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Lenovo Zuk Z1: Quick Review Of Cyanogen-Based Phone
Coming out with its Zuk Z1 a whole year after it was conceived, Lenovo is offering what used to be flagship specs a while ago at Rs 13,499
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Lenovo has a new brand. Zuk is going to offer smartphone's sold online.
Coming out with its Zuk Z1 a whole year after it was conceived, Lenovo is offering what used to be flagship specs a while ago at Rs 13,499.
Dull But Rugged Design
Sporting a dead boring design, the Zuk 1 is obviously not going to attract those who like their gadgets with some flaunt value. This 5.5-inch device has a metal enough frame, but a plastic back which in my review unit, is a dull grey and actually looks like metal. It looks and feels rugged and tough and well built -- but it's not pretty.
Geeks On A Budget
But that is isn't so great looking may not matter as much as it would for other phones because the focus is something else. On the Zuk Z1, you have Cyanogen 12.1, based on Android 5.1. This is the geek's system of choice because it allows for the user to take total control of the phone, 'flash' different ROMs, put in customisations and include features that are not available on the standard Android that comes with other phones.
But to do all this, you have to know how. Other devices such as from OnePlus, also use Cyanogen as their selling point.
Old Processor, New Price
The processor on this device is the Snapdragon 801 which is by no means new. This has caused many to rudely call it old wine in an old bottle. That may be true but the fact is one has never got that old wine at this price. So, it's still a powerful processor, though not 64-bit. The phone both benchmarks and works fine, with its 3GB RAM and 64GB internal storage (and no micro SD card slot). I did find my unit heating up a bit specially when downloading and using the camera intensively.
The Zuk Z1 has a fingerprint sensor integrated with the Home button and it registers your print without any fuss and also works without a flaw. But it doesn't wake the phone. For that, you need to press the Home key. If you do that with the finger whose print you registered, it'll wake plus unlock. But the button is quite flush with the phone so it's a bit of an effort. Other devices now just do both in one action. There are also other ways of waking the phone -- double tap to both wake and set it to go off.
There's only so much you can expect from a camera on a budget phone, but the Lenovo Zuk Z1's 13-megapixel primary camera, built on Sony's IMX 214 sensor, actually does quite well. Unusually for a phone in this price range, it has optical image stabilisation and a dual-LED flash. It takes pretty good pictures out doors and doesn't do badly at all indoors either, with the noise kept down to quite an extent.
The front camera is an 8-megapixel and also pretty good. The camera app used here Cyanogen's Camera Next, which is quite enjoyable to use, specially the modes that can be swiped on to the screen, even live,when shooting.
Overall, while its looks may not recommend to everyone, the Zuk Z1's performance, the Cyanogen OS, the better than average camera and the price all make this phone one to consider despite their being so many options in the category.