The Lenovo Phab2 Plus is undeniably a massive phone. In fact, it even goes beyond the dimensions of the previous size champion, the Mi Max. The Phab2 Plus is taller but more importantly a lot thicker than the Mi Max. The added size also comes with a fair share of bulk, with the Phab2 Plus weighing in at 218g compared to the 203g.
Normally, we don't fuss too much about the measurements but at these sizes the numbers matter. At the end of the day, what we really care about is the display size, so any phone that manages to maximize the display size while minimizing the overall dimensions is a winner in our books, and Xiaomi has clearly done a better job of packaging than Lenovo. It is even more impressive when you consider the Mi Max also has a considerably larger battery than the Phab2 Plus, but more on that later.
Dimensions aside, the Phab2 Plus is a pretty standard looking device. On the front we have the massive display surrounded by a not-so-subtle black border that stands out particularly on the gold model.
Thankfully, the areas above and below the display aren't particularly large.
On top of the display is the front flash on the extreme left, then the earpiece, then the front facing camera, and then the ambient light and proximity sensors.
Below the display are the three capacitive navigation keys that are backlit. The buttons are a bit more spaced out than they need to be on a phone of this size, and reaching the one on the far end with your thumb can be a bit of a stretch.
The display is covered by a 2.5D scratch resistant glass. Lenovo doesn't specify the brand of glass used but we can confirm that is it indeed scratch-resistant.
On the right side we have the volume and power button. The power button is reasonably well placed but the volume buttons need some stretching. The buttons are made out of metal and provide good feedback without rattling.
On the other side is a hybrid SIM slot that can take either one micro SIM and one nano SIM or one micro SIM and one microSD.
On the top is the headphone jack and the secondary microphone. On the bottom is the loudspeaker, microUSB port, and the primary microphone.
The back of the phone is mostly made out of metal that also extends to the sides. At the top and bottom are plastic bits for the antennas. Near the top is the camera module, containing two lenses, a dual LED flash, and laser autofocus system. The camera module is raised, and coupled with the curved back of the phone makes it quite wobbly when it is on a table and you're trying to type on it. Below the camera is the fingerprint sensor, which is almost near the center of the phone. This makes it very easy to use as it falls exactly where your index finger would be. In comparison, the sensor on the Mi Max is way up top and requires some significant hand gymnastics to reach.
Using a phone as big as the Phab2 Plus on a daily basis is not an easy task. If you are coming from a relatively large size phone then you might find it easier to get used to. Still, the size feels like a burden while doing simple tasks, where the impressive size of the display is not particularly useful. The mundane activities are really what we end up doing most often on our phones, where a big phone is more of a hassle than a boon. On top of that, the Phab2 Plus is particularly big and heavy, while the Mi Max with its similarly sized display feels noticeably thinner and lighter, and thereby easier to use.
Using it is one part, but carrying it around is another matter entirely. Or should we say lugging it around? Most pockets aren't designed to hold a phone of this size so the top of the phone will always be poking out. Even if it does fit, it's still not comfortable to put this phone in your trouser pocket and walk around or sit with it. It's more at home in a jacket pocket or a bag. Otherwise you will mostly have to carry it around in your hand.
Awkward dimensions aside, the phone is well built and feels quite sturdy.
The Phab2 Plus has a 6.4-inch, 1920 x 1080 resolution IPS LCD, arguably the most important feature of this phone. For starters, the 1080p resolution is quite adequate despite being stretched over a larger than usual canvas. You are never left wanting for a higher resolution panel and text and images are all reasonably sharp.
In terms of image quality, the panel does suffer from slightly bland colors and at extreme angles the colors tend to invert, with the blacks turning to whites.
The display also doesn't get very bright under the sun even at maximum brightness, which coupled with the glare from the front glass can make it hard to see the screen at times outdoors.
By and large the display on the Phab2 Plus is not very impressive. The Mi Max, which doesn't have a particularly fantastic display either, still comes across as the better of the two. Still, for an undemanding user the display on the Phab2 Plus should be satisfactory enough. The image quality is also more or less in line with what you can expect at this price point.