Google’s long-awaited 3D-location technology has finally materialized thanks to Lenovo. The Chinese company has announced the world’s first Project Tango-enabled phone, the Phab2 Pro.
Project Tango came from Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects lab, and it’s designed to bring new indoor tracking and augmented reality capabilities to the world right from your smartphone. Prime uses include better augmented reality gaming, or even interior decorating a home via an app just by pointing your phone around you. Google has now dropped the “project” from Tango, seeing as it has fully matured into a commercial product.
To utilizes these features, you need the right hardware — that’s why Lenovo announced its partnership to make the first smartphone enabled with Tango at the beginning of 2016. It’s finally here, along with two other devices the company announced at its second annual Lenovo Tech World convention.
Releasing multiple devices in a series seems to be the craze these days, with the new Moto G4 line featuring three mid- to low-range devices, and Sony’s Xperia X line boastingfour smartphones. Lenovo isn’t doing anything unusual by following the trend with two more additions to the Phab2 series — the Phab2 Plus and the Phab2.
Lenovo Phab2 Pro
At 6.4-inches, good luck fitting the Phab2 Pro in your pocket. Lenovo’s AR-ready device is aiming more toward tablet territory than phablet, but a phablet it is nonetheless.
Getting the basic specs out of the way, you’ll find it’s powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 652, with 4GB of RAM. The Phab2 Pro comes with 64GB of internal storage, which is nice, considering several manufacturers still ship with 16GB or even 8GB starter options. That’s just not enough these days. If you want even more, there’s MicroSD card support, and you can double your storage up to 128GB.
The IPS display sports a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels, and the edges of the glass are rounded at 2.5D. The design looks somewhat similar to the new line of Moto G devices, which makes sense considering Lenovo now owns Motorola. The Phab2 Pro is more rectangular, though, and its unibody is made of aluminum alloy. The rear camera features 16-megapixels, as well as a depth sensor and a motion-tracking sensor, which is required to make it Tango-certified. The selfie camera is packed with 8 megapixels.
Its thickest point is 10.7mm, which makes it a little chunky, especially when you put it next to other flagship devices like the iPhone 6S Plus, which is 7.3mm. But that ultimately spotlights the purpose of this device — to showcase Google’s Project Tango vision in a smartphone. Naturally, as the technology improves, the components will get smaller, leading to to a smaller, thinner device. The Phab2 Pro is simply the start of Tango-ready phones.
The device runs on Android 6.0, and while it’s not exactly stock Android, it’s pretty close. It also can record video in 4K, and features fast-charging. Hopefully, its 4,050mAh battery can help keep that big display running for a relatively long time. The Phab2 Pro comes in champagne gold and gunmetal gray, and included in the box are a pair of JBL earphones.
All of this comes at a price point of $499, and Lenovo says the phone will be globally available in September. In the U.S., the Phab2 Pro will be sold at Best Buy, as well as select Lowe’s stores “nationwide and online” by the end of 2016. Lowe’s may be a strange choice, but it’s because the home improvement retailer has developed a Tango-enabled app called Lowe’s Vision. It lets people “measure spaces and visualize” how furniture and appliances will look in their home.