"Unlike the Z1 which was a mid-ranger, the Z2 is a more premium smartphone"
Lenovo introduced its online-only sub-brand ZUK in China in August last year; the company had launched the ZUK Z1 which was powered by Cyanogen OS. The device arrived in India under the moniker Lenovo Z1 in May 2016. Running Cyanogen OS, rocking a metal unibody design, and a powerful SD 801 processor, the Z1 became one of the most popular devices in the Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 segment in India. Interestingly, in the same month when the Chinese phone maker launched the Z1 in India, it unveiled the ZUK Z2 in China, with metal and glass body, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset. Unlike the Z1 which was a mid-ranger, the Z2 is a more premium smartphone, and has been highly anticipated in India since its debut, and the company has finally launched the device here, christening it the Lenovo Z2 Plus. We were at the launch event and got some time with the handset. Here are our first impressions of the all new Lenovo Z2 Plus.
The Lenovo Z2 Plus is a compact 5-incher with a full HD display, which looks rather bright and sharp. The phone can be easily used with a single hand. However, the phone is thicker than other slimmer options out there. The reason behind that is Lenovo’s Thinkpad Rollcage design approach. In a nutshell, the primary components inside the phone’s shell are hinged on the ends instead of being entirely fixed, much like the roll cage frame construction in cars. This design allows the Z2 Plus to handle drops and impacts well, with the internal components being safe from damage. On the outside, the device utilises fibre glass, metal and glass as its crafting materials.
The fibre glass frame adds to the strength, while the metal and glass body lends to the looks, which in our opinion are good but not stunning. The glass back is a smudge and fingerprint magnet, as well.
The port placement in pretty standard on the Z2 Plus, however, it uses a type-C USB port. There’s also a home button below the display which also doubles as a smart fingerprint scanner.
Equipped with U-Touch 2.0 tech, the home button can perform as many as seven different actions, like going to the home screen, accessing the notifications, switching between apps or launching the camera, depending on the touch or gestures you use. The overall build of the phone is great in that it looks good, but it feels bulky.
In terms of software, the Z2 Plus runs Android Marshmallow with Lenovo’s ZUI on top. The UI is mostly stock, but you will find slight tweaks such as accessing the quick settings by swiping up from the bottom of the display. There aren’t any preloaded third party apps on the phone apart from the usual Google suite.
A first party app called U-Health does feature on the device. This app uses the dedicated pedometer, accelerometer and gyroscope on the Z2 Plus to track your steps, and calories burnt. Looking at all the sensors present inside the Z2 Plus, we don't think you'd need to buy a separate activity/fitness tracker. The processor on the phone is optimised to have these sensors running all the time, with low power consumption. Talking about the processor, the Lenovo Z2 Plus is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chip. We used the 4GB RAM and 64GB built-in storage variant, which felt fast in our short usage session. The variant offers around 52 gigs for personal use. There’s also a variant that offers 3GB of RAM and 32GB internal storage. The inbuilt storage is not expandable.
The Lenovo Z2 Plus gets a 13MP primary camera assisted by an LED flash. The sensor uses larger pixel size and has phase detection autofocus as well. On the front, you’ll find an 8MP selfie shooter. The default camera app was minimal with a clean UI. We clicked a picture and found the shutter speed and focussing speed to be decent. The image had good colours and details, but we’ll be testing the shooters in different lighting conditions before putting giving our final verdict.
The smartphone comes backed by a 3,500mAh battery, which should be enough to make the device last a day with mixed usage. The Z2 Plus uses something called ICC tech to prevent overcharging of the phone. Once charged to a full 100 percent, the device only uses the AC supply, instead of switching between battery and the AC supply, thereby improving the life of the battery. The Lenovo Z2 Plus is a dual-SIM smartphone which accepts nano-SIMs and comes with support for VoLTE and 4G+.
While the 3GB RAM variant of the Z2 Plus has been priced at Rs 17,999, the 4GB RAM variant will set you back by Rs 19,999. Considering the specs, the phone competes directly with the likes of the Gionee S6s (camera review), and the recently launched Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime (first impressions). The Z2 beats the both hands down when we talk just about the specs. Since there’s more to smartphones than a long list of specifications, we’ll be putting the Z2 Plus through our review grind and put out our final verdict on the smartphone soon.
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