Nubia is another Chinese smartphone manufacturer trying to compete for the flagship killer moniker, and it has got a new weapon to make things even- The Z11. The smartphone packs in flagship grade hardware and looks with a not-so-hefty price tag, making a deal really hard to miss. Here’s our review for the Nubia Z11
The device has a lot going for. For starters, The Z11 is rocking a 5.5-inch full-HD IPS bezel-less display with a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. This display might not be the highest resolution, but it surely is a damn good looking display with beautifully vibrant contrasts, rich blacks and wide viewing angles, making a perfect display for media consumption.
As I mentioned earlier, this is a bezel-less panel which lets you enjoy the entire display without any annoying borders. The display is housed in an all-aluminium unibody chassis in black with gold and red accents which add to the aesthetic appeal of the smartphone. The metal has a smooth finish which feels great in hand. There is no denying that the Nubia Z11 looks good.
Under the hood, the smartphone is rocking Qualcomm’s flagship grade Snapdragon 820 chipset paired with a whopping 6GB of RAM and 64GB of memory which can be further expanded using a memory card slot. Snapdragon 820 is no slouch when it comes to performance and it is clearly evident from the moment you start using the smartphone. The device is fast, responsive and handles multitasking like a champ. It can handle anything you throw at it and results in a seamless smartphone user experience.
For optics, the Nubia Z11 gets a 16-megapixel camera at the back and an 8-megapixel selfie camera at the front. Talking about the image quality the smartphone is able to provide, the results are good, but not something that would awe its users.
The device is snappy to focus in well-lit conditions, thanks to PDAF (Phase Detect Auto Focus) however, it fumbles to focus in slightly dark environments. The dark-lit images also welcome a good amount of noise.
Moreover, it comes with a bunch of camera modes, which might make users happy at first, but end up being gimmicky. The front camera too can take decent selfies thanks to a wide angle lens on top, but this too isn’t the best.
There is one small gripe with the bezel-less display too. Since there are no bezels, while using the device single-handed, you end up making unwanted touches to the side, which forces you to use two hands, even with such a tiny form-factor. Also, the curved display comes with a few gestures for swapping between the menu and toggling brightness, but it is difficult to actually get it done right and ends up being gimmicky.
The device gets a mono-speaker setup at the bottom. We would’ve loved to see a stereo speaker setup on the Nubia Z11, as it would’ve complimented the gorgeous bezel-less display. The bottom firing mono speaker is fairly loud but comes nowhere close to a front-firing stereo speaker setup.
Also, bad on the Nubia Z11 is the battery life. The device is powered by a 3000mAh battery, which as per company claims, can last two whole days on a single charge, however, in our testing, the device merely lasted a day. It isn’t abysmal by any means, but just downright average. Also, even though the device gets Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0 quick-charging capabilities, it stands aloof from OnePlus’s Dash Charging, as the device takes 30 minutes to reach 60 percent of charge.
Here are the dirty parts of the Nubia Z11, and can be referred to as the deal breakers for people thinking of buying this device. One of the biggest pains of the device that ticks my OCD is the fact that the software experience on the device isn’t well refined.
No, the software doesn’t really impact the performance of the device, but just in the way it appears. For starters, I found a typo error in the settings menu, where the ‘flashlight’ was spelt ‘falshlight’. Also, the texts in the menu face scaling issues, making the overall UI look rather crude. Surely these tiny problems can be addressed in a software update, but their existence in the first place is kind of questionable.
Also, OnePlus 3T gets Android 7.0 Nougat and is known for its refinement in software and UI with regular updates to adhere to minute bugs and security patches, whereas Nubia Z11 is still rocking the year-old Android 6.0 Marshmallow, with no timeline for a Nougat update as of now.
Nubia Z11 is one good-looking smartphone with a punchy hardware let down by a not-so-refined software experience. But that doesn’t mean this is a bad phone by any means. Surely, it stands to compete against the OnePlus 3T, and loses only by a few points. If you’re wanting a phone to stand out of the crowd and don’t mind the average camera and battery life, Nubia Z11 is a worthy option to go for.