Lenovo Z6 Pro Review: Lenovo’s Reattempt At Flagship Competition

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Introduction

Chinese smartphone maker Lenovo is going through a very tough phase in the smartphone market. Lenovo’s share has fallen into the “not worth tracking” category for analysts. Unreasonable price tags and failure to compete with other brands can be the significant reasons for the brand’s defeat in the game. Names such as Xiaomi, Realme, Oppo, Vivo and Huawei are popular in the budget segment, whereas OnePlus and Samsung are dominating the flagship segment. Previously, Lenovo had set its sights on the affordable end of the market, especially in China, but presently it’s failing to make a dent even there. Presence of slim profit margins and competition against well-established market leaders makes the rebuilding of a reputation in the flagship market for Lenovo even more difficult. A scope of elevating its product line-up is required, and fast.
After being out of the flagship smartphone manufacturing competition for a few years, Lenovo is back with its latest flagship – the Lenovo Z6 Pro. The unveiling of the company’s latest flagship was considered as a bold move in a segment dominated by the OnePlus 7. Coming at a price tag of ₹29,999, the smartphone is undoubtedly worth considering if you are in the market looking for a mid-budget segment pick such as those from OnePlus or LG. With a robust and lucrative spec-sheet, the handset is one exciting device with a flagship-killer potential that we simply had to try. So, let’s dive into our review for the Lenovo Z6 Pro.

Prices in India, Variants, Availability

The Z6 Pro is a full-blown flagship and comes with a price tag of ₹29,999. You can buy the Lenovo Z6 Pro with the single 8GB RAM and 128GB storage option in the black variant with red gradient through Flipkart or offline via Lenovo authorised retailers.

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Box Contents

Inside the sleek matte box giving a fabric-like imitation of the Lenovo Z6 Pro, we get a variety of things:
The phone itself
a USB Type-C 27W charger
a USB-C-to-C cable
a USB-C to USB-A converter
a transparent silicone case
Surprisingly, we also get to see a screen protector inside the box itself, which is quite impressive as we mostly get just a silicon case inside the box of other smartphones, leaving us in the hassle of finding a suitable screen protector for our device.

Specs at a Glance

Display : 6.39 inch (16.23 cm ) Full HD+ Display
CPU and GPU : Qualcomm SDM855 Processor coupled with Adreno 640 GPU
RAM and Storage : 8 GB RAM, 128 GB ROM (Expandable Up To 512 GB)
Rear Camera : 48MP + 2MP + 16MP + 8MP
Selfie Camera : 32MP Front Camera
4000 mAh Li-polymer Battery
Security : Face unlock and In-display fingerprint sensor

Design and Build Quality

The Lenovo Z6 Pro, like any other smartphone in the price segment, does give a look of brilliance and exquisiteness. To provide it with a different and eye-catching appearance, the black colour variant of the smartphone gets a single red chrome line on the glass back that runs through the camera module and the Lenovo logo, which gives it a very dazzling and ravishing first-look. The Lenovo Z6 Pro gets a metal-glass sandwich design with a gradient finish, like most of the devices we see nowadays. The rounded rear panel corners moulding into the side panel of the device adds to the comfortable grip and the device’s sleek identity.

The curviness of the back with the glass design makes the Z6 Pro slippery to hold, so we do recommend to use a case or skin for safety. There is no info about the source or specification of the glass used at the back so we’d guess it’s not of any special kind such as Gorilla Glass. Lenovo has debuted its quad-camera module for the first time in the Lenovo Z6 Pro. The camera setup including the dual-LED flash and a tiny 3D ToF camera is very appealing and makes the back of the device look quite different and gorgeous when compared to its rivals housing simple vertical or horizontal camera setups.

On the left side of the device lies the hybrid SIM/microSD card tray. A not so common but one of the most desired features of 2019, the audio jack, lies on the top whereas the volume and power keys are located on the right side. We get the USB-C port for charging and the speaker grille at the bottom. With dimensions of 157.5 x 74.6 x 8.7 mm, the Lenovo Z6 Pro weighs 185g, which is slightly on the bulkier side. Overall, the device is well designed promising comfortable grip and an eye-catching glance.

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Display

Boosting the spec sheet is a 6.39″ Super AMOLED FHD+ screen with a droplet-shaped notch at the top housing the front-facing camera. Side bezels are not that thin as we have seen in other smartphones of 2019, but are acceptable. We do get a slightly thick and chunky chin at the bottom whereas the side and top bezels are not that noticeable during media consumption. The display quality definitely shows that Lenovo has worked a lot on their devices as the display is quite interactive. It is bright enough to be visible in sunlight and also comes with DC Dimming. With the HDR 10 support and a high 403 ppi density, the images and text are quite sharp with deep blacks, and media consumption is a boon. The display is large enough to watch movies, play games, read text and browse the internet. The touch is smooth and responsive. We do get an under-screen fingerprint scanner which is good considering the fact that most smartphones in the same segment also offer and in-screen fingerprint scanner instead of the old school physical one.

Performance

What makes the Z6 Pro a flagship-level device is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 SoC. The Z6 Pro features an octa-core processor which is clocked at 2.84GHz and coupled with a single option of 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage, which is expandable up to 1TB via microSD card. The spec sheet also gets the Adreno 640 GPU, which is the same graphics processor which we get on the OnePlus 7. These specifications make sure that the smartphone can handle any tasks without any issue.
Lenovo also offers its new liquid-cooling technology in the Z6 Pro, the Coldfront liquid cooling system, which is designed the same way as PC liquid cooling technologies are implemented.
Geekbench CPU scores reveal that the Z6 Pro gives a tough competition to its rivals such as the OnePlus 7, Redmi K20 Pro and the S10e in both multi-core and single-core tests.
The test clearly shows that the Lenovo Z6 Pro is on par with some of the most powerful smartphones right now, and our review unit proved it with seamless day to day tasks such as multitasking, browsing the internet and playing games. Thanks to the mighty Adreno 640 GPU, the device can handle high-end games like PUBG and Fornite delivering impressive framerates even when put at the highest graphics settings without any issue. The liquid cooling technology consisting of a copper pipe with a vapour chamber promises efficient heat dissipation, thus delivering sustained performance.

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Software

The device runs on ZUI 11, Lenovo’s custom UI based on Android 9 Pie. A redesigned notification shade, camera application, task switcher and settings application along with various customisation features aim at providing facilitated user experience. Since the custom skin is based on Android, we do get the usual navigation gestures and other basic Android features, but the skin might still ruin the pure Android experience for some users.

Cameras

As far as the cameras are concerned, it can be one of the USPs of the device as the camera arrangement we see on the Lenovo Z6 Pro is quite impressive in comparison to its rivals such as the OnePlus 7. So, there are a total of five snappers boasted in the spec sheet of the Z6 Pro, including a quad-camera setup at the back and a single selfie camera residing in the water-drop notch at the front.
Talking about the rear camera setup, the module is vertically aligned and packs a 48-megapixel primary camera with an f/1.8 aperture; a second 16-megapixel ultrawide camera; a third an 8-megapixel camera for telephoto snaps and a fourth 2-megapixel camera, highlighted with a red halo, which comes into use during suboptimal conditions such as night. Accompanying this quad-camera setup, we get a dual-LED flash along with ToF (Time of Flight) camera and a PDAF sensor. There is a slight camera bump which may make the device wobble when kept on flat surfaces.
Coming to real-life performance of the camera, the higher resolution does give the Z6 Pro an upper edge over its rivals when it comes to clicking sharp and clear photos. The multi-lens setup provides flexibility; you can click ultrawide, zoomed and blurred images efficiently. Impressive dynamic range, natural skin tones, vivid colours and crisp images are all you can get with the Z6 Pro. The 3D ToF sensor works great by delivering flagship-grade portraits with appropriate and accurate background blur. We expected that the telephoto and ultrawide lens might degrade the image quality noticeably, but it wasn’t so. The telephoto lens worked just fine, and we can’t really tell that those were upscaled even a bit. The ultrawide lens did give shots with little distortion and blur, but it was not that bad.
Regarding night shots, the primary camera uses HDR when working in low-light and these HDR night photos from the regular camera are quite beautiful with realistic exposure and enough detail even in more complex areas such as foliage. Images pop-up nicely as enough light is captured by the sensor. Unfortunately, the telephoto lens doesn’t work in low-light. Instead, you get digitally cropped and zoomed 12MP photos from the primary camera. The ultrawide lens does fail to work in low light as the images came out to be quite noisy.
For videos, Lenovo offers something called the hyper video in the Z6 Pro, which primarily aims and promises super steady video recording with OIS and software stability. The 2MP sensor comes into play, especially for optically stabilised camera low-light videos. The sensor does work efficiently by capturing some exceptional 1080p clips.
Selfies, just like the rear camera images, were quite good. We were able to shoot good selfies and 4K videos via the 32MP front camera with an f/2.0 lens. Although we do not get autofocus on the front camera, the camera manages to capture good details, appropriate skin tones, contrasts and vivid colours. The selfie portraits were as good as the rear camera portraits with accurate background blur and decent quality.
Overall, the camera performance, though being versatile, still lags behind its competitors. Thus, for content creators or those who have a camera performance as their top priority, we recommend them to look for other options in the market. The camera is however great for casual users or those who take occasional snaps.

Battery Life

An impressive 4000mAh battery houses inside the Lenovo Z6 Pro which is refilled by a 27W charger that comes bundled inside the box itself. We do get support for fast charging via USB Type-C port. Our review unit managed to juice up to 45% in about half an hour which is quite decent. The charging speed, however, lags behind its rivals such as the OnePlus 7 which manages to refill its slightly smaller 3700mAh battery to 50% in a half hour.
The handset delivers exceptional battery backup. For those who use their smartphone a lot for telephony, web browsing, and video playback, the device can easily last them more than one day.

Audio and Biometrics

Like any 2019 flagship device, the Lenovo Z6 Pro too boasts an optical in-display fingerprint sensor along-with Face Unlock as an alternative. The in-display scanner is blazingly fast and almost as responsive as any other flagship smartphone. You can access the fingerprint sensor lights as soon as you pick up the phone or touch the screen.
For audio, we have a single bottom-firing loudspeaker which is easily louder than its rivals such as the OnePlus 7. A disappointing thing to note is that the Z6 Pro does not offer stereo speakers, which we surely expect on any flagship-level device. The output is decent for music playback or watching Youtube videos, with balanced and pleasing sound without any muffle or hoarseness.
The audio quality through the earplugs was also decent with appropriate frequency response, loudness, noise levels and dynamic range. However, you can always adjust these characteristics through the equaliser.

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Pros & Cons

Pros
1) Flagship level chipset (SD 855)
2) Impressive quad-camera setup
3) Elegant, large display
4) Exceptional battery life
5) Headphone jack

 

Cons
1) No Gorilla Glass protection
2) No wireless charging
3) No NFC
4) Lacks stereo speakers
5) No water/dust resistance
6) Unreliable Software updates
7) Has A Hybrid SIM Slot

Verdict

At a price tag of ₹29,999, the Lenovo Z6 Pro is not a deal-breaker if you are looking for a flagship-level device at a pocket-friendly price tag. With the exemplary display configuration and the flagship-grade performance, the Lenovo Z6 Pro is a value for money smartphone that packs in great specs inside a good-looking body. The massive 4000mAh battery, a dedicated 2MP camera for video recording and the ToF flight sensor add to the USP list of the device. The Z6 Pro is also one of the few smartphones in the market that still offer the much desired 3.5mm headphone jack. Lenovo's market share struggles to register on many metrics, and one of its main culprits is the bad user experience when it comes to software updates. Although daylight photography is decent, we still wish for some improvement when it comes to night shots, especially with the wide-angle lens. The camera is great for casual users if you are one of those. Gorilla Glass protection is missed. In the end, we can say that the Lenovo Z6 Pro is definitely a deal worth looking at if you are in the market planning to buy a smartphone with a flagship-level specification sheet.