ZTE Nubia Z9 Review
It's best if you don't have much to say
The Z9's earpiece is loud and, for the most part, clear. It may be lacking a bit in the high range, but there is barely any muddiness to the sound, and you won't have much trouble understanding the opposite party during a call.
It's microphone, however, is a different story – other callers would often complain of a quiet, muffled sound, sometimes causing losses of entire words, so we'd have to repeat ourselves.
Prepare for the wall-hugging
We took the Nubia out for a ride as a daily driver with medium usage. This includes a 2-hour morning routine (read emails, check web, listen to Google Play Music), then some sporadic use throughout the day (download and test a new app, chat on different messengers), and an evening routine of some more chatting, web-browsing, and listening to Play Music. With such sparse usage, by the 10th hour of off-the-plug time, the Z9 could easily be down to less than 30% of battery left. By the 12th – you will probably be hesitant to turn the screen on, if you are not near an outlet. All in all, it can take a casual user through their day without issue, but power users need look elsewhere.
So the Nubia Z9 is an interesting handset, which involves powerful hardware under the hood. But would we suggest one spends $600 on it? In its current state – most certainly not.
While the Nubia Z9 does have the hardware needed for a premium offering, and while the camera has great potential, the software is certainly on the other end of the spectrum. The UI's lack of functionality may have been a byproduct of an attempt to make it look “simple”, but resulted in it looking underdeveloped instead. The bugs are aplenty, as we felt the need to restart the phone at least once per day, because different parts of the software would just go haywire. And, of course, there's the issue of our chat notifications not showing up, which paints “unreliable” all over this handset.
We like what the Nubia team was going for, but without a pretty major update to its UI, we wouldn't dare rely on it as a main phone – its communication is iffy and its battery life just won't last, should an emergency pull us away from an outlet. The Nubia Z9 is a decent attempt to produce a high-level phone, but for $600 – we would pass.
Software version at time of review:
Android version: 5.0.2
nubia UI: V3.0.8
Build number: NX508J_CNCommon_v1.19