Lenovo P2 review: Unparalleled smartphone battery life

£200
Price when reviewed

Remember when your phone lasted more than a day on a single charge? Well, the glory days are back and Lenovo’s P2 the saviour: it lasted a staggering 28hrs 50mins in our continuous video test. That’s a full five hours longer than our previous winner, Motorola’s Moto Z Play. Anecdotally, after a heavy weekend’s sightseeing filled with Google Maps, selfies and the odd game of Mini Metro, the P2 never dipped below 70%.

Lenovo achieves this by squeezing a 5,100mAh battery into the P2’s metal body (most current phones are around the 3,000mAh mark), but this isn’t a bulky phone. It does feel a little fatter than super-svelte flagships such as the Galaxy S7 Edge, but at 8.3mm thick and 177g it’s only 0.6mm thicker and 20g heavier than the Samsung.

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A fingerprint reader sits below the screen, a volume rocker and power button on the right edge, while the left treats you to a dual SIM slot and an intriguing battery saving switch. Flick it up and your P2 enters Ultimate Power Saver mode, switching off data and disabling apps. It could be a handy “Defcon 1” function, but given the already impressive battery life, it’s unlikely to see much use. If the battery life makes this sound like a winner already, you can find a 64GB version on Amazon UK for £313 (Amazon US don’t have it but stock alternatives). 

Lenovo P2 review: Display

Up front, we’re treated to a Full HD, 5.5in AMOLED display, covering 99.9% of the sRGB colour gamut and, as with all AMOLED displays, its contrast ratio is effectively perfect. Some of the darker tones – deeper reds and dark blues – were oversaturated under the scrutiny of Expert Reviews’ colour calibrator, but you won’t spot this day to day.

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One sticking point is the P2’s peak brightness, which sits at a lowly 326cd/m2. While that’s fine for gloomier winter days, you’ll be squinting at your phone once the sun finally pokes through the clouds. The Honor 6X is much better suited to such conditions, with a peak of 502cd/m2.

Lenovo P2 review: Performance

For the price, the P2 is a surprisingly nippy performer. Powered by Qualcomm’s octa-core 2GHz Snapdragon 625 chip and 4GB of RAM, overall responsiveness was good. With a Geekbench 4 multi-core score of 3,130, the P2 bettered the Moto G4 by almost 700, and wasn’t far behind the Honor 6X’s 3,319.

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Switching to games, the phone scored a 10fps average in the onscreen GFXBench Manhattan benchmark, beating both the Honor 6X (8.4fps) and Moto G4 (7.7fps). Sky Force: Reloaded, a game that grinds to a halt on lower-powered devices, ran without a single frame drop, even during those action-packed enemy encounters.

Lenovo P2 review: Camera

That’s near-full marks then, but then we come to the camera. It’s not that the P2’s 13-megapixel rear camera is bad; it’s just that it loses out compared with the Moto G4. Outdoor test shots under gloomy skies picked up plenty of colour, with noise kept at bay reasonably effectively. Flicking on HDR gave mixed results, with oversaturation on the orange bricks in our test shot, but it did help to balance out exposure levels.

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Where it falls down is indoors, especially in low light. Under close inspection, our test subjects looked grainy and, while colours were vibrant enough, noise was apparent. Try to use the P2’s camera outside with plenty of natural light, if you can.

The P2’s camera software is also a tad clumsier to use than its rivals. Navigating through tedious menus isn’t ideal for on the fly photography, and the P2 would have benefitted from Huawei’s one-hand-friendly left and right swipes. At least Lenovo’s Pro mode allows you to delve into settings such as ISO and white balance.

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The final and relatively minor con is that there’s no Android 7 Nougat here; the phone is currently stuck on Android 6 Marshmallow, which feels a little dated in comparison. We’re told an over-the-air update is coming in the very near future, though.

Lenovo P2 review: Verdict

Do these criticisms matter? Arguably not. That absurd battery life alone is well worth the price: don’t forget, you’re buying the longest-lasting smartphone by far. And it doesn’t stop there: the P2’s display, performance and build quality are all top notch given the price, and it’s a worthy competitor to much more expensive mid-range phones.

There is competition. You can buy the Moto G4 for £40 less, and in return get a rear camera that’s a better performer in low light, while the Honor 6X is arguably sexier, for around £25 more. Yet still we come back to the P2’s amazing battery life and all-round performance. The Lenovo P2 is the new budget smartphone king.

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