Nubia Z11 finally official: the return of the infinity pool smartphone
Last year's Nubia Z9 quickly became famous for its bezel-less appearance — the manufacturer employed a thick display glass panel, arched at its very corners in such a way that the light from the screen refracts and creates the illusion that the image sprawls to the very edges of the phone's sides (Nubia calls this 2.5D aRC Glass). This year, the bezel-free legacy continues, with the Nubia Z11, which has finally been unveiled.
So, the Nubia Z11 is made entirely out of metal, as it can be expected from any one of today's flagships. The manufacturer has done away with the glass panel on the back, which probably helped slim down the profile, and placed a fingerprint-scanning dimple to keep up with the modern trends. The handset does feature a 3.5 mm headphone jack on the top — we feel weird that this needs to be pointed out — and has two speaker grilles (probably for speaker and mic, though) at the bottom, surrounding a USB Type-C data port.
The 5.5-inch screen houses a resolution of 1080 x 1920 (FHD), which makes for a pixel density of about 400 – pretty crisp. It is an IPS LCD display and, according to the manufacturer, can reach a peak brightness of 500 nits, which sounds quite impressive. The screen is protected by Corning's Gorilla Glass 3 — not the latest generation, which is Gorilla Glass 4.
As can be expected, the Nubia Z11 is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 SoC, clocked at 2.15 GHz. There are two variants in regards to memory — one offers 64 GB of storage and 4 GB of RAM, while the other pumps the chips to 128 GB for storage and 6 GB of RAM. In either case, the RAM is of the LPDDR4 variety and storage expansion via microSD of up to 200 GB is possible.
Despite the handset's rather slim profile, the camera is flush to the body, which should make more than a couple of perfectionists out there smile. It rocks a 16 MP Sony IMX298 sensor, assisted by OIS and PDAF. The lens has an aperture of F2.0, and is protected by a sapphire glass cover. The selfie camera has an 8 MP resolution and the sensor is outfitted with huge, 1.4μm pixels. This should translate into better-lit selfies and faster shutter speeds, resulting in less blur. The front camera has a narrower aperture of F2.4, but does shoot in an 80-degree wide angle.
The Nubia Z11 has a 3,000 mAh battery, which the manufacturer claims is able to hold out for 13.5 hours of constant Web-browsing, 17.5 hours of reading, or 21 hours of talk time. Additionally, the handset supports “Nubia fast charge 3.0”, which is said to be 4 times faster than regular phone recharge times.
The smartphone is, of course, loaded with the latest version of Android — 6.0.1 Marshmallow — with a heavy re-skin on top, which the manufacturer calls Nubia 4.0 UI. It offers advanced features, such as touch gestures over the screen's side edges, true split screen, fine display color temperature adjustments, app cloning, so that you can use specific apps with two different user logins, and other specific little oddities. The handset also offers dual SIM dual standby with 4G+ and VoLTE, but if you opt for a microSD expansion card, one of the SIMs is going to have to go.
The phone is currently up for pre-order in China in gray, silver, gold, and rose gold, with a launch date set for the 5th of July. Its pricing starts at $376 (¥2499). We have no information on possible availability to the Western crowd. Last year, Nubia was reported to be gearing up for a US launch of the Z9, but the phone still remained pretty hard to obtain. Its Mini and Max variants do pop up on Amazon, but the actual flagship is as obtainable as a magical liopleurodon. Maybe this year the company will be able to make a bigger splash?