Lenovo P2 review: It is all about good battery life
Lenovo
Till only a couple of years ago, the conversation used to be about phones which were super slim and sexy. A chunky phone was frowned upon, but that trend has started to change. As phones, have become faster and the appetite of the human to consume content has increased voraciously - the battery life of the phone has come under the radar. Nowadays, phones don't even last a couple of hours, leave alone a full day. At the same time, phones have started becoming overly slim, so much so that their edges dig into the palm of one's hands and they become uncomfortable to hold. Xiaomi tested this belief last year to great effect with its smash hit the Redmi Note 3. It was a phone that was adequately powerful, reasonably priced and packed with a monstrous battery in a package that wasn't ungainly to hold or to look at. Before Xiaomi started on this journey, Lenovo had dabbled with this theory to a lesser effect. This year, Lenovo seeks to outdo Xiaomi with its latest P2 because it is counting on the voracious appetite to of the Indian consumer to consumer gigabytes and gigabytes of data in a mobile scenario untethered from the wall charger. This phone is clearly all about the battery life, but as is the case with such phones, there are often compromises. Lenovo's P2 is one of the best examples of a company pushing the limits of what can be achieved in an intelligently designed powerhouse that delivers solid performance, good features and superlative battery life. Let me elaborate a little further.

The Good

The battery life of the phone is its main USP, but I shall talk about it a little later in this review. That speaks volumes about how good a phone the P2 is. In everyday use, this phone feels as fast as any flagship smartphone - and it costs a good deal lesser. Mind you, I am also talking about some of the so-called flagship killers because it costs less than Rs 20,000. And yet, it achieves around 90-95 percent of the performance if you're not a hyper crazy geek who wants to test the upper limits of the device, from a compute perspective.



Its Snapdragon 625 processor is not a glamorous SoC. It is an eight-core processor which is fast enough for most general use cases and when coupled with 4GB RAM, it has enough oomph to multitask with even 20 applications open simultaneously. This phone is also able to handle high-resolution games like Nova 3 and Asphalt 8 with such zeal that you'd get graphics you'd associate with a game console only a couple of years ago. One of the great things about this package is that it doesn't heat up, nor does it become uncomfortable to use.

From a thermal perspective, the Snapdragon 625 processor has been described as Qualcomm's best by multiple product managers from different smartphone OEMs, and the P2 is a shining example of Qualcomm's coup in this department. Its predecessor the 615 from 2015 was a bit of horror show, so this is heartening.

The rear camera on this phone is also a good one. It is so good in the daylight that a layman would probably not desire a spanking new iPhone. In low-light, as one may imagine, the image quality degrades quite drastically, but still this phone can whip out usable images. Of course, the camera becomes painstakingly slow, the images have a lot of noise (unneeded artificial grain) and general low visibility, but this is par for the course. The P2 takes above average photos, especially in daylight, it can capture a tremendous amount of detail with good depth, though it manages to botch up the colours time and again. The selfie camera on this phone is also quite good, which again will catch the fancy of selfie addicts and people who use video chat applications a lot.








The video is a different story altogether. Expectedly, it is quite bad, which again is a standard for the price segment. If you're not in loud environments, then it is possible to take some decent video but take it to a nightclub and you'll only come back with darkness for your eyes combined with harshness for your ears.

Lenovo is using a Super AMOLED 5.5-inch display with a full HD resolution. This means, the screen is plenty sharp and it has punchy colours. Super AMOLED technology also helps ensure that the screen doesn't guzzle a lot of power which in turn further elevates the battery life of the phone.

And the battery life on this phone is quite killer. Lenovo claims 3 days of use on this phone, and while I didn't manage to achieve the lofty claims of the Chinese smartphone maker, I did manage to come quite close, In the 12 days that I have used the device, I've only charged the phone 4 times and on average, I've managed 60 hours per charge cycle. This is stupendously impressive, irrespective of what Lenovo claims.

More than the battery life of the phone, Lenovo has managed to fix one of the compromises that are related to outfitting a phone with a huge battery. It's full charge time. In 1 hours and 30 minutes, this phone's gargantuan 5,100mAh battery achieves a full charge. In 30 minutes, you get enough charge out this phone which will be more than the full charge of an iPhone 7. Lenovo claims that this fast charging technology is faster than OnePlus's dash charger. I didn't run a scientific test to figure out if it was faster, but it is on par if not faster.

For people who like to use the phone frugally, Lenovo also has a generous power saver mode with a dedicated hardware button which a user can enable at any given moment.

Design wise, one can say this phone is very well built thanks to its full aluminium build and for a phone, with a massive 5,100mAh battery it is not overly large. The curved back also helps the ergonomics of the phone which is another nice touch.



Lenovo has also cleaned up its software to a great degree. One gets a stock Android Marshmallow experience, with only a handful of preloaded apps which can be removed at the user's discretion. It also helps the overall performance of the phone and unlike some of Lenovo's competitor's, the user gets a fully functional Android Marshmallow experience than something limited, a problem user's of Xiaomi phones face.

The Bad

One common problem most phones with the big batteries face are that they are bulky. And while, it is not the bulkiest phone around, it is quite hefty for a phone of its size, at 177 grams and 8.3mm in terms of thickness. More importantly, it has a thick chin, as it has a front mounted fingerprint scanner with a home button. Lenovo executives tell me that even if the front mounted scanner wasn't there, the phone had to have the big chin as it incorporates the circuitry for the fast charging tech.



For a phone of its price, it also doesn't have the best processing technology, when you consider the fact that Lenovo makes the Z2 which is powered by the Snapdragon 820 processor, which is a flagship class processor. The Snapdragon 625 is a very good processor, but in terms of performance, the Snapdragon 820 is simply superior.

Lenovo's phones are also known for their rich audio experience as they normally come embedded with Dolby Atmos technology. This phone is missing Atmos certification which again is a bit of bummer.

Lastly, as far as AMOLED screens go, the Super AMOLED display on the device is just about average and it isn't very bright which affects legibility under direct sunlight.


The Ugly

It is 2017 and the phone is running software which was launched almost two years ago in 2015. Yes, this is yet another Android phone which is running Marshmallow, which isn't acceptable. This is a common problem with Android phones, but that doesn't mean Lenovo can get away with it. As is the case with most of these phones, any update to latest Nougat could possibly take a long time.



Conclusion

If you're in the market for a robust no-nonsense 4G LTE phone which supports VoLTE, then this is a great option. It stands out because of its battery life, clean software and overall good performance across the board. The only glitch is that it is relatively bulky and is still running an older build of Android which could be an issue for someone picky about Android updates. For most people, though, this will be a great phone if one gets past its size.

Also Read: Lenovo P2 with 5,100mAh battery launched