ZUK Z1 Hands-on, First Impressions

ZUK Z1 Hands-on, First Impressions

ZUK, a Lenovo-backed technology company, has entered the Philippine shores with the top-of-the-line Z1 as its initial smartphone offering. We were able to get a hold of the handset during a meeting last night, and here’s what we have to say when we first laid our hands on the device.

Our unit, donning a pure white hue, exhibits pristine cleanliness and elegance in a very minimal design. The front panel has thin side bezels and present a good screen-to-body ratio. There are also two capacitive keys that emit a dot of light when pressed, and the home key which has the U-Touch fingerprint scanner. At 5.5 inches, it’s surprising not that hard to hold and navigate, and you can actually feel comfortable in the long run even when using the phone with just one hand.


To give you a quick idea of how it looks all around, the power/lock button and the volume rockers are located at the right side, all beveled above a well-constructed aviation-grade metal chassis with curved edges that give off a premium feel.

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The speaker grills lay upon the bottom of the device, along with the microphone and the USB-C port. The Z1 is one of the first smartphones with an equipped USB-C port to land in the country this year. There are also white lines that act as antennas and feed signals into the phone.

At the top is the 3.5mm headphone jack and another pair of antennas. The upper-left side, on the other hand, has the Nano-SIM Card tray slot which can be pried open using an eject pin.


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Turning the device around, minimalism ensues with a clean, custom-arched nonremovable back. The ZUK logo, and the camera module emblazoned in a metallic ring accent, and its flash that is placed on the upper-middle part. The glossy finish on the white-colored smartphone, though, is very prone to fingerprint smudges, making it a host of dirt and grime.

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As we quickly took a look at the insides of the device, Cyanogen 12 based on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop runs the show. Despite the radical overhaul on some parts that include adding tons of great features (which we’ll take a look in the full review), this forked version of Google’s mobile operating system still keeps in a lot of Material Design UI, which isn’t that hard to get acquainted with compared to other heavily-customized ROMs.

ZUK Z1 specifications:
5.5-inch Full HD IPS display @ 1920 x 1080 resolution, 401ppi
2.5GHz Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor
64GB internal storage
13MP rear camera with f/2.2 aperture, IMX214 sensor, dual-tone LED flash, OIS
8MP front camera with OV8865 sensor
Dual-SIM (nano)
USB Type-C and USB 3.0
4100mAh battery
U-Touch fingerprint reader
Cyanogen OS 12.1
8.9mm thick


This glossy white ZUK (pronounced by calling out every single letter) Z1, along with a matte slate gray color option, is now available in select offline stores for P15,200. Given the good hardware tucked at this price range, is it the best bet for the next affordable premium phone? Stay tuned for our full review.

Get in touch with Carl at @lamielcarl on Twitter or visit his website for more updates!

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7 Responses

  1. Freeje says:

    What incredible hardware!? It’s got a dated CPU! How much are they paying you guys? If you want an affordable premium phone then get Le1S not this crap.

    • Paul says:

      In the author’s defense, he didn’t write ‘incredible’ to describe the phone. What he said was:

      “Given the _good_ hardware tucked at this price range…”

      I guess the Le1S would count as better hardware for the price range (or even sub-10k if it keeps the $170 price tag), but so far it’s only being sold in China and India starting Nov. 2015. This one you can pick up in mall stores a jeepney ride away.

    • anonymous says:

      @paul, actually the author did wrote “incredible hardware”, then changed it. :|

  2. anonymous says:

    siding with FREEJE here. Reading this feels more like an advertisement on the phone than a review.

  3. Donimus says:

    Nice. Memoxpress and abensons haven’t updated their website. Maybe I’ll drop by one of their stores to check. Also, any word on the Lenovo vibe P1? The event finished last night still no word on the price or availability in their FB page.

  4. mike says:

    according to some online reviews, camera is poor. the only thing going for it is the battery. well,

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