Tango gives the phone the ability to apply augmented reality over the real world, in really cool ways. In this demo, the office area around me transforms into a fantastical landscape.
Right now, you need a lot of hardware to be able to scan, measure and track a room so that AR can accurately put virtual things in it. That requires some additional cameras and an infrared sensor.
The phone also needs a large battery and processing power. This makes it heavy and big.
With AR, you can interact with items on the screen that occupy the space in front of you.
For example, I laid out a long range of dominoes on the concrete hallway in front of me.
And then watched them fall down. The hallway's empty, but the effect is convincing enough.
It stops being convincing when dominoes in this game suspended in midair, rather than clattering to the "floor." I feel like a more sophisticated game would scan the room and identify the edge of a table.
This pouty pup is from another game, a virtual pet I can feed and raise. You have to get up and walk around to feed it. Sticking your hand in the scene can ruin the illusion.
Lowe's Vision is a more practical app you can use to place furniture, like this lamp, on the table. Walking around it help you envision it in the room.
One problem I had was getting smudges all over the wide-angle scanning camera.
Lenovo put the fingerprint reader in the middle of the phone, so it's easier to reach...
...but I often overshot it and accidentally touched the camera lens instead.
Here are some more shots of the phone's particulars.