Pros and cons: Our quick verdict on Lenovo's Phab 2 Pro

The first available phone with Google's Tango technology is boring as an actual phone.

Engadget, @engadget
12.31.16 in Mobile
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    Lenovo's Phab 2 Pro has a mouthful of a name and a somewhat bland design. But what might seem like a forgettable phone really isn't: This massive 6.4-inch handset is the first available phone with Google's "Tango" 3D mapping technology. But while Tango feels magical when it works, bugs and hiccups periodically dampen the experience. Indeed, as is the case with many first-generation technologies, you're better off waiting for refinements -- that is, unless you're the sort of early adopter who needs to be on the bleeding edge. (And if you are, the $499 asking price is reasonable considering how much flagship phones typically cost.)

    The problem is, once you set aside Tango (which itself isn't perfect), you're left with one lackluster phone. Though well-constructed, the design isn't memorable, while the cameras and custom software are downright lousy. The possibly too-big screen will also be a deal-breaker for some. Basically, then, as cool as Tango is, you're better off waiting for the technology to improve, and for a wider variety of devices to support it.

    Engadget Score
    Poor
    Uninspiring
    Good
    Excellent
    Key

    Pros
    • First widely available Tango phone
    • Reasonably priced for bleeding-edge tech
    • Excellent battery life if you don't use Tango
    • Reassuring build quality
    • Fingerprint sensor works well
    Cons
    • Tango is still a work in progress
    • Huge size could be a deal-breaker
    • Cameras are pretty lousy
    • Lenovo's software is rough around the edges

    Summary

    Google's world-sensing Tango technology is finally here, crammed inside Lenovo's Phab 2 new Pro. Alas, the software and the hardware here fall short. The phone itself is well-built and packs an enormous battery, but an oversized body and a pair of lackluster cameras could spoil things for the average user. Then there's Tango. It's brimming with promise, but bugs and performance hiccups keep the tech from reaching its full potential. We're glad the Phab 2 Pro exists and that it might spur the development of improved Tango-enabled hardware, but this phone is best left to early adopters.

    Engadget is the definitive guide to this connected life. Technology isn't all about bits and processors. It's the car with no driver, human organs printed in a lab and leisurely flights into space. It's the future and we're here to tell you all about it. Since 2004, Engadget has exhaustively covered cutting edge devices and the technology that powers them. As we enter our second decade, we're looking beyond the gadgets themselves to explore how they impact our lives.

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