Lenovo Zuk Z1: Is It The Powerhouse?

Once limited to PCs and computer peripherals, Lenovo has expanded far and wide across different genres. The company, alongside desktops and notebooks, is manufacturing and selling a prolific range of phones under its own name, under Motorola’s name, and is also investing in third party smartphone giants.

Most of us already know, but in case you’re still wondering, it is the Hong-Kong based giant ZUK that has got Lenovo’s interest. The company has been manufacturing smartphones for quite some time now, and with Lenovo on its side, it is going for the buzz kill with the mind-boggling ZUK Z1 that ships with Lenovo’s branding!

The new ZUK Z1 makes some big promises with internals that are hardly available on any smartphone priced under 15k. It makes a great package on-paper, but the question is, how it pits against bigger brands that already have established a strong foothold in India. Lenovo has a knack of doing well in India, but we still have to wait and see how this one performs with jam-packed competition!

Lenovo Zuk Z1: Is It The Powerhouse? Lenovo Zuk Z1: Is It The Powerhouse?

 Design and Build Quality

The design language opted by Lenovo and ZUK gives reminiscence of Galaxy S3, but with a dash of metal. The device incorporates a neatly crafted metal frame, and gives a great feel when held in one hand. It looks a whole lot premium than a generic phone with a plastic body, and is incredibly sturdy as well. According to what 91mobiles and the company touts, the metal frame of Z1 has been designed using 209 machining and 16 CNC manufacturing procedures.

Alongside regular placement of volume and power buttons, ZUK Z1 features a speaker grill on the bottom edge, a microphone and a USB Type-C connector. The front-panel accommodates a home-button which integrates a bio-metric scanner and keeps unauthorized device access at bay, and back panel flaunts ZUK’s brand logo, a small camera sensor, and LED flash.

On whole, the phone makes a great first impression, especially with that well-built frame and easy to grip rear panel!

Display Output

Just like most players in the budget segment, ZUK Z1 also comes with a 5.5-inch IPS LCD panel, boasting 1080p screen resolution. The device endows 401 pixels per inch, and makes a decent package for on-the-go gamers and movie buffs. Till here, everything looks pretty generic, but the good news is, this display is a great real world performer 450 nit peak brightness and whopping 1500:1 contrast ratio.

We had a great experience with the IPS panel of ZUK Z1. It gave picture-perfect output with good viewing angles and worked perfectly with the new “Live Display” feature, which adjusts screen brightness and colour temperature according to time. So, whether indoors or outdoors, the display of this beauty will certainly keep you satisfied.

Hardware and Performance

After seeing OnePlus X, we did not want any more of Snapdragon 801. The processor was a good performer back then, but now it’s time for an upgrade to 64-bit capabilities. However, to everyone’s surprise, Lenovo and ZUK did not seem to get away from SD801. As per 91mobiles, ZUK Z1 has been equipped with the dated chipset, which did have a fantastic track-record but is pretty dull from marketing point of view.

As for performance, we did not witness any lag or performance issues with SD801. The device handled everything effectively and delivered a slick user-experience, something a lot better than SD650 and SD617 octa-core SoCs. The Z1 ships with 3GB of RAM and 64GB of inbuilt storage, making an incredible package with a perfect set of internals. It misses out on a card slot, but that’s a bargain we all should be willing to accept for INR 13,500.

Camera Performance

If you’re in love with photography, ZUK Z1 is the pick for you. The device stands out with a prolific 13-megapixel camera which uses an aperture as wide as f/2.2 and Sony’s Exmor RS stacked sensor, paired with Optical Image Stabilization, 5-element lens, and dual-tone flash. It delivers vibrant shots in all environments, and boasts a pixel size of 1.12um, adding more detail into the images.

Even on the other end, the 8-megapixel snapper on ZUK Z1 performs tremendously. It makes a great package for selfie-addicts and produces lifelike wide angled snaps with fine detailing.

As for videography, you cannot capture 4k videos with this camera setup, and have to make do with 1080p videos at 30 and 60 frames per second!

Software and UI

When it comes to software experience, ZUK Z1 looks just like vanilla Android. The device runs Android 5.1.1 Lollipop based Cyanogen OS 12.1, and packs the usual suite of Google certified apps that you get stock Android devices. You can customize the cyanogen launcher and home-screen with a bunch options and can also get the best out of settings menu with options for double tap to wake and sleep, system profiles, and a lot more. Using and experiencing Cyanogen is absolutely unique, especially when you’re getting a planned upgrade to the latest iteration of Android (version 6.0).


Finally, a good news for on-the-go users. Lenovo ZUK Z1 boasts a 4,100 mAh non-removable battery that gives more than enough charge for an entire of continuous work and play. According to official stats, this battery lasts more than a day, can give you 38 hours of talk time on 4G, music-playback for 85 hours and videos on a single loop for 15 hours. Whether you’re playing graphic intensive games, surfing on the internet or streaming videos on YouTube, this handset can give you a perfect smartphone experience, irrespective of charging snafus!

This is what Lenovo ZUK Z1 has on offer for you. The device is a real powerhouse which we all wanted eagerly in the budget segment. It runs on the latest iteration of Android, looks incredibly, and gives a complete smartphone experience, keeping performance snags at bay. You may not like the idea of ditching a card slot, but on whole it’s a great package offering complete value for money!