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Lenovo's new smartphones are weird

Lenovo's new smartphones are weird


What's the difference between a small tablet and a big phone?

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Alongside all of its other announcements today, Lenovo is showing off a pile of random, weird smartphones. None of them will be coming to North America, but if you're wondering what Motorola's parent company has planned for China, the Middle East, and Europe, prepare to take in the strangeness.

The craziest of all are the two Phab phones. I've made my peace with the Phablet term — it was annoying until it wasn't, and now that all phones are basically huge, it sort of doesn't really apply to anything anymore. But Lenovo is embracing it and, well, extending it. The base model Phab has a 6.98-inch, 1080p screen and decidedly middle-of-the-road internal specs. The upgraded Phab Plus has a slightly smaller 6.8-inch screen with the same resolution and slightly better internals, including 2GB of RAM and a Qualcomm 615 processor. Neither is powerful, both stretch the definition of phone past the breaking point and into tablet territory. Lenovo's PR says that these devices "eliminate the dilemma of choosing between costly smartphones with big screens and underwhelming small tablets by offering a sweet-spot 6.8-inch device." I say it's a small tablet you can make calls with. Potato, Potahto, Phab.

If that's not weird enough for you, gaze upon the Vibe S1, which has two front-facing cameras for selfies. The main sensor is 8 megapixels while the second is just a 2mp depth-sensing camera so you can add bokeh effects to your selfies. There's also some surprisingly decent specs to commend the Vibe S1 to you: it has a MediaTek processor, sure, but there's 3GB of RAM and 160GB of storage.

Lenovo also has a Vibe P1 and P1m, both of which have another gimmick: a physical switch that puts the phone into power-saving mode. Oh, and one more: absolutely gigantic batteries. The P1m is the lower-end of the two with a 5.5-inch 720p screen and a 4,000mAh (!) battery. The P1 has a nicer 1080p, 5-inch screen and a 5,000mAh (!!!) battery. Just. Massive. The P1 weighs 6.67 ounces, too, which for a phone is not light.

All of these phones will be coming out in the next few months — some as early as this month. But, again, North American customers won't be able to partake in the weirdness. Sorry.

Lenovo Phab and Vibe hands on photos