Lenovo P2 full review
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If there’s been one universal feature of the smartphone era, it’s been battery gripes. Charging your device on a daily basis has become the norm, and almost all of us have a portable battery pack sitting around for when we can’t get to a charger in time. That’s where the Lenovo P2 comes in, offering solid specs and performance, an attractive price point, and what Lenovo claims is a whopping three-day battery life - find out how it performs in our Lenovo P2 review.
But can the P2 live up to Lenovo’s claims, or does it simply run out of juice? We’ve spent a week putting the phone through its paces, and we think it might be one of the best mid-range Android phones around.
Lenovo P2 review: UK Price and availability
The Lenovo P2 is currently available exclusively through Three in the UK, and you can buy it on Pay As You Go for just £199.99, which is great value given the phone’s specs and build quality, which we’ll go into later. You can also grab it on a 24-month contract, starting at £18 per month with no upfront cost.
That puts the P2 in the same sort of price band as the Honor 6X, currently available for £225, and the Moto G4, which you can grab for £159, and we compare the phones' respective performance in a little more detail below.
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It’s worth bearing in mind that the P2 comes with varying specs and colours depending on the region - but right now, the UK release is limited to the grey model with 32GB of storage and 4GB of RAM.
Lenovo P2 review: Design and build
For a £200 phone, the Lenovo P2 looks and feels a lot better than you might expect. It boasts a metal body that leaves it feeling much more expensive than it really is, and the Lenovo branding is kept to a fairly subdued logo on the bottom of the phone’s rear side. The UK is getting a graphite grey model with a black front, though other regions are also getting it in champagne gold. The width of 8.5mm is impressively slight given the supercharged battery they’ve had to squeeze in, while the weight of 177g is fairly typical for a phone with a metal body.
The 5.5in screen feels generous without making the phone uncomfortably large, and there are fairly slim bezels at the side of the screen. Otherwise the front of the phone boasts a speaker and camera at the top, and a fingerprint sensor button at the bottom, while the rear has the main camera and flash, and that’s about it. Elsewhere there are the usual power and volume buttons, microphone and speakers, 3.5mm headphone port, dual SIM and microSD slot, and an extra button to switch on a power saving mode - more on that later.
The overall impression is a phone that hides its price point well, and in terms of build it would be hard to argue that you aren’t getting your money’s worth, so we’re pretty impressed.
Lenovo P2 review: Features, specs and hardware
The Lenovo P2’s headline feature is no doubt the massive 5100mAh battery, which is among the biggest we’ve seen in a smartphone yet. Lenovo boasts that the P2 can manage a full three days of usage from a single charge, but we were sceptical - until we actually gave it a go. After 72 hours of standard usage (including checking emails, listening to music, Bluetooth, GPS-intensive apps like Google Maps, and even a one-and-a-half hour video Skype call) the P2 was still ticking along with a few percent left in the tank. Even after just a week of using the phone, it was a huge relief to find ourselves no longer worrying about battery life or planning around the next charge - in that sense the P2 felt totally reliable.
It’s equipped with fast charging via Micro-USB with a compatible charger, and you’ll want it - all that extra battery capacity means extra charging time. Still, you can top it up with about 10 percent in 15 minutes, which should be enough to keep it running for eight or nine hours. If you want to keep it running for even longer, a flick of a small switch on the left side of the case will activate ‘Ultimate Power Saver’, which essentially dumbs your phone down - you’re left with the ability to send and receive calls and texts, and use simple apps like the clock (for your all-important alarms), calculator and calendar, but that’s it. It also tells you how long your battery will last while you stay in this mode - with 80 percent of battery left, it predicted another 81 hours of charge. It’s worth noting that when we tested the phone’s battery and kept it running for three days that was without using the power saver mode - so in theory you could keep it going for even longer.
Lenovo is actually so confident in the P2’s battery that the phone can even double up as a power bank for your other devices. It comes with an included USB-to-Micro-USB adapter so that you can connect your phone directly into another phone, tablet, smart watch or other gadget and share some of its battery power. In our testing it didn’t seem to charge other devices especially quickly, but it could be a great save if you find yourself in a pinch, and could save you from lugging a power bank around with you.
Getting beyond the battery, the rest of the P2’s innards are pretty typical for the mid-range market. It’s probably no surprise that it uses a relatively power-friendly 2.0GHz Snapdragon 625 processor - it’s not going to come top in any performance charts, but it’s plenty for most purposes, and together with the 4GB of RAM it means day-to-day usage feels fast and responsive. You also get Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, 4G, and 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi - pretty much what you'd expect from a smartphone these days. As for storage, you get 32GB, but that’s expandable with a microSD card - though that will take one of the two SIM card slots, so if you want to use it as a dual-SIM phone, you’ll have to make do with the internal storage.
In benchmarks, the Lenovo P2 offers similar performance to the Honor 6X and the Moto G4, two of the other phones we recommend around this price, and does comparatively well on the graphics tests in particular. With roughly equivalent performance and pricing, the P2's exceptional battery life makes a pretty compelling argument for picking it up.
The two cameras are also pretty typical for a mid-range Android device, with 13MP for the rear camera and 5MP for the front. Photos are crisp and bright, and look great on the bright AMOLED display, but don’t expect anything exceptional - not that you should, given the price. There is also a ‘quick snap’ feature that lets you take a photo when the phone is asleep by double tapping either volume button - great for photographing something in a rush, though don’t expect pixel perfect photos from it.
Lenovo P2 review: Software and apps
The P2 comes with Android 6.0 (aka Marshmallow) pre-installed, but we don’t know if or when it might get an update to the more recent Nougat version. It runs a version of the OS that’s pretty close to stock, but with a few minor tweaks - mostly to allow you some extra customisation. There are some new power management tools to help keep the battery going for even longer, some minor changes to the app drawer and a few extra settings dotted around here and there. You can also map the Android navigation buttons to the fingerprint sensor (touch for back, press down the button for home, and long press to open your recent tasks), saving you some precious screen real estate.
It’s mostly pretty minimal, so there’s not too much running on top of the base Android OS, which helps keep things fast and battery-friendly. It does come pre-installed with a fair few apps you might not be interested in, like Three inTouch and Lenovo's SHAREit and SYNCit, along with the likes of Deezer and Amazon, but these are all easy to uninstall, so there's no need to keep them on the device if you don't want to.
Lenovo P2: Specs
- Android Marshmallow 6.0
- 5.5in 1920x1080 Super AMOLED touchscreen, 403ppi
- 2.0GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor
- Adreno 506 graphics
- 4GB RAM
- 32GB internal storage, up to 128GB microSD
- 13MP main camera, with PDAF and single LED flash, support for 4K video at 30fps
- 5MP front camera
- 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
- Bluetooth 4.1
- 4G LTE
- Dual nano-SIM
- 5100mAh non-removable battery