When the Nubia Z17 Lite arrived I wasn’t too sure about what to expect. It’s the first time I had the chance to review a Nubia smartphone. The phone arrived in a simple white-red box with basically nothing on it but the Nubia logo. As soon as you open that box however, it becomes perfectly clear: Nubia is classy. It is a brand that can meassure itself with the likes of Meizu, Xiaomi and Vivo. The accessoires were neatly rolled up and even the firetruck red adapter plug looks classy. And yes, that does mean the Nubia Z17 Lite has no 3.5mm plug and I believe it’s about time to just get over that. Now next to all the great packed cables and such, the most important part of the package is ofcourse the phone itself.
Screen and design
A lot of manufacturers today like to advertise their devices as being bezel-less. That’s a cool marketing trick meaning LESS bezels, but by NO means without bezels. Enter Nubia Z17 Lite: This smartphone is actually bezelless, no bezels just glass, from the right edge to the left edge. And I love it! Even though it still comes in the 16:9 ratio and has normal chin and topbezel, the Z17 Lite is gorgeous. It’s not too heavy nor too light and the metal back has a silk like finish too it. The black colour is only interupted by a small and subtile golden band that surrounds the enire phone. On the front right below the beautiful and oleophobic 5.5 inch FHD screen there’s a red circular home-button. It gently “breathes” on and off functioning as your notification LED. On the back of the Nubia Z17 there’s nothing but the dual camera setup. These are placed in an oval shape. The fingerprint scanner also has a gold edge finish and the red of the homebutton returns around the camera’s. Beauty and style are definitely the keywords when it comes to the Nubia Z17 Lite
Software and UI
Now turning on the Nubia Z17 Lite is a great experience. The edge-to-edge display and the FHD sharpness are optimally used in the opening sequence.Then the phones boots up in Nubia UI. Comparable with brands like Meizu and Xiaomi, Nubia has designed their own UI on top of Android 7.1. It looks like a cross -over between Apple’s iOS and Android as we know it. There’s a black golden theme coming back in the entire menu and it looks stylish. There’s no app drawer, another thing that I feel we should slowly grow accustomed to.
A great thing about the Nubia UI is their use of the edges of the display for gestures. For example, sliding up or down the edge makes you go through your open applications like the pages of a book. Sliding up or down both edges simultaniously adjusts screen brightness and a double tap on the edge functions as a back button if you will. And not only do these functions work smooth and flawless, they also look fantastic from a graphics point-of-view. There’s obviously much time, passion and know-how put in making this smartphone. I like it a lot!
Now one of the things that surprised me most, after using the Nubia Z17 Lite for a couple of days, was the actual fact they named this the Z17 LITE. To be honest, there’s not much “LITE” about this device. Let’s go through the specs together and see what you think: First of all, the phone has 64GB of internal storage. They coupled this to no less than 6GB of RAM and the Z17 Lite is powered by a Snapdragon 653 processor (4x 1.95 GHz ARM Cortex-A72 + 4x 1.4 GHz ARM Cortex-A53 Octa-Core). This results in a phone that can actually handle pretty much anything you throw at it. From media to gaming. Thanks to the Adreno 510 GPU it runs smooth as can be. Sometimes I was really surprised to see how many applications were running while I didn’t notice any slowing down nor any dropped frames during gaming. Hard- and software exist in harmony inside the Nubia Z17 Lite.
And let me not forget to mention the speakers! The sound quality of the Nubia Z17 Lite is one of the best out there. The volume might not be the loudest, but it’s more than decent, but there’s actual bass present. The overal depth and warmth of the sound make it even acceptable to listen to music without earphones. Something I can’t stand for much longer than one song with other smartphones. All these things get their power from the fast chargeable 3200mAh Li-Polymer battery. Not the largest battery in the world, but it keeps the weight of the phone pleasureable and the energy distribution is fine-tuned really well by Nubia so you can easily reach the end of your day in regular use.
This is where the fun begins. No let me begin to mention the fact some other reviewers have been calling the camera set-up on the Z17 Lite mediocre, or even nothing spectacular. This raises two important questions to me: 1. Do they even know how to work with an actual camera? and 2. How much did the competition pay them?
Joke aside though, if you know how to use the many functions and possibilities the camera software offers you, there’s hardly any smartphone is this price range that is remotely ready to compete with the Nubia Z17 Lite. The dual 13 MP camera works with real Depth -in-Field and the colour reprocution, the dynamic range, the sharpness (which is adjustable even after taking the picture) is just mind blowing. Photography has always been a hobby and a passion of mine and the Nubia Z17 Lite made me leave my DSLR camera at home on many occasion. I could go on praising the camera’s in tons of fancy words, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. I have put together a quick video-review of the Nubia Z17 Lite’s camera. So please have a look. At the end of the review I will as usually post some samples as well.
The Antutu Benchmark score of the Nubia Z17 Lite is nothing to complain about. See picture
It’s hard to understand the Lite designation of this smartphone once you started using it as your daily driver. It’s great looking, truely bezelless and fluent and fast no matter where you use it for. The 6GB of RAM make multitasking a child’s play and the camera get’s it right every time. Not to mention the fantastic range of possibilties you can use the camera for. From Slow Motion to Timelapse, 3D Photography, Black and White Macro, or the stunning portrait mode: It’s all there!
The Nubia UI makes the phone very interesting to use and the graphics look stunning. Are there no cons? Ofcourse there are some minor things one could consider cons, like for example the fact that the left button under the screen is the back button. It’s not adjustable so it took some getting used to. And sometimes newly downloaded apps from the Play Store will only show up after a reboot. The latter being a problem of my ROM version and not of the phone itself. Either way you look at it, the Nubia Z17 Lite is one of the most classy and stylish phones you can get under the 300 euro marker and definitely worth every cent. I rate it 9/10.