Lenovo Phab2 Pro 2020
Since the release of Google’s virtual reality platform Daydream, Google’s Project Tango has faded out of people’s vision, but this does not mean that it has been completely forgotten. Lenovo demonstrated the Project Tango device at CES, and during the MWC, we stayed at the Barcelona Museum with the Project Tango tablet for one night.
Now, Lenovo Phab2 Pro has officially become the world’s first Project Tango smartphone. This is also Lenovo’s first mobile phone sold in the United States. I tried it myself, and its two cheap non-Tango brothers, Phab2 Plus and Phab2.
Design, display and function
It is difficult to underestimate the size of Phab2 Pro. It measures 7.1 x 3.5 x 0.42 inches (HWD) and weighs 9.1 ounces. This is huge, larger than the 6-inch Google Nexus 6P, Samsung Galaxy Note 5, or any other phablet I have tested. It’s awkward and can hardly fit in my pocket. You definitely cannot use Pro with one hand.
The build quality of the phone is very good. It is covered with a gray or gold aluminum one-piece body and feels smooth and sturdy, although it may not be as sturdy as the HTC 10. The front panel is covered in a 2.5D curved glass pane connected to the metal frame. The back is also made of metal and contains all the modules that make the Tango project work. From top to bottom, you will find a standard 16-megapixel rear camera sensor, a depth sensor, a motion tracking sensor, a fisheye camera and a fingerprint sensor. Below this crowded setting are Project Tango and Lenovo brands.
For those who don’t know, Project Tango consists of a set of sensors and Google’s software that can sense and map the surrounding environment to create an augmented reality (AR) experience. Tango-enabled devices such as Phab2 Pro can sense physical motion and space, track depth, and visualize and understand surrounding objects. Pro uses a fisheye lens with a wide angle of view in conjunction with conventional camera sensors to understand motion and determine Pro’s position in 3D space. This location tracking allows you to use AR for multiple purposes, from interior design to games to museum visits.
I played an educational dinosaur app that generated various dinosaurs in the room, including thunder dragon, velociraptor and the popular tyrannosaurus. At this point, the application is still somewhat elementary in the quality of the graphics generated, but I was able to change the scale of the dinosaur to bring it to life and move its position objects in the room relative to other applications.
Other AR applications include a shooter that uses elements of the room to create a spirit level that can shoot at enemies approaching, and an interior design application that allows you to place furniture around the room to see the appearance. Even if you turn around, the phone can remember where to put the object. Overall, it seems to have reasonable functionality, although the graphics may require some modification.
The overall experience is less than our previous experience with Project Tango. In this project, we had to use a 7-inch developer tablet. The 6.4-inch Pro is slightly smaller and easier to use with Tango cameras when playing AR games, although it is still much larger than the 5.1- to 5.7-inch phones I usually use.
When Phab2 Pro starts, it will have 25 AR applications available. Lenovo hopes to have 100 applications ready by 2017.
Processor, battery and network
Phab2 Pro is equipped with a Snapdragon 652 processor under the hood. My colleague Sascha Segan is worried that this is not strong enough for Tango, but according to Lenovo, it is highly customized and should be “enough to support the first generation of Google Tango products”.
The Pro also has 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage space, and a microSD card slot, which can hold up to 128GB of SD cards. I couldn’t run any benchmarks or adjust the speed of Pro, but when launching the application and browsing the screen, I didn’t find any delay. It should perform well in most standard uses, but it remains to be seen how it handles high-end games, although I hope it meets Tango’s needs.
Above: Phab2 Pro (both)
As big a phone as you would expect, it has a large 4,050mAh battery with fast charging capability. According to Lenovo, its talk time should be 18 hours and standby time should exceed 13 days. Once I get in touch with the review unit, I will conduct a brutal video streaming test to better understand how you can expect to use it.
Pro will be unlocked, supporting GSM (850/1800/1900MHz), UMTS (850/1700/1900/2100MHz) and LTE frequency band (2/4/5/7/12/17/20/30). It will be applicable to GSM operators such as T-Mobile and AT&T. With support for the 12 and 17 frequency bands, T-Mobile and AT&T customers will be able to take advantage of better coverage and building penetration.
Pro supports dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.
Camera and software
Although Pro focuses on Tango, it still has a regular 16-megapixel rear camera that can record 4K video. It has Dolby Audio Capture 5.1 technology, which provides 5.1-channel surround sound and Dolby Atmos surround sound during recording. I didn’t spend a lot of time on Pro cameras, but my overall impression is that it might be a capable shooter. Photos under varying light conditions, especially under low light conditions, will be the real test. There is also an 8-megapixel front camera.
Pro runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow with Lenovo custom UI changes, which can change application icons and lock screens and add features. Lenovo will pre-install McAfee Security, Netflix and SwiftKey. The unit we spend time on is not the final retail version, but it does install many AR applications, and we have to test it.