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.
ZUK Z2 Review: UNBOXING
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
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
8MP Front/13MP Back
Bluetooth, 3G, 4G, GPS, WIFI, GSM,EDGE, GPRS, UMTS, HSPA, HSPA+, dual-SIM.
3.500 mAh (non-removable)
141.7 x 68.9 x 8.5 mm / 149g
ZUI 1.9 (Android 6.0)
64GB (not expandable)
ZUK Z2 Review: DESIGN and DISPLAY
As far as design goes, it has changed quite a bit if we compare it to the ZUK Z1.
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.
The sound quality from the loudspeaker is pretty good but nothing we haven’t heard from similarly priced phones.
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.
We have a 5” 1080p display, which is nice and sharp but it could be slightly brighter for a better sunlight legibility.
An 8MP shooter is here for selfies along with a notification LED light on the top.
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.
On the back, we have a 13MP shooter with f/2.2 aperture and a single LED flash.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.