playback. The Dolby Atmos software provides manual and preset equalizer settings for additional adjustments.

Phab 2 Pro (Pink: Pink noise, Red: Background)
Phab 2 Pro (Pink: Pink noise, Red: Background)
Umi Plus (Pink: Pink noise, Red: Background)
Umi Plus (Pink: Pink noise, Red: Background)
dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2037.636.22534.835.33133.734.34033.933.85033.333.56331.331.28032.230.610029.72912530.631.116027.441.320026.850.42502654.831524.858.340023.960.950023.464.463022.768.680022.467100022.667.912502267.1160021.763.8200021.563.8250021.268315021.172.1400020.978.2500020.978.363002172.780002171.11000021.272.3125002168.41600021.257.7SPL3484.5N2.256.8median 22Lenovo Phab 2 Promedian 67Delta1.86.635.335.132.931.831.83236.535.132.428.93328.936.328.848.32761.52752.924.860.92462.822.763.32269.521.267.82174.82075.919.472.718.97117.770.117.86917.671.817.668.117.671.417.673.717.670.417.571.617.671.617.669.617.459.717.583.630.662.51.5median 69.6Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHzmedian 17.84.62.4hearing rangehide median Pink Noise
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (84.46 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 22.8% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (11.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 2.2% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (4.7% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 6.3% higher than median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (7.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (20.2% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 9% of all tested devices in this class were better, 7% similar, 84% worse
» The best had a delta of 16%, average was 26%, worst was 43%
Compared to all devices tested
» 38% of all tested devices were better, 8% similar, 54% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 22%, worst was 48%

Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (83.6 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 11.3% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (14.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 2.4% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (5.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 2% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (4.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (9.3% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 3% of all tested devices in this class were better, 3% similar, 94% worse
» The best had a delta of 9%, average was 18%, worst was 41%
Compared to all devices tested
» 2% of all tested devices were better, 1% similar, 97% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 22%, worst was 48%

Frequency Comparison (Checkbox selectable!)
Graph 1: Pink Noise 100% Vol.; Graph 2: Audio off

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Unsurprisingly, a large smartphone like the Phab 2 Pro consumes more power than its 5-inch competitors under all power states. We were able to record a minimum power draw of 3 W when idling on its Home screen on Airplane mode and on minimum display brightness whereas competitors draw about 1 to 2 W under similar conditions. The Lenovo will demand as much as 10 W when under heavy load or 8 W under extreme loads. The drop can be attributed to throttling of the SoC when both its CPU and GPU are stressed simultaneously.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.08 / 1.8 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 3 / 4.1 / 4.2 Watt
Load midlight 10.4 / 8.1 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro
652 MSM8976, Adreno 510, 64 GB eMMC Flash, IPS, 1440x2560, 6.4
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
A10 Fusion, A10 Fusion GPU, 128 GB NVMe, IPS, 1920x1080, 5.5
Huawei Mate 9
Kirin 960, Mali-G71 MP8, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash, IPS, 1920x1080, 5.9
Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
625, Adreno 506, 64 GB eMMC Flash, IPS, 1920x1080, 5.5
Google Pixel XL 2016
821 MSM8996 Pro, Adreno 530, 32 GB eMMC Flash, AMOLED, 2560x1440, 5.5
Power Consumption
44%
46%
54%
60%
Idle Minimum *
3
0.77
74%
0.78
74%
0.83
72%
0.53
82%
Idle Average *
4.1
2.04
50%
2.13
48%
2.11
49%
1.07
74%
Idle Maximum *
4.2
2.24
47%
2.17
48%
2.12
50%
1.12
73%
Load Average *
10.4
4.69
55%
6.32
39%
3.41
67%
5.53
47%
Load Maximum *
8.1
8.66
-7%
6.49
20%
5.46
33%
6.26
23%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

The 4050 mAh non-removable battery is definitely larger than on many other smartphones including the LG G5 (2800 mAh) and iPhone 7 Plus (2900 mAh), though this does not necessarily translate into longer runtimes. In fact, battery life on the Phab 2 Pro is average at about 8.5 hours of WLAN use to be shorter than both the iPhone 7 Plus and Huawei Mate 9 and on par with the Google Pixel XL.

Charging from near empty to full capacity will only take about 1.5 hours with the supplied 2 A charging adapter. Otherwise, charging from a standard USB 3.0 port will take several hours.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
18h 39min
WiFi Surfing v1.3
8h 28min
Load (maximum brightness)
3h 10min
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro
652 MSM8976, Adreno 510,  Wh
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
A10 Fusion, A10 Fusion GPU, 11.02 Wh
Huawei Mate 9
Kirin 960, Mali-G71 MP8,  Wh
Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
625, Adreno 506,  Wh
Google Pixel XL 2016
821 MSM8996 Pro, Adreno 530,  Wh
Battery Runtime
33%
34%
59%
13%
Reader / Idle
1119
1835
64%
1538
37%
1502
34%
1333
19%
Load
190
225
18%
219
15%
352
85%
230
21%
WiFi
WiFi v1.3
508
587
16%
758
49%
797
57%
505
-1%

Pro

+ dual-SIM with support for U.S. GSM 4G bands
+ well-made and rigid aluminum chassis
+ generally cool surface temperatures
+ fast-charging Micro-USB port
+ great speakerphone quality
+ large 6.4-inch QHD display
+ fast CPU performance
+ integrated Tango

Cons

- non-removable battery; average battery life
- awkward positioning of fingerprint reader
- no NFC, USB Type-C, or wireless charging
- display colors could be more accurate
- large and heavy; over 10 mm thick
- average display response times
- average GPU performance

Verdict

In review: Lenovo Phab 2 Pro. Test model provided by Lenovo US.
In review: Lenovo Phab 2 Pro. Test model provided by Lenovo US.

The big selling point of the Phab 2 Pro is its unique Tango hardware. At its current state, however, the feature is more of a novelty than it is a practical implementation. Aside from its gaming potential, Lenovo has promised the ability to navigate indoors and between rooms where GPS signals are often weak. Finding one's way through a museum or international airport, for example, is not yet available and would be wholly dependent on developer support. It's too early to brand Tango as a gimmick, but its software thus far feels thin and unrepresentative of the potential hidden behind the area-learning technology.

For users uninterested in Tango or being early adopters of the technology, the core smartphone features of the Phab 2 Pro are still solid. The screen is large and crisp with 4G and MicroSD support for good measure and its speakerphone is very clear compared to 5-inch competitors. CPU performance is fast and the smartphone feels dense to hold. Its other specifications are merely average for the category including the mid-range Adreno 510 GPU, battery life, and display colors and response times. Its lofty dimensions essentially require two-hand operation and could make users wish for a smaller version with the same Tango hardware.

As one of Lenovo's first official smartphones for the U.S. market, the Phab 2 Pro stands out with its sheer size and native support for Tango. If neither are attractive, however, then users will be left with a respectable, if not average, Android experience.

Lenovo Phab 2 Pro - 12/06/2016 v6
Allen Ngo

Chassis
87%
Keyboard
85 / 75 → 100%
Pointing Device
94%
Connectivity
37 / 60 → 62%
Weight
87%
Battery
91%
Display
84%
Games Performance
38 / 63 → 60%
Application Performance
55 / 70 → 78%
Temperature
92%
Noise
100%
Audio
63 / 91 → 69%
Camera
61%
Average
75%
83%
Smartphone - Weighted Average

Pricecompare

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Smartphone Review
Allen Ngo, 2016-12- 5 (Update: 2016-12- 7)