Exclusive: first look at the international ZUK Z1


zuk Z1 international

I’ve just arrived in Shenzhen, and managed to get an early peek at the international version of the ZUK Z1 packaging and phone.

Anyone following ZUK will know that the brand is a Lenovo backed company, but in China ZUK don’t use Lenovo branding on the packaging of the phone or in promotional material, but for the international market things will be different.

As you can see here, the box which contains the international version of the ZUK Z1 is a little larger than the Chinese box and features the popular ‘book’ design and made of a rather substantial thick cardboard. Lenovo branding is in plain site on the side and rear of the box, where we can also make out network specification details for the global version of the Z1.

zuk Z1 international

According to the packaging the ZUK Z1 supports FDD-LTE (1800/2100/2600Mhz) and WCDMA (850/900/1900/2100Mhz). At this time we don’t know if there will be an additional global model with other supported bands.

The phone itself still features Chinese protective stickers, but these will be changed for the final release models. Our version of the phone also run ZUI (which does support English and Chinese), but we have been told that an announcement will be made about the OS for the international market on the 21st during the launch event.

I’m now going to take some time playing around with the ZUK Z1 so watch this space for my first impressions.

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18 Comments

  1. sivkai
    August 19, 2015

    Looks great. I just have two problems. Black bezel when the screen is on, and the awkward placement of the home button (looks too down).

    • Mesterio
      August 19, 2015

      Yeah what a downer ?

      • August 23, 2015

        Device looks good…have to see the performance..

  2. Newarr
    August 19, 2015

    Please do it quickly =)

  3. mf1gt3r
    August 19, 2015

    Aite, am waiting.

  4. balcobomber25
    August 19, 2015

    It is a generic looking device, which isn’t a bad thing. I like the Meizu style packaging if nothing more than for aesthetics. Not a huge fan of CM, what ROM does the Chinese version use?

  5. Mike
    August 19, 2015

    Hi Andy….I know this not the place nor time for this general, but in the end again ZUK-related question:
    Why such a big mess always with frequencies and bands, why every launched phone has different coverage (inbetween models and companies). It shouldnt really be hardware-related as few models offer a wide range of bands while others with the same chips cover specific bands only. If I were the assembler or producer….I would open up and sell more….or what is the mistery????

    • Antonio Rossi
      August 19, 2015

      i think it’s a matter of money… even a small difference in the price of the modem (even less than 1US$) will affect the manufater price and thus the profits… since the majority of phones are targeted towards China or Asian markets, it’s better to give up on wider coverage modems and cut down the costs

      • G'n'T
        August 19, 2015

        I think the bands also add to the cost. I do recall reading somewhere a while back there is a licensing fee to be paid for each LTE band used. Different bands have different licensing costs from what I recall.

        • Michael1337
          August 21, 2015

          You might be right, but every 100-150$ phone has Dual Sim with LTE 1/3/7/20, even if it does cost money, it cannot be that much, otherwise most new budget phones wouldn’t have so many LTE frequencies… New Mediatek chips have world mode modem included, yes. But manufacturers would still have to pay for using these LTE frequencies.

          ZUK wants to save 0,5$ hardware costs per phone (frequencies and modem) and/or will release a B20 version later. I hope they plan to release a version for Europe…

          • bryfly
            August 22, 2015

            currently looking for a phone for UK use and I need LTE band 20, it seems most of the cheaper brands have band 20, but as you get to the mid / top range of phones then band 20 is missing, in light of this I do not believe it is because of cost. We need away of adding bands to phones!

    • Mrinal
      August 19, 2015

      I believe it does have to do with hardware, antennas in specific. I guess it’s cheaper for companies to leave out certain antennas for frequencies that are not used in the regions they plan to sell the phone. If the phone in question (in this case ZUK) is not marketed or intended to be sold in Europe for example, it would not make sense for the company to invest in the B20 FDD-LTE antenna. It can also be a marketing/ business strategy; by selling a phone with very little non-china-used 4G bands they create the possibility of selling an ‘international’ version of the phone with minimal tweaks and the addition of the previously excluded antennas at a price more suited for the western market.

  6. Max
    August 19, 2015

    freakin huge bezel at the bottom! o.O it’s not even symmetrical. the space below the home button is significantly smaller than the one above. at least it’s a REAL bezel and not an elephone frame. nevertheless, it’s killing my ocd… well, it’s too expensive anyway! XD

    • Mesterio
      August 19, 2015

      Looks more like a chin rest ?

      • Max
        August 22, 2015

        ^this! maybe it comes with a bow so you can play it like a violin with some pre-installed app! XD

  7. njren
    August 19, 2015

    If that’s Zuk’s idea of “worldmode bands” they might as well pack it up back to the People’s Republic. The door is still left open for the OnePlus 2 Euro version that supports FDD Band 20 and the N.A. version supporting FDD AWS.

  8. Ronald
    August 20, 2015

    why some of you make a big deal from band 20?? If your operator support band 20 for LTE, be sure- they will support band 3 and band 7 too…most common frequency is B3- because of the range. B20 mostly in big cities where transmitting antenas can be placed in vicinity (range of the sight or even less).

    • Michael1337
      August 20, 2015

      Here in Germany, only Telekom doesn’t use B20, all other Providers do. LTE B20 offers a wider geographically range for LTE connectivity, which means you can bring LTE to more space with just one Antenna, so it is often used in rural areas. In big cities, they often use LTE B3 or B7.
      As conclusion: Missing LTE B20 is a really big deal for most people in Europe, because you won’t have LTE outside of big cities…