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Lenovo P2 review

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Lenovo P2 review
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Summary

Our Score:

9

Pros

  • World-leading battery life
  • Great screen and speakers
  • Good performance for price

Cons

  • Mediocre camera
  • Not running latest Android version

Key Features

  • Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor
  • 5.5-inch Full HD Super AMOLED display (401ppi), Gorilla Glass 3
  • 5,100mAh battery
  • Weight: 177g
  • 8.3mm thick
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • 2x Nano SIM
  • Micro-USB, "Rapid Charge", USB OTG charging, 3.5mm audio jack
  • MicroSD up to 256GB (replaces 1 x SIM slot)
  • Manufacturer: Lenovo
  • Review Price: £199.99

What is the Lenovo P2?

The P2 is Lenovo’s biggest phone launch to date in the UK that doesn't feature the Moto branding.

And it isn’t just some no-frills, mid-range phone: the P2 brings something unique to the table in the form of a huge 5,100mAh battery and a sub-£200 price, making it one of the most impressive phones we’ve seen in the past year.

The P2 can only be bought from the Three phone network in the UK, but all the phones are unlocked, so you won’t be stuck on Three if you have a SIM-only contract elsewhere. Note that you'll need to buy the phone with a £10 PAYG SIM, bringing the total cost to £209.99.

WATCH: Lenovo P2 review

Related: Best Budget Phones

Lenovo P2 – Design and Build

Despite the inclusion of an enormous battery, the P2 isn’t as unwieldy as you might expect. Its 177g weight is certainly heavier than many of the 5.5-inch phones on the market, and the handset is by no means slim at 8.3mm.

Nevertheless, I had no problems carrying it in my pocket throughout my week of testing. It might not be so easy for those who wear tighter jeans, though: if you can, we'd suggest you try before you buy.

Lenovo P2 2

For reference, the iPhone 7 Plus has a 5.5-inch screen and comes in at a heavier 188g and a slightly thinner 7.3mm. The P2 is well within the realms of regular size and weight.

The P2 isn’t an outwardly attractive phone, but it feels sturdy. The dark grey metal around the rear of the device doesn’t become greasy and so didn’t pick up marks easily – a big plus. It’s comfortable to hold in the hand, largely thanks to its tapered edges, which disguise its thickness to a degree. The camera sits beneath the chassis, offering some protection against rough surfaces.

The volume rocker and power button are both found along the right edge of the phone and are easy to reach when holding the device right-handed.

The headphone jack is on the top – which, personally, I found irritating but some people may like – while the charging port is at the bottom.

The phone charges over micro-USB, which will be of immense frustration to techies who insist upon the reversible USB Type-C standard these days. However, since Lenovo provides a charger in the box and all your previous phones are likely to have used micro-USB, you’ll probably get over it. I did.

Lenovo P2 5

On the left edge is a battery-saver toggle switch that lets you turn your smartphone into a “dumb” phone by turning off mobile data, disabling apps and only letting you send SMS and make calls.

This switch can’t be changed into a Do Not Disturb switch (as seen on the OnePlus 3 and various iPhones for years), which is actually quite annoying given that easy access to a power-saving mode is about as low on my priorities list as easy access to the FM radio. I would have preferred that this switch could be customised.

It isn't easy to hit by accident, at least; it only juts out slightly from the chassis and has a very deliberate action.

Lenovo P2 6

The left edge also contains the dual SIM card slot. The second SIM slot doubles as a microSD card slot, and can handle up to 256GB of external storage.

On the front, there’s a fingerprint scanner that also acts as a physical home button. There aren’t any soft buttons either side of it, so you’ll still need Android’s on-screen Overview and Back buttons. This in effect means you end up with two Home buttons; one on the screen and one physical.

The fingerprint scanner is very reliable and super-useful for making payments and unlocking the phone. Scanners have become so common on phones these days that it’s hard to recommend a phone without one.

On the top is the front-facing camera and notification LED, which blinks for various unread notifications. Annoyingly, notifications that aren’t missed calls or SMS messages are all highlighted with the same colour LED, which is a weird limitation. The phone ignores other apps that have their own notification LED colour and overrides them.

Lenovo P2 – Display

The P2’s screen is excellent. It’s a 5.5-inch Super AMOLED panel with a Full HD resolution and is protected by a layer of Gorilla Glass 3. Full HD is more than enough for a phone of this size, and you’d be hard-pressed to spot any rough edges here.

Blacks are super-dark – almost completely so – and whites are clean and bright. Colours are punchy and vibrant, and viewing angles are beyond reproach. For the money, there isn't a better phone screen on the market.

Lenovo P2

You can switch between Vibrant and Normal colour modes. I preferred the oversaturated Vibrant, simply because it’s more pleasing to my eye. Others may prefer the realistic, slightly muted tones of the Normal mode.

Usefully, there’s a built-in Night mode that lets you reduce the screen brightness well below the minimum offered by the on-screen adjuster. At its absolute lowest, the screen is almost impossible to read when in a lit room. But it’s a brilliant idea when you want to read in bed without disturbing your partner or searing your eyes.

James Osborne

February 2, 2017, 3:14 pm

A much better review than Techradar in terms of accuracy.

A couple of points to mention having owned this (excellent) phone for 2 weeks:

-The phone houses a single speaker, the other port houses a microphone.
-12 hours of screen on time is accurate in my experience, using black backgrounds/themes helps with OLED displays.
-The camera software is actually the issue, not the sensor. Using Open Camera you will get a much better photograph, there's some sort of issue with the post process the default app does, it's awful.
-Three (exclusive for 3 months) only stocks the 32GB/4GB variant for those in the UK.

It should also be noted there are some bugs:
-Camera software is junk, use Open Camera until they (hopefully) fix it.
-There's a bug with WhatsApp recorded audio, the noise cancelling microphone seems to be OTT and destroys the audio.
-There is a VERY annoying bug with lip-sync on streaming services like YouTube, Netflix, Sky. It's dependant on the way it was encoded, it's marginally out but very distracting. For me the biggest issue with the phone.
-On the theme of the above Sky Go and Sky Q is pretty much unwatchable due to weird frame rates and lip-sync. A royal pain.

There is presently in my mind a question mark over Lenovo and how they will support the device where Nougat and bug fixes are concerned.

It's a shame it's a Three exclusive as it has the potential to be one of the most important phones to the masses in the last few years, the battery, screen, quality and price are superb.

AndyB

February 16, 2017, 12:02 am

"There aren’t any soft buttons either side of it, so you’ll still need Android’s on-screen Overview and Back buttons. This in effect means you end up with two Home buttons; one on the screen and one physical."

What a mistake - no buttons and yet there will be plenty of space either side of the home button just sitting there asking to be used for buttons. Hopeless. This buttonless design needs to be dropped very quickly.

Mr.Flying Zoom3rz

March 8, 2017, 4:29 pm

I have the phone too, mine is also the 4/32 UK version and I can confirm all of what you said. My last battery stats: 100 to 15% 11h16m screen on time with 2h gaming. Wifi and 4g mixed, on a single charge for over 4 days. I see some on xda are sharing ridiculous results like 15 or even 18 h SOT, either they only read emails, facebook, ebooks and making calls this is not a result based on a regular power user's usage. I'm a power user, lots of apps and games here, I would say that 11-12h SOT is the average for people like me.

Martin Pritchard

March 8, 2017, 11:11 pm

Shame they've merged one of the SIM slots with the SD slot. On the P1 (which I have) all three are separate (and in my case, occupied). The P1 also had soft buttons either side of the fingerprint scanner.
I don't use my phone an awful lot, so battery life is truly bonkers. My old phone (a Samsung B2710) used to manage 7-10 days between charges, and the P1 (with its 5000mAh battery) does about the same. If you're after a smartphone that doesn't leave you tethered to the charger, these Lenovos fit the bill.

SmeeMark

March 14, 2017, 11:23 am

I bought a P2 on a contract with THREE in the UK.

Initially, I raved about this phones value, battery life and performance ... UNTIL I tried making videos / conversing on Whatsapp, Skype, Viber, etc.,....

The Microphone has SERIOUS issues with noise cancelling and stops the person at the other end hearing YOU :(

There are SO many complaints about this and Lenovo Mods on support forums kept pretending this was 'unusual' / 'unheard of' despite numerous threads - with suggestions to "factory reset, try in safe mode"....

This Lenovo and similar Lenovo devices ALL have this REALLY product spoiling fault and Lenovo should not be selling any more, until it is resolved.

I have complained to Director level at Three as Lenovo's UK repair centre - an 01603 Norwich number isn't even being answered - when Three try to connect or when I try directly.

I'll be the first to recommend it - if they'd just get this mic issue solved ... Folks smarter than me say an OTA update could sort it

Until then ..AVOID - until resolved .. A great shame - as I used this phone as a back up to my Samsung Note 5 - a great phone with useless battery life - if you use video calls / GPS.

SmeeMark

March 15, 2017, 8:41 pm

Update: Update : Three say they've never heard of this issue, but agreed to swap the phone and Lenovo had admitted the issue and will release a bug fix - but when we get it depends on the air-time provider rolling out updates !

Replacement phone arrived and it does not seem to have the issues with noice cancellation.. I just copied over my apps from a Samsung Galaxy Note 5 using the NFC transfer protocol and not not any updates on the OS - currently running 6.1

Build number: P2a42_SO56_161130_UK

Lukov Murray

March 20, 2017, 4:35 am

do you know which ram spec the one from 3 has? is it the 3gb or 4gb?

SmeeMark

March 20, 2017, 6:35 am

My replacement is 4GB
Build P2a42_So56_161130_UK

So far so good on the mic issue...have just copied back my apps - running 6.1 Android

Mark Lahn

April 12, 2017, 1:01 pm

Shame the price seems to have increased by 50% since it launched, £300 seems to be the price now? :(

Trevor Brierley

April 14, 2017, 3:12 pm

I'd buy one for £200 - but I can't find one except from 3

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