Lenovo Z5 has been the centre point of attraction for more than 6 months because the company teased this handset multiple times to be an all-screen smartphone. But when it was launched, it had the notch and people started criticizing the company. Of course, I was also one of them.
But when the company revealed its price, I was pretty much happy with what this handset is offering. The handset offers 90% screen-to-body-ratio with fewer bezels at the bottom. As soon as I got my hands on Lenovo Z5, I put my SIM card in this phone to check whether it is going to meet my expectations or not. I have been using this handset for more than a week and I think I am ready to share my experience with you.
Lenovo Z5 Specifications and Features
|Display||6.2 inch IPS LCD, 1080x2246px, 18:9 Aspect Ratio, ~402ppi|
|SoC & GPU||Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 636 | Adreno 509|
|OS & RAM||Android 8.0 with ZUI 4.0 | 6GB RAM|
|Storage||64 or 128GB | Expandable|
|Camera (Rear)||Dual 16MP + 8MP, PDAF, Dual-LED Dual-Tone Flash|
|Battery||Li-lon 3,300 mAh | Quick Charge 3.0 18W Fast Charging|
Design and Build Quality
- With an all-glass physical design (front and back), the Lenovo Z5 gives a premium feel when you hold it in hands.
- The screen-to-body ratio is 90% which makes the device look very beautiful. At the front, once used, you won’t notice the bezels below its display.
- To keep the design minimal, the company has put all the buttons (power and volume rockers) on the right edge. Whereas you will get USB type-c, speaker grill and headphone jack at the bottom edge.
- What I dislike is its fingerprint placement is slightly higher than I would prefer it to, making it a bit hard to reach. I have a big palm but still, I was struggling to reach to the fingerprint sensor. It is placed awkwardly upside if we compare it to Redmi series of smartphones.
- Another drawback is that it doesn’t come with face unlock feature which has now become very common.
Overall, the handset has a nice design and good build quality, however, we suggest you use hard case as the glass design is generally fragile. It stands at the top among other phones like Redmi Note 5 Pro, Nokia 6.1 and Honor 7X in this range.
- The Lenovo Z5 has a big display which is ideal for those love to watch videos or play games.
- Its IPS LCD panel is bright, crisp and sharp. I am loving the color accuracy which looks realistic on this handset, thanks to its full HD+ resolution.
- The screen does reflect under direct sunlight but if you set the brightness to maximum, it is operable.
- In terms of responsiveness and precision too, the handset won’t disappoint you. Whether you are typing fast or touching the smallest object, the response is very precise.
In this section, I am happy with the Lenovo Z5.
Software and User Interface
- The Lenovo Z5 runs on Android 8.0 Oreo-based ZUI which is very fast. Much like the MIUI, it is also a single page UI. You will not see any app drawer.
- The user interface has been made quite simple if we compare it to the previous version of ZUI. Heck, sometimes it feels like I am operating stock Android.
- Dropdown menu from the top in ZUI just show notifications while the toggle bar (having shortcuts to wi-fi, Bluetooth, etc.) can be accessed by swiping up from the bottom right corner.
- The company has equipped iPhone X-like gesture which Xiaomi has also added in Mi 6X. If you don’t want to keep capacitive keys, you can switch to the gesture mode.
Overall, I am happy with the user interface. Plus, this iPhone X-like gesture-based operation is completely new. It is handy too once you get used to it.
Performance and Gaming
- Starting with the benchmark test, the numbers are pretty much impressive for SD636. The Lenovo Z5 has scored 1332 points on the single core and 4860 points on multi-core when I tested it on GeekBench 4. Coming to the 3DMark, the handset scored 950 points and 759 points on OpenGL ES 3.1 and Vulkan respectively.
- Talking about real life performance, the smartphone doesn’t disappoint at all during normal operations. Whether you are doing social media or using multimedia apps, it just handles everything with an ease.
- Multi-tasking is also good whether you switch between normal or heavy games, it doesn’t lag. What’s best is that it doesn’t even restart the heavy applications, it resumes.
- I also had no issues whatsoever while playing heavy games like PUBG Mobile, Modern Combat 5, Modern Strike and Hitman Sniper.
- But yes, it might disappoint a bit when it comes graphics performance. I saw frame drops while playing PUBG Mobile and Modern Combat but thankfully, it wasn’t too often and I think it is fine as it has a mid-range processor.
- Oh, one more thing. The smartphone does heat when you do constant gaming. Within 30 minutes of gaming, I saw several degrees of temperature rise.
Overall, the performance is good and the graphics are a bit less than satisfactory. In this range, most of the phones perform more or less similar.
- At the launch event, Lenovo literally bragged a lot about its camera performance and it is somewhat true too. Its artificial algorithm is very good.
- The smartphone does have unmatched camera quality in this range. Daylight photos are far better than what I have seen on Nokia 6.1, Redmi Note 5 Pro and Honor 7X. Whether we talk about color accuracy or details, the camera does a good job. Though the sunlight and sky get overexposed.
- The HDR mode is a plus. It significantly improves sharpness and details. In HDR mode, that overexposure (which we saw in normal daylight photos) is completely gone.
- The rear camera comes with a number of features including “Pro Mode”. It also has a number of filters and different type of AI scene detection modes like slow motion, AI portrait, Night Shot and Mini Video.
- Close-up shots are also good and the interesting part is its quick autofocus.
- Coming to the most popular feature bokeh mode, this handset is “pro”. It effectively blurs the background while keeping the primary object in focus with maintaining the sharpness over edges. Focusing speed is also quick.
- During lowlight condition, the shutter speed gets a bit slow. Though it clicks acceptable photos but that slow shutter speed might be a problem for many people.
- Color accuracy is good but sharpness and details are average.
- Turning on HDR mode does help but you really need steady hands. Even little bit of shake can ruin the photo. And it’s a problem for people who don’t always carry a tripod.
- But, with HDR mode turned on, image quality is significantly improved. Sharpness and details are good, however, it overexposes the light part.
- Coming to the selfie camera, I think it is average. Normal selfies look good but it overexposes the light part. Details are good and colors look warm. Overall, it clicks natural photos.
- Turning on beauty mode, which is powered by AI, does some smoothening. Thankfully, it is not as extreme as Honor or Oppo branded smartphones. Unfortunately, overexposure is still visible.
- There are countless AR filters too. Selfie lovers would love them. See one example below:
Overall, the camera performance is very good with average lowlight performance.
- The Lenovo Z5 comes with an average size of battery but the optimization is really good.
- During normal usage, it easily lasts more than 36 hours whereas the backup time reduces to around 24 hours during moderate usage.
- What’s interesting that the handset lasts longer than any other smartphone in this range during heavy gaming. I played PUBG Mobile for around 3 hours constantly and it took 63% battery. Means, it takes 21% every hour if you do heavy gaming. Calculating with this data, it will last around 5 hours which is more than sufficient.
- The Lenovo Z5 comes with Quick Charge 3.0 (18W) fast charging, however, the company has included a 10W charger in the box. It takes a few minutes over 2 hours to completely charge the battery.
Overall, battery performance is very good.
Under Rs. 15,000 range, there are way too many smartphones to choose from. Every month, we see one or two new smartphone(s) with some new and improved feature and this makes it difficult and confusing to choose the best one.
The Lenovo Z5 is one such device which costs under Rs. 15,000 but offers several new things that other smartphones in this range don’t. While iPhone X-like gesture-based operation and 90% screen-to-body ratio are something new; the handset also gives you flawless performance and very good camera quality. Overall, this smartphone worth its price and if you are looking for a smartphone under Rs. 15,000, this is your new toy.