Chinese phone maker ZUK is a startup with backing from Lenovo. The company has just announced its first flagship phone, and like many of the most interesting Chinese phones these days, the ZUK Z1 combines premium features with a mid-range price tag.
The ZUK Z1 features a 4,100 mAh battery, a USB Type-C reversible charger, 3GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. It’s priced at 1,799 Yuan, or about $284.
The phone has a 5.5 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel display, a 13MP rear camera with optical image stabilization, an 8MP front camera, 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1, dual SIM support, a fingerprint reader, USB 3.0, and support for fast charging.
The ZUK Z1 ships with Android 5.1 Lollipop with a custom user interface called ZUI.
ZUK did make one rather unusual choice for this phone: It ships with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor rather than the newer Snapdragon 810 chip.
While the Snapdragon 801 was popular a popular choice with premium phone makers in 2014, Qualcomm has been pushing the newer Snapdragon 810 chip for 2015 flagship devices. Unfortunately, the newer chip has been criticized for overheating too easily, which can affect performance.
ZUK says the Snapdragon 801 actually outperforms the newer chip in many situations, because it can maintain high clock speeds for a longer period of time before throttling kicks in.
The Snapdragon 801 is certainly no slowpoke. But at a time when the latest top-tier phones from HTC, ZTE, Sony, OnePlus, and many other companies are shipping with a Snapdragon 810 processor, it’s interesting to see a high-profile (in China, anyway) phone launched with Qualcomm’s older processor.