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Lenovo P2 Review: The long lasting warrior
Lenovo quickly rose to the second position in India within a span of just two years, thanks to the best budget offerings. The Chinese firm, back in 2014 acquired Motorola from the search giant, Google and that certainly changed the fortunes for both companies.
- Gorgeous 1080p Display
- Decent Performance
- Stellar Battery Life
- Decent Audio Output
- Mediocre Low Light Camera
- Software Quirks
- Feels Heavy at Times
Motorola, under the leadership of Lenovo, has been very aggressive and has released a good number of products in 2016 including the semi-modular Moto Z lineup.
On the other hand, Lenovo also has ZUK Mobiles, another subsidiary of the company under which it releases flagship phones with an affordable price tag such as the Lenovo Z2 Plus, Lenovo ZUK Edge. Before starting this trend, Lenovo launched a flagship phone of their own, namely, the Lenovo Vibe X3. Lenovo's offering was a decent one, but it never got the attention of the crowd.
That said, Lenovo moved away from the flagship space and started concentrating the mid-range segment with the Lenovo K Series of smartphones. We all know how the Lenovo K3 Note disrupted Indian market with its affordable features. And the K series of smartphones still continuing the dominance in the mid-range segment.
With the budget offering problem sorted out, Lenovo's concern was shifted towards delivering a phone with good battery life or many the battery as its unique selling point (USP). Then came out the Lenovo Vibe P1, which impressed us with its battery life. Several rumors were saying that Lenovo is killing the P series after acquiring Motorola.
But, that isn't the case. At the IFA 2016 back in September, Lenovo showcased the Lenovo P2 smartphone for the first time, but back then, there were no rumors regarding the Indian launch. It took almost four months for Lenovo to get the Lenovo P2 to India and the phone is now official to purchase from e-commerce site Flipkart.
The Lenovo P2 comes aided with a 5100mAh battery and importantly, it has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC under-the-hood, which is a battery efficient chip previously used in Motorola Moto Z Play and Asus Zenfone 3.
We have been using the Lenovo P2 from last two weeks and here's how the smartphone fared during our review period.
Design: A Metal Bodied Lenovo Z2 Plus
The Lenovo P2 is a beautiful smartphone, by any means. It looks gorgeous with its metal body. However, from the front, the Lenovo P2 looks similar to the Lenovo Z2 Plus, but the differences can be noticed when looking at the rear side of the phone. The phone comes with all metal body and the design from the back is reminiscent of the Lenovo K6 series.
Frontal, there is a 5.5-inch display dominating most of the part. Below the screen, we have the fingerprint scanner, which is an active scanner that wakes the device from sleep directly. At the top of the screen, there is the 5MP front-facing camera, placed beside the primary microphone.
The volume rockers along with the power button are placed on the right side of the phone, and they offer decent tactile feedback. To the left of the phone, there is a dual nano SIM card tray and below that there is a slider. First up, we mistakenly thought this slider like the one seen on OnePlus 3 to change the notifications priority, but that isn't the case with Lenovo P2. The slider is used to modify the battery saving mode, which is a unique feature.
At the bottom, there is a micro USB port, flanked by two speaker grilles on either side. On the top, there is a 3.5mm headphone jack along with a secondary microphone. The rear aspect of the phone has a 13MP camera followed by a single tone LED flash and NFC chip symbol. Yes, Lenovo has added an NFC chip to the Lenovo P2.
Overall, the phone looks quite decent in hands and offers good in-hand feel, but feels bulky at times due to its 177 grams' weight.
Display: This 5.5-inch Display Gets Very Bright, Even in Bright Sunlight Conditions
The Lenovo P2 comes with a 5.5-inch Super AMOLED display with a pixel resolution of 1080*1920 pixels. The display further extends to a pixel density of 403 PPI. As expected with the Super AMOLED display, it is crisp, vivid, and offers deep blacks. Sunlight legibility is decent as well, but the screen panel is reflective and as a result viewing angles are affected at times. The display on the Lenovo P2 is one of the best we have seen in the mid-range segment.
Performance: The Snapdragon 625 SoC Holds Up Well in Day-to-Day Tasks
The Lenovo P2 comes powered by the octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 chipset aided with 4GB of RAM. Now, that's interesting to see. The Motorola Moto Z Play priced at Rs. 24,999 comes with only 3GB of RAM, but the Lenovo P2 priced way well below the Moto Z Play features 4GB of RAM. The Adreno 506 GPU takes the graphics care. The phone also comes with 32GB of internal storage.
Speaking about the real life performance, the phone blew through all the daily tasks we threw at it. But, there was some lag while opening the apps via the multitasking menu. Not substantial lag, though. Gaming performance was all right as well. Nevertheless, the phone gets warm with intense gaming for 15 to 20 minutes, which is slightly underwhelming. Having said that, we experienced the same results with the Moto Z Play as well.
Regarding call quality, we tested the Lenovo P2 completely with Reliance Jio 4G SIM card installed and yeah, the smartphone has support for VoLTE as well. Even under low network coverage areas as well, the phone exhibited good signal strength.
The performance of the Lenovo P2 is decent enough for day-to-day tasks, but with intense gaming, the phone heats up a bit at the rear panel.
Camera: Gets the Job Done!
The Lenovo P2 comes with a 13MP sensor with support for Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF) technology, f/2.0 aperture, and a dual-tone LED flash. Also, there is a 5MP front-facing camera for selfies and video calls.
Specs aside, the rear facing camera of the Lenovo P2 performs very well in decent light conditions. Images were decent with accurate colors. But there's a noticeable issue with this camera. Pictures captured under bright sunlight tends to expose over at the edges, which is a huge let down.
The Lenovo P2's rear camera doesn't disappoint when it comes to low light imaging. Images shot under low lighting conditions were on the colder side with some blur in them. But, they are good enough and far better than the one's shot of Lenovo Z2 Plus.
The 5MP front-facing camera is a disappointing one, though. Images were maxed out all the time, which was mainly due to the aperture used on the phone. And they are blurry as well.
Lenovo is embedding their camera app: SNAPit with the Lenovo P2. The user interface of the application is decent with no fancy stuff. The camera interface also has support for beautifying mode, which slowly became an integral feature in modern day smartphones.
Having said that, the camera on the Lenovo P2 is not a spectacular one but gets the job done for most of the time. There are several alternatives in the same price range such as the Motorola Moto G Plus (4th Gen), Honor 6X, which will be launched in India on January 24.
Software: Pure UI Needs Some Retouch
At the Lenovo K6 Power launch event, a couple of months ago, Lenovo rebranded their Vibe UI as Pure UI with subtle customizations. The Pure UI almost looks like the stock Android with Lenovo's touch here and there. For example, Lenovo completely modified the notification center. You can add up to 16 tiles in the Pure UI. That said, there is also a clear all button to wipe out all the notifications at once.
The Lenovo P2 runs on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. Several consumers were disappointed with the Lenovo's approach towards the software with the Vibe P1 as the smartphone is still stuck at Android 5.0.1 Lollipop with no support for VoLTE as well. That said, Lenovo have to provide timely software updates to make the Lenovo P2 more customizable.
The Lenovo P2's Pure UI does not have any issues, but at times, we have seen some noticeable lag, especially while opening the applications via the multitasking menu. The phone also has Lenovo's own 'Theme Center,' where you can change or modify the system user interface according to your liking.
Other features such as the dual app, which was previously seen on Xiaomi's MIUI is also present in the Lenovo P2, and it works flawlessly. Overall, the software in the Lenovo P2 is optimized perfectly to support the Snapdragon 625 SoC, but noticeable lag can be seen while opening the apps via the multitasking menu. Nevertheless, this can be fixed via a quick software update.
Battery: The Long Lasting Warrior
Lenovo's primary intention with their 'P' series of smartphones is to take on the battery segment. The Lenovo Vibe P1 featured a 5000mAh battery, which was a spectacular thing at that time. But, things quickly changed and every smartphone releasing today is featuring a minimum of a 4000mAh battery.
The Lenovo P2 is no exception. It features a 5100mAh battery. Coupled with the Snapdragon 625 chipset, the battery results were amazing on the phone. The Lenovo P2 lasted for over two days with moderate usage including two hours of social networking, one hour of gaming, two hours of YouTube streaming, and 4G LTE turned on all the time.
Right through our review period, the P2 offered an insane screen-on time of eight and half hours. Even with heavy usage, the screen-on time was never down below six hours, which is an achievement, though.
Left on the phone, there is a slider, which is used to change the battery saving mode. Lenovo's Pure UI has two power saving options to choose from. One is normal mode, and the other one is the extreme power saving mode. When you activate the slider, the extreme power saving mode will be automatically activated. This feature is very much helpful when you're running out of juice.
Lenovo is also betting big on the charging tech in the Lenovo P2 as well. We were amazed to see how quickly the battery in the P2 charges from zero to 100 percent. It just took over one and half hour to completely charge from zero percent. Also, the company is competing with the OnePlus's Dash Charge technology with the Lenovo P2.
Verdict: A Decent All Rounder
Lenovo launched the Lenovo P2 in India today with a price tag of Rs. 16,999 for the 3GB RAM and 32GB storage variant and the 4GB of RAM and 32GB internal storage variant comes with a price tag of Rs. 17,999. For the asking price, the Lenovo P2 is a worthy option and offers the best battery life in the price range. When compared to other phones in the same segment, we have the Motorola Moto M, but it does not compete with the Lenovo P2 in the battery segment.
The Lenovo P2 ticks all the right boxes with its gorgeous Full HD display, stellar battery life, and all-round performance, but it has some let downs as well in the form of low-light camera, and some software niggles.
However, we believe that the software issues can be fixed with a software update, but the real question is: Will Lenovo be able to deliver timely updates to the Lenovo P2 or will the company follow the same suite as what it did with the Vibe P1? Going by the current scenario, Lenovo is providing timely updates for all their smartphones including the latest K6 series and the Lenovo Z2 Plus is also slated to receive the Android Nougat update very soon.
Finally, the Lenovo P2 is a great smartphone for power users but disappoints shutterbugs with its low light imaging performance. All said and done, get the Lenovo P2 if you are looking for a great battery phone in the tight mid-range budget.