Lenovo PHAB Plus User Review

*This is a review of a sponsored product unit from Lenovo Malaysia*

Some months back, I was lucky enough to be the selected few to be invited to an exclusive preview of the Lenovo PHAB Plus.  Along with almost 10 of us, we got to get some early hands on time with the device, a day before the official launch in Malaysia.

See Also : Lenovo PHAB Plus – 6.8″ phablet Launched in Malaysia (with exclusive preview)

Recently, I just discovered that the organisers of that preview posted the video online. Shared this on my Facebook Page, too.

Following that preview, I was subsequently given the device for further review. Yup – I’ve had it for awhile, just haven’t quite got around to writing this review because – well, life.

So, here’s a quick review of the Lenovo PHAB Plus, a short review, but still an honest to goodness WinnieKepala review, nonetheless.


Lenovo PHAB Plus Specs and Unboxing

Here’s a quick specs overview of the Lenovo PHAB Plus :-

  • 6.8” Full HD IPS LCD display (1920 x 1080) (326 ppi)
  • 1.5 GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor
  • 32 GB internal storage (expandable microSD up to 64 GB) + 32GB RAM
  • Powered by Android 5.0 “Lollipop” OS (with Vibe UI)
  • 13 megapixel rear camera with Dual LED Flash; 5 megapixel front facing camera
  • 7.6 mm thin, weighing only 229 grams
  • 3,500 mAH non-removable battery (up to 24 hours 3G talktime)
  • Connectivity : Dual SIM (micro SIM and nano SIM), 4G LTE / 3G HSPA+, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1
  • Available in 2 colours : Gunmetal Grey, Honey Gold

For more info, check out Lenovo PHAB Plus at their website at http://shopap.lenovo.com/my/en/smartphones/phab-series/phab-plus/

Unboxing Lenovo PHAB Plus
Basics in the box – Lenovo PHAB Plus, 2 pin power adapter charger, USB cable, user manual

Because the device is rather large, it’s expected that the box packaging is big, too.

But what’s inside is very basic – the phablet, 2-pin power adapter (I don’t know why it’s not a 3-pin Malaysian plug), USB cable and user manual. No case (like in Lenovo VIBE X2 which I reviewed here and here) or screen protectors or anything.


Hardware and Design

Lenovo PHAB Plus - Front & Back

Oh, it’s a phablet, alright. This a massive 6.8″ screen smartphone (yes, a phone, not a tablet). While on paper, it does sound rather ridiculous, in my hand though, it wasn’t that big.

In fact, I feel it fits very nicely and comfortably in my hand. And this is a lady hand, mind you.

I guess it’s because of the curved sides, and the beautiful metal body, it just feels and looks good.

Lenovo PHAB Plus - Ports & Buttons

As you look around the device, it’s nice and curved sides make the phablet look sleek and polished.

Minimal ports, the usual of headphone hack at the top, micro USB charging port at the bottom. Buttons are at the side – Power On/Off at the middle in the right, natural for most right handed users out there. And the microSIM slot, flushed but accessible via a pin, on the left.

All in all, a very nice and polished device. One that might be big, screen size wise, but really does fit nicely in your hand, without feeling ridiculous.


Software and Usability

It’s 8 core processor, Full HD screen, Dual SIM support,  13 megapixel rear camera, Dolby Atmost speakers – the phablet is truly packed with impressive specs for a mid-range device.

Underneath this hardware exterior, the device runs on Android 5.0 “Lollipop” OS, with Lenovo VIBE UI on top.

Lenovo PHAB Plus in hand

I have used my fair share of Lenovo devices over the years. The VIBE UI is rather minimalistic, something I personally appreciate. It’s easy to use, fast to swipe and navigate, and includes minimal pre-installed apps. Overall a pleasant user experience.

Lenovo PHAB Plus - Dual SIM

It’s worth noting that the PHAB Plus is a Dual SIM device. Which is the norm for most (if not all) of Lenovo smartphones in its portfolio. Something that can be extremely handy for people who carry 2 SIMs, or when you’re traveling abroad (one home SIM on roaming, one visiting country SIM to save on data costs).

If you haven’t read my previous Lenovo device reviews, then go read them and you’ll notice how much I talk about the handy function of a Dual SIM smartphone.

See Also : Lenovo VIBE X2 User Review

The phone boasts a Dolby Atmost speaker technology built-in. While I’m not one who blasts music loudly on the go, I did test it by watching a few YouTube clips.

Happy to report, the audio quality is impressive. Not the best I have heard from a smartphone, but impressive nonetheless.

The other selling point of the PHAB Plus, is the reported 24 hour battery life with its 3500 mAH battery.

Sorry it’s been awhile, and I can’t seem to dig up the screenshots I took, but I remember that the phone did last me a good 1.5 days of regular usage. For a giant screen of a phablet, you’d think it’ll be a bit of a battery hog. I was proven wrong – the battery is indeed more than decent. Very nicely done, Lenovo.


Camera Quality

Lenovo PHAB Plus - 13 mp camera

The rear camera is a 13 megapixel shooter. Spec wise, this may seem rather high for a mid-range device. From a megapixel count perspective, this may also give you the assurance that you have a decent shooter here.

Unfortunately though, in my reviews, this is where it kinda falls short. Images don’t quite autofocus as fast as I’d like. Because of this, I fins out later, after the moments are gone usually, that I only managed to capture a bunch of mediocre, blurry shots.

This is a true example, in my opinion, that it’s truly not a question of megapixel count in a smartphone that matters, it’s a lot to do with the softwares, lens and features built into the Camera app and technology that guarantees a better shot.


Suzy Bae Signed Lenovo PHAB Plus

It was a privilege to be given an exclusive unit, complete with their celebrity ambassador, Korean singer and actress Suzy Bae‘s signature.

Lenovo PHAB Plus - Suzy Bae signature

Unfortunately for me, though, this was signed with a gold marker that faded with use. Very quickly, I might add.


If only I had a case on the phone from Day 1, I could protect this precious, exclusive signature on the back of the phablet, and preserved its value. With this, I blame Lenovo for not including a transparent back case in the box. Boo hoo.




Lenovo PHAB Plus User Review

Yes, against my face, it does seem like a crazy huge phone. Borderline tablet.

After a week of use, I got so used to it that I barely remembered hos big this is – until someone else points out “Is that your phone?” looking amazed at the size.

Also, it’s only after I switched back to a regular sized phone (around 5 inch screen), did I realise how I really got used to the PHAB Plus over my review period, and struggle to readjust with a smaller screen device.

Having said that, this is still a HUGE device that’s really not everyone’s cup of tea. You either like it, or you don’t. Probably not an acquired preference, ie something that you want to “slowly adjust” to like.


What I Like

  • BIG device but fits comfortably in hand
  • Impressive battery life, lasting to 1.5 days of use
  • Easy to use VIBE UI interface

What I Dislike

  • 13 megapixel count on camera doesn’t translate to good image quality
  • No phone case included, unlike Lenovo VIBE X2
  • Huge 6.8″ screen might still be too big for some

If you’re looking for a phablet that won’t break the bank, this Lenovo PHAB Plus is retailing for a Recommended Retail Price (RRP) of RM 1,199 and at that price tag, with these specs, is truly a bargain.


For more info, check out Lenovo PHAB Plus at their website at http://shopap.lenovo.com/my/en/smartphones/phab-series/phab-plus/

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