Lenovo’s ZUK Z1 was perhaps one of the few smartphones that could be called an ‘all rounder’. Be it the design, performance or pricing, the ZUK Z1 was easily one of the best value for money devices in the Rs 10,000-15,000 price bracket. Now, the company is following up the ZUK Z1 with the new Z2 Plus. With price starting at Rs 17,999, the Z2 Plus builds on the previous generation Z1 and brings several upgraded and features. For starters, the company has removed the ZUK branding, and is simply calling it the Lenovo Z2 Plus. I spent some time with the Lenovo Z2 Plus at the launch event today and here are my first impressions.
Contrary to the rising trend of larger screen smartphones, the Lenovo Z2 Plus comes with a 5-inch display full HD display with a pixel density of 441ppi. The display delivers pretty decent viewing angles indoors but same cannot be said for the outdoors as it seems to be highly reflective under sunlight.The smartphone feels compact, and easy to grip. It also has a premium feel to it, courtesy its glass back and fiber glass frame.
Lenovo says the fiber glass frame is a better replacement to the routine metal frames as it doesn’t interfere with cellular radios and delivers a better thermal management. Lenovo is also touting the “Roll Cage” design, which it borrowed from the Thinkpad laptops. The design basically includes a roll cage assembly on which components of the device are mounted. The design supposedly allows them to better handle impacts. There’s a rollcage assembly beneath the display and between the battery panel and rear casing of the Lenovo Z2 Plus. But that’s under the hood and from outside the smartphone looks quite similar to an iPhone, but with a slightly larger screen. That said, the Lenovo Z2 Plus gives you the feel of a high-end smartphone. I believe the glass design is becoming a new standard for ‘premium’ smartphones. Of late, we have seen the likes of Samsung going ahead with more compact form factor and glass designs with their flagships smartphones like the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy Note 7. Even Asus embraced the design language for its Zenfone 3 series. ALSO READ: Lenovo Z2 Plus vs Xiaomi Mi 5 vs LeEco Le Max2 vs OnePlus 3
The ZUK series has always been all about the performance, and the Z2 Plus runs Qualcomm’s top-end Snapdragon 820 chipset. The first variant comes with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard storage, while the second one comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. There’s no expandable storage, which maybe a turn off for a lot of people. But I believe 64GB should be more than enough for normal users. Also, the Z2 Plus is the only smartphone running on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC that is priced under Rs 20,000.
The UI on the device is pretty fluid. Lenovo has done a pretty good job at keeping the experience closest to the stock Android. There are however some customizations, like an iOS-inspired Notification Center, which appears at the bottom. Lenovo also gives you 17 shortcuts, which all are customizable. Continuing with the customizations, Lenovo has also made the home button on the front more dynamic and purposeful. Based on a U-Touch 2.0 technology, the home button also has a fingerprint scanner and it can also be used for different tasks with different gestures. For example, single touch is for back, single press for home, press and hold for Google Now, double press for app switcher, swipe from left to right or vice-versa to switch between apps. Though there’s an on-screen home button as well, users have the option to disable it and use the home button based gestures for navigation. I sort of like the idea of doing more with the home button than just lock and unlock the phone.
The Z2 Plus comes with a dedicated U-Health application, which is capable of tracking steps, distance, calories and time you have been active. The app leverages the dedicated sensors like gyroscope, pedometer and accelerometer among others on the device. It shows data from your activities with detailed graphs. With the U-health and dedicated sensors, Lenovo hopes the smartphone will help do away with the need for a dedicated fitness band or hassle of charging and carrying another device. However, Lenovo isn’t the only company and we have seen similar implementation on Samsung’s S Health app, for instance.
The smartphone comes with a 3,500mAh battery with Lenovo’s intelligent charge cut off, preventing the device from overcharging and perhaps exploding. Connectivity options of the smartphone include dual-SIM card slots, 4G LTE with VoLTE support, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth and USB Type-C port. DON’T MISS: Lenovo ZUK Z1 Review
The Lenovo Z2 Plus looks to achieve the all-rounder tag as it focuses on all fronts — design, experience and performance. The aggressive price tag of Rs 19,999 makes the Z2 Plus a much stronger competitor to the incumbent mid-range premium phones like the Xiaomi Mi 5 and LeEco Le Max 2 among others. Stay tuned for our detailed review to explore other aspects like camera and battery life and overall performance of the device.