Nubia N2 Review: Not Enough Potential For the Price!

ZTE’ child brand Nubia is no more a new company for the Indian consumers. Nubia has covered almost all the price segments starting from Rs. 6,999 to Rs. 30,000. And yes, Nubia smartphones are equally good compared to other Chinese brand smartphones. To cover the battery hungry users, Nubia launched a smartphone named Nubia N2 (hands-on) with a 5000mAh battery.

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Priced at Rs. 15,999, the Nubia N2 doesn’t offer specifications like other devices priced in the similar range such as Moto G5S Plus or the Xiaomi Mi A1. But it offers specs on par with Vivo and Oppo devices such as the Vivo V5s and the Oppo F3. Does the Nubia N2 justify the asking price tag? Let’s find out.

Design and Display

If the primary highlight of the Nubia N2 is its massive battery, then its secondary highlight would be the design. Almost all the Nubia devices excelled in the design department, which continues with the N2 as well.

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The smartphone is completely made out of aluminium, which as per Nubia is ‘aerospace-grade aluminium.’ The all-metal body along with the rounded corners offers decent in-hand feel. But the smartphone is on the heavier side at 180grams, thanks to a large 5000mAh battery inside.

The volume and power buttons offer decent tactile feedback, and the smartphones come with three capacitive hardware keys located below the display. The home button also houses a fingerprint scanner, which is fast and accurate in real life.

Coming to the display, the N2 has a 5.5-inch HD display, which is a major let down for the smartphone because almost all its rivals have a Full HD panel. That said, this is an AMOLED panel, unlike the IPS ones seen on other devices.

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Don’t get your expectations high after hearing the AMOLED panel word because this display doesn’t offer good viewing angles, and the sunlight legibility is poor as well. Also, I noticed a yellow tint for the most part on the edges of the display. Nubia allows you to customise the display colour tone, however, it doesn’t help in removing the yellow tint.

That being said, the Nubia N2 is not for users who love to watch multimedia on their smartphones. Also, the heavy weight of the device comes into play when you’re playing a video lying on a bed.

Performance

Under the hood, the Nubia N2 packs a MediaTek MT6750 SoC, paired with a generous 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. The chipset is yet another let down for the smartphone, but thankfully, the Chinese company has added a decent amount of RAM to handle all the multitasking. The storage is expandable with a hybrid microSD card slot.

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Firstly, the MediaTek MT6750 SoC doesn’t even offer the performance of a Snapdragon 430 SoC. The Nubia N2 runs through all the day-to-day tasks and keeps most of the apps in memory, but if you push the device with intensive tasks, the device tends to lag.

Basic games such as the Subway Surfers 2, Beach Buggy Racing ran fine, however, some intensive titles such as Leo’s Fortune and Asphalt 8 Xtreme showed noticeable frame drops.

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Cellular reception and call quality were fine with the smartphone, and it even has support for VoLTE. Audio via the single bottom-facing loudspeaker is not satisfying though. Nubia should have done a better job in tweaking the audio performance of the N2.

Camera

Cameras have been one of the major strengths for Nubia in the Indian market because the company knows Indians are shutterbugs. All the Nubia’ smartphones released till date bet big on the camera aspect, and it continues with the Nubia N2 as well.

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The smartphone packs a single 13MP rear camera, along with a beefy 16MP front-facing camera. Both the cameras are capable of recording 1080p videos. The addition of a dual rear camera to the N2 would have been a great choice, but Nubia has other devices such as Nubia M2 and Nubia Z17 Mini with dual rear cameras available in the similar price range.

The 13MP rear camera has support for PDAF (Phase Detection Autofocus) and f/2.2 aperture. Daylight shots with the N2 were acceptable and are usable to post on social media, but the low-light photos are unacceptable as they pop out noisy, and sometimes the focus was out of order as well. However, turning on the HDR mode makes things slightly better. Images shot with HDR mode turned on came out with accurate colours and more details, even in low-light scenarios.

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Coming to the 16MP front-facing, it captures pretty good images with natural colours and there’s a beauty mode as well. Overall, the camera of the Nubia N2 doesn’t inspire confidence, especially the low-light performance is unacceptable.

Software and Battery

The Nubia N2 still runs Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow based Nubia UI 4.0 on top. This is an unacceptable thing in 2017 because in these days even a sub Rs. 5,000 smartphone is coming with Android 7.0 Nougat on board, and there’s no timeline from Nubia for a possible software upgrade as well for the N2.

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The Nubia UI 4.0 has several tricks under its sleeves. The user interface itself is a heavily customised one, and at the same time, it’s buggy as well. I did not face any UI issues on the Z17 Mini, which I reviewed earlier, but the Nubia N2′ software isn’t optimised perfectly. Also, it may be due to the MediaTek chipset.

The Nubia N2 has features such as multi-window mode, edge gestures, screen off gestures, etc., which are also present on other Nubia devices.

The USP of the Nubia N2 is the massive 5000mAh battery, which also has support for fast charging. The company has a USB Type-C port with support for fast charging. The device can fully charge from zero to 100 percent in less than two hours, which is an added advantage.

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Even though boasting a 5000mAh battery, the Nubia N2 doesn’t offer stupendous battery life, and the unoptimized software is to be blamed here. Some days, I ended the day with 20% juice left with complete 4G LTE usage, and on some days, the device died before the day ended. On an average, I used to get a screen-on time of four hours. Seems crazy, right? But you heard it right- four hours of screen-on time for a 5000mAh battery smartphone. Nubia can fix these issues with a software upgrade though.

Conclusion- There are many better alternatives

Nubia has been silently successful in the Indian market with users preferring its smartphones because of its design and camera. The N2 hits the bullseye with its design, but everything is mediocre apart from that.

The underwhelming HD AMOLED display, subpar rear camera, buggy software and performance, and an unacceptable 5000mAh battery performance. For the asking price of Rs. 15,999, we have much better alternatives such as the Lenovo P2, which competes with the Nubia N2 in its own battery game. And the newly launched Nokia 6 in the design game.

The Nubia N2 turns out to be a disappointment, rather than a hit for the company as there are very better smartphones available in the similar price range.

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