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Product Reviews Smartphones

Lenovo Zuk Z1 Review: Best Mid-Range Phone you can Buy Today!

2016 is already witnessing a flurry of mid-range smartphones hitting the Indian Market, starting with LeEco introducing their Le1s which was a phenomenal success, followed by Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 3, which was also a great hit (Mi declared over 6,00,000 Redmi Note 3 phones being sold in the past quarter). Joining this bandwagon is Zuk Z1 from Lenovo, which goes on sale starting tomorrow. If you observe the trend, every company is trying hard to push other competitors down by introducing great “value for money” phones with impressive specifications thereby redefining this segment every time and setting the standards higher than others.

The Lenovo Zuk Z1 was announced in India earlier this month and made its way to the headlines when it was introduced at a jaw dropping price of INR 13499. Even though the Zuk Z1 was launched sometime back in China, Lenovo is bringing it to India at the right time and we believe it will give a tough competition to other smartphones in this range given the attractive pricing and the software features. Let us look into the detailed review.

Hardware, Look and Feel:

The Lenovo Zuk Z1 is a 5.5” 4G Dual-SIM (Nano) dual standby device featuring a premium design with a full HD display on the front supported by a metal frame with chamfered edges that runs around the phone and a gently arched back with a matt finish. There is a subtle branding of Zuk on the rear side.

The Lenovo Zuk Z1 runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor which was very popular and powered many flagship smartphones like the OnePlus One, Xiaomi MI4 and on the recent mid ranger, the OnePlus X. The device comes with impressive specs like built-in 64GB flash storage, 3 GB RAM, FingerPrint Sensor, USB 3.0 and Type-C port.

Lenovo-Zuk-Z1-TypeCDespite the larger 4100 mAh battery, the phone is not too bulky – measuring 8.9mm in thickness and weighing around 175 grams. Even though the phone is little heavier than the Redmi Note 3, the overall in-hand feel is good; thanks to the narrow form factor. The Loud Speaker is surprisingly loud and clear for a mid-range smartphone.

Lenovo-Zuk-Z1-Hands-onThe phone lacks an external microSD card option; however, it isn’t a great deal considering the fact that, Zuk Z1 has 64GB internal storage which none of the competition is currently offering in this segment. Another highlight is the Cyanogen OS 12.1 software which powers this phone. Lets look into it a little later.

Display:

The Lenovo Zuk Z1 sports a 5.5″ FULL HD (1080p) IPS display with 401 PPI pixel density and offers a maximum brightness of 450 nits. It also features the Live Display from CM 12.1 which automatically optimizes the screen depending on the time and ambient light conditions to reduce eyestrain and improve readability. Additional display features include options to specify custom color temperature depending on the time of the day and calibrate colors based on user preference. There is also an outdoor mode when turned on, increases brightness and saturation under direct sunlight. The LCD Density feature allows users to modify the screen DPI (Dots per inch) enabling more screen content depending on the DPI selected (320 to 560 DPI). The text on the phone is clear and very readable. Pictures on the display are neither too over-saturated nor artificially sharp.

Camera:

The Rear camera is a 13MP (1.12 micron pixel) Sony IMX 214 with OIS and supported by a double LED flash. Camera is capable of shooting great pictures in outdoor lighting conditions. However it does struggle with the focus while capturing indoor close-up shots.The Front camera is an 8MP shooter with 1.4 micron pixels and f/2.2 aperture which does a decent job while taking selfies. With Qualcomm ISP image processing on board, it gets a good 3400w Pixels Image.

Lenovo-Zuk-Z1-RearWe were surprised by the camera presets (with over 25 options) available on the camera interface. A subset of these presets for example Auto, HDR, Action, Night etc. can be selected and with a swipe up gesture we can quickly switch between these presets while shooting pictures. Have a look at some of the samples captured using this phone.

For best results, leverage the built-in presets available in the camera interface. For example use HDR mode while snapping landscapes, night mode for low light photos and action/sports mode for fast moving subjects in daylight.

Software, User Experience:

The Lenovo Zuk Z1 runs CyanogenMod 12.1 which is an open source custom version of Android 5.1.1. Early June, we will see a software update for this phone which brings in CM13, Android Marshmallow.

CyanogenMod offers lots of exciting features in addition to what stock android offers like native theme support, unlockable bootloader and root access etc. As per Cyanogen, CyanogenMod OS does not contain spyware or bloatware. It offers seamless True caller integration with the call UI which is great. In addition to the capacitive keys, App switcher, back and home buttons can be configured on the bottom of the display as on screen buttons.

Gesture support include Double-tap to wake and Double-tap to sleep. Caller blocklist is available for blocking unnecessary calls, messages etc.

Another noteworthy built-in feature is Custom Profiles. Different profiles like silent, automobile, office etc can be created, selected manually or automatically selected based on triggers. Triggers include events like phone connecting to your home WIFI, phone’s Bluetooth connecting to car stereo etc. Profile settings include turning on/off WIFI, Bluetooth, mobile data, volume levels, screen brightness etc.

With Cyanogen, the same phone can be used by multiple users. New users can be added to the system and each user will have their dedicated space comprising of apps, wallpapers, layout etc. Also, features guest mode which is a nifty feature when enabled hides all photos, call history, messages etc.

A Touch ID Finger print scanner is available in the front and embedded within the physical home button. As mentioned by the company, the scanner is a true 360 degree sensor; it works fine when pressed from any direction. The only pain point is the sensor needs to be pressed every time to unlock the phone. It would be great had it been just a touch.

Personally we didn’t find the PIN scramble feature to be useful since it reveals the PIN numbers on top while entering. Other security features include a Smart Unlock feature that unlocks the phone based on trusted devices, places, face, voice etc. There is a theme store available which has many Premium and few free themes to choose from.

Powered by the Adreno 330 GPU, gaming performance is decent and there are occasional frame drops while playing games like Asphalt. Phone gets a little warm during game play.

Call quality is definitely good. The loud speaker sounds better as well. With a 2.5 Ampere fast charger, phone gets fully charged in 2.5 hours. One of the advertised feature by the company is an intelligent cut-off circuitry between charger & battery for extended battery life. Battery options include Balanced, Performance and Power saving modes for extending the last drop of juice from the battery. While testing, we got a great SOT with this device.

Pros and Cons, Value for Money:

Good Hardware, Premium feel, stock android like experience with advanced options for customisations, OIS Camera, 64 GB of space, great battery life and the price of 13499 are the positives of the device. With lenovo backing, support for this device shouldn’t be a big concern. On the downside, we do have a ‘not that new’ processor on board. The camera could’ve been a little more snappier and focused better in low light conditions. The phone gets warmer over usage as well. I hope, the new software update can fix all these niggles. With 64GB internal storage, having a 4K video support would’ve been a great add. However, its a luxury at this point.

Summing up, this is one neat device which I would recommend anyone who is looking at buying a good smartphone in this range. With an onboard storage of 64GB and OIS in Camera, it stands out from the rest of the competition in this segment.

The first flash sale will begin 19th May on amazon.in and will be available in White and Space grey colours. 

Hopefully this review would’ve helped you in making a decision about this phone. Do let me know your thoughts and questions if any. Thanks for reading.

Categories
General IT News, Tech Information and Analysis Smartphones

Lenovo Zuk Z1 announced in India for 13499. Available starting 19th May

Update: The Lenovo Zuk Z1 review is up. Do have a look and let us know what you think/

The Lenovo Zuk Z1 will be available at INR 13499 starting 19th May; the registrations are open on amazon.in. The Lenovo Zuk Z1 runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 CPU, with a RAM 3GB and ROM 64GB. It has a Type-C interface which bases on USB 3.0, supports dual SIM dual standby. The Z1 is also powered with a 4100mAh Lithium-ion polymer battery to ensure a long usage between charges.

The Z1 comes with an IPS screen with 1920×1080 resolution, 100% NTSC, 1500:1 contrast, 401 PPI and 450nit bright view that gives you the perfect definition. The camera is powered with a 13MP OIS anti-shake camera with advanced larger 5Plastic lenses that makes pictures really vivid. With a hall sensor and gyroscope in OIS, the phone will be able to self-compesate automatically for beter image quality. With Qualcomm ISP image processing on board, it gets a good 3400w Pixels Image.

Other than the hardware, what really stands out is the software. The Zuk Z1 comes with Cynogen OS 12.1 preloaded. the CM is considered a powerful and a fast Android versions which gives you a number of advanced features that optimizes performance. It also helps with better power consumption, security and privacy. The CM also gives you options for deep customziations and themes.

The ZUK Z1 comes with an inbuilt 360° fingerprint reader button coupled with a 508 DPI high capacitive sensor that not only unlocks your phone but also makes multitasking easy.

Lets look at a detailed review in coming days.

Categories
IT News, Tech Information and Analysis News

Lenovo announced the VIBE K5 Plus; available at USD 149 starting March

Lenovo announced the Vibe K5 Plus at MWC 2016 today. The Lenovo VIBE K5 Plus flaunts a sleek-finish aluminum look at just 8.2mm thin and weighs about 142g. The K5 Plus brings in a 5” wide-view FHD IPS display powered by a Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 616 oct-core processor, 2 GB RAM, a 16GB built-in memory (up to 32GB expandable storage support) and a 2750mAh user replaceable battery.

The Vibe K5 Plus also delivers an immersive multimedia experience with the clarity of Dolby Atmos® and dual rear speakers to deliver remarkable sound quality, allowing users to enjoy movies, games and music with full, crystal-clear stereo sound. The Lenovo K5 Plus also comes with a 13MP autofocus rear camera with LED flash, and a 5MP fixed-focus front camera for picture perfect shots.

Lenovo-vibe-k5-plus

The Vibe K5 Plus will be available in Platinum Silver, Graphite Grey and Champagne Gold shades; in select countries at USD 149 starting March this year.

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Google IT News, Tech Information and Analysis News

Google and Lenovo Partner on a new Project Tango Mobile Device: CES 2016

Today at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Lenovo announced the development of the first consumer mobile device with Project Tango in collaboration with Google. Google’s Project Tango is a technology platform that uses advanced computer vision, depth sensing, and motion tracking to create on-screen 3D experiences, allowing users to explore their physical environments via their device. Specialized hardware and software combine to let the device react to every movement of the user, when they step forward, backward, or lean side to side. App developers can transform your home into a game level, or create a magic window into virtual and augmented environments.

Project Tango-enabled devices can recognize places they’ve been before, like your living room, the office, or public spaces. Unlike GPS, Project Tango motion tracking works indoors, allowing users to navigate precisely through a shopping mall, or even find a specific item at the store where that information is available. Using the sensor in the device, Project Tango devices can also capture the 3D dimensions of the room, giving measurements that can be used to help you when shopping for furniture or decorations.

The Project Tango Tablet Development Kit can be purchased in the Google Store here. Google and Lenovo have also started a incubator platform where developers can submit their Project Tango app proposals for a chance to win funding and the chance to have their app featured on Lenovo’s upcoming smartphone. The submission period closes on Feb.15, 2016.

Lenovo, Google, and Qualcomm Technologies are working closely together to optimize the software and hardware to ensure consumers get the most out of the Project Tango platform.

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News

The Lenovo K3 Note is priced at Rs. 9999; Registrations Open Today

Lenovo today launched in India the Lenovo K3 Note, that brings together smooth performance, a brilliant display and true color cameras. The device flaunting a 13.97 cms (5.5) full HD display (1920 x 1080) the K3 Note also boasts of an impressive, 13 MegaPixel auto-focus rear camera with Dual LED flash and a 5MP front camera for sharp, vibrant images.

KM9A8446

Sporting a 64 bit Octa-Core CPU clocked at 1.7 GHz, backed by a 16core ARM MALI-T760 GPU and 2 GB DDR3 RAM, the smartphone comes with dual SIM card slots. It also offers 16 GB internal storage and a microSD card slot which can expand the storage by an additional 32 GB. The device features Android 5.0 Lollipop and offers outstanding performance with Lenovo’s simplified Vibe UI on top and multi-tasking capabilities.

The Lenovo K3 Note will be priced at Rs. 9999/- and will be available exclusively on Flipkart. Registrations for the K3 Note will open today at 2:00 P.M. and it goes on sale on 8th July, 2015 AT 2:00 P.M.

 

Await a detailed review in the coming days!