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Lenovo ZUK Z1 Review: A Powerful Phone at a Compelling Price

Zuk Z1 - Representative Image.
(Image: News18)

Zuk Z1 - Representative Image. (Image: News18)

We got to play with the Lenovo ZUK Z1 that is set to go on sale on May 26 and here's our take on the Rs 13,499-priced smartphone:

Lenovo ZUK Z1 – the first smartphone to come from Lenovo’s new sub-brand ‘ZUK’ - made its entry into the Indian smartphone market this week. Along with reigniting the debate over the use of Cyanogen OS, the phone is also set to compete against a host of already popular brands churning out affordable devices like the recently launched Motorola Moto G4 and Xiaomi Redmi Note 3.

We got to play with the Lenovo ZUK Z1 that is set to go on sale on May 26 and here's our take on the Rs 13,499-priced smartphone:

The Look and the Feel

Image: Volume controllers and the power button on the right of ZUK Z1/News18

The Lenovo ZUK Z1 has a large 5.5-inch FHD display with narrow side bezels, but despite the size, the phone doesn’t look ungainly in the hands thanks to the curved edges and back. The right side of the phone features volume controllers and power button with the left reserved for the SIM cards. Crafted as a unibody device, the phone gains the intended thinness. However, it might feel slightly uncomfortable to use for those with smaller hands.

Another good thing about the phone's designing is that the otherwise unpleasant antenna lines don't run across the rear of the device and are instead marked on the top of the phone.

The Display

Image: The ZUK Z1 sports a 5.5-inch full HD display/News18

The display with 1080x1920 resolution and 401 PPI density offers a good output and makes the device comfortable to use in bright outdoors or low-lit indoors. The touch response is also good and one doesn't have to struggle and tap continuously to execute the functions.

Cyanogen Inside

Image: ZUK Z1 comes powered with Cyanogen OS layered atop Android Lollipop/News18

The phone runs Android Lollipop 5.1.1 with Cyanogen OS atop and this does offer users the power of customisation sans bloatware. Right from themes, navigation bar visibility, clock's appearance on screen to emboss font and battery icon, the options on offer are endless. While minute customisations might seem like the way to truly make the device as your own, it might also prove a little discomforting initially for the regular Android users. For example, the menu is in a vertical list format and not spread over horizontal screens which is the usual in Android.

Processing Power

With its Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor clocked at 2.5 GHz and 3 GB of RAM, the phone's performance is a smooth sail. During the review period there were no lags or freezing.


One of the best things that come with Cyanogen-powered ZUK Z1 is AudioFX, which is like a sound enhancer for your smartphone audio. You can choose from a variety of output options - bass, party, dance, classical, etc., and also add your own customised setting.


Image: ZUK Z1 features a 13 megapixel rear camera with flash coupled with an 8 megapixel front snapper/News18

The phone features a 13 megapixel rear camera and an 8 megapixel front camera, both of which don't disappoint in terms of output. Although there are plenty of in-app camera adjustments like size, picture quality, ISO, etc., there are almost no added options for video. For slo-mo lovers, this phone might compel you to download additional apps to shoot a clip at higher FPS.

Battery and Charging

The ZUK Z1 packs in it a robust 4100 mAh battery that lasts throughout a day. The phone features the new USB Type-C port and comes with fast charging capabilities. I was able to watch a 2-hour long movie streamed online and still had enough juice left in the device to play games for long.


Image: Speaker and USB Type-C port of the ZUK Z1 pictured here/News18

For entertainment needs, the phone delivers a loud sound output. The phone has a single speaker on the bottom right which produces sufficient sound. The AudioFX mode is unfortunately not available for speaker mode.


Image: Rear of the Zuk Z1/News18

At 13,499, the Lenovo ZUK Z1 is a steal at the given price. With the power of Cyanogen to it, the phone scores a plus in almost all aspects. It's big, well designed, comes with fingerprint security, supports dual SIM and packs in it a long-lasting battery.

The only disappointment with this otherwise powerful phone is the lack of microSD card support. The phone comes with only 64 GB of internal storage which might prove a spoiler for users looking for a phone with more space.

Rating: 3.5/5

first published:May 24, 2016, 13:48 IST