Lenovo has been offering a good variety of smartphones in India ranging from Rs 6,000 to Rs 20,000. The company has smartphones that offer value for money and to be honest some of them are quite worth buying.
Lenovo's 'P' series saw an update last year, the Vibe P1, with a large 4,900mAh battery. This year, the smartphone sees a successor which drops the Vibe moniker and gets a larger battery. Here is an in-depth look at the Lenovo P2.
Build and Design: 7/10
Like its predecessor, the P2 features a uni-body metal design. But the P2 looks and feels way better than the Vibe P1. The design is more refined. While the Lenovo P1 measured 9.9mm in thickness, the P2 offers 8.3mm thickness. Despite having a larger battery, the P2 is slimmer and even offers less weight.
Having said that, the design is quite conventional. It looks very similar to most of the smartphones selling in the market today. The metal casing at the back has plastic strips on top and bottom while the front is covered by a 2.5D curved glass.
I was surprised to see a toggle switch on the phone, almost reminding me of the the OnePlus handsets, but this actually turns on an ultimate power saver mode. More on this later.
On the right side you will find the usual set of volume and power buttons while the hybrid SIM card tray is placed on the left side. At the bottom there is microUSB port for charging and data transfer along with two grills on either sides. The right one actually houses the loudspeaker and the left is well just for a bit of symmetry. The 3.5mm audio jack sit on the top and the microphone for recording videos.
The 5.5-inch display sits under the protective glass and has the front facing camera, earpiece and some sensors sitting above it. Right below the display is the fingerprint sensor embedded in a hardware key. This does act like the home button but there are no capacitive buttons on its sides leaving you to use the onscreen navigation buttons.
Overall the construction is solid and the design feels right. Even the hardware buttons offer a good tactile feedback and are responsive. Lenovo is offering the P2 in two colour variants, Champagne Gold and Graphite Grey.
The Lenovo P2 comes with a good set of features considering its price range. It features a 5.5-inch Full HD, Super AMOLED display with 2.5D Gorilla Glass on top. The phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor clocked at 2GHz which is paired 3GB or 4GB of RAM. The one I am reviewing here is the 4GB variant. You get 32GB of storage, which is expandable to up to 128GB via a microSD card. The cameras come in the form of a 13MP Sony IMX258 rear sensor and the front is a 5MP unit.
The smartphone supports dual nano SIMs and it offers a hybrid SIM tray. Connectivity features include LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, microUSB 2.0, FM Radio, GPS/A-GPS/GLONASS. There is a front mounted fingerprint scanner as well.
The USP of the device is the 5,100mAh battery which can be charged quickly thanks to quick charge and the bundled 24W charger. The smartphone runs on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow and supports Lenovo’s TheatreMax technology, which transforms your screen into a VR display when hooked up with Lenovo's ANT-VR headset.
The market is filled with 5.5-inch display equipped smartphones and the P2 is no different. However, Lenovo has used a Super AMOLED display with a Full-HD resolution. There is also a 2.5D Gorilla Glass on top giving it a nice curved finish.
The display quality is great. I have to admit, I prefer AMOLED displays over any other display panel because of the higher contrast and excellent viewing angles. Brightness levels are great even under sunlight. Text looks sharp and color saturation is slightly on the higher side.
The protective Gorilla Glass has some sort coating making the glass quite smooth. Using the smartphone you get a sense of high-quality as your fingers just glide over the display. Touch response is also good, although I noticed the corners were not as responsive as the rest of the panel. Probably a unit issue.
The P2 runs on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with its custom UI and should get the new Nougat update. The Vibe Pure UI is pretty much stock with options to customise the homescreen style (with or without app drawer) and the multitasking screen.
The handset comes with some pre-installed apps such as McAfee Security, Skype, Evernote, UC Browser and Truecaller. Some of these apps can be uninstalled. It also comes with U-Touch which was seen on the ZUK Z1 and Lenovo Z2 Plus. It offers some gestures that can be used by tapping and swiping on the fingerprint scanner. A single tap triggers the back button, a single press takes to the home screen and a long tap opens the multitasking window. You can use them or just turn it off and use the onscreen navigation buttons.
Like most Lenovo smartphones, the quick toggle shade offers up to 13 quick setting rather than the traditional nine or six. It also offers a 'Secure Zone' feature which lets you use two accounts on one app for instance two WhatsApp accounts. You can also lock certain apps using a PIN, pattern, or your fingerprint. There is a theme store as well with some options for changing wallpapers and icons. The UI also offers a floating settings button which can be configured with apps and settings. Something similar to what you get on iOS and Xiaomi's MIUI.
The UI is quite stable and runs smooth. I didn't face any issues. Even animations seemed to be working well. For everyday usage, I think the software is pretty stable and reliable.
The P2 offers similar hardware as the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 so I had my hopes high. You get the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC which has a 2GHz octa-core processor with Cortex-A53 cores and an Android 506 GPU. There is an option for 3GB or 4GB RAM (I got to review the 4GB variant). This is a healthy package and for everyday usage seems to offer enough power. Casual gaming, sending emails, texting are all handled smoothly.
Gaming is fairly good although not as good as flagship smartphones. Resource intensive games such as Asphalt 8, Dead Trigger 2 run smooth but not perfectly. There is the minor lag here and there. As for the thermals, temperatures are well maintained, but you will notice heating when you are stressing the phone with long gaming sessions. It gets slightly warm but I didn't notice any unbearable conditions.
Running the standard benchmarks we got very similar results as the Redmi Note 4 and it was surprising considering they have identical hardware. While the Redmi Note 4 scored 63073 in AnTuTu, the P2 got 60868. Similarly other benchmarks showed that the overall performance capability of the Lenovo P2 is as good as the Redmi Note 4.
For some reason the PC Mark Work Benchmark shutdown three times without giving any errors, but that doesn't make a huge difference.
Moving to other performance areas, the call quality and data connectivity works flawless. I was really impressed with the loudspeaker as not only is it actually loud, it also is as good as a portable speaker. The fingerprint scanner also responds well, though it isn't the fastest but it maintains the standards.
The P2 features a 13 MP camera with an f/2.0 aperture 21mm lens, phase detection autofocus and dual-LED (dual tone) flash. On the front there is a 5MP camera with an f/2.2 aperture. The rear camera can take 2160p videos at 30fps and 1080p at 30fps while the front camera can record 1080p videos.
The camera is pretty decent for a device at its price. Brightly lit objects come out good although there is a bit of softness to the pictures. Colours are balanced and pretty accurate. Pictures start losing details when you shoot indoors, in low light the image quality is just acceptable. I thought that HDR could help in certain situations but honestly it didn't make a huge difference. Landscape pictures somehow felt very flat while macros were pretty decent. Focusing is quick thanks to the phase detection auto-focus system, but of course I've seen faster phone cameras.
Moving to the camera app itself, it is responsive and offers some modes and settings to play around with. There is a smart mode which is basically an auto mode that can adjust according to the situation.
Then there are some modes like Pro (manual), panorama, art nightscape, Aristic HDR, fast-motion and slow motion.
There are a bunch of settings as well which are pretty much seen on most smartphone cameras today.
Battery life: 9/10
This is probably the reason why you should buy this phone. The handset offers excellent battery life. the 5,100mAh battery easily offers up to two days of battery on nominal usage. I fully charged the smartphone to 100 percent and was left with 40-50 percent at the end of the day. This included Wi-Fi tethering over 4G, a bit of Pokemon Go, checking mails and frequent social media surfing.
The handset also comes with an Ultimate power saver mode. This basically turns all the main functions of the smartphone off and you get a black and white mode where you can only make calls, send and receive SMS, access contacts, FM Radio, etc. At 23 percent, the remaining battery time is 36 hours and 20 mins on the Ultimate power saver mode.
The PC Mark battery benchmark scored a whooping 16 hours and 56 minutes, which is second only to the Asus Zenfone 3s Max which managed a couple of hours more with a slightly smaller battery.
Verdict and Price in India
There are many smartphones in the market today with large battery packs, but the Lenovo P2 is probably the best of the lot, from what we have tested. The company has done well to provide a value for money package to the end consumer. The one thing that disappointed me was the camera, but besides that I was quite satisfied with the experience. If you are looking for a big battery smartphone, this is the one to go for.
The 3GB variant of the Lenovo P2 is priced at Rs 16,999 while the 4GB variant, which I recommend, is selling at Rs 17,999. I think that's a fair price point and knowing Lenovo, it should shed some bucks in the coming months.
Yes if you compare it with the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (4GB RAM + 64GB ROM), it may seem priced higher for the same set of specs, but the Lenovo P2 has a much larger battery. Other alternatives to the Lenovo P2 are the Lenovo K6 Power and the Asus Zenfone 3S Max. If you are looking for a better performance package, then do check out the Lenovo Z2 Plus (currently on discount) or the LeEco Le 2.
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