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Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro (Dual SIM)

One of the most un-imaginable 6 inch (Phablets) phones that one could buy is available at a price point of Rs. 32,999 which makes it one of the lowest costing QHD devices available in the market today. I have spent ample time ‘googling’ the device and looking for international reviews and quite disappointed to find none. The phone has been completely ignored which leads to either the question that this is a another Chinese import with some customization here and there, or that this has not been marketed enough and thus, comes as a surprise Diwali deal for all.

I have used pretty much every device you can think of from the ios Apple – iPhones (entire series), to the Android Samsung S (entire series), to the Notes (everything), Nexus (entire series) all the way to the Microsoft bred Nokia Lumia 1020 and 1500 and more. The Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro would be the last of my options, except that this year I was fascinated by it’s specs and features. For a 6 inch phablet (Phone + Tablet) this seemed to have quite a lot of things on it’s positives. Right now, the top end Galaxy’s and iPhone are fighting each other with 13 MP to 16 MP Cameras, and HD Displays, whereas the Vibe Z2 Pro enters the arena silently with 16 MP Professional Camera (some compare it the Nokia 1020’s 41 MP PureView camera), which undoubtedly can not be true. However where the Z2 Pro shows dominance is with it’s 4K recording ability and QHD screens making it an interesting device at it’s price point. Also interesting enough it houses a secondary 5 MP camera compared to most devices fighting with 2 MP front face cameras. Designed to look “expensive” and slim, the device is supposed to be quick with a 2.5 Gz Snapdragon 801 Quad Core Processor, which even today doesn’t make me feel that fast with any device except the Nexus 5! Armed with 3 GB RAM, this baby should be as fast my computer – or so I would have imagined. Yet with so much bloat being installed by companies for OEM and Custom UI’s you generally don’t get more than 700 MB of free RAM. I would have personally liked having Android Stock UI, no bloat ware and at least 2 GB RAM all for myself ! Now that would be a real “Snap-Dragon” !

No expandable memory card was an instant turn off for me, and having 32 GB minus the whooping 6 GB OS used storage was a kick in my ass. Leaving me with hardly 24 GB of free storage after deducting other in built apps and files, and no memory card – I felt bloated already. There is OTG support, which means using custom cables you can connect your phone’s charging port to a USB cable (OTG) which will allow you to again connect mass storage drives such as pen drives, flash drives, etc. to your phone. I don’t like the idea because it makes things look messy.

What the Z2 Pro does though – is 6 GB includes an option to switch between the Android UI and it’s custom UI – this is a first in my book’s for a dual mode GUI option which allows people like me switch to Androids GUI.  I would imagine that this move, should or would free me up to 1.8 to 2GB’s of RAM, but I need to really check to see if it works. I would personally have hoped to be able to delete the entire Lenovo custom UI and free me up another 2-3GB of space which would probably let me fit a good deal of my music collection and some books to read on my 6 inch…. (no pun intended)…. screen.

Now let me compare some top end devices with the Z2 Pro for you to give you an idea of what kind of a “dragon” this could be. The LG 3 – one of the only qHD phones available is priced similarly at Rs 32,999 has similar specs but a smaller 5.5 inch screen.The LG3 has 550 ppi density because of it’s half inch smaller frame, whereas the Z2 Pro has 490 ppi resolution, which for the extra half inch is noteworthy. Having said that, the Z2 Pro’s quality should be good enough since the human eye can not differentiate screens with higher than around 320 ppi. Where companies have begun new competition is brightness to confuse the user on higher ppi scales. So knowing the Z2 Pro supports 490 ppi for a 6 inch screen sounds wonderful. 3GB Ram sounds like a real treat, since companies like LG and Samsung install GUI and Application bloatware that eventually gives you around 500-600 MB of Free RAM. I personally hate slow phones and with all the things these companies put nowadays, the Samsung S5 was one of the fastest phones to exit my pockets permanently. Now where the Z2 Pro does suffer is – lack of stereo speakers like the Sony Z3 and lack of water proof or water resistant bodies. I would have loved knowing that the Z2 Pro with it’s supposedly professional camera could get into fresh water swimming pools for some fun photos. That’s not the case as the Z2 Pro can’t really do that.

However, it does have a professional camera mode which allows it do use custom camera (manual settings) and really take vivid photographs. Now on a positive note – the Sony Z3 costs Rs. 46,000 while the Z2 Pro as I repeatedly have mentioned is Rs. 32,999 (33,000) which is a Rs.13,000 savings immediately. Also on a side note – the Sony Z3 is a said to be breaking it’s screen fairly quickly, speakers damage when submerged into water is causing problems to Sony’s water proof claims too. When compared to an iPhone – the Z2 Pro runs a different operating system, but if you went straight to the tech specs – Z2 Pro has more RAM, a higher end camera and seems to be made more expensive than the iPhone – however this is yet to be seen as my new iPhone 6 Plus is yet to arrive.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 which is expected to launch this week, will be priced around Rs. 52,000 and has a PPI of 515 thanks to it’s super-amoled display. However if you look at the difference between 515 and 490 ppi – it doesnt seem a great deal. That’s where the Z2 Pro which – let me remind you is a 6 inch phablet might be better than the Note 4, which is a 5.7 phablet for a lower price! However, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 does include a pen, and has writing capabilities which almost no other phone has – which continues to make it unique. That being said, to keep this review fair – the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 has a lower battery life than the Z2 Pro which interesting offers dual sim support, whereby one sim supports 3G/4G/LTE support – but quite surprisingly doesn’t support India’s Airtel LTE network. The second sim card sadly doesn’t support 3G and is good for only 2G networks. The Samsung Note 4 includes the new Snapdragon 805 chipset, which makes it the first device to run the new updated hardware. The new chipset mitigates issues of handling 4K recording as well as QHD screens. The Samsung Note 4 has a 16 MP camera (Front) and a 3.7 MP rear camera, whereas the Z2 Pro has a  16 MP font camera, with a mightier 5 MP rear camera.

Just to remind everyone – higher Mega Pixels are not important for personal photographs whereas the focus lens size is more important for detailed photographs. The MPs come into play only when you want to shoot large images (scenery from a bridge or a hill) or want to take photos for large banners or bill boards. There is no description mentioned around on the Lens of the Z2 Pro and I suspect the camera might be a bit substandard and so mentioning it was neglected. The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 does indeed have a finger print sensor which the Z2 Pro does not have, but interestingly the finger print sensor has not really found any place or value on devices till date. Both devices include NFC and bluetooth. Finally, the Galaxy Note 4 does support expandable memory cards up to 128GB which would therefore allow a 32GB model to store up to 160 GB of data including it’s OS, GUI and other proprietary apps and data. I don’t know if the Note 4 is worth paying the extra Rs. 20,000 premium cost but then again the Note 4 is in a league of it’s own.

My opinion to this is, if you have a budget for a high quality premium device – I would recommend either of the two devices – Lenovo Z2 Pro or the upcoming Nexus 6. Since the Nexus 6 is still not available.  I will try to make it easier for you – Lenovo Z2 Pro is a great choice till then.

-Written by Shivam Parikh