6 ways the Project Tango-enabled Lenovo Phab 2 Pro opens up a a new reality

We hunted phantoms and arranged virtual furniture on the busy MWC Shanghai showfloor

As one of the phones we've been excited about, we couldn’t wait to see what Project Tango could potentially mean for the future of smartphones.

Just in case you have’t realised, Project Tango brings spatial recognition to your humble smartphone. That means you get to experience augmented reality, virtual objects laid over the real world,  through Project Tango-supported phones. The technology was first showed off at Google I/O a few years ago, but back then, it was a brick and hardly consumer viable. For the first time ever, it’s available to the masses in the form of Lenovo’s Phab 2 Pro.

Packing the Snapdragon 625 chip that’s been optimised to efficiently handle Project Tango algorithms, the Phab 2 Pro comes with an additional fisheye camera and depth sensor, on top of the usual gyroscope, accelerometer and rear camera, to give it its magic Project Tango powers.

To achieve mainstream adoption of a new feature, there must be content available. We were told that there are currently 20 to 30 Project Tango apps available, and up to 200 waiting for approval. We got to try 6 of them, from the fun to the functional, out at Mobile World Congress Shanghai to see what Project Tango is capable of.

Dinosaurs Among Us

You know those Leaning Tower of Pisa shots that tourists like to take? You can do this with a dinosaur now.

Select your choice of raptor, resize it, move it around, and you’ve got yourself a new Tinder photo because dinosaurs are the new tigers. The dinosaurs will even twitch their tails and move their heads, all of which you can view through the Phab 2 Pro.


This was the most fun out of the apps we tried. The phantoms themselves are supposed to be wispy apparitions, so it didn’t matter that they didn’t look the most realistic. In fact, part of the fun is trying to spot them in the first place. You get a radar that will tell you how many are headed your way and the goal is to tap on them to destroy them. 

Aside from physically turning around to attack, you can also choose to run towards or away from them, which made for a strangely immersive experience for something so simple.

Measure It

The smartphone has replaced a lot of tools in our lifetime and now it’s coming for your measuring tape. However, do note that accuracy can be off by an inch, so if you’re looking for a nightstand that’ll fit just right, you might want to err on the side of caution.

Just point the phone at the start point of the distance you want to measure and trace the entire length. There doesn’t seem to be a limit to the lengths it can go to, so long as you can keep the phone trained accurately the whole way. We ended up measuring the length of Qualcomm’s booth and then some which added up to about 12.4m. It also does heights which makes it handy for measuring dimensions around the house.