Lenovo Phab 2 Plus review: A giant phone meant for entertainment

Lenovo Phab 2 Plus gets the entertainment bit right both from display and audio perspective.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Written by Shruti Dhapola | Published:December 10, 2016 10:22 am
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For Lenovo India, 2016 has been a great year. In fact the company is the number two smartphone vendor for Q3 according to IDC and has been rolling out a number of smartphones in India. Along with the popular K series, Lenovo seems to be concentrating on the 6-inch and above display phablet phones. The Lenovo Phab 2 Plus is one such offering with pricing and specifications making it a direct contender for the Xiaomi Mi Max.

So is the Phab 2 Plus an ideal device for those who love phablets? Here’s our review.

Watch our first look video of Lenovo Phab 2 Plus

Specifications: 6.40-inch Full HD display (1080 x 1920 pixels) | MediaTek’s MTK8783 octa-core processor| 3GB RAM + 32GB expandable to 128GB via microSD card | 13MP +13 MP rear camera, F/2.0, Augmented Reality Mode, + 8MP front camera | 4,050 mAh battery | Dolby Atmos| Android 6.0

Price: Rs 14,999

Lenovo Phab 2 Plus

Lenovo is pitching the Phab 2 Plus as an entertainment device, and it’s evident from the fact that NetFlix was pre-loaded on this phone. Plus the phone comes with a Dolby Atmos mode. A big 6.4-inch full HD screen will definitely be used for video consumption and Lenovo seems to understand this. But while the huge display is great for video watching, it also makes the phone unwieldy, and heavy.

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Lenovo Phab 2 Plus has a metal unibody design, there’s curved 2.5 D glass all over the front, on-screen buttons that are backlit, dual speakers at the bottom, a dual-rear camera at the back and a fingerprint scanner below that. From a design perspective, the phone looks good, but the trouble is when you’re trying to hold it for daily use.

Sure there’s a one-handed mode in the settings under the L Assist Tab, where the dialer pad will be placed according to the grip to make typing in numbers easier. But I feel the weight of the phone 218 gms is a lot to handle.

Also read: Lenovo K6 Power review: Budget smartphone with extensive battery life

The thick bezels on the screen are not doing it any favours either. This is a phone you’ll use when settled into bed for that night-time surfing session. It certainly doesn’t fit in any jeans pocket that I know of, unless you are giant.

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So what’s good?

Lenovo Phab 2 Plus scores on the entertainment quotient. I watched mostly Netflix on this phone, and the Full HD display is quite good. It has nice viewing angles; the colours look good and for this price band it is more than adequate. The blacks could be deeper, but if your main purpose is video consumption, this phone is sorted.

There’s also a Dolby Atmos mode in the settings you can turn on and I felt it makes a significant difference to the sound quality. The positioning of the speakers at the bottom means you don’t have to worry about sound getting muffled because you placed it flat on a table or propped it against something.

From a performance perspective, the Lenovo Phab 2 Plus can handle your daily browsing tasks, gaming, etc, although it doesn’t come off with flying colours in Antutu. Multi-tab browsing on Chrome is not an issue. I didn’t have trouble runnings games like Asphalt 8 on this, although admittedly it is not the fastest experience.

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In UI, Lenovo has kept things simple and as close to pure Android. Some pre-loaded apps include Netflix, McAfee, ShareIt, etc. The clean interface is an advantage; this one doesn’t face issues with app permissions, etc as it happens on other phones with their own heavily customised UIs.

What’s not good?

Someone needs to explain the point of that dual-camera to me. It is slow, the AR mode seems fun, but in a pointless kind of way. Also the dual-camera mode doesn’t quite deliver the bokeh that it should; there is a tendency for the software to blur out much of the actual object, rather than just the background. Let’s hope Lenovo can improve all of this in a future software update.

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On the battery front, I found the phone to be on the inconsistent side. There were days when I kept recharging because it would run out of juice with just bare minimum notifications coming in and no cellular internet. Then on other days, despite a video-binge session, the battery had barely dipped below 30 per cent, which is good. I feel such a big phone needs to offer more on the battery front.

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Lenovo Phab 2 Plus has 4G VoLTE support, but that Jio SIM didn’t work on this; not for data or voice calls. I’m not sure what happened here, because the SIM works fine on a OnePlus 3T and Lenovo K6 Power.

Should you buy?

People in India are still okay with phablets it seems, for what else can explain these 6-inch plus phones in the market. But a giant phablet by definition is not for everyone. Lenovo Phab 2 Plus gets the entertainment bit right, both from display and audio perspective.

The company has also discovered that the right UI is the one that looks closest to Pure Android. But overall the battery and camera are not exciting; the latter feels particularly gimmicky. However, I feel this device is geared for entertainment, and does that job well. If that’s your only need, then consider this, because this Phab is huge.

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