Nubia Z17 Review: No Side Bezels, Smart Features & An Amazing Camera Makes It Worth Your Money

by Joel 23

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A few days ago, Nubia released its flagship smartphone, the Nubia Z17 at the Water Cube in Beijing. Nubia smartphones have impressed us in the past featuring an excellent combination of performance and hardware and we were glad to see that the Z17 continues the same tradition.


Nubia Z17 Design & Display

Nubia Z17 front
Nubia Z17 front

Nubia was one of the first mainstream smartphone brands to popularize the concept of bezel-less display on its flagship phones, starting with the Z9. The company has improved the technology in its third generation bezel-less flagship, the Nubia Z17, using a new version of its Refractive Conduction Technology to make the display pop out. The aRC technology is much more refined now and this has enabled the company to reduce the thickness of the phone giving a better in-hand feel. You can see how aRC works in the diagram down below.

arc Refractive Conduction Technical Principle
arc Refractive Conduction Technical Principle

While aRC tech makes the display really bezel-less, there’s more to these edges. The Nubia Z17 carries forward FiT (Frame Interactive Technology) to enable edge gestures. So, you can still adjust the brightness, go back, switch apps — all via simple gestures on the display edges. We have seen this feature work smoothly on earlier models and I was glad to see the same continues with the Z17. Apart from this, there’s an additional FiT card feature as well, which is basically a smart summary of everything on the phone. The FiT card contains a lot of useful information like your reminders, recent files etc and you have this just one swipe away. It’s pretty cool.

Z17 FIT Card


FIT Gesture Control
FiT Gesture Control

You can check out our Nubia Z17 hands-on gallery from below.





Nubia Z17 Dual Camera Performance



Nubia Z17 camera settings
Nubia Z17 camera settings

Another stand-out feature of Nubia phones has been innovative photography. The camera app offers shooting modes not available on other devices, such as electronic aperture, light painting, star track, time, cloning, delay photography, multiple exposure, etc. These features have been improved upon in the Z17.

Camera Features in one screen
Camera Features in one screen

One of my favorite feature on the phone is the clone camera. The app captures a person/ object in different parts of a frame and stitches them together to create one seamless photo. You’ll look like you have a team of clones – or twins – with you in one shot. Once you get the hang of this app and start posting it on social media, I am sure will get a lot of questions from your followers about your Z17.

Clone Camera
Clone Camera

The software has always played an important role in a smartphone camera, but the Z17 makes substantial improvements in the camera hardware as well. Adopting the trend, the new Nubia flagship comes with two powerful cameras at the back. Apart from improving the quality of the images captured, the two cameras at the back perform a very important function of creating a smooth SLR like depth of field effect. It’s worth adding that Nubia Z17 makes use of a smart AI technology to ensure the blurring effect is more natural.

If you really take the time to play with the Nubia Z17’s camera, you can capture some amazing bokeh photos. A few samples with depth of field effect are given below.

Blur Photo Sample
Blur Photo Sample 01
Blur Photo Sample 02
Blur Photo Sample 02

Nubia Z27 Portrait Mode Sample 01

Nubia Z27 Camera sample 01
Nubia Z27 Camera sample w/o bokeh effect


Nubia Z27 Camera sample w/ bokeh
Nubia Z27 Camera sample w/ bokeh

The dual rear cameras are 12 megapixels + 23 megapixels (yes, the 23MP sensor is the secondary camera), with 1.4μm single large size pixel similar to the Samsung Galaxy S8, sensor size is 1/2.55 inches, f1.8 big aperture, 2x dual-camera zoom, 10x dynamic zoom. The imaging quality, as you can see from samples, is excellent. The front camera is of 16 million pixels.

Z17's dual cameras
Z17’s dual cameras

In your everyday usage, the Z17 will manage to capture very good amount of details with realistic saturation levels. Unlike the Huawei P10 which sometimes oversaturate the images captured, Z17 manages to keep the colors quite realistic. Even in low light situations, the photos come out quite bright, but colors may be a bit dull. I have used the Z17 as well as P10 side by side and I find the Z17 manages to keep the noise extremely low.

Just check out the samples down below to see how the dual cameras at the back perform in real life situations.



Nubia Z17 AnTuTu Benchmark & Hardware

Under the hood, the Z17 is impressive too, with a Snapdragon 835 processor, 6 / 8GB RAM, 64 / 128 GB UFS2.1 flash storage. On the AnTuTu benchmark, the device scored an impressive 180,745, just a tad lower than the iPhone 7 Plus. Note that there’s no headphone jack on board and you have to use a type-C convertor or type-C headphones on the device.


Nubia Z17 Battery Life

With built-in 3200mAh battery together with Nubia NeoPower3.0 technology, the company claims that it provide up to 2.5 days of usage in one single charge. That’s actually a pretty big claim, given the battery capacity. On a realistic note, you can expect the Nubia Z17 to breeze through more than a day even under power use. That’s pretty impressive and says a lot about the efficient 10nm Snapdragon 835 and Neopower 3.0 software optimizations on the phone.

Nubia Z17 Powersaving modes
Super Battery Saver Mode at 40%

Even when the battery is falling below 40%, you can squeeze out another day’s usage using the super power saving modes available. Of course, these modes limit the functionality of the phone to a major extent, but it can come in handy during emergencies.

Super Battery Saver Mode
Super Battery Saver Mode at 32%


The Z17 supports Qualcomm quick charge 4.0 by utilizing dual circuit charging to choose the best charging circuit. The result is charging times that’s 20% faster than quick charge 3.0.

So, I ll make one thing clear — Nubia Z17 is indeed the first smartphone with QC 4+ support. But you won’t get QC 4+ speeds yet, because there isn’t a QC 4+ compatible charger yet (blame Qualcomm for this). So, until you can get hold of a fast 4.0 generation charger, you’ll have to be happy with the pretty good QC 3.0 speeds. I personally managed to charge my phone from near 0% to 50% in just 25 minutes, which is pretty good for my everyday usage.

The Z17 is also water-proof, the first Nubia device to do so. So if you’re stuck in the rain or get wet by the pool, have no worries because the Z17 will work fine. You can even talk on the phone during a shower! This is useful because you can simply wash your Z17 when it gets dirty. But do note that the phone is not meant to be used underwater, so don’t get too excited to plan an underwater photography session.

Nubia Z17 waterproof
Just wash your Z17 when it’s dirty


There are many more hardware features that are worth mentioning. The Z17 comes with NFC functionality — users can use it to pay, transfer data, and connect to speakers, etc. With MIMO dual antennas, the WIFI connection speed is 100% faster than last generation’s devices. The Z17’s speakers use a professional grade of BASS stuffed material and SmartPA speaker technology. The fingerprint sensor is super fast and works well to unlock as well as make payments with the phone.

Nubia Z17 back
Nubia Z17 back


Nubia Z17 Review Conclusion

As far as overall performance goes, Nubia Z17 is a very worthy flagship, making it one of the best Android flagship in the market right now.

With the Snapdragon 835 chip and 6 / 8GB of RAM, the performance on the device is super smooth. There are many other features that make the Z17 special, like the aRC technology, the FiT gestures that has become more mature and the newly added waterproofing feature. But the real highlight of the Z17 is the dual camera setup at the back, a rather good one, which manages to capture great low light images, thanks to the large pixel sensor. The support for high-quality dual camera zoom up to 2x times is an added plus.

If you can ignore the fact that the phone doesn’t have a 3.5mm headphone jack, the Z17 is worthy of being called as one of the best flagship smartphones in the market right now.