Trying to Tango
Lenovo Phab 2 Pro
CONCLUSION The Phab 2 Pro comes with Tango support as a bonus, but is otherwise a very capable phone on its own.
Google has always had very big ideas, and one of them is Project Tango, the company’s endeavor to bring augmented reality (AR) into the mainstream. Until today, there are only two phones that support this tech, and this month, we’ll be taking a look at the first among them, the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro.
To start with, we’d have to note its massive size. While it’s not really thick by smartphone’s standards, a 6.4-inch display is a massive one, even if you subscribe to the belief that bigger is better. Fortunately, the display is stuffed with pixels for you to ogle at, what with it being a QHD IPS display.
As with the many smartphone reviews we’ve done in the past, there’s quite a bit to talk about regarding the device itself. But since this one comes with Tango (which only one other phone in the market supports), we’ll be talking about that instead. As mentioned, Tango is Google’s way of bringing AR into the mainstream, via smartphones. And with this new tech, you might imagine that it would have lots of growing pains, and its growth would be a slow one. While that may be the case, we’re pleasantly surprised by the number of apps that has been made available for Tango.
Going through them, we find one called Dinosaurs Among Us, made by the American Museum of Natural History. This app lets you place up to five polygons shaped like one of five bird- like dinosaurs. They don’t move much, and you can’t pit them to battle each other either. While it does seem pretty limited as to what you can do with the app, it should still be able to provide some fun to dinosaur-loving kids.
Going with a practical AR app, there’s Measure, the only pre-installed app. This, as the name suggests, lets you take measurements of things you see in the real world. That said, due to a number of limitations, you’d want to stay at the exact same location as you are making the measurements, and you’ll also have to get very creative if you intend take threedimensional measurements of an object that is not completely symmetrical.
But even if you’re not getting the Phab 2 Pro for Tango, it’s still plenty capable as a smartphone on its own. Running our usual list of benchmarks, the Phab 2 Pro is capable of obtaining scores of 867 and 17,923 on 3DMark’s Sling Shot Extreme and Ice Storm Unlimited, 4,691 on PCMark’s Work 2.0, 80,517 and 38,822 on AnTuTu and Quadrant, and an average of 38.5 fps on Epic Citadel running on QHD and Ultra High Quality.
CONCLUSION The Sony Xperia XA1 inherits everything that the XA was, with the expected one step ahead.
Nearly a year after the Xperia XA showed up alongside the Xperia X and XA Ultra, the next generation of Sony phones are here, spearheaded by the Xperia XZs that you read about last month. Naturally, we’ll be comparing the XA1 to its direct predecessor, the XA. And while they look quite the same on the outside, the bits that matter on the inside have improved quite a fair bit.
As we just mentioned, on the outside it’s much the same as before, albeit with a few slight tweaks. You still get the very narrow form factor – nearly bezel-less on the sides, but massive amounts of unused space on the top and bottom. It does give the impression that it’s a Compact phone, but that moniker goes to the Xperia X Compact this generation. Regardless, you get the same experience in terms of handling as the Xperia XA – the 5-inch form factor fits very nicely and comfortably in your hand, and onehanded usage and operation comes very naturally. But on the flip side, it takes up as much space as any other 5-inch form factor phone would, thanks to its height.
When it comes to specifications, you get a MediaTek Helio P20 SoC, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, a massively improved 23MP main shooter and an 8MP secondary camera, all of which are a step up from the previous Xperia XA. That said, some things did stay put, like the HD (1,280 x 720) resolution and the 2,300mAh battery. That said, we’re looking at an overall improvement in performance, both on paper and in actual use.
On operational performance, using our usual benchmarks, the Xperia XA1 obtained scores of 654,
While there are a surprising amount of apps available, all of them are pretty rudimentary. They should still provide some amount of fun when you’re commuting.
Nice to see that you don’t have to choose between a second Nano-SIM card or a microSD card.