ZTE Nubia N2 review: A feature packed camera smartphone with rewarding looks

ZTE Nubia N2 was launched in India on July 5, 2017, and the smartphone boasts a 5,000mAh battery unit. It sports a 16MP front camera complimented with the 13MP rear camera which offers various presets.

    The numbers of Chinese smartphone manufacturers selling their handsets in the Indian market are increasing each day recording an inception of at least one new brand each day. China is the smartphone capital of the world and whether you want to get your hands on the latest device on the globe or if you wish to build an entirely new smartphone with customized features, China, or more specifically, Shenzhen is the place for you.

    The best smartphones in the world are manufactured in Shenzhen through production outsourcing. This might be new to you but even few premium smartphones such as OnePlus 5 are all mass produced in China or at least have one major component from the country.

    This is the major reason why China has so many brands originating in the country. ZTE Corporation, however, is not one of the brands that started smartphone production in China because the country is a hub for manufacturing handsets. It is, in fact, one of the few that helped Shenzhen become the biggest market for smartphone manufacturing in the world.

    ZTE is one of the top five mobile phone manufacturers in Shenzhen, China. Nubia N2 is a smartphone that is bad at disappointing users.

    ZTE Nubia N2 is a feature packed beauty with some surprising elements.



    The smartphone was unveiled in India on July 5, 2017. It sports 4GB RAM with a MediaTek MT6750 chipset. The smartphone has a Mali-T860MP2 GPU for enhanced graphics rendering. The battery this smartphone boasts is a 5,000mAh worth of a beast.

    The camera of the smartphone is, a class apart, 13MP snapper on the rear with LED flash and f/2.2 aperture. The front camera is a 16MP shooter with a fill flash support and f/2.0 aperture value. It records videos at 1080p at 30fps. Users can view the pictures and videos on a bright 5.5-inch AMOLED display.

    The internal storage on this device is 64GB with an additional option to expand the storage to 128GB via microSD card.

    To be very honest, specifications of this smartphone are not very impressive for people who believe in numbers. However, the actual performance and traits of this smartphone just might change your opinion.


    Design: Simply elegant!

    The design of this smartphone is one of the many strong points it boasts. It comes in two colors which are Champagne Gold and Black Gold. The front panel of the device hosts a home button with a fine metallic Golden perimeter around it. It also has distinctive "o" inscribed right in the center of the home button in Red color.

    The front camera along with earpiece and sensor rests on top of the front face. Volume rockers are on the left edge of the mobile phone where as the power button is on the right side opposite to the rockers.
    The rear panel has a lot of blank space with very few hardware element and minimally inscribed brand name and details.

    The rear panel has a camera paired with the LED flash on the left corner. "Nubia" is inscribed in a dark shade a little above the center of the rear panel. Rear panel also has antenna bands placed wisely along the top and bottom edges. The rear camera has a metallic Red circumference around it which gives a curious look to its design.

    The bottom edge of the smartphone sports speaker grills with USB Type C port in the center.

    The smartphone has a stunning design. Although Nubia N2 has a 5.5-inch display, it feels just right in hand due to the slightly narrow widths. As is the case with big screen smartphones, users have to move their fingers a lot to access different buttons and areas of the screen. Although users will have to do the same for Nubia N2, the finger movement is not going to be a lot.

    There is one drawback with the design of Nubia N2. It is heavy and feels bulky in hands. Weighing 180 grams, the transition from your lighter smartphone will be apparent. It will take some time for you to getting used to its form factor. However, the trade off for a bigger battery unit is much appreciated.

    Camera: Jaw dropping features with above average quality!

    The camera of this smartphone boasts the most enticing features ever seen on a mobile device. It has been packed with so many useful and interesting attributes that we had to do an entirely different story on it.

    However, let's talk about the specs and quality that it imparts. Nubia N2 has a 13MP primary snapper and if the spec itself disinterests you, wait till you have a look at this.

    These are the sort of pictures Nubia N2 is capable of capturing.

    If an aperture of f/2.2 is too much, you can stop down to f/44 for long exposure pictures. By now you must have realized that the camera offers Pro mode that allows you to manually change setting while snapping.

    The pictures are well saturated and have an optimum white balance about them even in auto mode. In pro mode, you can bump up the color temperature to achieve a vibrant look. There are 8 filters for pictures clicked from the rear cam.

    The front camera is a 16MP shooter that takes brilliant selfies with yet another set of 8 filters to choose from. It takes well-lit pictures even in dull light.

    The strength of the camera on this mobile phone is contrasted to its fair share of weaknesses. It has a slow auto focus which is quite evident while recording videos. The camera also takes its time while adjusting to various exposure levels.

    The front camera develops pictures with an amount of hardness that doesn't make the picture look lively in indoor lighting but the quality is decent enough for social media platforms.

    The camera records videos in 1080p at 30fps. The camera interface offers a variety of filters while recording. It was rather disappointing that it does not offer 4K video recording. However, the camera app loaded with so many features tries to make up for it.

    Click here for camera samples

    Software: Features, features, and more features!

    While it seems disappointing to see a new handset running the old Android Marshmallow 6.0, the GUI on the device is quite intuitive and feels smooth and elegant. It has a lot of features for easy accessibility and usage which is most probably the reason it has not yet received Nougat update.

    The GUI features on the device are motion gestures, edge gestures, dual instance, super screenshot, screen split up and custom bottom key. We have covered all the features in an entirely different story.

    The feature loaded Marshmallow gives users several options to switch between apps, customization options, and gesture control.


    Performance and hardware: Enough to pull you through a sticky situation!

    Nubia N2 has a 4GB RAM along with MediaTek MT6750 processor operating at 1.5GHz. It runs lighter apps very efficiently but it struggles through heavy apps and games.

    However, you can turn this around by disabling features and giving heavy apps passage to pull through. The device then gives a smooth performance.

    The fingerprint sensor of the device is quick but at times you will have to give it more than just one try to unlock. It has been observed that front facing fingerprint sensors do require more than one try at instances. This is probably due to the small size factor of the sensor and its location that makes it a bit physically challenging for users to access it with an impact.

    I would suggest you let the sensor read every corner of your thumb or finger while setting it up to avoid any delay in unlocking the handset.


    Battery and charging: Massive 5,000 mAh battery that lasts long

    Nubia N2 has a USB Type C support for quick charging and it effectively juices up in a little over two hours. This is an ideal charging time for a 5,000mAh battery unit which the device hides under its cover.
    The battery gives the device a long life on a single full charge. Let me break it down for you.

    It easily lasts a session of more than 36 hours while you use every feature of the smartphone without having mercy on its battery. Give it a little more gentle touch and it will pull you straight through 48 hours without complaining.

    USB Type C also allows fast transfer of data from the device to a computer or vice versa.


    Display: Balanced but not Full HD!

    The 5.5-inch AMOLED display on Nubia N2 is captivating. The sharpness and color output is impressive and so is the range of brightness it offers.

    In daylight conditions, the device with a bumped up brightness will offer you a dauntless display of colors with details intact. Users also get to optimize the display of the smartphone with options ranging from saturation to hue and brightness adjustments.

    Watching videos on this device is a pretty fair affair. You have an HD display right in front of you that has sharp video rendering and smooth color transition. The display is ideal for watching videos.

    However, there are smartphones in the price segment that offer Full HD display and I cannot think of any reason why N2 did not include it. Lenovo Z2 Plus offers a Full HD display and costs a grand cheaper than the Nubia N2.


    Conclusion: Feature packed device with some issues here and there!

    Nubia N2 gives you a great user experience, be it the GUI or the camera, it won't fail to surprise you. But its greatest advantage sometimes turns into a vice.

    This smartphone packs so many features that sometimes it hurts the performance. Also, the accessibility features of the device are so appealing that you wouldn't want to give them up. I would suggest you to choose the best suited option for yourself and turn off the rest.

    The device is also pretty heavy in hands and that is something one needs to get used to.

    I otherwise loved using the device, especially its camera which gives you several options to experiment with.

    Priced at Rs. 15,999, Nubia N2 is a great buy but it sure has its set of disadvantages which users will have to decide, if they can live with it.



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