Review by Sunetra Chakravati,2/1/2017 12:41:56 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
3-day battery life | Fantastic pricing | metal construction
Oddly placed power-saver button | Camera could be better
Lenovo recently bought Motorola to strengthen its smartphone range and the Moto-branded smartphones have been nothing short of epic. The Moto Z range showed what modular phones should be like and also won the Most Innovative Device gong at the Mobile Choice Consumer Awards 2016.
The Lenovo P2 is a slightly curiouser phone. It does not sport pure Android, costs under-£200 and is only available to buy with Three's network. And if this isn't already food for thought...
It also wears the crown for being the smartphone with the biggest on-board battery... 5,100mAH- guaranteeing three-day usage.
So, does it live up to expectations?
Let us make something very clear at the outset- the Lenovo P2 will not be winning any beauty contents. It is a solid slab of phone and neither very light nor slim. This is not to say that it is an eye-sore- quite the contrary actually- chamfered edges, metal unibody styling, chrome Home button, curved sides and sleek milled speaker grilles at the bottom, flanking the microUSB charging port..
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It weighs 177g and this makes it one of the heaviest smartphones around. It even outweighs the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (157g) and Sony Xperia XZ (161g) but we found that the +/-15grams didn't weigh us down particularly, especially because we knew where the extra weight lay. The Lenovo P2 has the largest battery of all smartphones available to buy right now. And those who have suffered from smartphone battery-related anxiety will vouch for the fact that it is probably better to have one heavy-ish smartphone than a feather-weight smartphone and a slab of a portable battery with it.
However, never for a second assume that owing to its price (sub-£200), it is made from pure plastic gold. The Lenovo P2 ticks all the boxes when it comes to a premium look and feel.
In addition to the volume toggle and the power button on the right of the phone, there is a power-saver mode button on the left. Under 20% battery and you can flick the switch to kill all data, bluetooth and NFC functionality.
We have come across a novelty button like this in the past but usually it is one that the user is able to configure themselves to quickly access apps like settings, camera or internet.
The SIM tray sits above the 'ultimate power saver' button and also takes a microSD card that you can use to stick content on, upto the tune of 64GB.
The front of the Lenovo P2 is edge to edge 2.5D curved glass, punctuated only by the Home button at the bottom. The 1920X1080p resolution 5.5-inch AMOLED display has a pixel per inch density of 401 and is absolutely fantastic.
The display is the same size as that of the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge and the slim-side bezels add to the immersive experience of streaming content. The Super AMOLED display makes sure colours are crisp and punchy and the audio- although not high-res like the ZTE Axon 7 mini or HTC 10 evo does a perfectly good job of transmitting tunes.
The screen and hardware are also very handy when it comes to jumping ahead and using actions to start up specific apps, so you can double tap on the volume button to take a picture, double tap the screen to light it up, draw a 'C' from the top of the phone to bring up a micro-screen. You can additionally hold the power button down to bring up the VR mode.
The primary camera has a 13-MP Sony-made sensor onboard and does quite well in bright light conditions. You will find the usual filters present as well and the front-facing 5-MP camera isn't too shabby either.
The camera, however, does struggle in low light and on night mode but that is to be expected on a camera with a f2.0 aperture. However, it is important to note that the camera does as well or even slightly better than its similarly-priced peer group.
You don't get the kind of oomph that you would from a top of the line Samsung, but they are perfectly acceptable for regular social media usage.
Video shooting-wise, you can record, playback and upload HD quality video.
There is 4GB RAM onboard with 32GB storage. Of the 32GB available, Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow OS takes up 8.13GB leaving the amount available to users clocking in just under 24GB.
The RAM configuration is perfect for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 chipset and one that we would expect on a phone with that sub-£200 ticket. During benchmarking tests, the Lenovo P2 scored 63862, to put this into perspective, the Vodafone Smart Platinum 7 (£295) scored 75327, the ZTE Blade V7 (£129) scored 37342, while the Apple iPhone 5S got 63559.
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Android's Marshmallow operating system is on-board and even though, at first sight it doesn't look like the stock version, there isn't really much to dislike about the additions here. A light and bright wallpaper plays host to pre-loaded apps like Amazon, Ebay, Yelp, Deezer and a clutch of ones from Three and Lenovo themselves aimed at helping customers navigate the trecherous paths of billing, roaming and Super Voice. These include Three InTouch, Three Likes and Lenovo Companion.
Easily removable, the apps don't take away from your usual mobile experience and as is usual with Android-totting devices, hidden within an app menu area.
The battery on the Lenovo P2 is its USP and it's ticket to superstardom. 5,100mAH is usually the amount you get on tablets. Samsung's Galaxy TabPro S, a 12-inch tablet comes with a 5,200mAH battery, which at the time of reviewing, we thought robust.
To have that kind of spec on a 5.5-inch smartphone is music to frequent travellers, those who spend extended periods of time away from chargers and even teenagers who wouldn't want to be without Snapchat for longer than 30 minutes, even during holidays.
During our looping video battery test, with brightness set at 100 percent and streaming HD quality video over 4G, the Lenovo P2 went down by 3 percent over a 25-minute period.
With low to medium usage, we managed to go five days without having to charge the P2 and suspect that with intensive bashing, the Lenovo P2 will last atleast 2 days without the user having to reach for a wire. The phone also comes with a 24W fast charger that is capable of charging the phone up to 100 percent in less than 30 minutes.
And if this isn't enough, the Lenovo P2 also has an 'ultimate power saver' button on the side which works like the software buttons on the likes of Huawei smartphones. Slide the switch up and the you get a choice of six attributes that you can keep running on the phone to increase its longevity. Phone, contacts and SMS (text messaging) are hard wired to remain active and the user can select three more. We went for calculator, calendar and clock. On this mode, the Lenovo P2 informed me that it would stay awake for over 55 hours longer.
However, given that we use data for most of our communication, switching it off in this mode seemed counter productive.
For under-£200, the Lenovo P2 packs some of the best specs on the market. You get a phone with a massive battery, unibody metal construction, decent camera, NFC and fingerprint sensor. Although it is only sold via Three in the UK, it is common knowledge that phones sold by the network are unlocked, although you might have to buy a £10 top up voucher to go with it.
Lenovo is a heritage brand and are known for their dependable range of laptops and Moto range of high-end smartphones. If you are not one for fancy online-only brands and want a smartphone that can last for days then the Lenovo P2 is one for you.
Also consider: Samsung Galaxy A5
Similar to: Google Pixel
Killer app: Stunningly designed
Price: £199 + £10 PAYG Top-up (Phones sold by Three UK are unlocked)
Operating System: Android Marshmallow (6.0)
Dimensions: 153 x 76 x 8.3 mm
Resolution: 1920 x 1080; 401ppi
Display: 5.5-inch AMOLED/FHD. 2.5D Cover glass
Processor: Octa-core Qualcomm MSM89533 Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 625 2.0MHz
Camera: 13-MP with dual flash; 5-MP selfie camera.
Memory: 32GB + 4GB (RAM) expandable by 256GB (MicroSD)
Battery: 5100 mAh lithium-ion battery
Fingerprint sensor: Yes (embedded in Home key)
Misc: 4G; NFC; rapid charger in box; Champagne gold & Graphite gray