Slowly, Indian smartphone market is becoming the new home to Chinese brands. Of late, we have seen several Chinese vendors holding the upper hands in the country. Brands such as Xiaomi, Lenovo, Coolpad, LeEco, etc are been unstoppable from the past two years.
As I mentioned, one such brand is the Lenovo who is trying to increase their presence in the country by launching the Lenovo Z2 Plus. Lenovo has been pricing all their devices aggressively to make them more competitive. Another Lenovo’s child brand, Motorola has launched the Moto G Plus (4th Gen) at Rs. 14,999 and now the Lenovo Z2 Plus replaces the last year’s flagship phone- the Lenovo Vibe X3. The Z2 Plus is priced at Rs. 19,999 for the 4GB of RAM variant and Rs. 17,999 for the 3GB RAM variant. I have been using the Lenovo Z2 Plus for more than two weeks and here’s what I think about the phone.
Lenovo Z2 Plus Review: Sublime Design and Great In-Hand Feel
At the first glance, I thought that the smartphone as the Space Gray variant of the Apple iPhone 5s. In the year 2016, we have seen a lot of smartphones with the metal-bodied design. In fact, even OnePlus has ditched their famous Sandstone back in favor of the metal body in their OnePlus 3. However, Lenovo went in a completely different way with the Z2 Plus. It comes with a 2.5D curved glass on both front and back and looks insanely good.
As quoted earlier, the Z2 Plus has glass on both front and back and the back is highly reflective and prone to smudges and scratches. The device comes with a plastic rim around the corners, which doesn’t look bad at all. The Lenovo Z2 Plus comes with a thickness of 8.49mm and weighs just 149 grams and it is largely due to the glass and fabric body.
Speaking about the button placement, the Z2 Plus comes with the traditional volume rockers and power button placed to the right of the smartphone. The USB Type- C port, 3.5mm headphone jack, and the single speaker grille can be seen on the bottom of the phone. Most of the front part is dominated by the 5-inch screen. The Z2 Plus has a physical home button, which can be tuned to perform several software actions and Lenovo calls the button as ‘U-Touch’.
The Lenovo Z2 Plus has a sublime design and offers great in-hand feel, but it does feel chunkier at times due to the 8.49mm thickness.
Lenovo Z2 Plus Review: Compact Display Size
The Lenovo Z2 Plus comes with a display size of 5-inches and it is specially designed for one-handed usage. Having said that, there are a lot of smartphones available in the market with a display size of 5.5-inch and above, but Lenovo wanted to keep the things simple. The display further extends to a pixel density of 441 PPI and is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 Technology. Speaking about how the display fares in real time usage, it has got decent viewing angles, text appears sharp all the time and the sunlight legibility is decent as well. The phone also comes with built-in night mode, which helps in reducing strain during night times.
When Lenovo launched the Z2 Plus in India last month, it was the cheapest smartphone to come with the flagship Snapdragon 820 processor, however, that changed quickly as LeEco slashed the price of LeEco Le Max 2 to Rs. 17,999. The Z2 Plus comes with a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset with two cores clocked at 2.15GHz and the other two at 1.6GHz. The phone comes in two variants- 3GB RAM and 4GB RAM, the latter is the one I used during the entire review.
Smartphones such as the OnePlus 3, Xiaomi Mi 5, LeEco Le Max 2, and Samsung Galaxy S7, etc came out with the Snapdragon 820 chipset and they ran without any issues. So is the case with Lenovo Z2 Plus. The phone handled each and every task with ease and in daily usage, you won’t notice any lags at all.
In terms of cellular call quality, the phone supports Reliance Jio and I never faced a single call drop with the network, but the new entrant barely connects calls. I played some intensive games such as the Asphalt 8 and the latest Asphalt Extreme and the phone ran them without any issues.
UI Touch is the Major Highlight of the Phone!
The Lenovo Z2 Plus boots Android Marshmallow based ZUI out-of-the-box in India. After Lenovo’s allegations with Cyanogen, the company has built their own OS. The phone comes preloaded with Google Now Launcher as the default launcher in India. Apart from the launcher, the UI is heavily customized and you won’t see any signs of stock Android at all.
Having said that, the notification panel is heavily customized. In the ZUI, you can’t see any quick toggles, instead, Lenovo is bundling a control center, same as the Apple’s iOS and it can be accessed by swiping from the bottom of the screen.
One of the major feature, which Lenovo is promoting as well in the phone is the ‘U-Touch’. As said earlier, the Lenovo Z2 Plus comes with a fingerprint scanner embedded into the home button. And, the home button is heavily customizable. Swiping across the button takes you to previous apps, which solves the issue of always switching to the multi-tasking menu. You even get more customizable options such as the long press the button to open a specific app or double press the button to open your desired app.
The Settings application is completely redesigned and you will find yourselves in a tough spot in searching for any setting. I never faced a single issue with the user interface and it was equally tweaked to support the hardware of the phone.
Lenovo Z2 Plus Review: Mediocre Camera, But Enough for the Price Tag!
The Lenovo Z2 Plus comes with a 13MP rear camera and an 8MP front-facing camera. The rear camera captures some good quality images in bright sunlight conditions with almost accurate colors. However, the phone doesn’t exhibit the same results when capturing images in night times. Although, the low-light images are passable, but somewhat takes a back step when compared to the rivals. The rear camera is capable of recording 4K videos and it also can record slow motion videos.
The front-facing camera is also good in bright light conditions, but the quality of the photos fades away with the passage of light. Coming to the camera application, Lenovo bundles their own camera app, which has several modes such as the panorama, HDR, time lapse, etc.
Overall, the camera in the Z2 Plus is not the best in the business but gets the job done most of the time.
The Lenovo Z2 Plus comes with a 3500mAh battery, which has support for Qualcomm’s QuickCharge 3.0. In my entire review period, the phone always lasted for a day even with the cellular data turned on all the time. ZUI also comes with a battery saver mode, which gives you additional juice when your battery goes down below 20 percent.
Verdict: The New Flagship Killer!
Lenovo priced the Z2 Plus aggressively in India. With a price tag of Rs. 17,999 for the 3gigs RAM variant and Rs. 19,999 for the 4gigs RAM variant, the smartphone will give the competitors such as OnePlus 3 and Xiaomi Mi 5 run for their money.
Nevertheless, there are some let downs as well. The camera isn’t great on the phone and the design won’t be liked by all the people. But, I admit that the Lenovo Z2 Plus is surely a game changer.