The black-gold themed Nubia Z17 mini looks good, and an accented use of red on the home button and around the camera rim at the rear adds to the aesthetics. This metal-clad smartphone looks premium and seems a delight to carry.
At the front, the smartphone sports a 5.2-inch full-HD (1920 x 1080p) screen, covered with curved Gorilla Glass to protect against unwanted accidental scratches and drops. The screen is extended to the edges, so the bezels are limited.
At the back of the device, the smartphone sports in the middle a fingerprint sensor that is accented with a golden rim, which gives it a premium look. There are dual cameras placed horizontally at the top-left, and an LED flashlight.
The hybrid dual-SIM-cum-microSD card slot on the left side of the device is ejectable through a pin. Volume rockers and power on/off buttons are placed on the right. Even as there is nothing unusual in the overall design, the Nubia Z17 mini’s careful rendition gives the handset a premium feel.
Hardware and software
The Nubia Z17 mini is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 processor, which is an octa-core SoC capable of delivering consistent performance. The device offers 64 GB of internal storage, expandable using microSD card, and 4 GB of RAM.
The mid-tier processor, coupled with ample RAM, keeps things light and moving. The device fares well for regular applications and multitasking. Heavy games like Asphalt 8 and Need for Speed do not lower the performance but certainly heat up the device.
As for its software, the Nubia Z17 mini runs Nubia UI 4.0 based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Nubia smartphones do not have a great record when it comes to software updates, so it remains to be seen when the Nubia Z17 mini gets the Nougat update.
The Nubia UI 4.0 adds a lot of oomph to the otherwise plain stock Android. Understanding major features of the software and getting used to them takes a while, but once you get comfortable with them, especially the use of gesture-based actions, operating the device is a breeze.
Nubia has added several useful software tweaks in the Nubia UI 4.0. Features like long screenshot, dual-app support, split screen and the gaming mode are just some of the add-ons worth mentioning.
The Nubia Z17 mini’s 5.2-inch full-HD display is vivid and looks crisp, thanks to in-cell full-laminated IPS unit. The screen is bright and works flawlessly under all the light conditions. The edge-to-edge display, with limited bezels, makes it good for video-viewing. The default contrast and saturation, however, could have been better. You might like to customise these in settings to suit your eyes.
The camera is one the major attractions of the device. The 13-megapixel dual-camera set-up, with phase detection auto-focus (PDAF), at the rear, is assisted by a bright LED flash and Sony sensors. It syncs an RGB sensor and a true mono-chrome sensor to deliver good true-to-life results. For protection, the cameras are covered with sapphire glass, which is sturdy and protects the camera lens from scratches. There is a long list of camera-related features within the camera window for you to play with and experience for yourself. For professionals, the pro mode has a neat and simple interface.
On the front, the smartphone sports a 16MP camera with an 80-degree wide-angle lens for extended point of view.
While the Nubia Z17 mini’s cameras generally deliver good performance irrespective of lighting, low-light photography in the auto-mode could have been better.
The Nubia Z17 mini uses a 3,000 mAh battery, which takes a little more than half a day to run out. There is nothing great in the smartphone’s battery life, but if you are a regular user not running battery-hungry apps, you could use the device for one full day without having to charge it. Extensive use of cameras, battery-intensive apps, games or other processor-intensive apps reduces the battery life by about half.
The dual-sim VoLTE-ready Nubia Z17 mini is not the first smartphone with a dual camera set-up. There are many options across a range of price points. While those like Huawei Honor 6X and Coolpad Cool 1 are available for almost half the price, the Micromax Dual 5 is priced much higher.
Clearly, Nubia’s iteration of the set-up is not half-baked for keeping the price low. Considering the features, camera performance, specifications and build quality, the Nubia Z17 mini’s Rs 19,999 price point looks fair.