Last week I received a ZUK Z2 Pro, which meant I could use it during my short trip to the Scottish Highlands. See what I think of this flagship killer after a few days of use.
The ZUK Z2 Pro has been a phone that has excited a lot of folks in the Chinese smartphone community. Not only is this the 2nd flagship phone from the Lenovo backed start-up, but it is also one of the few phones that has shipped with a Snapdragon 820 and huge 6GB RAM!!
It’s not only the processing package that draws peoples attention though! Internal memory is 128GB, there is a 13 mega-pixel F1.8 camera with OIS, slow motion video of up to 960fps, fingerprint scanner, 8 mega-pixel front camera, USB Type C, and a built-in heart rate monitor!
So it has the hardware, but how does it live up to the hype after a few days of use?
Living with the ZUK Z2 Pro
I’m just going to break this down in to main points that I have come across while using the phone, but to start off there really are no major issues I have with the phone, just a few (minor) niggles.
If you watched my hands on video with the ZUK Z2 Pro then you have seen me set up the finger print scanner and mention that you don’t need to physically press the button to wake and unlock your phone. In fact I very rarely ever have to press the button and I wonder if ZUK couldn’t have just gone without it. Double tapping the button pressing the button will bring up the task manager to clear running apps, but this thing has 6GB RAM so I never feel the need, plus surely a double tap would have been just as simple?
Also during my video will have seen me use the camera on the phone and not be too impressed with the colour of HDR photos, I’m still not impressed with HDR (it doesn’t seem to make any difference) but the regular camera mode is fast and takes good photos. Also, swiping from left to right brings up filters, one being a ‘Vivid’ filter this does a good job or brightening up images.
The camera is fast and takes good photos, but there are cameras with better daylight performance than the ZUK Z2 Pro, low light performance though is above my expectations and better than most other current flagships.
Another observation is that the Z2 Pro does not have a burst mode for taking photos. This would have been great at the downhill racing event I was at (where the Xiaomi Mi5’s speed proved invaluable). Instead of a burst mode the Z2 Pro will take a ‘live photo’ or short video if you hold down on the shutter button.
While were are on the rear camera did you know that you can set the camera to record slow motion at 120fps, 240fps or 960fps, and video quality of up to 4K? This is seriously fun to play around with (check out the slow mo video samples below).
The front 8 mega-pixel camera takes nice shots, but its odd that in its default setting beauty mode cannot be deactivated (or adjusted). Another interesting front camera feature is one that has you take your pulse using the heart rate monitor and then snap a photo when the reading is complete. This gives you a selfie with small heart and your BPM. I’m not sure what the function of this is, flirting perhaps???
While traveling through Scotland I had to use my GPS a lot and was instantly impressed by the initial lock on speed and the accuracy of the GPS while navigating. I am also impressed by the browsing speed even over patchy LTE.
At this point I’ve not tried the audio, although I can comment that the external speaker is loud and clear through my use with Google Maps.
Battery life is a concern many people have had considering the ZUK Z2 Pro has a smaller battery than the Z2 yet a larger screen and more RAM. In my time with the phone I’ve not seen battery life deteriorate quickly, and am getting around 2 days of use from the phone which is fine by me.
In addition to the heart rate monitor I have managed to log in to the U Health app using my QQ number, where it can automatically count your steps and will allow you to manually add other sport activities and durations too. It would be good to see some Google Fit integration here, but perhaps this is something that we will see in the international ZUI ROM.
All in all I’ve been pretty impressed with the ZUK Z2 Pro, there are no major headaches, even Google services and apps are running without an issue on this Chinese version of the phone.
I’ll have a full review up sometime next week after I have uploaded the Xiaomi Max review. If you have any questions please let me know in the comments below.