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At its Lenovo Tech World event in San Francisco today, Lenovo is pulling the covers off three smartphones under the new Phab2 moniker. One of them, the $499 Phab2 Pro, is the first consumer-oriented smartphone to package up Google’s Project Tango augmented reality (AR) technology. It’s something that Google has been working on with Lenovo for several months.

Lenovo is also launching the $299 Phab2 Plus that features dual 13-megapixel rear cameras, a Fujitsu Milbeaut image signal processor — a component also found in some Leica cameras — and manual mode. Also new today is the $199 Phab2.

These are all big phones — phablets, really, or just phabs — with displays spanning 6.4 inches diagonally. At that size they’ll have more screen real estate than the now retired 5.96-inch Nexus 6, the 5.7-inch Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+, and the 5.5-inch iPhone 6S Plus. (My colleague Evan Blass correctly predicted the size, name, and Tango functionality of the Phab2 Pro in a tweet earlier this week.)

But besides being big, these phones will be able to stand out on the smartphone market by virtue of their AR capability. Only the Phab2 Pro supports Google’s Tango technology, though. It also comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 chip tuned especially for Tango.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHN4c7FYXYs

Dual-lens cameras are also still a novelty, although they are not without precedent — see Huawei’s P9 for example, and before that, the HTC One M8.

So the real question is whether AR will become the cool new thing for a phone to do out of the box. Lenovo has certainly placed a bet on the technology. As for Google, it has been working on mobile AR for the past four years, but the company has also been advancing mobile virtual reality (VR), first with the Cardboard headset and more recently with the Daydream platform. Interestingly Google did not specifically mention Lenovo when it identified some of the companies working on Daydream-ready phones. Lenovo’s marketing materials say that the Phab2 phones are Daydream-ready.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxTLOXzhqzA

Still, being the first to productize Tango for the public, not just developers, does count for something. Now would be a good idea to reflect on the fact that Lenovo and Google have some history together. The former bought Motorola Mobility from the latter in 2014. If the Phab2 — particularly the Pro — takes off, that $3 billion deal may end up looking smarter in hindsight.

A close-up of the Phab2 Pro.

Above: A close-up of the Phab2 Pro.

Image Credit: Lenovo

Here are the specs for the new Phab2 phones:

Lenovo Phab2 Pro
Price: $499
Availability: August, in select Lowe’s stores, online by end of year
Size: 179.83mm (length) x 88.57mm (width) x 6.96-10.7mm (depth)
Weight: 259g (0.57 lbs)
Operating system: Android 6.0 (Marshmallow)
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 chip built for Google Tango
Sound: Triple array mics with active noise-cancellation, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Audio Capture 5.1
Memory: 4GB
Storage: 64GB ROM, expandable up to 128GB via microSD
Battery: 4050 mAH Li-Ion, more than 13 days standby time, 18 hours talk time
Display: 6.4″ QHD (2560×1440) 2K IPS, 2.5D curved glass, unibody aluminum alloy material
Colors: Champagne gold, gunmetal gray
SIM: dual slots — nano SIM + nano SIM or nano SIM + TF card
Cameras: 16MP (rear) PDAF fast-focus depth sensor for Tango, motion tracking sensor for Tango; 8MP (front) fixed-focus, f2.2 aperture, 1.4 μm Big Pixel
Sensors: g-sensor, p-sensor, l-sensor, e-compass, gyroscope, hall sensor, vibrator

Lenovo Phab2 Plus
Price: $299
Availability: August
Size: 173.89mm (length) x 88.3mm (width) x 5.5-9.6mm (depth)
Weight: 218g (0.48 lbs)
Operating system: Android 6.0 (Marshmallow)
Processor: MediaTek (MTK 8783) octa-core chip
Sound: Triple array mics with active noise-cancellation, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Audio Capture 5.1
Memory: 3GB
Storage: 32GB ROM, expandable up to 128GB via microSD
Battery: 4050 mAH Li-Ion, more than 17 days standby time, 23 hours talk time
Display: 6.4″ FHD (1920×1080) IPS, 2.5D curved glass, aluminum alloy material
Colors: Champagne gold, gunmetal gray
SIM: dual slots — micro SIM + nano SIM or micro SIM + TF card
Cameras: 13MP (rear), Fujitsu Milbeaut image signal processor, f2 aperture, 1.34 Big Pixel, laser focus, PDAF light supplement; 8MP (front) fixed-focus, f2.2 aperture, 1.4 μm Big Pixel, light supplement
Sensors: g-sensor, p-sensor, l-sensor, e-compass, gyroscope, hall sensor, vibrator, battery manager

Lenovo Phab2
Price: $199
Availability: September
Size: 175mm (length) x 89.5mm (width) x 5.5-9.6mm (depth)
Weight: 225g (0.5 lbs)
Operating system: Android 6.0 (Marshmallow)
Processor: MediaTek (MTK 8735) quad-core chip
Sound: Triple array mics with active noise-cancellation, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Audio Capture 5.1
Memory: 3GB
Storage: 32GB, expandable to 128GB via microSD
Battery: 4050 mAH Li-Ion, more than 14 days standby time, 32 hours talk time
Display: 6.4″ (1280×720) HD IPS
Colors: Champagne gold, gunmetal gray
SIM: dual slots — micro SIM + micro SIM or micro SIM + TF card
Cameras: 13MP (rear) PDAF-fact focus; 5MP (front) wide angle
Sensors: g-sensor, p-sensor, l-sensor, e-compass, gyroscope, hall sensor, vibrator

Also today, Lenovo announced the Moto Z and Moto Z Force smartphones, along with the Moto Mods attachable peripherals.

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