The era of parroting Apple with wide notches is over for Chinese phone makers, as they moved to waterdrop ones, then slider designs and, last but not least, they are now in the dual-screen phone category, removing the need for a front-facing camera altogether.
The dual-screen phone 2.0, this is what we are holding on our hands at the moment, as the Nubia Z20 was just released in the US at just $549. Yep, you read that right, a sub-$600 phone with Snapdragon 855+, 4000mAh battery with fast 27W charging, triple camera with 8K video recording (15fps) and... fully functional touchscreens both on the front and at the back.
Z20, but Nubia will prove you wrong.How am I going to find a case for this, you ask? Well, you might not know this, but Chinese phone makers include one in the box, and, you might have thought that it's been a challenge to make a case for the
The company's official wrapper is a... run-of-the-mill transparent silicone one, with just a cutout for the rear camera set just like you would slip a protecting case on a normal single screen phone. Yes, that means that the second display on the back is situated under the casing, and, yes, it is visible and it works through the case.
We won't be running you through the specs as they are as good as flagship-grade, and, thankfully, Nubia has chosen 1080p display resolution for the 6.4" OLED display at the front, and 720p resolution for the auxiliary 5.1" OLED screen on the back. This means oodles of battery life, and, indeed, the handset lasts a day and a half with normal usage and about 6 hours of screen-on time.
The secret? Only one display works at a time, unless you use the second in a Dual Viewfinder mode as in the header image above. The phone even provides both physical and on-screen keys to swap them.
Physical on both sides, so you can turn on the screen no matter if the front or back one is facing you, and on-screen so that you can flip an image over to the rear or front displays when needed. We'd say it works like a charm, and the Z20 has cracked the code of dual-screen phones for the first time.
Galaxy A80, where the whole purpose of the elaborate mechanism is to allow selfie-snapping with the "better" rear camera, we decided to put the Z20 to the ultimate test - low-light selfies.After the ho-hum experience with the flip camera on the
Unfortunately, despite being taken with the main 48MP sensor, all the pixel-binning and artificial intelligence can't make up for low light sensitivity of the camera set, and the selfies turned out average, not leaps and bounds before the flagship competition which shoots with an "inferior" front camera sensor.
Well, Nubia drives a very hard bargain here. At the price tag for the Diamond Black or Twilight Blue models of the Z20, you can only get last year's flagship from brands like Samsung. Here, however, you get the most powerful Snapdragon chipset available, oodles of RAM, plenty of storage, and long battery life with ultrafast charging for just $549.
Add to these the "wow" factor of having a phone with two fully-functional displays, one of which is protected by the official case, and all other "cons" like an average selfie quality in low-light scenarios, are out with the bathwater. Oh, yeah, you can show a love or middle finger sign on your AoD rear display, depending on the mood you want to convey to your next department meeting.
Being a ZTE offshoot, Nubia knows a thing or two about antennas and quality signal reception, too, so if you are curious to explore one of the most interesting phone designs in recent memory on this side of the pond without many compromises, hit up the US store link.