Dazzled by the Apple iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, Google Nexus and other smartphones over the past couple of years, we began to expect a lot from new smartphones. Such heightened expectations led to complaints by many that the smartphones launched subsequently didn't have enough innovations. That the current crop of smartphones were merely iterations of their great predecessors.
Lenovo is trying to challenge this notion without giving the customer's pocket a heart attack. It launched the Lenovo Z2 Plus in India in September. While it would be too much to expect industry first features in a smartphone priced at ₹17,999, the Z2 Plus manages to do just that. Not quite a flagship killer, the phone does pack some nifty yet useful tricks under its hat.
First of all, the build of the phone is nicely compact. The 2.5D glass design -- meaning that there is a slight curvature at the edge of the glass display -- on the front and back give the phone a great feel. Lenovo has also put laptop grade protection layers around phone's memory unit making it quite sturdy.
The casing's magnesium alloy panel makes it sturdy and its fiberglass component makes the phone super light. People who like smaller phones will love the Z2 Plus as it has a 5-inch full HD display. With a resolution of 441 PPI (pixels per inch) the phone's screen is great to look at, and the LCD panel produces sharp colours without making them over saturated. The screen is bright enough to be used in the sun. There are a couple of inbuilt modes to set the colour warmth as well, along with a night mode for bedtime usage that imparts a yellowish hue to the screen.
Things get really interesting when we come to the fingerprint sensor at the bottom, which is aligned with the home button. The sensor does more than just unlock the phone. It has five gestures assigned to it that can be customised. One very useful feature is being able to swipe left and right on the sensor to switch between apps, something that users of the Mac and the new Windows 10 would enjoy a lot. Other gestures include the long press, the double touch, and the long touch which can be set for navigation or to open apps.
The phone uses a tweaked implementation of Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset. Lenovo has activated the low powered part of the chip, which in turn will cater to the always-on sensor to measure the user's fitness stats. This way, the user won't have to start an activity explicitly as the sensor will pick it up automatically. In addition, Lenovo has implemented a ring-based fitness activity interface which is very popular in Apple products.
The phone's overall performance is pretty impressive given its powerful chip and the 4 GB of RAM supporting it. There were hardly any lags in processor intensive tasks such as gaming or recording videos. Lenovo Z2 Plus comes in a 3 GB version too.
The camera on the smartphone is a 13 MP shooter with f/2.0 aperture. While it does take some decent photographs, don't expect it to perform as well as a Moto Z Play or OnePlus 3. Low light photography is not really advised but a group picture with flash will work. The 8 MP front camera with f/2.2 aperture takes decent selfies as well.
Lenovo Z2 Plus runs on Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 which largely resembles the stock Android experience with some tweaks. The settings menu has some additional options to customise the phone, such as a notification centre and U-touch menus. Apart from that, one can pull up a quick setting drawer from the bottom of the screen which has many shortcuts for toggles and the brightness level bar. This whole panel can be customised from the settings menu as well.
The phone has a 3500 mAh battery that can be charged through a USB C port, and it also supports fast charging. The smaller form factor means that the phone will last you at least a day on a single charge even with moderately high usage.
So, overall, the Lenovo Z2 Plus is not exactly scaling heights of smartphone innovation, but it is making life simpler by providing a great smartphone for under ₹20,000.