Lenovo P2

Is three day battery life truly possible?

VERDICT

The Lenovo P2 offers incredible battery life and still manages to tick off all the other aspects you’d want from a fantastic budget phone. If you’re looking for a phone that lasts over two days, the Lenovo P2 is for you.

PROS:

  • Phenomenal battery life,Attractive metal build,Gorgeous display for the money

CONS:

  • Heavy and quite large,Limited camera,Annoying battery saver switch

Short battery life is still one of the biggest complaints people have about their phones in 2017, but Lenovo may have just solved that problem with its latest cheap handset.

The company claims the Lenovo P2 will last you three days and not skimp on other areas to be able to do it.

Many companies claim to have phenomenal battery life on their phones, but don’t always make good on that claim. Yet the Lenovo P2 really does last a long time, and it’s a great phone in a lot of other ways too. So should this be your next budget buy, or does it have hidden faults?

Lenovo P2 price and release date

  • The Lenovo P2 price is £199 (about $250, AU$330)
  • Only out in the UK for now, no news on Australia or US
  • Exclusive to Three for those in the UK

The Lenovo P2 may have mid-range specs on paper, but it has a fairly low-end price. In the UK it costs £199 (about $250, AU$330) putting it in the same price bracket as the Moto G4 Plus .

Those in the UK will find themselves restricted to Three, as it’s an exclusive to the network.

There’s currently no word on whether it will come to the US or Australia, which suggests it may never come to either of those markets. Why Lenovo hasn’t seen fit to bring it to the US or Australia is unclear – we’ll be sure to update this review if we hear word of the P2 landing in those countries.

Design and display

  • Premium feel full metal unibody design
  • Annoying placement of battery saver mode switch
  • 5.5-inch Full HD display that’s great for watching video or playing games

Most phones with a similar price to the Lenovo P2 don’t have a full metal unibody, and especially not one that feels as premium as this phone.

Other people who see you using the P2 won’t be able to tell it’s a budget device, but it’s got more than just good looks, as it feels quality too, and there are rounded corners that mean it doesn’t feel sharp on the palm of your hand. The design is very reminiscent of the Huawei Mate 9 , but it’s a little bit smaller.

It’s still large though – those with smaller hands may struggle to reach some parts of the phone. If you’re used to a larger phone you’ll find this easy to grip, but those who generally use smaller devices may struggle.

Considering the size of the battery in the Lenovo P2, the company has managed to keep the device surprisingly slim.

The iPhone 7 is considered thin at 7.1mm and we’ve seen even thinner devices than that, but at 8.3mm thick the Lenovo P2 is far from fat, and it’s worth sacrificing a slightly slimmer design for the added battery life on offer here.

It’s worth noting how heavy the P2 is though – it feels weighty in the hand and at 177g, it’s on the heavier end of the spectrum. For example, the Moto G4 Plus doesn’t have a metal design or a large battery so only weighs 155g.

There’s a home button below the screen, with a built-in fingerprint scanner. It works quickly and is in a good place to tap when waking the phone. A fingerprint scanner this good is another feature you won’t always get at this price point.

The volume rocker and power button are on the right edge, and are easy to reach when you have the phone in your hand.

On the left edge there’s a flick switch, similar to the silent toggle on an iPhone, which activates a power saver mode. It’s a useful feature if you often want to save on battery life.

It’s in an awkward place though, as we regularly found ourselves clicking it by mistake when taking the P2 out of our pocket. This can get irritating, especially as it turns off some connectivity options such as Bluetooth and disconnects any other devices you have connected to the P2.

This is a minor gripe with the Lenovo P2’s design though and everything else is generally in a good place and feels more premium than the phone’s price suggests.

The front of the Lenovo P2 features a bright 5.5-inch Full HD AMOLED display. It comes in at 401 pixels-per-inch, which again, is good for the price.

You can still buy 720p phones with large screens for £199 (about $250, AU$330) so this is a strong setup.

The P2’s display is also bright, has a good color range and you won’t be disappointed when watching video on it. Viewing angles on the P2 are good as well.

The large size of the display may be a problem for some, but we liked it as it offered a large picture when watching movies or playing games.

Interface and reliability

  • Running Android 6, no word on Android 7 update
  • Comes with Lenovo’s software, looks attractive and is simple to use
  • Search within the app drawer is a very useful feature

The Lenovo P2’s software doesn’t look like stock Android, but it doesn’t have a bad looking design and it’s almost as intuitive and simple as stock Android.

In fact, Lenovo’s software adds a few extra features to the mix that you may find useful.

Unlike some other software overlays, (we’re looking at you, Huawei) this comes with an app drawer so you can organize your main screens a touch better.

Entering the app drawer gives a clear view of everything you have downloaded in alphabetical order. There’s also a search bar in the top left corner, which we found ourselves using time and time again to find apps in a hurry.

Next to that it also includes your most recently used apps. If you’ve just closed down Spotify, it’ll appear here for you to open it up again in only two taps from the home screen.

The Lenovo software also warns you when particular apps are running in the background and using a lot of power. It will say, for example “Spotify is using a lot of power” and give you the option to close it down.

The reliability of the phone was also great – in our week using the P2 we didn’t find the software crashed and it didn’t give us any other issues. That’s good as sometimes at this price point you can find a lot of app crashes in day-to-day use.

The Lenovo P2 comes with Android 6 Marshmallow. It’s a shame Lenovo didn’t push the boat out and include Android 7 Nougat on day one, but it’s likely to come to the phone in the future with an over-the-air update.

Music, movies and gaming

  • Basic media apps but lots of space to download alternatives
  • Good media spec as well as 32GB or 64GB storage options
  • MicroSD support for cards up to 256GB too

Listening to music on the Lenovo P2 is an enjoyable but not exceptional experience. There’s a speaker grille at the bottom of the phone that plays OK audio but won’t perform as well as the setup on the ZTE Axon 7 Mini or an HTC phone boasting BoomSound.

There’s a 3.5mm headphone jack on the top of the phone for when you want to use wired headsets, and you’ll be able to connect Bluetooth headsets for wireless audio as well.

When using Bluetooth we didn’t find any connection issues that you’d not find on any other phone you’d buy in 2017 – audio was a little patchy on occasion though.

The app to play music isn’t stunning on the Lenovo P2 and only allows you to play audio you’ve uploaded to the phone, so we’d recommend downloading a streaming service as well.

The Lenovo P2 works well for movies, as it boasts the audio options listed above as well as a Full HD 5.5-inch screen to watch your videos on.

The video app works well, but again isn’t anything special. It’s easy to use for video clips you’ve uploaded to the phone, and you’ll have lots of space to do so.

We used the 32GB version of the Lenovo P2 and found the operating system itself took up just over 8GB of the phone’s space. That leaves 24GB of storage to play with for apps, files and games, which should be plenty for most users.

If you need extra space, the P2 supports microSD cards of up to 256GB. That’s a lot of extra space if you decide to go out and buy a card.

For gaming, we found the Lenovo P2 to be similarly competent, and considering the price, this is probably one of the best budget phones out there for gaming on the go.

Playing Lara Croft Go was an enjoyable experience, as the P2 has a large screen and under the hood it performed well. There wasn’t any stuttering and we found the game loaded quickly.

Benchmarks and performance

  • Packing a Snapdragon 625 chipset that did OK in benchmarks
  • Either 3GB or 4GB of RAM

The Lenovo P2 sports Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 625, a system-on-a-chip we haven’t been all that impressed by when it was used in past phones such as the Huawei Nova or Moto Z Play .

But we found the 2GHz octa-core setup to be impressive throughout our testing of the P2, despite it being a substantially cheaper phone. It’s well optimized on this device and did well in our benchmarking.

There are three versions of the Lenovo P2, two with 4GB of RAM and either 32GB or 64GB of storage and another with only 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage.

In our testing we had the chance to use a 4GB of RAM version and found the phone to be very powerful considering the price point. It didn’t crash at any time and it managed to run some high-end games.

The Lenovo P2 averaged a score of 2971 in our Geekbench 4 benchmarking test, which is a good score for a phone of this price. It’s not the best result we’ve ever seen at this sort of level though, as the similarly priced Moto G4 Plus managed to average 3047.

That said, this is still a good option and you won’t be disappointed by the power behind the Lenovo P2.

Battery life

  • Incredible battery that will last a solid two days with above average use
  • A huge 5,100mAh cell inside and great battery saver mode
  • Did well in our video test, but does particularly well during general use

The standout feature the Lenovo P2 is its battery life – we were bowled over by how long this phone can last on a single charge.

That’s largely down to its 5,100mAh battery, which is far higher capacity than most phones at any price.

But to be clear, we didn’t find the Lenovo P2 stood up to the company’s claim of three day life. Instead it lasted around two and a bit days with medium to heavy usage.

But that’s still a big jump up from most other devices out there. Most smartphones in 2017 will only last you one day, and some won’t even be capable of doing that with heavy usage.

For example, the Moto G4 Plus only usually lasted us a day between charges in our review, and sometimes struggled to even make it through the whole day if we’d been pushing it hard.

Average use of the Lenovo P2 meant we could take it off charge at 9am on one day and it would be only down to 58% by the time we went to bed that evening. We didn’t put it on charge then, and by the end of the next day of normal usage we found the P2 had 24% left over.

That means it wouldn’t last another full day, but it would be able to last at least another half day of average use.

When we ran the video battery test – where we play a 90 minute clip at full brightness with connectivity on – the Lenovo P2 also did well and only dropped 8% of its charge.

The Moto G4 Plus dropped 17% while the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge – a phone with great battery life – fell down 14% during the test.

Don’t believe how good the battery life on the Lenovo P2 is? Take a look at the video below where we pit the P2 against the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge .

If you’re frustrated with the battery life on your current phone you won’t have that problem with the Lenovo P2.

There is also a fast charging mode on the Lenovo P2, which allows you to pump more battery into the phone quickly, but you’ll need to make sure you’re using the charger included in the box.

It won’t work as fast as other fast charging options, such as the one on theSamsung Galaxy S7 , as there’s such a large battery packed into the phone, so even with fast charging we found it still took about two hours to charge the phone up to full.

Another downside to the Lenovo P2 is it’s recharged with a micro USB cable rather than a USB-C connection.

That’s a bit of a shame as you won’t get a reversible cable, but it does mean the phone will still work with all your other cables if you’ve previously owned a micro USB-toting device.

If you’re concerned about your phone dying, the Lenovo P2 also comes with an Ultimate Power Saver mode. There’s a switch on the side of the phone that you can flick up to activate the mode and it will extend your battery life by turning off some of the phone’s features.

You can still make calls, access your contacts and send SMS messages while it’s in this mode, as well as being able to access the calendar, calculator, radio and clock apps, but in order to save on battery you won’t be able to access your other apps while this is on.

With this mode enabled the Lenovo P2 should last over 100 hours just from a single charge, which could come in useful if you’re going away and will be without power.

Camera

  • Holds its own against competition at this price point
  • Includes a 13MP rear sensor and 5MP front-facing selfie cam

The Lenovo P2 isn’t the best camera phone on the market, but it holds its own against similarly priced competitors. You won’t get a good enough picture to go toe-to-toe with the Google Pixel XL or iPhone 7 Plus , but you’ll get a picture similar to the Moto G4 Plus or a phone from Wileyfox.

The P2 features a 13MP rear sensor, which is a bit lower than some of the competition but it still does well. Especially with well lit landscape shots, the Lenovo P2 can capture a really good image.

When pixel peeping, we found the P2 struggled a little on close up shots and night time shooting. That said, it doesn’t do too badly and the auto mode is quite reactive and will usually provide you with the best image possible.

The lens has an f/2.0 aperture, which is quite small and means less light hits the lens than on many cameras, which will be a big part of why low-light shooting isn’t handled brilliantly by the P2.

One example of what the Lenovo P2 rear camera can do

As for video recording, we found the camera’s footage was solid but not fantastic. It can record in either 1080p or 2160p at 30 frames per second.

The selfie camera on the Lenovo P2 will take a good shot for social media but won’t provide you with the best photography you’ve ever seen from a front-facing shooter.

It has a 5MP lens, which is standard for this level of phone, and it can shoot video in 1080p. There are no real extra features such as a beauty mode here though, it’s basically just a choice between photography or video on the front.

Camera samples

If you’re looking for a high-spec budget phone, you’d be hard pressed to do better than the Lenovo P2.

It features everything you’d expect to see in a mid-range phone but we’re continually surprised by how cheap it is.

Lenovo is beginning to cement itself as a go-to budget phone maker alongside the Motorola brand, which Lenovo also owns.

A lot of what made the Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus great phones is here in the Lenovo P2 and in some respects the P2 goes even further.

Why should I buy the Lenovo P2?

The battery life on the P2 is almost unheard of on any other smartphone. The huge juice pack means this isn’t the slimmest phone around and it makes the phone heavy, but when that means you get over two days of life we’d say that’s a fair trade.

If you’re currently frustrated with how long your phone will last on a single charge, you should definitely consider the Lenovo P2 as your next replacement.

The design of the Lenovo P2 is also luxurious compared to a lot of the other devices we’re used to testing out at this end of the market.

If you want something that looks like it’s worth a lot of money, but actually isn’t, this could be a good choice for you.

The display on the Lenovo P2 is also another reason to grab this phone while you can.

If you take a look at some of the other phones at this price point you’ll notice a lot of devices that only feature 720p displays, so this is noticeably better at 1080p, while the large size makes it perfect if you want to consume a lot of media on the move.

Why shouldn’t I buy the Lenovo P2?

If you’re used to using a smaller device, the Lenovo P2 won’t be a good option for you. It’s large and it’s heavy. We found it easy to use, but if you’re upgrading from aniPhone 5S – or any other smaller phone – you’ll find this a real struggle to use.

At 177g the weight is especially something to note, as while there’s a good reason for it this may cause an issue for you if you want a lighter device.

Another negative of the Lenovo P2 is the positioning of the Ultimate Power Saver flick switch. It means extended life is never more than a flick away, but it’s in an awkward position and would have been better placed on the top or bottom of the device.

First reviewed: January 2017

Competition

Not a fan of the Lenovo P2? We’ve chosen some other devices that may suit you a little better.

Moto G5

The Moto G5 is worth a check if you’re looking at a phone like the Lenovo P2.

It’s cheaper than the Moto G5 Plus and the Lenovo P2, but doesn’t feature as high-end a spec as the P2. It does still have a 5.5-inch Full HD display and a decent chipset, but you’ll miss out on the premium design and phenomenal battery life of the Lenovo P2.

Read the full review: Moto G5

Moto G4 Plus

The Moto G4 Plus is perhaps the best budget phone in the world right now. It has sat at the top of our favorites list since it was released in early 2016 and still packs an impressive punch with a Full HD 5.5-inch display, 3,000mAh battery and 16MP rear camera.

That said, the spec list isn’t all as impressive as the P2, especially when it comes to battery life, and you won’t get the full metal unibody either.

Read the full review: Moto G4 Plus

Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus

The Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus is a similar price to the Lenovo P2 and offers a slightly lower spec but an interesting, premium-feel design. It features a 5-inch 720p display, a Snapdragon 430 chipset and 3GB of RAM to power it all.

It doesn’t offer such impressive battery life as the Lenovo P2 though as it only features a 2,700mAh cell inside.

Read the full review: Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus

Blu Vivo 6

The Vivo 6 is another great metal clad phone that costs relatively little considering the spec. It’s not all about the design though – there’s a great fingerprint sensor, a 5.5-inch Full HD display and even 64GB of storage.

It won’t have such good battery life as the Lenovo P2 though, so you may prefer the phone that offers two-days from a single charge.

Read the full review: Blu Vivo 6


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