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nubia Z17 hands-on: the $410 flagship from China

You're not going to find it on sale anytime soon over here, but that's not stopping us from getting our first hands-on look at nubia's latest flagship phone, the Z17.

Published onJuly 16, 2017

You’re not going to find it on sale anytime soon in the U.S., but that’s not stopping us from getting our first hands-on look at nubia’s latest flagship phone, the Z17. Available for purchase in China right now, the nubia Z17 was officially announced as the company’s flagship for 2017 back in June. Sporting some top-notch specs and a premium design that makes it formidable against the competition, the Z17 benefits from having a slightly lower price point than some competing flagships out there.

The first thing that strikes us about the Z17 is its premium design

Right off the bat, the first thing that strikes us about the Z17 is its premium design – one that’s boasting a metal unibody chassis with minimal bezels on its sides. Unlike its predecessor, the nubia Z17 benefits from having a water-resistant design, which is still somewhat of a rarity. Best of all, there’s a substantial feel to its build quality and construction, which ensures that its design won’t go unnoticed amongst the myriad of other flagships in the space.

On the front is a 5.5-inch 1080p IPS LCD display, giving it a pixel density of approximately 403 ppi. For a flagship, however, it’s the one aspect that undermines the phone’s recognition of being a flagship. Sure, there are other flagships on the market with Full HD displays, but we still would have liked to see nubia include a Quad HD panel here. Viewing angles are decent however, and there isn’t too much color distorting, either.

Thanks to the Snapdragon 835 and 6 GB of RAM, this phone flies

The Z17 also features a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, Dolby Atmos-enhanced speakers, USB Type-C, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip, a whopping 6 GB of RAM, and 64 GB of internal storage. The Snapdragon 835 makes the phone fly, exhibiting those instant responses you expect from top-tier smartphones in the space. However, two things that might not be praised across the board are the phone’s lack of 3.5 mm headphone jack and microSD card slot.

Even though it’s running Android 7.1.1 Nougat, there’s no access to native Google apps unless you root the phone. Naturally, that’s a reason for people to stay away, but even more when you’re stuck with native bloatware apps preloaded on the phone. nubia’s software overlay is quite different from what you’d find on most phones here in the U.S., but after all, this phone is meant for the Chinese market.

Despite that, the nubia Z17 continues to shine on the hardware front, as it features a dual-camera system that enables it to achieve those beautiful portrait shots that are becoming so popular as of late. The dual-camera system breaks down to a 23 MP and 12 MP sensor combination, allowing it to deliver those blurry backgrounds with photos.

Given the cost of other flagships boasting premium designs, the Snapdragon 835 chip, and dual-camera systems, the nubia Z17 is definitely a charming phone priced at $410 for the base model (6 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage). That’s undeniably undercutting the competition, but seeing that it’s currently only available in China, it’s not a rational decision for someone stateside to pick it up – mainly due to the lack of Google apps not being native to the phone. You might pique some eyes showing it off, but using it on a daily basis is an entirely different thing.

What do you think? If the nubia Z17 came to the United States (or anywhere outside of China), would you think about picking it up? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

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