The general perception that recent smartphones have all been pretty much the same with only a few small points of differentiation is all going to change with the new Nubia X – a truly one-of-a-kind smartphone.
In case you didn’t know, Nubia Technology started off as a fully-owned subsidiary of Chinese company ZTE in 2012, becoming independent in 2015.
This review will, therefore, be slightly different from the run-of-the-mill reviews of newly released devices, as we’re going to focus mainly on the two-screen aspect of the phone, with a brief general spec overview.
What makes the Nubia X a unique device is the fact that it comes with not one but two screens and because of it, it has altogether eliminated the front-facing camera, giving us full-fledged notch-less display with a 96 percent screen-to-body ratio.
The phone is shipped with a SIM tray ejector tool, some paperwork, a fast charger with a USB-C cable and a USB-C 3 to 3.55mm audio jack.
While the front of the Nubia X looks like a fairly generic black phone, the absence of the otherwise ubiquitous notch is the first thing that should strike you and, to be honest, this single feature knocks out quite a few phones that we know of.
Looking at the sides and top you will find no sliders or pop-up cameras, making you wonder where the selfie camera is, just in case you didn’t know.
The phone has very rounded-off sides and back edges and there’s something else that’s unusual, there are two side fingerprint readers – one each on each on either side of the phone.
Just above the right-side FP reader is the all-important power button, while on the left side you have the volume rocker and the SIM tray.
The top of the device has an IR blaster – for those of you who want to have a little fun with your friends TV – and has an assist mike and two antenna lines.
The bottom of the phone has the main microphone, USB-C port and the lone speaker.
Flipping the phone over, the back has a dual-camera module on the top left along with a flash and some sensors, while the bottom has the Nubia logo and, yes, Nubia has stuck a second screen on to the back as well.
By including a second screen Nubia has, basically, accomplished two things – one, it has managed to do away with the notch on the front, allowing for a beautiful full-screen viewing experience, and two, it has got rid of the front-facing camera for selfies.
First, the 6.26-inch IPS LCD on the front looks fantastic but, as is the case with any LCD panel, has relatively bigger bezels than many other top phones on the market today.
You can’t help but feel that Nubia could have likely used some of the bezel space for a standard front-facing camera; but, then, it wouldn’t make this phone any different from some of the other phones you know, would it?
This is the real differentiation with only a few designs currently going notch-less, with a near-edge-to-edge screen on the front.
Secondly, removing the additional camera tech on the front opened up space both inside and out; also, having a screen on the rear of the phone means you can take your selfies with the best camera on the phone and still know what’s going on in the photo.
Now, let’s look at the rear screen and see what it has to offer.
To start with, in addition to serving as a dedicated selfie display, the 5.1-inch high-definition OLED screen can also be used like the front-facing screen, as it has got multi-touch capability too.
That’s about all there is to the additional screen on the back, which makes you wonder if that second screen is really worth having just for the sake of selfies and to get rid of the notch.
Well, it’s a subjective matter, as there are many out there who would be thrilled with the unique selfie experience the second screen brings to the table, while others may find it a gimmicky waste of space on an otherwise fine flagship with some killer specs.
Under the hood, the Nubia X packs the stellar Snapdragon 845 chipset, with up to 8GB of RAM but, sadly, the phone is still stuck on Android 8.1 Oreo with the Nubia UI 6.0 heavy skin on top.
You can unlock the phone using either of the fingerprint sensors on the sides, and to switch over to selfie mode you will have to press both sensors simultaneously and flip the phone over to access the second screen.
Despite an additional display, the battery life is pretty decent, as you can get through most of the day with heavy use without dropping below10 percent battery life.
There’s some fun to be had with the main 16 MP camera on this phone and not just with taking selfies – in fact, this offers some fun camera modes you haven’t seen in a while.
While you have the standard photo, video, portrait and pro modes, the Nubia X has what the company calls a camera family of apps, which is a colorfully-labeled group of camera icons that are full of fun, especially for those who like to get a little creative with their photography.
The image quality is good and the videos look clean enough.
There’s no optical image stabilization (OIS); so, it’s all up to the phone to digitally stabilize your actions and although it does pretty well, it is far from the quality of a Gimbal or an OIS.
While some of you might be highly impressed with the second screen option, there are others that might feel it offers only a cosmetic difference.
The phone has internal hardware and some software options that are far more useful and unique in an important way than the second screen.
But, again, without that second screen many people might not give the phone a second look.
Main features and specs of the Nubia X
- Front display: 6.3-inch LCD, 2,280×1,080-pixel resolution
- Rear display: 5.1-inch OLED, 1,520×720-pixel resolution
- Nubia’s own UI, based on Android 8.1 Oreo
- In-screen fingerprint scanner
- Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
- Adreno 630 GPU
- 6GB or 8GB of RAM
- Up to 128GB of storage
- 3,800-mAh battery
- Dimensions (HWD): 6 x 2.9 x 0.33 inches (152 x 74 x 8.4 mm)
- Weighs 6.4 ounces (181 grams)