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Lenovo ZUK Z1

by Lenovo

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Lenovo Aims at Xiaomi With the ZUK Z1

ZUK Mobile is a Chinese internet smartphone company founded in May 2015 and is a subsidiary of Lenovo focusing on a Xiaomi like online only low cost smartphone business model. The ZUK Z1 was Lenovo's first flagship ZUK smartphone unveiled in August 2015.

Like Xiaomi and other Chinese brands, Lenovo is selling the ZUK Z1 at very aggressive pricing levels into India while focusing on newer models like the Zuk Z2 Pro in it's home China market.

The ZUK Z1 has a 5.5-inch 1080p display at 401 ppi with 178 degree wide angle 450 Nits IPS display with bright view, 64 gigabytes of internal storage and 3 gigabytes of RAM, a 13 Megapixel OIS Main shake back camera with advanced large 5P lens which make pictures more automatic and 8MP front camera, a 4,100 mAh battery, a 2.5GHz quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 CPU and a advanced fingerprint sensor FPC1155.  It supports Dual SIM (nano) and a wide range of frequency bands like WCDMA, GSM, and 4G LTE.

The ZUK Z1 comes with a host of connectivity options like WI-FI, Miracast, GPS, Bluetooth, USB OTG and USB 2.0.  

This is the first phone from Lenovo which features USB Type-C port for both charging and audio.  By using USB Type-C for audio, the ZUK Z1 has removed the 3.5 mm audio jack similar to what LeEco has done on their phones.

The ZUK Z1 also supports USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5 Gb/s) link speeds over USB Type-C which is a feature not widely available in Android based phones.  The ZUK Z1 does not support USB Power Delivery or Qualcomm Quick Charge to support fast battery charging.

The international version of the ZUK Z1 runs Cyanogen OS 12.1 which is based on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop. The ZUK Z1 is sold in China with ZUK's own ZUI operating system based on Android Android 5.1 Lollipop.

I purchased the Lenovo ZUK Z1 through Amazon India at the price of 13499 INR using Amazon Prime and received the delivery the very next day.

Let's see Inside Amazon's packaging, you can see the ZUK Z1 box which has the Lenovo ZUK brand written on top of it.  The side of the box also says 'a Lenovo company'.  The other details pertaining to the phone were written on the back side of the box.

As you open the box, you will immediately see the ZUK Z1.

Underneath the phone you will find the ZUK Z1 accessories such as the 5V@2A power adapter, USB Type-A to Type-C cable, Quick Start guide and SIM removal toolkit.

To set up the ZUK Z1, press the power button on right side of phone.  The opening screen displays 'Welcome' and allows you to choose the language of your choice.  Following the language selection, you can join an available WI-FI network


There is a option to copy your Android phone setup such as Google accounts, apps and data from another Android device.  You can of course also just create a new Google Account.  


The ZUK Z1 will ask you to add a Cyanogen OS account which will allow you to use cyanogen OS features like theme customizing and finding your phone. If you don't already have a Cyanogen account, you can create a new account also or else just can skip it.


You can also register your fingerprint to unlock your device or set this up later in the settings menu.  Once you agree to Cyanogen services, the setup of the Lenovo ZUK Z1 is complete.


Once all these steps are followed you are ready to use the ZUK Z1.


Given major competition from other Chinese brands like Xiaomi, Huawei, OnePlus, and Oppo, Lenovo is still one of the top smartphone makers in China.  To better compete, Lenovo uses its subsidiaries like Motorola Mobility to go after the US premium market while Zuk goes after a lower end market segment and emerging economies which are dominated by Xiaomi, Oppo, and OnePlus.  The ZUK Z1 offers a lot of unique features for a low cost phone.

ZUK Z1 takes 2 hour 30 minutes to fully charge with it's own 5V@2A power adapter.


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