We’re excited to be returning to Austin, TX, one of our favorite cities, on October 16th at 7PM for our third Engadget Live event of the year! We’ll take over Austin Music Hall and bring together gadget lovers and tech companies for a night you don’t want to miss. Tickets are free, but if you’d like to get in an hour earlier (at 6PM), you can purchase an early-access pass.
At our previous Engadget Live events in Boston and Los Angeles, guests hopped inside a 2016 Ford Escape and checked out its voice-activated SYNC 3 system for themselves. Ford will bring that Escape down to Austin for you to check out first-hand (or experience SYNC 3 through standalone screens across the venue).
What else? Lenovo will show off some of their latest notebooks and tablets (and give some of them away to lucky guests). Drizly (the app that lets you get alcohol delivered with the tap of a button) will mix up a free drink to the first 250 guests (who are age 21 and older, of course). In related alcohol news, Vapshot will return to Engadget Live and let you experience vaporized booze. Say what?!
Also at Engadget Live Austin, we’ll welcome back our friends from Chaotic Moon who will show off Halo, their haptic feedback device for the visually impaired. Corning’s Gorilla Glass is on over 3 billion devices worldwide (maybe even yours!) and the company will be at the event, showing off its durable Gorilla Glass 4. If you want to get your hands on Huawei’s latest devices (including their new smartwatches), there will be a table for that too. We’ll also see demos from Sereneti Kitchen, KubeSound, Ricoh and much, much more.
If you’re going to be in or around Austin on October 16th, come join us at the Austin Music Hall. Get your free ticket (or buy an early-access one) right here.
Lenovo’s smartphone strategy is certainly diverse. The company sells phones under its own name, it also sells phones under its Motorola brand, and it is also investing in other smartphone makers, in this case the Hong Kong-based ZUK. And it seems that ZUK isn’t shy about Lenovo’s involvement with the company since the ZUK Z1 comes in a box with Lenovo’s logo on it!
So what does the Lenovo-backed ZUK Z1 have to offer? How does it compare to the bigger brands? We find out, in this in-depth ZUK Z1 review!
Related – Best Cheap Android Phones
The ZUK Z1 features quite a simplistic design language, and in many ways reminds me of the Samsung Galaxy S3, however the Z1 does sport a neatly made metal frame. According to ZUK, the metal frame is made from aviation aluminum and is crafted using 16 CNC manufacturing procedures and 209 machining operations in total. By using a metal frame ZUK have, in part at least, lifted the Z1 above the mediocre, all plastic generic phone design.
The metal frame also helps give the handset a sturdy feel and it is certainly easy to hold in the hand. Looking around the phone, you will find the volume rocker and the power button on the left hand side and the SIM tray opposite, on the right hand side. On the top is the 3.5mm headphone jack, while on the bottom edge is the speaker grill, microphone and the USB Type-C port.
On the front is the 5.5 inch Full HD IPS display, the front facing camera, the ear piece and the home button. The home button has a built-in fingerprint reader and is flanked by two capacitive keys, Recent on the left and Back on the right. Flipping the phone over you will find the rear facing camera, LED flash and the ZUK logo.
Overall the design may not be particularly innovative, but the use of the metal frame helps to notch up the style a little. However, I can’t help feeling that the first impression you will get from the Z1 is that of a generic smartphone. The handset also comes in dark grey, and maybe that version would appear less bland.
The Z1 comes with a 5.5-inch IPS LCD display, with a 1080p resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 401 ppi. Having a Full HD display is a huge plus for a mid-range phone like this, and the good news is that the display is a good performer with s 450 nit peak brightness and 1500:1 contrast ratio.
Since it is an IPS panel the viewing angles are great and overall the display adds to the experience rather than detracts from it. I had no trouble seeing the display indoors or outdoors and the “adaptive brightness” works well. One interesting thing about this display is its “LiveDisplay” feature. When enabled, the display will change its brightness and color temperature depending on the time of day. In day mode the color temperature is set to 6500K, but at night it automatically switches to 4500K (i.e. the colors appear warmer). There is also an “Automatic outdoor mode” which increases the brightness and saturation under bright sunlight.
It is worth mentioning that there is a small black border between the end of the display and the start of the bezels/case. Some users might find this unsatisfactory, though personally it doesn’t bother me at all.
ZUK have made an interesting choice when it comes to the Z1’s processor. While many handset makers are moving to 64-bit processors from Qualcomm, Samsung or MediaTek, the Z1 packs a 32-bit processor, specifically the Snapdragon 801. In one sense this is a smart move as the Snapdragon 800 and 801 was/is a fantastic processor and has a great track record for performance and reliability. But, from a marketing point of view, some potential buyers might see the Snapdragon 801 as yesterday’s tech. However, the truth is I would rather have the 32-bit Snapdragon 801 than a very low-end 64-bit processor like the Snapdragon 410.
Obviously the Snapdragon 801 is no slouch and Android runs very well on this SoC. The UI is fast and responsive. I didn’t notice any lags or stutters and overall the performance from a user’s point of view is excellent.
Since we are talking about the same SoC which was in the Samsung Galaxy S5, the LG G3, the HTC One (M8) and the One Plus One, the benchmarks are going to be very similar to those devices. My tests show that the Z1 scores 44906 in AnTuTu and a manages frame rate of 52.8 fps from Epic Citadel in High Quality mode. In Ultra High Quality mode the Z1 achieves 48.1 fps. All very decent scores.
The Z1 comes with a very generous 64GB of on-board storage, however, there is no microSD card support. There is also 3GB of RAM, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (that is 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz), Bluetooth 4.1 and GPS. The Z1 supports 2G, 3G and 4G LTE. The 4G bands are 1, 3, 7, 28, 29, 40, and 41, while the supported 3G frequencies are 850/900/1900/2100 MHz. The 4G bands are great for Europe, Asia and the Middle East, however the lack of band 20 support might be a problem for some (e.g. 02 in the UK uses band 20, as does “3”). In the USA you will probably be limited to 3G on T-Mobile and AT&T. You should always check with your provider if you are uncertain.
The speaker of on the Z1 is unfortunately average at best. It isn’t bad per say, but it lacks any kind of depth and can sound quite tinny. The situation is partially alleviated by the included AudioFX app which adds an equalizer with various settings like Rock, Folk, Classical, Normal and so on.
The Z1 comes with a massive 4100 mAh non-removable battery, which yields more than an average battery life. According to ZUK’s official figures it will give you a 4G talk time of 38 hours, let you play locally stored music for about 85 hours and let you watch locally stored videos for about 15 hours! I have no reason to doubt these figures. My own tests show that you can watch YouTube, over Wi-Fi, for a least 15 hours on one charge, or play intensive 3D games for around 6 hours. During my testing I charged the phone just once, did all my tests, got 6 hours of screen-on time over roughly 40 hours, and I still had 35% battery left!
The ZUK Z1 includes a fingerprint reader in the home button. Overall the fingerprint scanner is fast and accurate and is on par with devices like the Galaxy S6. You can wake and unlock the phone by pressing and holding the home button. The device will wake, read your fingerprint and unlock in around 1 second. Multiple fingerprints can be stored at a time, and the process of setting it up is simple and takes only a minute or two, involving just repeated presses of the home button. If you are familiar with fingerprint readers on devices like the Note 5 or Mate S, then you won’t be disappointed with the reader on the Z1. However it is worth mentioning that the Z1 doesn’t support NFC, so there are no additional fingerprint reader functions related to payments or other forms of authentication.
Because the home button has a built-in fingerprint reader, it has allowed ZUK to add an extra function to the button. If you press the button it takes you directly to the home screen. If you touch the button (without pressing it) it behaves exactly like the back button.
Like many next generation smartphones, ZUK has opted to include a USB Type-C port on the Z1. I think this is a good move, at least in terms of marketing and future proofing, however ZUK has also been pragmatic in its choice of USB cable. It doesn’t supply a double ended USB Type-C, but rather a cable with a Type-C connector at one end and a standard-A plug at the other end so that you can connect it into a “normal” USB port on your computer, or other charger. Talking of chargers the supplied charger for the Z1 is a fairly standard 5V/2A charger.
The device comes with a f/2.2 13MP camera which uses a Sony Exmor RS stack sensor. It includes optical image stabilization (OIS) and ZUK boasts that the sensor has a single pixel size of 1.12um and that it has incorporated a 5-element lens. On the front, there is a more run-of-the-mill OV8865 based 8.0MP camera.
For outdoor shots the camera is excellent, the colors are vibrant, the exposure levels are good, the images seem to “pop” without being unrealistic. For indoor and low-light photos, the situation is a little different. For indoor photos with a reasonable level of natural light coming from outside then the photos remain good (see the pictures of the toys in the gallery below), but for low-light situations the noise level can be very high (see the picture of the C-1 microphone in the gallery). Having said that, the picture of the C-1 microphone was taken in a darkened room with the curtains shut and yet the camera did a excellent job of making it appear light and natural.
As far as the camera application is concerned, it is the standard Cyanogen Camera app. You select the different modes like HDR or the different filters by swiping down on the mode name at the top of the screen. The live filters, like Sepia, Negative and so on, are a nice touch, as they show up in the entire viewfinder. Diving in deeper will help you find the settings available for ISO and exposure compensation, as well as the option to even change the codec used for video capture. The pictures are in 4:3 format by standard, but if you want 16:9 then you can change it in the settings, but the number of megapixels will drop to 9.7 MP.
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One of the key features of the Z1 is that it runs Cyanogen OS 12.1, which is based on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, at least outside of China. Cyanogen is fully Google-certified, which means it comes with all of Google’s services and apps including the Play Store. Cyanogen offers lots of different features that can’t be found in stock Android. For example, there is the built-in theme store, better privacy features, and the ability to add on-screen buttons even though the phone has capacitive keys. Also a lot of the stock apps have been replaced with Cyanogen versions, I already mentioned the camera app, but other apps like Calendar and Email apps have also been replaced, in fact in Cyanogen 12, the Calendar and Email apps are provided by Boxer.
Other interesting settings are options for double-tap to wake and also double-tap to sleep; System profile, like Automobile, Default and Silent; Blocked caller list and WhisperPush (for encrypted SMS messages); and even user accounts!
The launcher is highly customizable, and the home screen has several different settings including whether to include a search bar, what scroll effect to use, the gird size, and so on. You can also customize the app drawer. By default the apps are shown in a vertical list but you can change that to a paged mode and also set the effect used between page turns.
If you are at all familiar with Cyanogen or Cyanogenmod, then you will feel right at home with the ZUK Z1.
Related: CyanogenMod 11S – Feature Focus
|Display||5.5-inch IPS LCD display, 1080p, 401 ppi, 1500:1 contrast, 450 nits.|
|Processor||Qualcomm snapdragon 801 (MSM8974AC), 2.5GHz. Adreno 330 3D GPU, 578MHz.|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz and 5.8GHz), Bluetooth 4.1, GPS.|
|Software||Cyanogen OS 12.1 based on Andriod 5.1.1|
|Camera||Main camera: f/2.2 13MP Sony Exmor RS stack sensor, OIS, single pixel size 1.12um.
Front camera: OV8865 8.0MP, single pixel size 1.12um, OmniBSI-2 technology.
|Dimensions||155.7 x 77.3 x 8.8 mm, 175 grams|
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Pricing and final thoughts
The ZUK Z1 recently went on sale internationally. Its normal retail price is €374.99, however as part of the launch it can be bought cheaper through the Spanish eBay site for as little as €279.99. This offer will be running until October 6th. If you live elsewhere in Europe, be sure to check out this eBay France listing between October 4th and 11th when another €280 sale is scheduled to take place. For those in the US, the phone isn’t officially available at this time, though it can be found on Ebay for around $350.
So there you have it, the ZUK Z1. The company is backed by Lenovo, the handset runs Cyanogen, and the 4100 mAh battery is excellent, as is the 64GB of on-board storage. The battery isn’t removable, there is no SD card slot, and the design could be seen as bland. However if those aren’t a problem to you then the ZUK Z1 could be a good choice.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Interbrand has released its latest annual ranking of the world’s most valuable brands and for the third year running, Apple and Google have topped the list. The 2015 edition of the Best Global Brands reveals that technology brands show no sign of slowing down with six out of the top ten made up of technology companies.
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For the third year running, Apple has topped the list and Google has come second, with both companies leading the list for the third year in a row. Apple is valued at $170 billion while Google is valued at $120 billion and the consultancy derives its valuation from a company’s financials, ability to influence purchase decisions and the extend that it can support premium pricing (which explains why Apple has topped the list).
Microsoft and IBM swapped places, with the Redmond-based Windows-maker valued at $68 billion in fourth place. Korean giant Samsung stayed in seventh place with a valuation of $45 billion while Amazon (who is technically classified as a retailer), is up 29 percent to $38 billion in tenth place. Other brands in the top ten include Coca-Cola, General Electric and McDonald’s.
Elsewhere on the list outside the top 10:
- Intel rank in 14th with a 4 percent increase to $35 billion
- HP dropped 3 percent to $23 billion in 18th place
- Social giant Facebook rose 54 percent to a valuation of $22 billion in 23rd place
- Camera giant Canon dropped 4 percent to $11 billion in 40th place
- Siemens ranked 53rd ($8.5 billion)
- Sony dropped 5 percent to a valuation of $8 billion in 58th place
- Panasonic rose 2 percent to $6.4 billion in 65th place
- Huawei rose a whopping 15% percent to $5 billion in 88th place
This year’s edition also saw PayPal and Lenovo enter the list at 97th and 100th place with valuations of $4.25 billion and $4.11 billion but the list isn’t great for everyone; as might be expected, troubled Finnish company Nokia joined troubled gamer Nintendo in dropping out of the list.
What do you think of the companies on (and off) the list? Let us know your views in the comments below guys!
Lenovo announced its PHAB Plus smartphone in China in August and last month, we went hands on with the super-sized smartphone at IFA 2015. Now, the company has launched its handset in India via retailer Amazon India and the big-screen device can be had for Rs. 18,490 (approx. $284). The handset doesn’t seem to be officially supported in India however, as Lenovo hasn’t the listed the handset on its local website.
The PHAB Plus aims to reinvent the concept of a phablet by offering a large 6.8-inch Full HD display at a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch and is powered by a 64-bit octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor with an Adreno 405 GPU and 2GB RAM. Under the hood there is 32GB inbuilt storage, which can be expanded further using a microSD card while on the back is a 13MP rear camera with dual-LED flash and a 5MP front facing snapper.
The Lenovo PHAB Plus runs on Android 5.0 Lollipop with Lenovo’s Vibe UI skin on top, while the handset also sports dual-SIM functionality to let you use two SIMs at once. Other notable specs include LTE, GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and microUSB, which can charge the 3500 mAh inbuilt battery. The handset also features a rear speaker equipped with Dolby Atmos and as we covered in our hands on, Dolby Atmos is a great unique selling point for Lenovo’s larger-than-life smartphone.
Head over to Amazon India to buy the Lenovo PHAB Plus now. What do you think of the PHAB Plus and will you buy it? Let us knows your views in the comments below guys!
“We believe your phone should look and behave like you want it to. That means our approach to software is ‘less is more’, so you can focus on the choices that are right for you“
Motorola, taking the “less is more” line a little too literally, will not be updating the 2015 Moto E and the Verizon and AT&T variants of the 2014 Moto X to Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The 2015 Moto E, one of the best budget phones around, was announced in only February. In the marketing video for the Moto E, these fateful words were uttered.
“And while other smartphones in this category don’t always support upgrades, we won’t forget about you, and we’ll make sure your Moto E stays up to date after you buy it.“
Apparently what Motorola meant by that statement was that the Moto E would be upgraded from Android 5.0 Lollipop that it was launched with to Android 5.1. This, frankly, is ridiculous. For a company that promises quick updates and a stock-like experience, the new Lenovorola is going in the wrong direction. Gutting much of the workforce, not updating their recent phones and bad customer service is not the recipe that turned Motorola from the disaster it was into a favorite among stock Android fans.
I can’t tell if it’s worse that they’re not updating a popular budget that came out in February or their flagship from a year ago on the two most popular carriers in the United States.
Full list of devices receiving Android 6.0 Marshmallow:
- 2015 Moto X Pure Edition (3rd gen)
- 2015 Moto X Style (3rd gen)
- 2015 Moto X Play
- 2015 Moto G (3rd gen)
- 2014 Moto X Pure Edition in the US (2nd gen)
- 2014 Moto X in Latin America, Europe and Asia2 (2nd gen)
- 2014 Moto G and Moto G with 4G LTE2 (2nd gen)
- DROID Turbo
- 2014 Moto MAXX
- 2014 Moto Turbo
- Nexus 6
Motorola will also be sunsetting their work on Moto Assist, Moto Migrate and Moto Connect. The logic is a bit more clear on these apps though. Moto Assist and Migrate have had their functionality move into the core of Android and will come on all phones so it doesn’t make sense for Motorola to devote time and resources to a redundant program.
To say this turn of events by Motorola is disappointing would be underplaying it. A lot of people had hoped that after being acquired by Google, Motorola would be the “chosen one” going forward, giving us fast updates, great hardware and an attractive price but now that trust is broken for many people.
The post The 220 day old 2015 Moto E wont be receiving Android 6.0 Marshmallow appeared first on AndroidGuys.
Following its debut in China a few months back, the ZUK Z1 is heading to the European market through a series of eBay sales. While it might not come directly from a familiar brand name, the ZUK Z1 packs in some noteworthy hardware at a price point that’s tough to beat.
The oddest specification on the sheet is the inclusion of a Snapdragon 801 processor, a staple of the early 2014 range of flagship smartphones. This chip is certainly no slouch but it won’t quite keep up with today’s high-end chips. However, this is a pretty suitable trade-off if it helps keep the price low.
The ZUK Z1 also features a 1080p 5.5-inch display, with 450 nit peak brightness and 1500:1 contrast ratio. The phone also comes equipped with 3GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, which is easily a match for today’s high-end phones. There’s a 13 megapixel Sony image sensor on the back, accompanied by an 8 megapixel camera on the front.
Extras are plentiful too. The phone comes with a huge 4,100mAh battery, a fingerprint scanner, USB Type-C port, dual-SIM card slots with 4G LTE support and Cyanogen OS 12.1 installed. It is certainly worth checking out the spec sheet’s network bands against your carrier before making a purchase though.
If the specifications have caught your interest, you are currently able to buy a ZUK Z1 through the Spanish eBay site for as little as €279.99. This offer will be running until October 6th, when the retail price will revert back to €374.99. If you live elsewhere in Europe, be sure to check out this listing between October 4th and 11th when another €280 sale is scheduled to take place.
Motorola partnered with Indian online retailer Flipkart to bring its devices to the Indian market. That exclusive partnership has come to an end, as Motorola today revealed that it would be also selling its products through Airtel brick-and-mortar stores along with two other online stores–Amazon India and Snapdeal.
Unfortunately, Motorola’s most recent and coveted devices won’t be available through any of these retailers just yet. There’ll only be a single handset available, the Moto E (2015) in 3G and 4G options, for now. It costs ₹5,999 ($91USD) or ₹6,999 ($106USD), respectively.
There’s no telling if the Moto X Play will be available through these additional retailers anytime soon, as Motorola hasn’t released any details on the matter. Hopefully it won’t be long before Indian consumers will be able to get their hands on the best from Motorola in more expanded availability, though.
In the meantime, those interested can buy the Moto X Play through Flipkart.
Come comment on this article: Motorola will now sell its products through additional retailers in India
It’s been a while since our last Engadget Live event (we love you, Los Angeles!) and even longer since we visited Austin. So, on October 16th at 7PM, we’re taking over the Austin Music Hall to bring gadget lovers and awesome tech companies together. Entry is free, but we’re also offering you the chance to beat the crowds and get in an hour early for $15. Get your free ticket or purchase an early-access pass here.
Ford (which has been sponsoring of all this year’s Engadget Live events) wants you to experience the voice-activated SYNC 3 system first-hand. So, you’ll get to hop inside a 2016 Ford Escape (complete with that new car smell) or try out SYNC 3 through standalone screens located throughout the venue.
We’ll also have our friends at Lenovo show off, and maybe even give away, some of their latest notebooks and tablets. And Drizly (the marvelous app that helps you get booze delivered) will give away a free drink to the first 250 guests (who are 21 and older, of course).
So if you’re going to be in or around Austin on October 16th, come join us! Get your free ticket (or purchase an early-access one) right here. And if you’re interested in sponsoring the event, shoot a note to sponsors[at]engadget.com.
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The Lenovo Vibe Shot, which was announced back in March earlier this year during MWC 2015, has been launched in India today. Priced at INR 25,499 (~$384), the Vibe Shot will be available for preorder from the company’s official online store starting 6PM IST today. The smartphone will be available in three colors – Crimson, Graphite Grey, and Pearl White – through other brick-and-mortar and online stores after two weeks.
The Vibe Shot is a mid-range smartphone from the Chinese smartphone giant with a focus on camera quality. It features a 16-megapixel primary camera with backlit illuminated sensor, IR-assisted autofocus, OIS, six-piece lens, and a triple-tone triple-LED flash. The front-facing 8-megapixel camera, which has a wide-angle lens, as well as the primary camera can record 1080p videos.
Other features a include a 5-inch 1080p IPS LCD display with Gorilla Glass 3 protection, Android 5.0 Lollipop, Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor, 3GB RAM, 32GB internal storage, a microSD card slot, 4G LTE connectivity, and a 2,900 mAh battery. All these hardware components are packed inside a 7.3 mm slim body.
Going by its specifications, the Lenovo Vibe Shot competes with the likes of the Motorola Moto X Play, which is priced at INR 19,990 (~$300), and the OnePlus Two that is priced at INR 24,999 (~$376) in India. Lenovo has been doing great in the Indian smartphone market due to their strategy of launching feature packed devices at dirt cheap prices.
The post Lenovo Vibe Shot with 16MP OIS camera and triple-LED flash launched in India appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
Motorola was recently purchased by Lenovo and one of the first things they did was bring back Motorola to China. Unfortunately, all Moto Droid series phones will not be coming with them.
Lenovo’s business group president, Chen Xudong was asked about the news on Webio, to which he said:
“Droid series has no further plans to introduce or maintain new smartphones”.
This does not mean the Droid name will die everywhere. In the US it will still remain exclusive to Verizon. With some recent leaks, it looks like there will be three new phones coming, DROID ULTRA, DROID MAXX, and DROID Mini.
Come comment on this article: Moto Droid phones are no longer available in China