ZTE’s sub-brand Nubia wants to claim the smartphone market from the likes of Samsung, Xiaomi, Lenovo and OnePlus. While Nubia Z11 is projected to be its flagship device with a bezel-less display and premium build, the N1 will be a budget phone, with focus on attractive price tag, big battery and camera. Nubia N1 is priced at Rs 11,999 and will be exclusively made available on Amazon. I have tried the phone on the launch day. That’s hardly long enough to judge a device, but here is my first impression.
There’s no denying that manufacturers have completely ditched plastic in favour of metal. Nubia is no different. Nubia N1 has a unibody metal design, but the design is very much influenced by Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 3. I also felt that Nubia N1 is a bit bulky at 8.9mm and just a tad heavier, weighing 190 grams. Some may argue that almost all smartphones in the mid-segment look more or less the same.
The front of Nubia N1 is largely dominated by a 5.5-inch Full HD screen. The phone has no physical buttons on its face, instead you will notice the soft keys light up in red. On the back, there’s a 13-megapixel shooter with a red accent encircling the lens. Also, add a fingerprint scanner on the rear.
On the right-hand side, you have the volume rocker and power switch. On the left side, opposite the power and volume button is a Micro SIM tray. On the top is a 3.5mm audio jack, on the bottom is a Type-C port, alongside two speaker grilles. Nubia N1’s earpiece and 13-megapixel front-facing camera are on the front. I liked the large, 5.5-inch Full HD (1920×1080) display. The text appeared crisp and colours really popped out and this is a vivid screen.
Packing an octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 processor with 3GB RAM and 32GB of internal memory (expandable up to 128GB), Nubia N1 isn’t going to set any speed records. It is at par with any other mid-end smartphone priced below Rs 15,000. During my brief testing, the phone felt snappy enough to open and close applications. I think it will easily handle day-to-day social media apps such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to name a few.
A long-lasting battery is always welcome on the phone. Nubia estimates that the N1’s 5,000mAh battery can last up to 3.1 days for normal usage and 1.9 days for pro-users. For heavy users like myself, battery is an important criteria when choosing a new smartphone. I have constantly faced battery issues on smartphones, and I just hope the Nubia N1 won’t disappoint.
Nubia N1 runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow skinned with Nubia UI 4.0 on top of it. The interface is simple to understand without much learning curve. I like clean, simple UIs, and I think Nubia UI 4.0 is one of them.
Although I’m yet to extensively test the 13-megapixel rear-camera on the N1, but what I’ve seen so far is not bad. The 13-megapixel front-facing camera works well, despite the not so-ideal lighting conditions in the demo zone.
Nubia N1 seems to be a good phone, but it will have a tough time standing out from the clutter. The mid-end segment is becoming increasing competitive with a number of smartphones like Moto G4 Plus, Zuk Z1, Redmi Note 3, K6 Power and Le 2. All priced below Rs 15,000, some of these offer excellent and long battery life, improved cameras, and better software experience. My only complain about Nubia N1 (so far) is its bland and unimpressive design.