Try­ing to Tango

Len­ovo Phab 2 Pro

HWM (Malaysia) - - UNLOCKED - by Ian Chee

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.

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