Hands-on with the Lenovo Phab Plus, a most phabulous phablet

Phablet phans, Lenovo has the perfect phone for you: a 6.8-inch mammoth called the Phab Plus

Everyone has that one friend who wants a tablet-sized smartphone. You may shake your head in bewilderment when you hear a die-hard phablet lover say that 5.7 inches is just too small for a phone, but some companies perk right up in agreement when they hear that. A 7-inch phone, they say? Well, sure, we can make you one of those!

Lenovo first showed me the Phab Plus in Barcelona in March when it was still a random idea in development. Fast forward to September, and Lenovo is sending its massive, 6.8-inch phablet out into the wild. Call it crazy, call it absurd, call it whatever you like — the Phab Plus is the most phabulous phablet on steroids we’ve ever seen. Despite the fact that it’s only coming to China, it’s intriguing.

So we spent some time with the Phab Plus, so you can answer your phablet-obsessed friend when he asks you, “Has anyone made a really big phone yet?”

It looks like a 6.8-inch iPhone

So long as you don’t hold the Phab Plus up to your face, it feels almost normal. Lenovo slimmed it down, so that it’s relatively easy to hold (for a 6.8-inch phone). Instead of making it wide, Lenovo made the Phab Plus tall. And its bezels are slim, so there’s no wasted space. Other 7-inch phablet like the Asus FonePad 7 have insanely chunky bezels and look more like tablets.

Lenovo’s Phab Plus is gorgeous, and as crazy as it sounds, it looks like a phone. A ginormous insane phone, to be sure, but a phone nonetheless. It has an aluminum back, which gives the Phab Plus the look and feel of a really big iPhone or a really slim iPad Mini. It even has the same rounded corners and clean lines. The only big differences beyond the size are the Dolby Atmos speakers on the back and the Lenovo logo. You can get it in either gunmetal or platinum finishes.

The Phab Plus is the most phabulous phablet on steroids we’ve ever seen.

Obviously, using this mega phone one-handed isn’t the easiest task, but in case you want to or have to, Lenovo made a one-handed mode that actually works quite well. If you draw a C on the display, the 6.8-inch screen will slide down to one corner of the screen in a smaller size. You can then navigate at will, and even make it bigger or smaller, depending on what your needs are. To go back to full-screen mode, you just tap the escape button in the corner of your mini window. Most of the time, you’ll want to wield the phablet with two hands, though.

It’s impossible to say that the Phab Plus is the most comfortable or practical phone we’ve ever held, but that’s not the point. If you wanted a phone that you can hold easily, you wouldn’t be reading about a 6.8-inch phablet. Considering how large the Phab Plus is, it’s the most manageable 6.8-to-7-inch phablet we’ve ever held.

Mid-range specs

Speaking of the 6.8-inch screen, it’s got a Full HD 1,920 × 1,080 pixel resolution, and it looks quite bright and crisp. Although the larger screen would have looked incredible with a higher resolution, 1080p will suffice. The large display is ideal for people who like to stream video on their phones, read ebooks or articles, draw, and play games. If you’ve ever complained that Samsung’s Galaxy Note series has a screen that’s too small, you’ll be tickled to death by all that screen real estate.

Lenovo PHAB and PHAB Plus

Malarie Gokey/Digital Trends

The rest of the specs are more mid-range, as Lenovo wanted to keep the cost down for the Phab Plus. After all, it’s bound for China and will serve a very specific segment of smartphone buyers. A 64-bit, octa-core, Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor and 2GB of RAM power the phablet. In our brief hands on, the Phab Plus seemed zippy enough, though it bears more testing. Lenovo was generous with 32GB of internal storage, which can be expanded by 64GB via the MicroSD card slot.

The large display is ideal for people who like to stream video on their phones.

The cameras are rather high-res for a $300 phone. We’ve got a 13-megapixel main camera with auto-focus and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera with fixed focus. We’ll need to test the cameras out further for our full review of the Phab Plus, but images at first blush seem good.

Finally, the Phab Plus has a decent-sized 3,500mAh battery, but we wish it were bigger. Although it’s reasonable enough, larger screens eat up more energy, and it would have been good to amp up the battery. Sacrifices must be made to keep this huge phone manageable, of course, and a bulky battery would have been a different sort of compromise. We’ll let you know how well the battery holds up in real-world testing soon.

Conclusion

Lenovo’s Phab Plus is not for the faint of heart. If you buy this massive phone, you’ll have to be bold enough to take selfies with it, carry it in your bag, and hold it to your face when making phone calls. We suspect that phablet phans who’ve been waiting all their lives for a 7-inch phone have thought about all these tradeoffs quite a bit.

If you’ve been lusting after massive phablets for years, Lenovo’s Phab Plus will have you booking a flight to China to pick one up today. If you’re like most people, it’ll have you busting a gut laughing. But hey, haters gonna hate. Let your phablet phlag phly. Lenovo’s Phab Plus is a whole lot of phone for $300.

We look forward to reviewing the massive Phab Plus from Lenovo in the near future.

Highs

  • Solid mid-range specs
  • Massive screen for phablet phans
  • Premium build quality

Lows

  • 6.8-inch screen isn’t for everyone
  • It’s only coming to China
Photography

The 2019 class of camera phones is great, and we tested them to find the best

It's the middle of the year, which means it's time for a mid-year camera shootout to find the best among our top phones of 2019. We pit six phones against each other, including the OnePlus 7 Pro, Pixel 3a, and Galaxy S10 Plus.
Product Review

Diesel On Full Guard 2.5 watch has killer looks but deadly battery life

Diesel’s no-holds-barred watch designs are awesome, so we hold its new smartwatch to a similarly high standard. While Diesel holds its end of the deal up, the On Full Guard 2.5 is let down by the battery and Wear OS.
Product Review

The Nokia 4.2’s performance never lets you forget it’s only $189

The Nokia 4.2 has good battery life, uncluttered Android One software that delivers fast updates, and a design and build that doesn’t match its $189 price tag. But performance throws the phone under the bus.
Deals

How to watch UFC Fight Night 154: Moicano vs. Korean Zombie on ESPN Plus

UFC is coming to South Carolina this Saturday, with Fight Night 154 featuring a featherweight bout between Renato Moicano and Chan Sung Jung. If you’re looking for a way to stream the bloody action online, then ESPN Plus is what you need.
Deals

Apple’s 10.5-inch iPad Air with Wi-Fi is on sale now at Walmart

Now that Summer is here, it's the perfect time to catch up on summer reading, play video games, and relax. Walmart is having a great deal on Apple's 10.5-inch iPad Air with Wi-Fi that will save you $30.
Home Theater

YouTube now gives you more control over the videos it picks for you

If you've ever wished for greater control over the videos that YouTube suggests, it's your lucky day: The company is bringing new features that let you see more of what you like and less of the stuff that bugs you.
Mobile

Apple News wants to tell you all about the Democratic presidential candidates

The Democratic Presidential Debates are just around the corner. You probably are familiar with a few of them, but knowing all of them is tough. Apple News is offering a simple and easy-to-read guide on the field.
Deals

Walmart drops $100 discount on the Samsung Galaxy S10 smartphone

If you’re looking to buy a premium smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S10 is a solid bet. Right now, Walmart is offering the unlocked version of this model (Prism Black, 128GB) at a $100 discount. Order yours today for only $800.
Mobile

Samsung could launch a clamshell-style foldable phone in 2020, report says

While Samsung attempts to remedy its issues with the Galaxy Fold, the company may be planning a second foldable phone, which could launch as soon as the first half of next year, according to a new report.
Android

Google will now auto-delete your location history (if you tell it to)

Under fire for the sheer amount of personal data it collects, Google will finally allow you to auto-delete your activity and location history, the company said. Google will roll out similar deletion controls for web and app activity soon.
Mobile

Best Prime Day smartphone deals: What we expect from Amazon in 2019

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is almost here, and it's set to be a big one. The event will include some pretty sweet deals on smartphones. If you're on the market for a smartphone, Prime Day might be the time to buy. Here are the best Prime Day…
Mobile

Safeguard that Sony widescreen with one of the best Xperia 1 cases

If you have a lovely new Sony Xperia 1, then you'll want to make sure that curved glass back and stunning widescreen are well protected. We have identified the best Sony Xperia 1 cases and covers for you right here.
Mobile

iPadOS paves the way to a better future for Apple’s tablet

Apple’s iPads are the best tablets around, and they’re getting even better with the forthcoming software update that will convert the operating system from iOS to iPadOS. We dive into some of the best features in iPadOS, coming this…
Deals

Need a new tablet? Here are the best Apple iPad deals for June 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for June 2019.