Last week, I traveled for 24 hours straight to the other side of the world, to spend a grand total of 36 hours in Shenzhen and to feast my eyes on the international launch event for the ZUK Z1. Today, I share my experience with you.
After a whirlwind couple of weeks obtaining plane tickets and expensive Chinese visas, all documented over on my daily vlogging channel.
“I found myself at the Intercontinental Hotel in Shenzhen, immersed in a language and a culture I knew very little about. ”
On Friday, the first full day of the trip, I awoke early (thanks jet lag), I banged out an XDA News video despite the Great Chinese Firewall fighting me every step of the way, and was taken by car to the Elephone headquarters.
In a private office there, myself and a few other members of the media were treated to a look at a few really interesting upcoming Elephone devices.
The first one was a gaudy gold device with a fingerprint sensor on the back, a 20 megapixel rear facing camera capable of 4k video, and Android 5.1 out of the box.
The second one, which Matthew wrote an article about, was a much smaller unnamed device, which is going to be available for about $80. It was ridiculously small and absolutely adorable… and I want one.
After that, we were presented with our very own ZUK Z1 devices and complementary 9000 milliamp-hour Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 battery packs, and sent on our way. Regrettably, the trip to and from the Elephone office was the most sightseeing I actually got to do in China.
Anyway, I quickly filmed the unboxing video when we returned, and later that evening was the launch event itself. The room was filled with people, but as it turns out, most of them were Chinese marketing people and distributors, trying to decide if their companies would be stocking the Z1.
Aside from a few interesting bits of traditional Chinese culture, including dancing and sand painting, the launch event was fairly straightforward. Specs were introduced, justifications for the Snapdragon 801 were given, and all… sorts… of features were touted.
Vikram, the Senior VP of Global Partnerships for Cyanogen, came to the stage to discuss the partnership between ZUK and Cyanogen. Six Z1’s were given away, and interestingly enough, Vikram was one of the winners.
Then to wrap things up, the Z1 itself was dramatically unveiled from a giant clam shell.
Models were sent out with Z1’s in hand, runway-style, to take selfies among the crowd, and a Z1 running Cyanogen ended up on the table in front of me, which I happily fiddled with for a few minutes.
Of course after all this, the real event took place. The few members of the media who were there were taken to a separate board room and allowed to ask questions to ZUK’s CEO and Vikram from Cyanogen.
To quickly pass along some of the information we were given, Cyanogen OS will be coming to the international Z1 in the next 4-6 weeks, with source code to follow shortly thereafter. The name ZUK doesn’t actually mean anything, and it’s not even the name of the company, it’s the first name they found with an available .com domain and trademark in China.
The CEO attempted to answer a question regarding the Z1’s lack of NFC, basically just saying it’s complicated, but there may be a cover available for the Z1, eventually, that would enable NFC. And finally, it was mentioned that a ZUK Z2 will almost certainly be coming, and they’re planning to offer it with Cyanogen as well, so ZUK definitely isn’t going to be a “one and done” company.
And as a bit of a finale, a banquet was provided by ZUK with some traditional Chinese cuisine, involving tongues, intestines, and stomachs of animals I didn’t care to try to identify.
And because I completely forgot to mention it… the ZUK theme song played, the entire time.
Over and over again.
So all in all, even though I didn’t actually get to do any sightseeing while I was in China, the event itself was definitely an entertaining one. I’ll be coming back at you soon with a full review of the Z1, and if you haven’t seen it already, the unboxing is available as well, links down below.
But that’s going to be about all from me for today. Thanks so much for watching, remember to hit the thumbs up button below if you liked this video, subscribe to receive more videos when they become available, and I’ll see you next time.
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