Nubia has presented these days its new flagship for the Spanish market. This is the Nubia Z17 Mini, a mobile that stands out for its stylized metallic design, have competitive specifications for its price range and for being the first of the brand to include a double rear camera system that will a priori delight the lovers of the photograph.
We have been testing it this past week and here we bring you our analysis of what the Nubia Z17mini offers and the aspects where it lags behind expectations.
Nubia Z17 Mini: Specifications
The Nubia Z17mini is the renovation of the Nubia Z11mini, although it would be closer to the Nubia Z11miniS that we were able to analyze here a few months ago.
Those who remember that device you will realize that its characteristics were very similar. The interior of the mobile phone has been refurbished with a much more powerful Snapdragon 652 processor and the 23-megapixel lens has been replaced by a dual camera system that often gives us more play when trying different approaches.
Powerful processor, 64GB of memory, metallic design and dual camera: it has everything a priori
The internal storage remains very generous, with 64GB of internal memory that can be expanded up to 200GB via microSD. We continue to have a 5.2-inch FullHD panel and its battery has been reduced slightly from 3000mAh to 2950mAh, nothing to worry about as we have a lighter, thinner device with a better-optimized processor.
In the section of connectivity we find WiFi of double band, Bluetooth, minijack for headphones and USB type C. The Nubia Z17mini is an LTE terminal as it could not be otherwise and yes, it has the 800MHz band.
Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow is the version that releases the Nubia Z17mini, accompanied by the interface Nubia UI 4.0. We sincerely hoped to meet with Nougat directly, he did not arrive on time but it should not be many weeks before he gets up to speed.
Nubia Z17 Mini: Design
If you ask me about the design of the Nubia Z17mini I will tell you that it is not the most original in the world. It has a unibody metallic body, stylized, with rounded corners, antenna lines behind … in short, a good design. Manufacturers know this and continue to use this form to give the terminal that premium aspect that also feels great in the hand. The Z17mini is no exception and when you catch it you immediately know that it is not a cheap mobile.
In hand, it feels very light and solid construction. It has very good finishes, both on the back and edges laser cut. Back we find the circular footprint reader, the Nubia logo where the NFC is and the make of manufacture. We will also see the antenna lines, the double camera that protrudes very slightly but is well integrated and the LED flash to its left. Our unit is the golden champagne color and when we place it face down it is quite resultón.
On the right side we find the volume and on/off buttons, both with a pleasant trip and easy to press, although perhaps we miss some rough touch differential as some high range have long been incorporated. On the left side only the tray to insert the nanoSIM card and microSD.
Below we find the Type C USB port, microphone, and speakers, with five holes on each side and produce a powerful but somewhat resounding sound. Above we have only the headphone input and micro noise reduction that will allow us to receive and make understandable voice calls.
If we look at the Nubia Z17mini from the front the most striking certainly are the red circle under the screen that acts as a capacitive button to start the screen. Eye, not to be confused with the fingerprint reader behind. And if we talk about confusion are the two buttons that we have on the sides.
Why do manufacturers insist on confusing us with the buttons?
On the right we have the back button that we must hold down to start the multitasking, the right serves as the menu button, an option that most Android phones have been gradually hiding. Each of these has its own red LED that in combination with the white front still gives a distinctive touch. We only have to mention that we will find the front camera, the proximity sensor and light and the receiver.
The Nubia Z17mini has its curious touch with that red LED. The overall lines are quite compact and in hand, it feels great. The white tone of the front is not the most graceful or the most original design, but we can keep that premium design label so sought after today.
Nubia Z17 Mini: Display
Nubia has chosen a 5.2-inch IPS panel for the Nubia Z17mini. It is a size that I personally love because it is neither small nor large enough to make it uncomfortable in the hand. It comes protected with a 2.5D glass and Gorilla Glass and its resolution are FullHD, so we have 401ppp. They are characteristics that we have already seen in many mobile phones in its price range so we will not discover anything new.
The contrast is 1500: 1 and its brightness is close to 500 units, but we have noticed something insufficient to enjoy the screen in the light of the sun. The color tones, the level of blacks and the sharpness of the panel are just right and although it is not exactly bad, in 2017 we expect something more from a smartphone that is presented as the flagship (affordable) brand. The tactile response is not exactly its strong point.
It’s a correct panel, but far from the advances we’ve seen in other premium mid-range
From the settings, you can adjust the screen tonality from cooler to warmer tones, as well as control the automatic brightness and saturation.
Nubia Z17 Mini: Hardware
In the section on power and performance is where there is a clear improvement over its predecessors. It includes a Snapdragon 652 eight-core 1.8GHz that according to Qualcomm is the best processor for mid-range mobile who want to highlight in the multimedia section. We found LTE Cat 7, support for 4K video and the Adreno 510 GPU able to offer the maximum detail without penalizing the battery. Accompanying we have 4GB of RAM LPDDR3. There is a more powerful version of the Z17mini with 6GB and a Snapdragon 653, but will only be sold in specific markets.
In the day, to the day the mobile behaves very well. We do not have lag nor problems with any application and it surprises in part since the personalization layer is not exactly the lightest one. I have tried heavy games like Asphalt 8 or N.O.V.A Legacy and I could play without more problems.
Qualcomm has done a great job. At 28nm they still have rope
Here we leave the classic benchmarks that allow us to see numerically where the Nubia Z17mini is located with respect to its competition. In Geekbench 4.1 it goes to the 1372 points in a nucleus and 4544 points in total, to give you an idea the Moto G5 Plus is in 783/3586 while the OnePlus 3T has 1835/4175. In AnTuTu we will go to the 83469 points, again a good score that put him at the height of the rest of mobile between 300 and 400 euros.
For the battery, we have 2950mAh that together with the screen and the processor offers us an acceptable autonomy. We will arrive at the end of the day without more problems but hardly to one of the second days. Nubia’s NeoPower technology is still an optimization of the system to reduce consumption like the others, but it is still a point to be happy.
The Nubia Z17mini will not leave you hanging, but you will not be able to charge it in a moment if you have an urgency
Nubia introduces USB Type C connectivity to charge the device. It has a fast loading system but it is not very fast. In ten minutes we will reach 15%, while in half an hour we will spend 40%.
Nubia Z17 Mini: Software
When the Nubia Z17mini was introduced, several of us got our hands on our heads to see that it came with Android 6.0 Marshmallow. We know that Asian manufacturers are not exactly the most advanced software level but it would have been a pleasant surprise to see the new version of Nubia UI and the upgrade to Nougat 7.0. It has not been able to be this way and we continue with a colorful layer, without application drawer, with 53GB free and hundreds of small hidden functions. In fact, in full inspiration to the iOS style, we found an internal search engine to see applications and contacts and a mode for calls that will allow us to continue to use the mobile as we speak.
From the settings menu, we can configure from the launcher, the notification center to the screenshots, which allow simple or extended capture. Also noteworthy is the inclusion of a split screen mode that will make us forget the official Android. We will not get much of this screen size but it works perfectly. In the same way, a dual mode is added to clone applications and be able to have the same application open at the same time with two different accounts.
Nubia UI 4.0 at least does not incorporate dozens of preinstalled applications.
Another pretty interesting feature of Nubia UI 4.0 is the gestures. If for example, we slide the finger up the edge we can go to the desktop, if we double-click the edge we will go back or we can even raise the brightness by sliding both edges at the same time. They are not gestures that we are very accustomed to doing, but there they are and can be a good trick to control the mobile faster.
The conclusions for the Nubia Z17mini software are the usual ones in these devices. We have good hardware that is undermined by outdated software and incongruous design that continues in its own world. We are clear that many users will be fans of these versions, but when you have tried all kinds of layers of customization that convey a less satisfactory experience are those of this style.
Nubia Z17 Mini: Cameras
If you ask Nubia what is the most important aspect of the Nubia Z17mini will tell you without the doubt that your photographic section. In addition to the design, one of the key elements is the inclusion for the first time of a double camera that incorporates a monochrome sensor of 13 megapixels next to another sensor of 13 megapíxeles RGB. The two lenses are a Sony IMX258, one we already saw at the time on mobile phones like the Xiaomi Mi 5s Plus or Xperia XA.
The double chamber is protected by a sapphire crystal, has an aperture f / 2.2 and PDAF focus system that has been very fast in our tests. We have electronic image stabilization for videos that as already discussed in the specifications can be up to 4K resolution.
Going out on the street to try the camera of Nubia Z17mini the results are good. The processing that is performed is correct, with an acceptable level of detail and a wide dynamic range, although sometimes it burns the image. The HDR mode is light but allows you to enjoy a contrast between dark and light areas close to reality. The colors of the camera of the Nubia Z17mini are its strong point, different tones and images that resemble what we are photographing.
At night the camera suffers as usual. By zooming in and looking at the detail we miss a sensor with more pixels and definition capable of providing more precision. The color and contrast are good, but it drops significantly when approaching.
The double camera allows us to play with multiple aspects like the bokeh effect, which in this case works great. We have a portrait mode and we can adjust up to 16 levels of blur, to choose according to our taste.
I am of the opinion that a good camera is usually more effective than two normal, but in the case of Nubia Z17mini, the truth is that they are appreciated. The number of options that your camera application allows is enormous and we have from the most usual like beauty, HDR or panoramic mode to a PRO mode to adjust the shutter, white balance, ISO and focus to the millimeter. You can also apply various filters both photos and video, all in real time to see the second how it is.
Nubia has added three new options in familiar mode: 3D photos, time camera for long exposure lights and mono mode for the best black and white photographs. The first ones are like panoramas but where from the application of own gallery we can move in any direction and using the accelerometer. The camera of the time allows us those effects of movement so showy and finally the monochrome mode, that so good results are giving in all the moves that incorporate it.
The application of Nubia Z17mini is very complete, colorful and with many functions. A reflection of the rest of the software but that here takes on the whole sense of the world and makes us take more advantage of the double camera.
Self-lovers have a 16-megapixel front camera with phase detection focus, f / 2.0 aperture, and 80-degree angle. The quality is good although we recommend not to go with the omnipresent beauty mode.
Nubia Z17 Mini, the opinion, and note of Android
Nubia sells the Z17mini as its new flagship (in case the Nubia Z17 arrives in Europe). It is true that this is a mobile with good features, a very careful design and a camera that is at the level when compared to the rest of the competition but we miss more originality when it comes to making a device. They have opted for the most usual components to get and except for the double camera, we have a smartphone very similar to the rest of models that we already sell Nubia.
The double camera, its power, and a very careful design are its main arguments, but the competition has also advanced a lot in 2017
Its official price is 369 euros, a range where we find the so-called premium media range. This includes mobile phones such as the OnePlus 3T that outperform the Nubia Z17 Mini in power, the Xiaomi Mi5S which is already quite cheaper or the Huawei Nova Plus with a bigger and better screen. All have their own arguments but fortunately for Nubia, their Nubia Z17 Mini is not at a distinct disadvantage.
The manufacturer should grow more but if you continue to offer a careful design and continue to improve step by step your photographic section, we can be faced with a rival to take into account in this league of mobile phones with good specifications and price content.