Lenovo PHAB Plus Review - A Design Upgrade!

After receiving and reviewing several of Lenovo's phones from the past year, the one constant thing is that their mobile phone hardware and software design needed that X-factor that their Ideapad or Yoga Laptops had but the mobile division didn't. 
Lenovo Phab Plus Review! A Design Upgrade!
Lenovo PHAB Plus review, a design upgrade!

A couple of months ago, I had heard that Lenovo Philippines picked the wonderful Bae Suzy as their endorser for an upcoming phone. I was excited, I mean, it's Suzy! Lo and behold when I saw the Lenovo Phab Plus!

Lenovo PHAB Plus Specs

Display: 6.8 Inch FHD IPS 1920 x 1080 resolution at 326 ppi
CPU: 1.5 GHz 64 Bit Snapdragon 615 octa core processor
GPU: Adreno 405
RAM: 2 GB
GBROM: 32 GB expandable via micro SD card slot up to 64 GB
Back Camera: 13 MP w/ dual tone LED flash
Selfie Camera: 5 MP
Battery: 3,500 mAh
OS: Android 5.0 Lollipop
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 3G, LTE, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, AGPS Dual SIM (micro + nano)
Sensors: Gravity, proximity, magnetic, light
Others: Dolby Atmos technology, 1.0 cc sound bar chamber
Dimensions: 186.6 x 96.6 x 7.6 mm
Weight: 229 g
Price: PHP 14,999 (PHP 4,999 sale price)

Unboxing / Accessories

Lenovo Phab Plus Review! A Design Upgrade!
Inside the PHAB Plus box

Out of the box, you will find the phone, the USB cord, the power plug and the documentation neatly packed together.

Build Quality / Design

Lenovo Phab Plus Review! A Design Upgrade!
A look in front

At front you will find the display, the ambient and the proximity sensors, the secondary speakers, and the front facing camera. The bezels are okay, they aren't the thinnest but they aren't the thickest. 
Lenovo Phab Plus Review! A Design Upgrade!
 Notice the dual LED flash and that huge speaker

At the back, you can see that it really is inspired from the Apple Iphone 6 but with better antenna lines and speakers. 
Lenovo Phab Plus Review! A Design Upgrade!
A look on how this is this together with the buttons

The power button and the volume rocker are both on the right side of the phone which at times caused me to press the wrong button on several occasions. It will take a while to get used to it. It isn't really that big of a deal but worth noting. I also find the device heavy after a while and it is prone to slipping down my hand because of the smooth build.

Display Quality

Lenovo Phab Plus Review! A Design Upgrade!
The nice PHAB Plus screen

Even in broad daylight, the screen is bright and vibrant with great viewing angles and with good color reproduction. At 324 PPI, reading texts and documents are pleasing but seeing as most flagships today are reaching nearly double the PPI, it may feel dated to some. I have no problem with this though. What separates this from the competition is that whenever I watch videos, I always feel that the display sucks me in. The level of immersion is amazing.

I normally use my Kindle Paperwhite for reading my Ebooks but I've found that the dark mode of the Kindle app on this device is almost up to par. I still prefer e-ink but this isn't as bad as the other experiences I've had on reading e-books on tablets.

Audio Quality

Branded with the Dolby Atmos, the expectations for the audio quality of this machine is high. After using it for a couple of days with both high quality videos and high quality audio files I found that the sound is clean, clear and loud even with the Dolby Atmos turned off. When turned on, the software does improve the loudness and its clarity when pushed to its limit. I did not however find a significant change in anything else.
Lenovo Phab Plus Review! A Design Upgrade!
It sounds great!

At its loudest it is able to fill a small room with the sound from the phone. It will be muffled if it conflicts with far louder external noises though. For personal use however this is wonderful!

Its one of those things that are nice to have and it is an improvement over the less than stellar implementation with Lenovo's A7000 of earlier this year.

The Dolby Atmos replaces your equalizer and allows you to use preset configurations or you can set up a couple of your own. The app itself is easy to use and straight forward so it is a plus for people who want to use this as a complete media device.

Battery

With a snapdragon 615, a 6.8 inch display and a 3500 mah battery, we were all very skeptical on how long will the device will last. In fact, I thought it wouldn't even last a day for me. I was wrong. 

I've made the Phab plus as my main media device aside from my usual daily driver. Several hundred text messages, less than fifteen calls in a day, around two to three hours of youtube and around two hours of chrome browsing is what I call a typical day for me. At the end of that said day, I would always find at least twenty percent in my battery. That last twenty percent would persist until the next morning at 5:30AM when I usually start charging my devices. The charging is usually done when I leave at 8AM. Fast Charging is a plus considering this has a huge battery.

Camera

As you can see both the main camera and secondary camera perform okay in both in bright and low lighting conditions. My only gripe is that even in the bright pictures I could notice noise in the dark areas of the photo. Otherwise, like in the low light shots the noise is expected and it isn't intrusive to the point that the noise even adds character to the pictures. 

The Panorama Selfie camera is an interesting feature. In paper it sounds great because you can have a lot of things in a single frame thus in effect get great landscape selfies or a groupfie that can potentially be a whole classroom full. So I was excited when I heard about it. In practice though, it wasn't that great. You could only take panorama selfie with the phone on portrait and move the phone according to the directional prompt. It is hard for the one holding the phone because he/she can't not move because his arm is moving the phone so he/she is more prone to getting the choppy effect from the stiched pictures. I hope Lenovo fixes this via software update.

Sample Photos

Lenovo Phab Plus Review! A Design Upgrade!
Sample rear camera shot with good light
Lenovo Phab Plus Review! A Design Upgrade!
Lowlight main camera sample
Lenovo Phab Plus Review! A Design Upgrade!
We tried the panorama secondary camera (Selfie Camera)
With Badong, whatneilwritesabout, swirlingovercoffee and techpatrl
Lenovo Phab Plus Review! A Design Upgrade!
Another selfie shot 100% crop

Performance

Near stock Android experience

The phone generally performs wonderfully. I have had little experience of stuttering or slow downs with general use of dialer, messaging, contacts, internet browsing and other productivity apps.
Lenovo Phab Plus Review! A Design Upgrade!
Dead Trigger gameplay!

The phone also handles Dead Trigger 2 very well. I've had little to no frame rate drops when waves of zombies are running towards me. It does get hot though when you play for an extended period.

Lenovo's decision to go stock has really paid off!  I love the simple user interface of stock and its efficiency. This really shows as compared to my experience to the old Lenovo Skin from the A7000. 

Benchmarks

Lenovo Phab Plus Review! A Design Upgrade!
Antutu benchmark scores!
Lenovo Phab Plus Review! A Design Upgrade!
Multi touch and Core performance!
Lenovo Phab Plus Review! A Design Upgrade!
GPU Bench score

From Antutu the Phab Plus is a little under last years flagship the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 which tells us how powerful this media device! The single core performance isn't remarkable but multicore pays back with an impressive score! 

The only gripe I have is the Five point multitouch which is a deal breaker for certain mobile games.

ProsBuild quality is on par with the top brands! (Apple and Samsung), sound quality is loud and amazing, battery Life is strong, display is bright and colorful, one of the best all in one mobile multimedia device for its price! The new near Stock android skin from Lenovo is simple and efficient, the Primary and Secondary cameras though have noise on bright conditions take okay pictures considering tablet cameras are notorious for being awful. 
ConsFive Point multi touch is lacking for that big display real estate, can get heavy after a while if held one handed, screen is not scratch proof. It is prone to slip down your hand because of the smooth metal build.

Verdict

If you are looking for an all-in-one mobile device that you can use for the daily drive that can be your main multimedia device with a budget of less than Php 16,000, then this is your device! We are happy with the hardware and the software and we are not excited what Lenovo will come up with next!

GIZ Rating: 4/5 Stars
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