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How good is Lenovo ZUK Z1 for working professionals?

by John Bhatt
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Today, We are going to share our experience with newest entrance in smartphone competent for premium budget android phone. Yes, its Lenovo ZUK Z1. Its a combination of premium hardware with Cyanogen OS running on Android L (5.1.1), soon upgraded to Android M. Let’s have look at below specifications and  images for product overview.

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We have listed above some brief specifications of Lenovo ZUK Z1.

Specifications & Build Quality

Lenovo ZUK Z1 is a power packed smartphone launched by Lenovo under Brand name of ZUK in china and other continents last year. But considering market value and reputation, in India, Lenovo added its brand name in the packaging as well as back of phone making it Lenovo ZUK. Z1 is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 Quad Core processor clocked at 2.5 GHz paired with 3 GB of RAM, 64 GB of internal storage out of which around 55 GB is available to user. Coming to Display it is 5.5″ Full HD display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3. Fingerprint sensor integrated at home button and having powerful 4100 mAh battery giving you all day use. Coming to build material, it is of metallic back and non removable battery making it some heavy. Despite being of metallic build, it feels great to hold in hands and gives good grip.

Performance Testing

When we created this video, we used Internal screen recording tool, which consumed lots of resources and made score appear much less than actual one. When we run the same benchmark testing tool once again with all normal applications running, we managed to get score around 63,500. Which is quite good.

Battery Performance

With its massive 4100 mAh battery, Lenovo ZUK Z1 impressed us in terms of battery performance. We have tested it as main calling device and it managed to give call time of more than 5 hours and screen on time of nearly 4 hours. Here is how we used during this period to check the performance of this device.

  • Dual SIM with 3G enabled
  • Bluetooth Paired with Mi Band always with notification vibration on.
  • WhatsApp, Camera for capturing quick documents photos to send on WhatsApp group (our company relies on WhatsApp for faster communication).
  • Music approx 2 hours or more using Online media streaming services (Wynk and YouTube).
  • Frequent Browsing and Searching
  • More than 50 application installed including Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Facebook group, pages, Instagram, Twitter and other active background data consuming application.

Here is the performance testing video we have recorded few days after. We have put screens of highest test result in between.

In above video, these screens are at the 0:54 second frame and there after. So in general, a working professional (except dedicated calling person) does not need to call more than 3 hours in his 8-10 hours duty period. If we charge phone fully in the morning, after a rough usages, you will reach home with more than 25% battery remaining which is quite good.

Before using this device, I have used Motorola Moto G Plus 4th Generation for few days. But battery backup is not up-to mark. I have to carry my charger with me and plug it around 4 PM which is frustrating and not possible sometime when I was outside. 

What is missing/why to think for other?

Now the most important thing, what is missing. Everything is here, camera quality is better than Moto G4 Plus, camera focus very fast and you can take photos from moving bus and I can assure you images wont blur if taken carefully.

FM Radio, this is one-thing missing which can not ignored. Since Motorola has updated their FM Radio app last year, Motorola phones can play FM Radio around you even without need of Antenna (headphone). But Lenovo ZUK Z1 doesn’t come with FM Radio and there is no way you can add to it. For music and entertainment, you have to rely on offline music stored in device or online streaming applications like TuneIn, Wynk, Spotify, YouTube or any other available.

Memory Card: Thanks to its on-board storage of 64 GB, out of which 54.69 GB is available to user. Which is more than enough. But in case you went on vacation and need to shot some videos of your family, Full HD videos might consume your space and you might need additional storage which is not there. BTW, this is more than enough if you do not keep HD videos and movies in your device and mostly shot videos and photos.

Fingerprint Sensor: No, its not missing. It is present in its home button. Actually, ZUK Z1 runs in Cyanogen OS which is known for its customization abilities. It has captative buttons which can easily turned off and on screen keys can take their place. The fingerprint sensor location in the bottom middle of phone has fingerprint sensor embedded on it. If we made some mistakes adding Fingerprint or our device has some fault, we are not sure but we tried adding different fingers multiple times. But hardly managed to unlock using Fingerprint sensor on 70% occasions on first attempt. You have to press the key to unlock for few (1-2) seconds and there are chances that, phone screen will wake from locked mode due to home button press but fingerprint scanner fails to show its abilities.

Micro USB: The androids favorite Micro USB which is not standard of mobile charger and data-cable. Even Nokia has used Micro-USB in their feature phones but ZUK Z1 comes with USB 3.0 Type-C connector. Which is faster and good to increase device life (because of its reversible nature), but still not very popular. So you need to carry your charger in your bag, in case you have to change your trip and go somewhere, you can’t find Type-C charger easily.

Turbo Charging: While its competitor Motorola device with similar configuration, Ohh from the same house of Lenovo are going with Turbo Charging feature, but this device does not support Turbo Charging. But remember, Type-C charger are also fast chargers and can charge your phone’s battery to 100% in less than 2 hours.

Heating Issue: On our usage of more than 2 weeks, we did not noticed any heating issue. We have played some high graphics games like Asphalt, Real Racing simultaneously while listening to streaming music and charger plugged in. We think this is the toughest combination to test heating issue. We don’t measure by thermometer but it was not that much hotter as some reviewer told in their experience. But keep in mind, this is a phone with metallic body. If you have basic physics knowledge, metal consume heat and preserve for longer time as compared to other material (those are used to build phone body). So you should be familiar to hot phone and cold phone in winter. In my office (air conditioned), this phone feels cold when answering after few hours or idle keeping. We can say, phone gets hot but not that much. Moto G4 Plus, being a platic body phone, was more hotter than ZUK Z1.

Final Verdict!

On our use, we find it good if compromised in some factor. If you are working professional, need a smartphone with at least 1 day mixed usage battery life, solid performance, decent camera, nice look, good build quality with awesome performing capability and you are ready to survive with FM Radio and can compromise Poor fingerprint sensor, this is the perfect device for you.

While comparing with other in this range, we can’t find its perfect partner on stock or stock-like android experience, while Mi 3 Note (32 GB) variant) is worth thinking.

This is it from our experience of Lenovo Zuk Z1. If you have something to say about this or want to share your experience with us, just drop a comment below. We will try to revert with you. Thanks for reading.

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John Bhatt July 11, 2016 - 7:56 PM

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