I was over in China at the ZUK launch last week and since then I have been using the ZUK Z1 alongside the OP2 and learned a few interesting things about this new flagship.
Before I get in to it I should let you all know that the ZUK Z1 that I have is still running ZUK’s ZUI Android system and not Cyanogen. I have asked for a CM ROM and checked the Chinese forums but so far no luck.
Once officially available outside of China the Cyanogen version of the phone will be on sale which uses the same hardware so much of what I say here will carry over to the CM model.
I don’t like not having a notification light
A notification LED is a feature you don’t realise you will miss until it is taken away. After using the LeTV Le 1 and OnePlus 2 as my main phones for the past few months I’m use to looking at phone phone and checking the LED to see if I have any messages.
The ZUK Z1 has no LED notification light which is rather tiresome.
The ZUK Z1 fingerprint scanner is as good as the best
Like the iPhone, and Meizu MX4 Pro and MX5 the ZUK Z1 has a fingerprint scanner built-in to the physical home button. As it is a physical button you have to first press the button which will wake the system and then read your fingerprint and unlock.
It’s a super fast unlock speed and so far the fingerprint scanner hasn’t let me down.
The ZUK Z1 has very good audio
I’m more than happy with audio on the ZUK Z1. I would say it is slightly better than the audio on the OnePlus, and similar in standard to the LeTV S1 (the phone I still rave about to this day!).
The rear cover doesn’t fit perfectly
It’s not only myself that has noticed the rear panel on the ZUK Z1 does;t fit quite perfectly, other media at the launch event also mentioned it too. This might simply be down to the fact we were given very early production samples and while it doesn’t detract from the device as a whole it is a little annoying.
The ZUK Z1’s battery is long lasting
A 4100mAh battery is really generous on a 5.5-inch phone. ZUK wanted the phone to offer enough battery life for a full day of heavy usage, and I feel they have managed to do what they set out. What is more exciting though is that Cyanogen hope to squeeze more battery life out of the phone!
U touch is nice but the home button is to far down the phone
In ZUK’s own ZUI we have the option to run their U-touch navigation system. Basically this lets you swipe either left or right on the physical home button to switch between apps running in the background. This feature only seems to be available with ZUI, and CM running phones will have to wait for the Cyanogen team to get to grips with it.
As for the placement of the home button, well it is too far down the phone. Not only is the placement odd in terms of design, but it means you have to hold the phone further down that you might be comfortable with.
You don’t miss not having the latest processors
I like the fact that ZUK used a Snapdragon 800. It’s a solid performer, it has none of the issues the 810 has, and it is already well understood by the dev community. If all you care about are benchmarks then the Z1 is going to look underpowered in certain test, but in actual real world use you aren’t going to feel the difference.
ZUK believe the phone is going to be great for those who tend to be heavy on daily usage and gaming. The Snapdragon 801 makes perfect sense for speed, performance, and shear stability.
ZUK Z1 3.0 USB is nice for huge files
Type C USB might still be in its infancy but more phones are getting the new standard, and I hope they all adopt 3.0 at the same time. Moving video files (even the largest) and music libraries all happens in a matter of seconds.
64GB is so nice
Even though we are almost into 2016 it is scary that phone makers still think they can get away with offering only 16GB on some of their phones. If an SD card slot is provided then it is fine, but when it isn’t we really should have at least 32GB but the more the better. So far the 1799 Yuan ZUK Z1 comes with just one storage option, and 64GB is the amount we are happy to see.
Cyanogen might just be the icing on the cake
As phones go the ZUK Z1 is good as it comes with the ZUI, but with Cyanogen it might be a great phone. At the launch we played around with the CM version of the phone and it was a much nice user experience and seemed to bring the phone to life. I actually have the CM ROM which I’ll install for the final review, and believe it is going to really improve the ZUK Z1 for the better.
ZUK Z1 Review soon
Now that we have moved servers and our workload is back on track I can begin focussing on reviews once again. First up will be the ZUK Z1 review followed by the Xiaomi Redmi Note 2, then the Elephone P8000. And for those of you who feel like the ZUK Z1 with Cyanogen might be the perfect phone then don’t forget you can order the deivce from Shop.GizChina.Com right now!