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Lenovo Phab 2 Plus Review: a worthy competitor to the Xiaomi Mi Max
Lenovo, in a manner, is the only brand which is invariably testing out new technologies coming into the market by releasing phones with a standout feature from either of its child company or under their name itself.
- Excellent battery life
- Assuring build quality
- Fingerprint sensor is quick
- Decent display for the asking price
- Touch responsiveness is iffy at times
- Large display could be a deal breaker for many
- Dual Camera is unnecessary
After LG had set the stage with its semi-modular LG G5, Lenovo came out with Motorola Moto Z modular phones (released three till date). To be frank, LG G5 was often regarded as a 'Modular Mess,' but Lenovo and Motorola's take on modularity were widely audited by the audience and tech enthusiasts.
Months after their modular phones, Lenovo came out with world's first Tango phone under their Phab series, namely, the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro. Along with the Phab 2 Pro, the Chinese firm also showcased its two siblings- Lenovo Phab 2 and Phab 2 Plus.
Lenovo, later on in November bought the Phab 2 Plus to India for Rs. 14,999 and it goes head-on-head with the Xiaomi Mi Max, the King of the phablet segment. Lenovo recently released the Phab 2 Pro for Rs. 29,999 in India and the Phab 2 also reached Indian shores with cheaper price tag.
Being a sibling of the Phab 2 Pro, Lenovo is touting the Phab 2 Plus as the successor to last year's Lenovo Phab. Here's our full review of the Lenovo Phab 2 Plus.
Design: Reassuring Build Quality
The Lenovo Phab 2 Plus is enormous, by any means as it boasts of a 6.4-inch display. Not only the screen size, everything is massive on the phone including the 4050mAh battery, dual camera at the rear, loudspeakers with Dolby ATMOS sound enhancement, etc.
The Lenovo Phab 2 Plus features the same design language as other Phab 2 series of phones and the design changes can only be seen at the rear side of all three phones.
The Phab 2 Pro has a triple camera for emphasizing the Augmented Reality tech and a fingerprint sensor, the Phab 2 Plus misses out on the triple camera, and the Phab 2 misses out on dual camera and fingerprint sensor as well. These are only design changes between the three kinfolks.
The Lenovo Phab 2 Plus swanks the unimetal body with a large 6.4-inch display, along with a curved 2.5D glass on top of it. The three capacitive keys are located below the screen. At the bottom, we have two speaker grilles and a micro USB port, sadly. Rounding off the device, the volume rockers, and the power button is located on the right side of the phone, and the SIM card is present at the left end of the phone.
Overall, the Phab 2 Plus feels good in hands, but it is very hard to use the phone single-handedly, but surely, the people looking for big-sized smartphones will be slobbered. Thankfully, Lenovo is bundling a one-handed mode with the phone for people who feels inconvenient in handling the display.
Display: Largely sized, but impresses with its quality
Aforementioned, the screen size of Lenovo Phab 2 Plus is massive, but not particularly interesting. This 6.4-inch display comes with a resolution of 1080*1920 pixels, which further results in a pixel density of 344 PPI. The panel used in this phone is an IPS LCD thing, which doesn't exhibit deep blacks, but has stellar viewing angles under direct sunlight.
Brightness levels are far from better and the screen in less reflective, which means that there is no worry of viewing angles to be affected. However, this display doesn't match the one on the Xiaomi Mi Max as it exhibits vibrant colors.
The one major issue we faced with this panel is the irresponsive touch and that too more frequently. Yes, the touch is unresponsive at times, and you will find it even difficult after pulling the phone from your pocket as the screen won't work. I, personally faced it happen to me several times.
Performance: Doesn't match with the rival, Mi Max
The Lenovo Phab 2 Plus, unlike its elder sibling, Phab 2 Pro is powered by the MediaTek MT8783 SoC, coupled with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. The MT8783 is an octa-core chip, clocked at 1.3GHz and is built up of relatively less powerful Cortex A53 cores.
However, the real-life performance of the phone is disappointing, and it nowhere matches the rival, Xiaomi Mi Max. However, we are used to this sort of performance issues in a phone that costs under Rs. 15,000 price bracket.
We are not claiming the phone as an atrocious performer, though. It handles the day-to-day tasks such as opening social network apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Hike, etc. was far better than easy, but the phone will start exhibiting occasional lags when we have 10 or more opened in the background, which is a huge letdown.
Call quality was excellent as well, but handling the phone single-handedly while on call was a daunting task. In other words, the Phab 2 Plus will not disappoint you if you're a modest user, but will hugely disappoint you if you're an avid gamer or so of a heavy user.
Camera: Dual Camera? Kindly explain the purpose, Lenovo
The Lenovo Phab 2 Plus features a dual camera on the rear and both are of 13MP sensors with support for Phase Detection Autofocus technology and Laser Autofocus technology. The rear camera also has support for a dual tone LED flashlight.
When the lighting conditions are good enough, the Phab 2 Plus yields out detailed shots with true and accurate colors. Also, you can tweak your photos by enabling the HDR mode with insane details.
Now coming to the highlight of the phone: the dual camera. Aforesaid, there's a secondary 13MP on the rear, which will be used to capture the depth of field. But dismally, we can only edit the focus and other stuff after capturing the images.
However, this feature doesn't help as well as the pictures in this mode always appeared blurred and the lack of focus is another major issue.
Thanks to the presence of Laser Autofocus technology, the Phab 2 Plus locks the focus in a flash, but the tap to focus function did not work rightly. The phone also comes with an AR mode with which you can add some visual tasks and this feature is same as the Sony's AR mode in their camera app.
Another letdown with the Phab 2 Plus is that the phone heats up a lot with continuous usage of camera application and the primary culprit for this is the low-powered by MediaTek chip. Images captured with the front-facing camera look very decent in good lighting conditions, but it will struggle in low-light situations.
The 8MP front-facing camera also captures decent pictures, but the images look faded out all the time when caught in extreme low-lighting conditions. In contrast, the Xiaomi Mi Max's cameras are similar to what Phab 2 Plus offered, and there's some slight advantage with the
Battery: Again, fails to match the competition
The Lenovo Phab 2 Plus comes with a 4050mAh battery on-board, which is nearly 25 percent less than that on the battery cell of Xiaomi Mi Max. The battery on the Phab 2 Plus easily lasts for a day, only if you don't use the camera to a large extent. Nevertheless, the camera is the only culprit for the massive battery drain in the phone, at least for us.
Also, the phone's battery life banks on your usage. For example, the phone lasted for a day and a half with limited 4G LTE usage and it delivered a battery life of almost one day with complete 4G LTE turned on. If you're a moderate user, then it will surely last for one day and again, only if you don't use the camera.
To be precise, the phone trucked in a screen-on time of over six and half hours, which is pretty good, though. But, looking into the competition, the Mi Max offered us an insane screen-on time of above eight hours, even with heavy usage. That sums it all.
Conclusion: Xiaomi Mi Max is the best, but the Phab 2 Plus doesn't dawdle behind!
The Lenovo Phab 2 Plus is a valiant attempt from Lenovo to keep an eye in the phablet space and especially to take on the Xiaomi Mi Max. The phone was launched at Rs. 14,999 and is available only in one variant with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of ROM.
The Xiaomi Mi Max is available at the same price point, but it misses out on some additional camera features such as Augmented Reality mode, Group Selfie, etc. and the Phab 2 Plus scores on this note. Also, we feel that the design of the Phab 2 Plus is sturdier than the Mi Max.
However, there are some compromised with the Phab 2 Plus as it falls back in terms of sluggish performance and sub-par camera but has a promising battery life. The Lenovo Phab 2 Plus is no means a bad device, but it just falls behind the Xiaomi Mi Max slightly.