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Lenovo ZUK Z1 Review

Mobile Phones

Lenovo ZUK Z1 Review

Last week Lenovo announced the ZUK Z1 in India. While the device is not a newly launched one as it was first announced in China back in August 2015, it does pack impressive specs for a mid range phone. Lenovo ZUK Z1 sports a 5.5 inch Full HD (1080p) display and is powered by 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 SoC. Even though the Snapdragon 801 is slightly older SoC for 2016, it is still one of the powerful chipsets.

The phone comes with 3GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage but does not have a micro SD card support.



Design and Build:

Design wise, the ZUK Z1 has a simplistic approach and is reminiscent of many phones announced recently. While there isn’t anything new to offer in Z1, the overall quality of the phone looks good. Lenovo claims that it is made of a metal frame made from aviation aluminum and is crafted using 16 CNC manufacturing. The metallic chassis has a matte finish with a rear panel made of good quality polycarbonate material. The phone definitely feels sturdy and good to hold as it has been given a curved rear panel.

The volume rocker and the power button are located on the left-hand side and while the SIM tray is on the right-hand side. On the top is the 3.5mm headphone jack, while on the bottom edge there is speaker grill, microphone, and the USB Type-C port. On the front panel, we have the 5.5 inches full HD display, front-facing camera, a physical home button which has a fingerprint scanner integrated flanked by two capacitive keys on either side for back and multitasking.

On the rear panel we have the 13MP camera, dual tone LED flash and the ZUK logo. Overall, we would say that the design is  quite good for a phone in this segment.




The first thing you would notice about the 5.5 inches Full HD (1080p) display is the brightness. The display has 450 nit peak brightness and 1500:1 contrast ratio making it one of the best in the segment. The display has 401 PPI making the colors look vivid and the sharpness levels are also great. The touch response is very good and so are the viewing angles. The display is definitely one of the strong points of the device.




The reason for delayed launch of ZUK Z1 in India has been the software. Yu had an exclusively tie up with Cyanogen for their devices and hence Lenovo couldn’t bring it in India. But now with that tie up getting closed, Lenovo has launched the Cyanogen 12.1 powered ZUK Z1 with Android 5.1.1 Lollipop.

If you have used a CCyanogen-powered phone, you might have already familiar with the interface. It offers good features and tools to customize the phone. It comes with app drawer which is arranged in vertical, but you can always switch to default Lollipop style launcher.


The settings panel is also a customized one offering additional tools. The phone comes with Themes app to download and customize the phone. You can also mix and match the icons, status bar, settings panel using the themes app. The ROM offers added features and personalization options which is seldom found on stock Android while retaining the look and feel of stock.


Apart from these options, you also get Audio FX app which improves the sound quality, there is also screencasting app along with File Manager and Boxer email app. You can also enable on screen navigational buttons and customize the display colors. There is also support for double tap to wake and sleep.




Lenovo ZUK Z1 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 Quad core chipset clocked at 2.5Ghz with Adreno 330 GPU and 3GB of RAM. Although the 801 is not a recent processor, it is one of the most powerful chipset which has been tried and tested for performance.

The ZUK Z1 performs very well in almost all tasks and we hardly noticed any lags or issues. The gaming performance of the device was also very good with smooth gaming experience with very less heating. The multi tasking is also implemented well and it switches between apps effortlessly. The phone also comes equipped with a front fingerprint scanner which is integrated into the home button. The fingerprint scanner is one of the fastest we have seen on a front panel and works very well.


There is no micro SD card on offer, but we don’t think anyone would complain as there is 64GB onboard storage out of which 55 GB is available in first boot. The call quality on the phone was good and we did not have any issues. The speaker performance was just average and did not match up with the performance offered by K4 Note.



Lenovo ZUK Z1 sports a 13MP shooter with f/2.2, Optical image stabilization, 5P lens and dual LED flash. The front facing camera is 8MP for selfies and video calls. The camera interface is typical Cyanogen interface which we have already seen on Yureka and Yutopia. The camera app has all the bells and whistles you would want on the camera. You swipe up or down on the screen to cycle through the shooting modes available.

Talking about the camera quality, the photos taken in daylight have come excellent considering the price point and the details looks spot on with very good color quality. The sharpness levels are also very good. We haven’t seen too many phones with great camera quality in this price point. The close up photos also exhibit great detailing. There is no PDAF so it takes some extra time to get the focus right. The low light photos have also come quite good with noise level kept to minimum. But in extreme low light photos noise was more or less visible. With adequate lighting the phone can capture good photos. The video recording was also quite good for the price, but we had this issue with focusing as we need to tap to focus when you are moving the camera while recording.

The front facing 8MP shooter is quite good for selfies and retains good color quality.

Here are some of the samples taken with the device.


Battery Life:

ZUK Z1 comes with a 4100mAh battery with quick charging. The phone also comes with different battery modes, performance, battery saver and balanced modes. We tested the massive 4100mAh battery on 4G LTE as a daily driver. We got battery life of more than a day with average usage with screen on time of almost close to 5-6hours which is quite good for a phone in this segment.

Overall, the battery performance of the device is really good and you wouldn’t have much to complain here.



Lenovo ZUK Z1 has quite a lot of things going its way. With a good display, performance, software, camera, storage and battery life along with great pricing, Lenovo ZUK Z1 is a device which you cannot go wrong with.

If you are looking for an all-round mid-range phone, then ZUK Z1 is a great buy.

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Nirmal is a Technology Blogger and a Microsoft MVP in Windows. He can be contacted at You can find Nirmal on , and .



  1. arun

    May 19, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    great review, this review will help me to buy this phone thanks for sharing.

  2. Prasad

    May 20, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    Hi Nirma
    Review is good,
    As you mentioned that call quality via speakers is not good, is that much low volume, i have ordered this phone yesterday,But my priority is speaker, shall i go for it ?

    • Nirmal

      May 21, 2016 at 11:11 am

      Speakers are not bad, it is pretty decent, but K4 Note has better speakers with dual front facing..

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