The ZUK Z1 is another smartphone in the market which offers a pretty good spec-sheet for its price point. It is the first smartphone from the Lenovo-backed startup ZUK. As I said it is another smartphone, it means there are various other phones trying to do the same which was started by OnePlus through its OnePlus One. So, does the ZUK Z1 really live up to expectation or it is like many of the phones which are only good on the paper. Let’s find out in this review.

Note: This review has been sponsored by Tomtop.com, but it does not affect the review and final verdict in any way.

ZUK Z1 Specifications:

  • Display: 5.5-inch Full HD IPS display.
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 + Adreno 330 GPU
  • RAM: 3 GB
  • Storage: 64 GB with no microSD card support
  • Camera: 13MP and 8MP
  • Battery: 4100mAh
  • Software: Android Lollipop v5.1.1 (will be updated to Android Marshmallow v6.0)
  • Other Features: Fingerprint sensor and USB Type-C

Build & Design:

The ZUK Z1 has a pretty familiar design and it will instantly remind you of Samsung smartphones. Right from the top to bottom including the home button, it resembles Samsung’s design language. However, once you get past the resemblance, the phone has an overall good build. It is made up of plastic with a metallic frame which makes sure that it doesn’t look like any other cheap phone made out from pure plastic. It is also good to hold and easier to grip.

On the front, you will find an 8MP camera at the top sitting next to the earpiece. At the bottom, there are capacitive keys along with the home button which has an integrated fingerprint scanner. The phone also has a USB Type-C port. Coming to the back, there is a 13MP camera and an LED flash below it. On the left side, there is SIM slot and on the right, you will find the power button and volume rocker.

Note: Click on images to enlarge.

Display:

The ZUK Z1 sports a 5.5-inch Full HD (1920x1080p) IPS LCD display with a pixel density of 401ppi. The display of the phone is as good as you would expect from a 1080p panel and it gets complimented by equally good viewing angles. The phone comes with ‘LiveDisplay’ feature which takes care of display’s color temperature depending upon the time of the day. It basically adjusts the warmth of the display.

Performance:

The ZUK Z1 is powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chipset, Adreno 330 GPU, and 3GB RAM.  It is true that the Snapdragon 801 is an old chipset, but it is still good enough and can do almost anything that you will throw at it. The phone handles day-to-day task very easily and when it comes to heavier ones like playing high-end games or multi-tasking, it will not disappoint you there either.

Software:

The ZUK Z1 is one of those phones which comes with Cyanogen. It runs on Cyanogen OS 12.1 based on Android Lollipop v5.1.1 straight out of the box. The software comes with almost all the features which make Cyanogen stand apart from other forked versions of Android and also with a few bugs here and there. All-in-all, the software will give you the performance which you would expect from any phone running on Cyanogen OS. The good thing is that you will also get most of the Google apps with the software.

Another good thing is that the ZUK has announced that the phone will be receiving the Android Marshmallow update in future.

Fingerprint Scanner:

ZUK Z1 Fingerprint Scanner

The phone sports a fingerprint scanner integrated with the home button at the bottom of the ZUK Z1’s front. It is pretty fast and accurate scanner. You will rarely encounter a situation where it would fail to recognize your fingerprint. You have the freedom to save up to 5  different fingerprints.

Battery:

The battery is one of the strongest areas of the ZUK Z1. The phone packs in a 4100mAh stellar battery. When I say stellar battery, I do mean it.  The battery can last you for about two days with ease. And if you are a casual user, then it can surely make it to the third day.

Camera:

ZUK has offered the phone with a 13MP rear camera with Sony IMX sensor, dual-LED flash, and optical image stabilization. The camera is quite good for outdoor daylight photos and the colors do look realistic. However, as you move indoor or a place where there is not sufficient light, you will start to notice noise in photos. While talking about taking selfies, the 8MP front shooter does a pretty good job at it and won’t disappoint you.

As for the camera app, the ZUK Z1 comes with Cyanogen stock camera app. So, all the options and features are the same if you have used Cyanogen before.

Final Verdict:

The ZUK Z1 has a lot of good things about it like the display, day-to-day performance, Cyanogen OS with Marshmallow update in the future, pretty good fingerprint scanner, and a beast of a battery. One the other hand, it doesn’t support 4k video recording, there is no microSD card support, no NFC, and a not-so-unique design. So, if those negatives don’t bother you, then you can definitely consider it as your next phone.