Mobile Technology

Lenovo-backed startup launches a phone with USB-C, fingerprint sensor and a tempting price

Lenovo-backed startup launches...
The Zuk Z1 launches in China on August 18
The Zuk Z1 launches in China on August 18
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The Zuk Z1 launches in China on August 18
The Zuk Z1 launches in China on August 18

Starting next week, Chinese smartphone shoppers will have another solid-specced, low-priced choice on the menu. That's when Lenovo-backed startup Zuk is set to launch its Z1, a RMB 1,799 (about US$284) phone powered by a Snapdragon 801 processor.

The Zuk Z1 joins a growing list of cheap-ish phones with quality hardware – a group that also includes handsets from Motorola, OnePlus and Huawei (among others). The Z1 stands out as one of the few mid-ranged offerings with a fingerprint sensor, and is one of the first smartphones period with a USB Type C port.

Zuk calls its home button sensor U-Touch, and the company says it serves as home, back, menu and app switching keys, all in one button. That likely means gestures, where different swipes or taps fire up the different functions.

The phone has a 5.5-inch, 1080p (about 401 PPI) display, which matches the size and pixel counts of the iPhone 6 Plus. The Z1's Snapdragon 801 CPU was among the best of 2014, and today makes for an unusually powerful chip for a budget phone. It has a 13 MP rear camera with Optical Image Stabilization and ƒ/2.2 aperture.

The handset runs Android Lollipop (5.1.1) with a Zuk custom interface, dubbed ZUI, on top. Its 4,100 mAh battery includes some fast-charging tech, likely the Qualcomm's Quick Charge 2.0 that's tied to its processor.

Like most China-first handsets, the Z1 has dual-SIM capabilities.

The 64 GB Zuk Z1 launches in China on August 18 for RMB 1799. There will be an international variant that the company expects to release "soon."

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Lenovo can't be trusted. From Superfish to the recently disclosed BIOS software injection. We should really stop supporting such a company.