Lenovo Zuk Z1: One Grandpa processor, Rest is OK

lenovo zuk z1 india reviewAre you tired of running after the elusive, almost ephemeral Xiaomi Redmi Note 3? Do you want something that you can get your hands on quickly, but at the same time don’t want to go for the LeEco Le 1s?

Fret not, the Lenovo Zuk Z1 is here.


The phone is not a new model, and was released around October of last year, and comes with the really old Snapdragon 801 chipset.

Some may ask, what’s the big deal?

Well, the Snapdragon 801 found inside the Zuk 1 dates back to the era of 32-bit computing and is one generation older than even the Helio X10 chipset found inside the Le 1s, which itself is considered last generation.

The 801 was revealed back in 2012. For comparison, the Helio X10 inside the Le 1s was announced only in 2015. We are talking about a chipset that was found in the Galaxy S5, HTC M8 and OnePlus One.

The Krait (Cortex A15) core inside the Snapdragon 801 is based on ARM architecture Version 7, while the Cortex A53 core found inside the Helio X10 chipset is based on ARM architecture Version 8 — that’s one full generation ahead.

Does it matter?

Yes and no. To most regular users, it won’t (If you’re reading this, you’re probably not a regular user).

There are plenty of 32-bit Android phones around. In fact, over half of the Android phones in India would still be running on the 32-bit, ARM Ver7 architecture.

The only possible risk — apart from lack of support for 4G Advanced standards — is that over time, when more and more people move to 64-bit computing (which is more efficient and powerful than 32 bit on a theoretical level), app makers will stop making 32-bit versions of their apps. But that is at least 1.5-2.0 years away and by that time, you’d probably have moved to a new phone anyway.

The second risk, apart from the absence of ultra-high-speed (above 150 Mbps) LTE, is the overall limited power that this chipset offers.

Despite containing a flagship product of Qualcomm in the old times, the Zuk Z1 does show its age if you really push it to its limits.

On Geekbench, for example, it scores around 3000 points on a good day, which is slightly below the 3,400 points scored by the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Pro and substantially below the 5,500 points scores by models such as Le 1s which come with octa-core Helio X10. The Antutu score of the Z1 is around 45,000.

Part of the reason for the lower performance is that the Snapdragon 801 has only four cores, while the Redmi Note 3 has a hexa-core chipset and the Helio X10 has eight cores working together.

So, not only are you comparing a grandpa with a 25-year-old, but you’re comparing him with two twenty five year olds.


All this talk of grandpas shouldn’t confuse you. The chipset inside the phone is certainly old, but the rest of the device is as new the Le 1s.

The 13 MP camera at the back, for example, contains Sony’s Exmor RS IMX214 — the same one powering the Le 1s.

And like the Le 1s, the Z1 also contains optical image stabilization (an anti shake feature) and also comes with a USB Type C port. RAM is 3 GB, like in its competitors.

There is almost certainly no fast charging due to the age of the processor, and that is a disadvantage when compared to Le 1s. Like the Note 3 and LeEco model, the Z1 too does not have a memory card slot (the Note 3 has a hybrid slot though).


The phone is for those who value what a phone does, instead of worry about ‘how’ it does what it does.

In other words, if you don’t care what kind of technology is inside your phone, but your worry is primarily about the end results — and you don’t plan to push your phone to the limits — the Zuk Z1 is definitely worth your consideration for two reasons: One, it has twice as much storage memory as the Le 1s and Redmi Note 3 (64 GB vs 32 GB), and two — it has a 4.1 Ah battery that should definitely outlast the 3 Ah unit on the LeTV unit.

If you’d like to sign up for the sale on May 19, here’s the place to do it.
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