With bigger, higher-resolution screens, more power guzzling processors, 4G connectivity and the improving capabilities of apps, smartphone battery life has been suffering. Phones do consume much more power than they did even a couple of years ago, and unfortunately, improvements in smartphone battery technology isn’t keeping up with the increased power needs. While the days of seven-day battery life went away with the advent of smartphones, is it too much to expect a smartphone to even go a couple of days between charges?
The Rs 16,999 Lenovo P2 is a strong attempt to address the battery problem, and is the successor to the excellent Lenovo P1, a device that went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that your phone didn’t run out of power too soon. While the P1 had a 4,900mAh battery, the Lenovo P2 packs in a slightly larger 5,100mAh battery, along with other tweaks designed to make the smartphone more battery-efficient. We’ve reviewed the 4GB RAM/32GB internal storage variant, and find out everything you need to know about the Lenovo P2 in our review.
Lenovo P2: The Good
The biggest feature in the Lenovo P2 is obviously its 5100mAh battery, which keeps the phone running for long hours. But what else is there in the Lenovo P2 that helps it stand out in the crowd? Read on to find out the good bits of the P2.
Lenovo P2 Design Big battery phones are usually bulky and often quite obvious about the size of the battery in the phone. This shows either in the form of a big bulge at the back or in the weight of the phone itself, as is the case with the Gionee Marathon series or the older Asus ZenFone Max devices. Even the Lenovo P1 was thick and heavy, but that’s where the Lenovo P2 has an advantage. While certainly thicker and heavier than many devices that are meant to be design-focused, the P2 doesn’t come across as obviously large. It feels like most other 5.5-inch phones, and indeed a lot of its weight and bulk can be blamed on the metal unibody rather than the battery.
The back of the phone is incredibly well laid out, with the phone maintaining its shape through a single slab of metal that wraps around the sides as well. There are thin plastic strips at the top and bottom, while the ports and buttons are in their typical places. The micro-USB port and speaker grilles are at the bottom, the power and volume buttons are on the right and the SIM tray is on the left, with the 3.5mm jack at the top. Just one of the speaker grilles actually houses a speaker, and sound is a bit weak as a result.
Lenovo P2 Display The smartphone features a 5.5-inch full-HD Super AMOLED screen, which is a fairly good choice of screen technology considering that the phone is focused on improving energy efficiency. AMOLED screens are a bit more power-efficient than IPS LCD screens because of the fact that they are able to shut pixels off entirely to produce blacks. This makes for deep blacks and an infinite contrast ratio that helps in ensuring that colors are punchy and well-defined. The P2, as a result, has an excellent screen with strong, punchy colors. Although they can be a bit too inaccurate at times, this definitely makes for a viewing experience that is more vibrant and suited to the viewing preferences of most users. Watching movies and videos on the Lenovo P2 is excellent, and the large battery also ensures a lot of screen-on time that makes the phone excellent for media consumption on the go. Lenovo P2 Specifications and Performance The Lenovo P2 packs in all the right hardware for the price, with 4GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage (expandable via microSD card) and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC. Although there are more affordable phones with nearly similar hardware with the arguably better Snapdragon 650 and 652 SoCs, the Snapdragon 625 has the advantage of being fabricated using the 14nm process. Its eight ARM A53 cores are geared at achieving a greater level of efficiency without compromising too much on performance. This ensures not only high scores in benchmark tests but also great real-world performance that is reliable and usually faultless. Apps and games load quickly, and most casual games work flawlessly. Graphically intensive games do suffer from occasional frame-rate drops, but this doesn’t affect the gaming experience too much. With most apps and multi-tasking, the 4GB of RAM keeps the device running smoothly.
The fingerprint sensor of the phone is on the front, and doubles up as a physical home and gesture-sensitive key. It works even when the phone is asleep, and usually wakes and unlocks the phone quickly and accurately even if you haven’t placed your finger on the sensor properly. The sensor doubles up as a gesture controller which can be used to replace the on-screen Android keys entirely. For example, you can set it to go back with a touch, and a long press will bring up the task switcher. Pressing down on the button serves as a home command. These gestures do take some getting used to, but it does allow you to deactivate the on-screen keys entirely to get a bit more usable screen space. Lenovo P2 Software Although the Lenovo P2 runs the now dated Android Marshmallow, it’s important to note that not a lot of manufacturers have adopted Android Nougat in the mid-range. However, Lenovo has made significant improvements to its user interface, which is now considerably better than what I remember it to be just two years ago. The interface is now much lighter and easier to use thanks to a reduction in bloatware and the option to use a near-stock Android launcher. You can of course switch to Vibe UI whenever you like, but I personally found no reason to do so.
The two-layered near-stock launcher is easy to get around because of the inherent familiarity to it, and the quick toggles and notifications shade is equally well laid out. The settings menu has plenty of options and tweaks that give you a decent amount of customization to the device, and everything runs smoothly with no lag to be spoken of. Lenovo P2 Battery Thanks to the massive 5,100mAh battery under the hood, battery life is never a serious concern with the Lenovo P2. Even with heavy usage, I was able to run the phone for two full days before needing to plug in. With light or even moderate usage, that could go up to around 60 hours and it’s indeed refreshing to be able to use a phone so comfortably and without worry about running out of charge. From watching videos to playing games, very little actually puts a serious dent in the battery percentage.
There is also a battery mode slider on the left, which switches the phone in and out of battery saver mode. When switched on, the phone shuts off its data connection and most functions, keeping only basic functionality such as calling, SMS and contacts active. This lets the phone stretch its battery at times when you’re running extremely low, and the ability to control this with a physical switch is convenient. With battery saver mode running, I was able to stretch less than 10 percent of battery for an entire day, using the phone only for the occasional phone call or to check the time.
Charging the phone is incredibly quick, thanks to the included 24W charging adapter. We were able to top up the phone in less than two hours, which is impressive considering that this is a 5,100mAh battery. The charger of course regulates power delivery based on the level of charge, so you can take short quick bursts of charge if you need to. Twenty minutes of charging added 33 percent of battery, which is enough to last from morning to evening with my usage. If battery life is a key factor in your smartphone purchase, there aren’t many devices that can match the level of efficiency that the Lenovo P2 gives you.
Lenovo P2: The Bad
While the Lenovo P2 is fantastic in some ways, there are other aspects where it doesn’t quite meet expectations. Here’s where the Lenovo P2 falls short.
Lenovo P2 Camera The Lenovo P2 has a 13-megapixel rear camera, with phase detection autofocus and dual-tone LED flash, while the front camera is a 5-megapixel shooter. Video recording at up to 4K resolution is possible with the rear camera, while the front camera can record video at full-HD. All the regular modes are present and accounted for, including Pro, Panorama, Slow Motion, Time Lapse and HDR, while the settings menu also gives you access to a handful of useful tweaks.
All of this sounds good, and the camera is indeed decent. So why am I listing it as one of the cons of the phone? That’s because it doesn’t stand out. Pictures are acceptable, but nothing more. While the images appear to be excellent at first glance, this is because of the AMOLED screen enhancing colors a bit to make them appear good. On closer inspection on a PC, grain is visible while zooming in, and colors tend to appear a bit dull. Shots in daylight won’t give you much to complain about, but low-light pictures are below-average. Detail is lost completely, and bright zones are amplified and oversaturated if you focus on the dark areas. It’s hard to get excellent shots using the Lenovo P2, and I found myself with a whole lot of pictures that weren’t particularly exciting.
The same can be said of the front camera, which is just about acceptable for the occasional selfie, provided you don’t shoot more than 2 selfies a year and both of them are shot with a spotlight on your face. The colors are all wrong and the brightness levels are often excessive. Video recording is just about the only good part of the camera, which gives you detailed and sharp videos at 4K and full-HD. However, on the whole, the camera fails to impress. Lenovo P2 Ports and Connectivity Although some might argue that there’s nothing wrong with the micro-USB standard and there’s no need to do away with it, the reversible type-C standard is just more intuitive and easier to use. It allows the same level of power delivery, and although micro-USB chargers are easier to find, increasing adoption of the Type-C standard even among affordable smartphones such as the Coolpad Cool 1 and LeEco Le 2 means that this will be the trend going forward. Therefore, it’s a bit disappointing that Lenovo have gone with the micro-USB standard on the P2, rather than adopting the newer standard already. While for the time being this won’t create issues, I expect that the same won’t be applicable in a year or so.
Another problem is in the hybrid SIM slot, which unfortunately isn’t limited to just the Lenovo P2. 32GB of storage, while a lot for many people, might be too little for some, necessitating expandable storage. This effectively eliminates your ability to use a second SIM card on the phone, and this choice is an unnecessary limitation on the device.
The Lenovo P2 isn’t a fancy smartphone that has unique and impressive features, nor is it a top-spec device that blows the competition out of the water with cutthroat pricing or anything of the sort. However, it is a capable smartphone that has a single-minded focus towards stretching your battery for as long as realistically possible, without compromising too much in other aspects. Simply put, this is a good phone with a great battery, and that makes it a worthwhile option if battery life is your biggest concern.
With a combination of a giant battery that goes on (figuratively) forever, good specifications, great build and an excellent AMOLED screen to help set it apart in the crowded and competitive mid-range smartphone space. However, the use of the rapidly ageing micro-USB standard for connectivity, as well as the utterly average and unexciting camera are slight blots on an otherwise excellent smartphone. It’s well worth your money today, and definitely the ideal smartphone to buy if you don’t like to have to charge your phone very often.