Z2 Plus: Lenovo's mid-segment warrior
Nidhi Singal December 6, 2016
After being aggressive in the entry-level segment and gaining market share, Lenovo has managed to rise to be the No. 2 smartphone brand by value in India with 9.1 per cent market share. The company seems to be changing its strategy a bit by focusing on mid-segment space, too. The Lenovo Z2 Plus with the price tag of Rs 19,999 seems to be an effort in the same direction.
The Z2 Plus seems to be a compact device as it boasts a 5-inch full HD display. It has a straight line design with 8.49 mm thickness, which reminded me of the iPhone SE design. Only the edges are slightly curved. It has a fibreglass frame and weighs 149 gm. That said, it can be easily operated with a single hand but the device is really soft and slips out of the hand. The power key, volume key and SIM tray are placed on the right side, and Type C charging port, 3.5 mm jack along with speakers are at the bottom. The rear has a glossy black back with Lenovo branding at the bottom and the camera module with flash on the top right. The rear is so glossy that it can act as a mirror (yes, no need to turn on the selfie camera) and attracts fingerprints too. Lenovo has added a cover to the box that doesn't complement the looks of the device.
Usually, with most smartphones, it comes down to the specifications and performance. But here is something more to talk about. Lenovo has added a range of gesture controls and called it U-Touch 2.0. While the home button has a fingerprint scanner, using U-Touch 2.0 in the settings, I was able to assign it more tasks as well. For instance, I assigned Chome for double tapping the home button, calculator to swiping right, Amazon app to swiping left, etc. This enables U-touch to handle between five to 7 different commands around the home button - one for double pressing the home button, swiping left or right, long press, long touch. While I thought it was a fancy feature, it worked smoothly and I got addicted to it.
Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 is a top-of-the-line chipset used in most of the flagship smartphones including the OnePlus 3 and Xiaomi Mi5. The same chipset has been added to the Z2 Plus and has been paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage and runs on Android 6.0. There is also a 3GB variant with 32GB onboard storage priced at Rs 17,999. Most of the smartphones come loaded with a custom UI and things were not any different with the Z2 Plus. It comes loaded with ZUI, which looked similar to the stock Android UI with a few changes. It is the notifications and quick settings where things looked a bit different but it didn't hamper the performance in any way. It launched the apps quickly and was able to multitask without any lag. Streaming videos and playing games was also a pleasant experience. But there were heating issues after longer gaming sessions.
For imaging, the Z2 Plus packs in a 13MP rear camera and 8MP front facing camera. The rear camera is accompanied with single tone LED flash but offers various modes including panorama, time lapse, slow-motion, HDR, etc.. The Z2 Plus also supports slow motion shooting at 120fps, 480fps and 960fps Camera isn't the strongest point. The images shot during daylight looked good on the display but lacks sharpness. in some cases, the colours were being overprocessed. Low light imaging had visible noise.
The 3500mAh battery onboard has an intelligent charge cut-off feature and can easily last a day with above average use. During out testing, we configured two email accounts, WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, used browser and captured images.
Bag it or Junk it: The Z2 Plus is a great device under Rs 20,000 price but can face competition from the better looking Xiaomi Mi 5, which even has got a better camera too.