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Lenovo PHAB2 Review - A Phabulous Affordable Phablet?

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The first Lenovo PHAB Plus enamored as with its good looks and sturdy design, while the successor, the PHAB2 chose a sleeker and sharper appearance. You will find our initial impressions here. It's now time to delve deeper into what it can do after several weeks with the said device!
Lenovo PHAB2
A capable HUGE device on a budget

The question in our minds is that will this successor be good enough to sway the people to upgrade or to switch up to a big screened phablet? We'll see in this review.


Display Quality

Big good screen!
Big good screen!

The 6.4 Inch 10 point multi touch HD IPS display with 1280 x 720 resolution at 229 ppi is wonderful. It is huge and the colors are vibrant, the details are sharp and it gets really bright. 
One of the very best screen screen for the price!
The blacks and the dynamic range is good and even though it's at 720P we only notice the low pixel density when compared with other phones side by side. 

The viewing angles are great and at max brightness, we were able to read the screen no problem. We only found one or two situations where it couldn't compete with the sun!

Battery Life

10 HOURS!
10 HOURS!

PC Mark battery benchmark clocked in at a whopping 10+ hours! Having a 6.4 inch 720p screen with 4050 mAh, the battery endurance is expected.

In real life performance, the 4050 mAh battery would last at least 9 hours with our normal day to day workflow of unplugging the phone at 7 AM and spending the day texting, calls, browsing, YouTube video streaming and navigating with Waze. We would reach 25% at the end of the work day at 6PM.

The powerbrick is equipped with 2A of charging power which helps charging time to around two hours from 0 to 100%! The charging time is consistent with our Tronsmart cables and Tronsmart USB hubs with no problem.

Audio Quality

Only one side has a speaker!
Only one side has a speaker!

There are two speaker grills for symmetry but only the right side works. It gets relatively loud that it was able to compete with our friend's home entertainment system at maximum volume without distortion. The bass, mids and highs are well balanced and we have no complaints.

The DOLBY Atmos software helps with the fine tuning of the equalizer and it adds a thin layer of depth but it's not as good we would like.

Once we plugged-in our personal RHA S500i in-ear monitors and the stock Zero 4 headphones the audio remains consistent with good bass, mids and highs and powerful volume. This isn't for audiophiles but for most people this is more than enough!

It can handle FLAC files with relative ease with minimum damage to the battery consumption.
Audio for the PHAB2 is one of its stronger points!
The microphone on the phone and on the stock earphones the other hand is good. I have never experienced complaints from calls I made with the Telco providers or with Facebook messenger or Viber.

Camera

There's a 13 MP shooter behind
There's a 13 MP shooter behind

The phone is equipped with a primary 13 MP f/2.0 w/ PDAF and dual LED flash with image output that is acceptable for the price but if you want the best image quality for this price bracket, you will have to look else where. We found the images to be average in sharpness and dynamic range.

The main camera app is barebones with an AR mode, Group Selfie mode, Panorama and Night mode. We tried the group selfie mode and the night mode at night and we found that the group selfie mode better than the night mode at low light because the night mode is heavily processed that it feels too off putting. Aside from that it's average at best.

The main LED flash itself isn't that powerful so it isn't that helpful. If the subject is nearby it helps but if the subjects are landscapes or are in the distance, it will fail.

Rear Camera Samples

Daylight shot
Close-up shot
Close-up shot
Night shot
Night shot

The secondary 5 MP f/2.2 with 85 degrees of field of view. It is also at average at best. The image detail is okay along with the colors and contrast. It looses even more in low light wiht increased noise. We hope Lenovo can improve on this aspect as more and more  phones at the Sub 10K range are getting better.

Selfie Camera Samples

Selfie daylight
Selfie daylight
Selfie against the light
Selfie against the light
Lowlight selfie

The main camera has a max 1080p video recording without any form of stabilization while the secondary camera is maxed at 720p without image stabilization. Footages from both cameras are decent at bright conditions while in low light conditions, grain is apparent and because of the noise reduction, detail and colors are lost.

Performance

Decent benchmark score
Decent benchmark score

With an Antutu score of at least 32K, it is good enough for most tasks and 720p video playback on YouTube but it is not that great for intensive tasks like gaming and heavy multitasking.
Antutu score is average
A stronger performance would have been appreciated given that this is aimed to be a multimedia monster phone. The Audio game is strong but it would have been great if it had a higher score and therefore could handle 1080p on a big screen.
Near stock experience!
Near stock experience!

It is running a near stock Android 6.0 Marshmallow with Lenovo icons and minor tweaks. They added features like the one handed mode, the lift to answer feature and the software floating home button. Both can be customized to your preferences.

The OS feels snappy with no noticeable lag duty to the light weight near stock experience. The icons that Lenovo uses could use some work. They feel too flat for our preference. That is a personal preference.

The one handed mode is very useful when you want to one hand the phone but for people with small hands like us, one handing the device is difficult and most of the time we felt that we could drop it at anytime when hand holding.

The floating home button that was inspired by iOS's software home button works very well and it helps because sometimes our fingers can't reach down to the hardware home button.

The lift to answer works really well and it helps subtract the steps of swiping the green answer call touch action to save time. VPN and OTG are present are easy to access. There is no Fingerprint sensor.

Pros - Safe design and build, display is bright and vibrant, good audio performance, optimized performance, good battery life
Cons - 720p resolution, 20K Antutu score, camera performance could be better

Verdict

We highly recommend this phablet if you are looking for an all in one multimedia consumption smartphone if you are in a sub 10K budget. The audio, the software and the build is good for its price. The only thing that you would compromise would be the average camera performance and that the phone isn't for high end gaming. IF you only need multimedia 1080P, internet surfing, and some productivity work then this is the phablet for you!

Build / Design - 4
Display - 4.5
Audio - 4.5
Battery - 4
Camera - 3.5
Performance - 3.5
Average - 4 / 5
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