A Look At Samsung’s Z1
In October of 2008, HTC released the G1 (HTC Dream), which was the first handset to run Android. For many of us, it was a game changer and in the first 6 months over a million units were sold in the US, accounting for roughly two thirds of all 3G devices on T-Mobile’s network. Just over six years later, Samsung has released the first device to run their own Tizen OS, the Z1. Initially referred to by many as an “Android killer” the light weight OS has been plagued with set backs and changes in direction. Can Samsung finally make headway on Android’s market share?
The Z1 is currently only available in India and Bangladesh where it is competing primarily with Android One devices. In the first 10 days, 50,000 units were sold. Retailing for just 5700 Rs ($92 or £60) the Z1 is affordable but does not appear to be anything to be excited about.
The design of the Z1 is familiar, sharing a stark resemblance to the older Galaxy devices. With Samsung clearly trying to start anew in developing markets, this is not surprising. If it worked in the western world when we had our smart phone boom, why not use the same elsewhere? Featuring an all plastic case with a silver trim for the sides, this device won’t stand out from the crowd. In fact one of the only aesthetic differences between this device and older Samsung devices is a change in the shape of the home button. The Z1 opts here for a square instead of the rectangular affair we have become accustomed to.
Most Samsung users will also have noticed the lack of an ambient light sensor on the front of the device, this of course means that an automatic brightness setting is out of the question. Tizen compensates for this through the use of an “outdoor mode” accessible from the quick settings panel, which increases the brightness of the display for 15 minutes. Whether or not this will result in people having to stop after this allotted time, cupping their hand over the screen so they can see to re-enable the setting remains to be known. If this proves to be an issue, it is possible in a future update we could see Samsung implement an “if the display is off” rule to determine whether or not the feature times out. Aside from this, the device does allow for adjusting the brightness levels manually.
The specs for this device are as to be expected when looking at the price tag. They are fairly low end and are close in comparison to the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 (2012).
The Processor: Dual-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A7
Ram: 768 MB
Storage: 4 GB (2.36 GB available), Up to 64 GB with microSD
OS: Tizen 2.3
Display: 480 x 800 (233 ppi), 4 inches
Camera: Rear: 3.15 MP Front: VGA
Body: 120.4 x 63.2 x 9.7 mm
Connectivity: Dual sim, HSPA, Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.1
Battery: 1500 mAh
As you can see, one of the main areas this device shows its low end specs is the camera, with the main camera being just 3.15 MP. Users may well feel disappointed upon seeing their photographs, especially in low light settings where the device struggles to keep up. Several users have reported that zooming causes excessive noise in their photographs.
With Only 2.36 GB of available storage out of the box, this device really requires a microSD if you plan on using it regularly. However, the maximum capacity SD of 64 GB is more than adequate for most users. Samsung is currently offering free access to content on Club Samsung which features upwards of 270,000 songs and over 80 live TV channels. You can choose to stream these songs which would remove some of the burden your music collection would have on the device’s storage.
Frequent users of Android should have little difficulty adjusting to Tizen as the two systems share a lot of design features. The notification drawer, recent apps (albeit with no thumbnails) and app drawer all seem familiar next to TouchWiz, Samsung’s Android UI.
As far as how the hardware handles day to day usage, the current lack of apps means you are not likely to tax this phone often at the moment, although with just 768 MB of RAM, multitasking could rapidly produce a slowing down of the device. We do have to remember Tizen is still in its infancy and with that comes the likelihood that in the foreseeable future we could find more developers creating for the OS as more devices are launched. For now the Z1 looks like a good choice for the developing markets but that’s really where it is likely to remain. With a limited selection of apps compared to Android and budget hardware, it is not likely this device would make an impact in the western world.
Do you think Samsung made the right move releasing Tizen on a budget smart phone first? What do you think to the Z1? Tell us below!