Lenovo Z2 Plus first impressions: Compact design and Snapdragon 820 makes it an impressive device

With Z2 Plus, Lenovo has made a serious challenger for mid-range flagships like Xiaomi Mi 5 and OnePlus 3

Written by Karthekayan Iyer | Updated: September 24, 2016 2:43 pm
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Lenovo has officially launched its Z2 smartphone in India. After teasing the device for a really long time on its Twitter account, Lenovo has launched the phones at a really attractive price point. Lenovo Z2 comes in two variants – 3GB RAM variant with 32GB storage and another with 4GB RAM model with 64GB storage. At Rs 17,999, Lenovo has brought some hardware elements available only on premium smartphones to a new price category.

Lenovo says Z2 smartphones are for the tech savvy audience, but in my brief time testing the device, I felt it is for everyone out there who prefers a compact form factor. Here is our first impression for the new Z2 smartphone:

Design and Display: The moment you hold the phone, it is evident that small phones are still a thing. Lenovo Z2 features a boxy design and uses a relatively new fiberglass for its build. Lenovo says fiberglass makes the phone lighter and sturdier. Lenovo Z2 is fits well in your palm and offers comfortable use in one hand. The smartphone is packed with metal assembly for holding the hardware components, while the back is reinforced with glass. The black colour variant is a fingerprint magnet while the white colour model looks understated yet cool.

The front of the device hosts a 5-inch display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The display looked good in the test environment and at maximum brightness, Z2 Plus’ display felt crisp and vibrant. The viewing angles were pretty good considering we were in poor lighting conditions. The right side of the device is home to the power button and volume rocker while the bottom contains the 3.5 mm headphone jack, USB-C port for charging and CNC drilled speaker grills.

Processor, Memory and Battery: Lenovo Z2 is not just about its form factor but also about the flagship hardware specifications. To start with Lenovo Z2 features Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 820 chipset. At Rs 17,999, Lenovo Z2 becomes the cheapest Snapdragon 820 powered smartphone. Lenovo Z2 Plus also comes with Adreno 530 GPU which should improve the graphics performance significantly. The chipset also offers faster LTE modem.

Also read: Lenovo Z2 PLus launched in India: Here’s all you need to know

Apart from Snapdragon 820, Lenovo Z2 Plus comes with 3/4GB DDR4 RAM which offers faster interface compared to a DDR3 RAM. During our time testing the device, the animations were fluid and the memory consumption was significantly less, even with multiple apps running in the background. On storage side, there is 32GB or 64GB internal storage option and we would recommend picking the 64GB variant over 32GB model.

Lenovo Z2 Plus is backed by a 3,500mAh battery. The smartphone is rated to last a day full of regular use by Lenovo, which may well hold true but we will hold on to our own battery test before drawing any conclusion.

Camera: With Zuk Z1, Lenovo struggled to offer a compelling camera but that is not the case here. Lenovo Z2 Plus offers a 13MP primary camera with f/2.2 aperture. Yes, the aperture is not very wide but it makes up for it with a larger pixel size. Lenovo is using a 1.34 micron image sensor which should help capturing pictures in low light. The pictures shot with Z2 Plus offer 4:3 aspect ratio but there is an option to get 1:1 aspect ratio.

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Lenovo Z2 Plus also supports 4K video recording, timelapse in 1080p and slow motion video in 720p HD resolution. Another thing worth mentioning is the HDR mode. I found the auto HDR mode to be very useful and would recommend using it by default. Lenovo Z2 Plus also gets an 8MP front camera but it didn’t really impress me. We will have more on the cameras in our full review.

OS: Lenovo Z2 Plus ditches Cyanogen OS in favour of near stock Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The smartphone comes bundled with Lenovo apps like ShareIt which has proved useful across platforms.

Lenovo has also tweaked the UI – the quick access shortcuts can be accessed by swiping from the bottom – which helps one-handed use. The notable addition here is the U Health app which tracks steps, calories burnt using the sensor hub of Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset. The smartphone also has pedometer for more accurate step tracking. The feature has been available on iPhone in the form of Apple Health and on Huawei devices too.

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The most interesting software feature is the gesture support added to the fingerprint scanner. On Z2 Plus, users can switch between apps with the swipe of a finger. The feature works very similar to swiping on a Mac trackpad. There is a learning curve but you will get used to it.

Conclusion: Lenovo Z2 Plus definitely offers a lot for the asking price. With 4GB RAM, 64GB storage and Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, the phone is poised to deliver on performance front. However, it needs to tested on counts like everyday use and battery life. With Z2 Plus, Lenovo has made a serious challenger for mid-range flagships like Xiaomi Mi 5 and OnePlus 3.