blackview giveaway

ZUK Z2 Review after 1 year – The Best Budget Smartphone for $180?

by Linus 3

Last year a Lenovo-backed company released a ZUK Z2 – a phone that had a great design and killers specs. Right now you can get this phone for just about $180 and it seems to be one of the best phones for the price since it has a Snapdragon 820 chip, 4GB of RAM and a lot more! Learn more in our ZUK Z2 review after 1 year.

Check out Lenovo’s deal page

ZUK Z2 Review: UNBOXING

IMG_2102JPG IMG_2103JPG IMG_2105JPG

The phone ships with all the usual stuff that includes the USB C cable, a fast charger, SIM ejector pin and some paperwork.

ZUK Z2 Review: SPECS

Display
5″ 1080 x 1920 pixels (~441 ppi pixel density)
Processor and GPU
Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 820, Dual-core 2.15 GHz Kryo & dual-core 1.6 GHz Kryo, Adreno 530 GPU
RAM
4GB
Camera
8MP Front/13MP Back
Connectivity
Bluetooth, 3G, 4G, GPS, WIFI, GSM,EDGE, GPRS, UMTS, HSPA, HSPA+, dual-SIM.
Battery
3.500 mAh (non-removable)
Dimensions
141.7 x 68.9 x 8.5 mm / 149g
OS
ZUI  1.9 (Android 6.0)
Storage
64GB (not expandable)

ZUK Z2 Review: DESIGN and DISPLAY

IMG_2063JPG

As far as design goes, it has changed quite a bit if we compare it to the ZUK Z1.

IMG_2080JPG IMG_2148JPG

Now we have a rather compact phone, which uses a very high quality and sturdy metal frame around the device. I love the fact that all the buttons and a dual SIM card tray are on the right and all other stuff is on the bottom. Thus, other sides of the phone look clean.

IMG_2146JPG

The sound quality from the loudspeaker is pretty good but nothing we haven’t heard from similarly priced phones.

IMG_2008JPG IMG_2009JPG

Also, we have Gorilla Glass 4 on the front and rear. A great thing is that the phone has some sort of anti-fingerprint coating and it does its job very well.

IMG_2095JPG

We have a 5” 1080p display, which is nice and sharp but it could be slightly brighter for a better sunlight legibility.

IMG_2082JPG

An 8MP shooter is here for selfies along with a notification LED light on the top.

IMG_2083JPG

On the bottom, we have just one physical home button but it has tons of features. First of all, you can physically press it and it takes you home. Also, you can tap it and it acts as a back button or swipe it from left to right if you e.g. want to access your recent apps. Also, the button is highly customizable and you can assign different tasks. I have to say that this is one of the best home button implementations I’ve ever seen.

Last but not least we have a fingerprint scanner, which is accurate and it reads a fingerprint straight from the standby mode.

IMG_2084JPG

On the back, we have a 13MP shooter with f/2.2 aperture and a single LED flash.

IMG_2140JPG

Overall, the phone is well-built, it feels nice in the hand and it sports some flagship-worthy materials in the construction.

ZUK Z2 Review: HARDWARE and PERFORMANCE

ZUK Z2 still sports some flagship-grade specs. It has a Snapdragon 820 chip, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of on-board storage without the microSD card slot.

Screenshot_2016-06-26-19-11-53--1589957042

As you may have guessed, the phone can handle anything you throw at it without a sweat. All the games ran almost perfectly on the highest graphics. However, the phone does quite warm on the top portion of the device but there are no overheating warnings or anything that could impair the performance.

ZUK Z2 Review: USER INTERFACE

When it comes to the user interface, there are two different versions. The one I reviewed like 8 months ago shipped with the Chinese ROM that had quite a bit of bloatware and no Google services. The one I have ships with the fully de-bloated ZUI rom, that is built on top of Android 6.0.

First of all, I love that the UI looks clean and it is fast and fluid. Also, there are some extra features and customization options. Besides the ability to do a lot of stuff just by swiping on the home button, you can swipe from the bottom to open up quick settings toggles, which are highly customizable too.

It would be great to have the Android 7 on this ROM but honestly, I really love it and so far it looks a lot better than the Chinese ROM.

ZUK Z2 Review: CAMERA

When it comes to the camera, we have a few shooting modes but there is no manual mode to take a full control of the images you take. Also, there are some basic settings to play with. In addition, the phone can take pictures very fast, which is probably the most important aspect for most users. Finally, the device triggers HDR mode automatically.

ZUK Z2 Review: IMAGE QUALITY

ZUK Z2 can take some nice looking daylight images with a good amount of detail, accurate looking colors and sharpness.

The camera starts struggling in lower-lit situations as the images have quite a lot of noise and less detail. Still, you can get some usable images out of this phone.

The 4k video looks really good for a $180 phone. However, the footage could have less noise and compression, and the green color of the grass looks oversaturated. See a video review for a video sample.

An 8MP selfie snapper can take some decent looking selfies for social media needs.

Overall, ZUK Z2 does not have a perfect camera but it is definitely one of the better cameras in a $300 phone.

ZUK Z2 Review: CONNECTIVITY

IMG_2136JPG
GPS test (indoors)

I didn’t have any connectivity issues with the phone as the signal reception was good and the call quality was decent. Also, the Wifi worked fine and the GPS was accurate.

ZUK Z2 Review: BATTERY LIFE

The ZUK Z2 ships with 3500mAh built-in battery and it performs great.

I could constantly get over 5 hours of screen-on time on a mixed use, which involved using the camera, browsing the web, a bit of gaming and so on.

IMG_2105JPG

The phone ships with a fast charger and I was able to fully charge the phone in 1 hour and 30 mins.

ZUK Z2 Review: CONCLUSIONS

IMG_2056JPG

So, there you have it, ZUK Z2 after the buzz. With the recent price drops, I honestly believe that this is one of the best phones you can buy. Sure, it has a few shortcomings to consider but given the fact that it has really powerful internals, great and compact design, the ZUK Z2 is a fantastic offering for about $180.

IMG_1997JPG

Always be the first to know. Follow us:

4.7

With the recent price drops, I honestly believe that this is one of the best phones you can buy. Sure, it has a few shortcomings to consider but given the fact that it has really powerful internals, great and compact design, the ZUK Z2 is a fantastic offering for about $180.

Design and Build
Display
Hardware
User Interface
Camera
Connectivity
Battery Life
Overall Performance
Value for Money
Buy Chuwi Surbook
  • willysson

    Can you refresh my memory? I thought Lenovo was ditching the ZUK brand.

    • Raky_b

      yes, they said that…all phones will be under Lenovo and Moto brands

  • Chickens

    It already has Android 7 and camera has manual mode.

119 Shares
Share118
Tweet
+11
Share
Pin