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Lenovo Vibe Z2 promises 64-bit power and a stellar selfie camera

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Lenovo's Vibe Z2 puts speed and selfies first with a 64-bit processor and a front-facing camera optimized for vanity shots. Announced Thursday at IFA 2014, the Vibe Z2 succeeds the Vibe Z , release earlier this year. The Z2 isn't a dramatic upgrade, but it does feature a refreshed design.

Power inside

The Z2 is Lenovo's first 64-bit smartphone, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core 1.4GHz processor that promises faster performance when launching apps, playing games, and streaming video. For the past year, 64-bit processors have been all the rage, popping up in the iPhone 5S and Android devices alike.

There's also 32GB of onboard storage and 2GB of RAM. You can't add additional memory, but 32GB is sufficient for most people. Powering the phone is an embedded 3,000mAh battery, which Lenovo promises can last up to 28 hours on phone calls over 3G, an impressive stat.

The Z2 runs Android 4.4 KitKat , the latest flavor of Android, though there's no word on the exact version. It's great to see new phones shipping with up-to-date software, since many devices are still sold with older versions of the operating system.

Lastly, the Z2 has a dual-SIM configuration, so you can have two different service plans simultaneously, and it supports 4G LTE data. Dual-SIM phones aren't all that common in the US, but they are popular overseas, where Lenovo phones focuses its sales efforts.

lenovo-z2-1.jpg
Rich Trenholm/CNET

Design

While Lenovo's other newly announced phone, the Vibe X2 , has a bright, colorful design, the Z2 sports an understated industrial feel, with a back cover that looks like brushed aluminum and a back plate surrounding the camera with visible screws. It looks rugged yet refined, with rounded edges and a minimal design.

There's a volume rocker and power/lock button on the right side, headphone jack at the top, and a SIM card slot on the left. The phone comes in three color choices; white, titanium gray, and gold.

Even though Lenovo claims the Z2 has an extra-bright display, the screen is a bit of a letdown on paper. That's because the 5.5-inch display has a 720p resolution with 267 pixels per inch, which is lower than many other similar-sized phones out there, including the newly announced Samsung Galaxy Note 4 , which has a 5.7-inch display with a 2,560x1,440-pixel resolution. The LG G3's 5.5-inch screen also sports the same "quad HD" 1440p resolution.

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Rich Trenholm/CNET

A camera built for selfies

Lenovo is billing the Z2 as a phone for selfie enthusiasts, with an 8-megapixel front-facing camera, one of the highest megapixel counts for front cameras out there, and an antidistortion lens. It's becoming more common for smartphone manufacturers to pay as much attention to the front camera as they do the rear camera, with the hope of enticing younger buyers.

For all other photos, there's a 13-megapixel rear camera with a Sony Exmor BSI sensor that's supposed to produce vibrant photos at night. Both cameras have beautification functions that help adjust facial features and hide imperfections. We'll know more about how each camera really performs when we get the chance to review the Z2.

Availability and outlook

The Vibe Z2 goes on sale in October in China. It will then make its way to Asian Pacific, Eastern European, and Middle Eastern countries where Lenovo phones are already sold. According to Lenovo, it will retail for $429 US, which converts to approximately £260 and AU$459.

Despite its allegedly powerful 64-bit processor and robust cameras, the Z2's so-so screen can't beat other phones in its size range. What's more, the Z2 doesn't offer much more than its sibling, the Vibe X2, which costs $30 less and has an octa-core processor, a sharper screen, and the same amount of internal storage and RAM. You're better off saving your money and picking the X2 instead.

Discuss Lenovo Vibe Z2

Where to Buy

Lenovo Vibe Z2 (gold)

Part Number: VIBEZ2GOLD

Visit manufacturer site for details.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Service Provider not specified
  • Diagonal Size 5.5 in
  • Weight 5.47 oz
  • Technology WCDMA (UMTS) / GSM