Monday, 17 October 2016

Lenovo Z2 Plus


Lenovo's strategy of acquiring Motorola & Medion looks like it's paying off well , seeing the number of handsets coming out of their stable. While Motorola is still launching it's line up of Moto G series phones year on year , Lenovo has some brands like Zuk which are sold online only. The newest Zuk phone is not being branded as Zuk though , it comes out as Z2 Plus with Lenovo branding. Let's see what it's offering to the world.

Design & Hardware  

Most of the phones in the market today are 5.2” or larger but the Z2 Plus comes with a 5” screen, contrary to the use of “Plus” in it's name. That said, it's easier to handle due to the high screen to body ration and would have some buyers who don't prefer the phablets. The screen is bright & at 441ppi it's colourful thanks to the use of a HD LTPS (Low Temperature Poly Silicon ) LCD ;but isn't too great in sunlight. 
The front & back are made of fibre glass which are stronger & lighter than Aluminium that you see on most premium smartphones. Also, something that most people might not know is it's a better insulator ,hence enabling better cellular reception.  
Internal components are mounted on a Magnesium alloy Roll Cage which protects the them in the event of it falling on the ground. NO, I'm not going to test it ;)
The phone is a bit thick at 8mm and weighs 150 gms. There's a SIM card slot, power button & volume rocker on the right side while the left edge has been untouched. 
At the bottom edge, you'll find the 3.5mm jack, USB Type C charging port & speaker grill in that order from left to right. The back has the Lenovo logo at the bottom & the camera & flash to the top right . 
The fingerprint sensor on the front is fast & accurate also known as the U touch 2.0 home button. Dubbed as one button “to rule them all”  with a capacitive sensor & a physical button. It has 7 functions & you can assign 5 of our favourite apps to  them. You can swipe left / right  , go back or press and get to the Home screen . It's something which if Apple would have come out with would have had the world going crazy. I expect other manufacturers to absolutely copy this & make it better! Great stuff on the innovation front, Lenovo! 
The self learning Fingerprint sensor can also work if your fingers are sweaty/ wet but it didn't work 2 out of the 5 times I tried. But if you're someone who still likes the on screen buttons, they can be activated as well for Home, Back & Recent apps / Menu. 

In terms of hardware , it's powered by the Snapdragon 820 with 4 custom Kyro cores @2.15 Ghz , 4GB DDR4 RAM & 64GB memory ( Another variant is 3GB RAM & 32GB ROM) . There's no expandable memory slot & it's a dual SIM variant supporting 4G VoLTE.It's also a large 3500 mAh battery with an ICC (Intelligent charge cut) off feature preventing unnecessary charging cycles & increasing the device battery life.  
The charger in the box though is a disappointing 10W one which isn't Quick Charge 3.0 compatible & Lenovo doesn't sell one ! You can't use the Quick charging feature then unless you try out a compatible charger, thanks Lenovo !? 

The Z2 Plus is available in 2 colour options of Black & White .

Software 

The Z2 Plus has Android 6.0.1 with a custom ZUI skin on top.It's parting ways with the Cyanogen OS used in Z1 last year.
The ZUI is basically a Google Now Launcher with some minor tweaks from Lenovo like Home Button & Quick settings. This is their first attempt at making a UI & I'm sure they know it's not the best in the market out there which form me personally is the MiUI. Hopefully it'll improve over time.


Camera - 

Z2 Plus has a custom 13MP ISOCELL sensor with large 1.34µm pixel size. Coupled with the Spectra ISP of SD 820, you get excellent images. Or so they say! The truth is the camera is good but not great. It struggles in low light & pictures look somewhat grainy. There are filters & modes like Panorama, Time Lapse , Slow – mo etc . The Slow motion video also boasts of a 960 fps mode which was unbelievable but in reality is only a software gimmick that tries to slow down to beyond 120 fps post recording and obviously shows frame lags when played back.
Outdoor photos are better but lack depth & colours don't pop out like on Samsung phones . It also supports hybrid autofocus system with PDAF & CAF so that there is no shutter lag. The camera supports 4K recording and Slow-motion recording at 120 & 240fps.

For the Selfie fans, there's an 8MP sensor with large 1.4 µm pixel which can also record at 1080p.

Multimedia 

In terms of overall performance the Z2 Plus doesn't disappoint owing to the 4GB RAM aided by the light ZUI. Have tried multiple games like NFS : No Limits , Asphalt 8 & FIFA 16 all working great but a bit of heating is observed along with  minor frame drops. The performance was supported by the high benchmark scores in the AnTuTu test with 123250 . 
The speaker on the device isn't the best in terms of playback but still pretty loud & audio quality with earphones is better than expected . 
There's also a U Health app for fitness tracking can count your steps , distance & Speed which most phones now are capable of & you don't need those fitness bands anymore!

Conclusion  

All in all, the Z2 Plus is a good device is you're on a budget and want a device with specs of a flagship this would be one to consider. There are lower priced devices which could be an overall better phone as compared to the Z2 Plus like the Moto G4 Pus or the Mi Note 3. With an average camera & no extra storage not everyone would want this to make their device of choice but if you want a good battery , overall build quality & good performance on a budget, go for the Z2 Plus.
Rating – 3/5.  


★★★☆☆

Pritesh Khilnani



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