Augmented reality on a smartphone! (UPDATED)

I've posted about Google tango before. It's in this very blog. Click here if you missed it. Anyway this is an update to that.
The first phone to have Google tango was the Lenovo phab 2 pro.
The specs weren't listed back then, now they're available. This is kind of a review of the dope Lenovo phablet, phab 2 pro.


Design: There phone's a phablet, so it ought to be of a large form factor. Holding this guy on one hand is the same expertise as the earlier tablets, bulky and slippery. But you can't complain as it's meant to be big. It's made out of powder coated magnesium with nice chamfers around the edges. It's quite bulky door today's standards coming in at 10 mm thickness and 259 gm heft! Yeah, one handed use is out of the picture. But it feels premium though, with neat cut corners and well a finished body.
Both the volume rocker and the power button are on the right side, and port array is on the bottom. It still has microUSB port, not USB type-C which is surprising.

Display: The phone is rocking a huge 6.4' QHD IPS LCD panel at 344 ppi. The display is made of 2.5D curved glass and looks great as expected. The display is great for viewing content no doubt and the speakers are loud enough. I don't really like loud music through the speaker on a smartphone, I'm gonna use headphones anyway. The audio is good in both cases. The display is plenty bright but not as sharp as you might've thought a quad-HD would be. 6 inches of screen loses a lot of clarity over that pixel density. And the colors are just OK. Not the greatest panel out there.
The only thing that's maintained well is the viewing angles for which the IPS panel is famous. That's something to appreciate on an augmented reality capable smartphone!


Performance: The phab 2 has some pretty good specs:
  • Snapdragon 652 octacore processor
  • 1.8GHz clock speed
  • Adreno 510 GPU
  • 4GB DDR4 RAM
  • 64GB onboard storage expandable upto 256GB via microSD card.
  • Android 6.0 marshmallow (near stock UI)

Performance is great, but sadly a bit underrated because cheaper phones are out there with the similar spec sheet like the Mi max, Redmi note 3 etc. This can be used for gaming but it isn't exactly meant for that. Best part is that there is no heating issues even after long periods of gaming.
Let's look at the main course, augmented reality with Google tango. That goes to the camera department.



Camera: The phone has a 16 mp rear sensor with f/2.0 aperture and a depth sensor with it. And of course LED flash. The front camera is an 8 mp sensor with f/2.2 aperture. Both camera sensors are excellent for day to day photo and video requirements that you might have. Images maintain good dynamic range with nice separation between shadows and dark objects because of the depth sensor. That's all good but let's get to the AR part! 

Augmented reality means bringing animated objects in the space that you see on your camera's viewfinder. Like a bird or a dinosaur maybe, or virtual domino's on your floor. Something similar to Pokemon GO. The depth sensor is able to measure the height and width if the objects and you can recreate your own objects in that frame! There are a large amount of preinstalled objects in the app. How amazing is that!! It's even being implemented into gaming! If you thought virtual reality was cool, you have got to try augmented reality. No crazy headbands or goggles, just use your smartphone camera's viewfinder as your vision. You can mount it on a nerf gun and hunt down AR aliens and monsters by running around on a live map. Imagine playing counter strike on augmented reality some day, with real running and ducking virtual bullets, grenades, picking up guns and stuff!! Epic, that's all I can describe about the experience.

Battery: Augmented reality and all is cool but what about battery life?! Well, Lenovo had got your back with a 4050 mAh battery. A benefit if such a huge form factor on a phone. Standby is great and usage is also pretty good. You get about 4 hrs of continuous usage out of it. Quick charging is also supported.

Price: This phone retails for 33,500 INR. Hefty price, I know. But you're getting the world's first and currently the world's ONLY augmented reality smartphone! Guess it's worth for some to have a giant phone for a giant price just to show off Google's Tango. Personally I think it's too bulky door comfortable usage since one handed use is literally impossible. But then again, it's not meant to be used that way!

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