Call Quality

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.

Battery Life

Prepare for the wall-hugging

The handset sports a 2,900 mAh battery – definitely not among the biggest ones right now, but certainly a generous juicer for a 5.2”-screened handset. We had great expectations for the Z9's battery life, especially considering the fact that Nubia didn't go for a Quad HD display. So, imagine our surprise when the handset only made it to 5 hours and 14 minutes on our battery life test.

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.

Battery life (hours) Higher is better
nubia Z9 5h 14 min (Poor)
Samsung Galaxy S6 7h 14 min (Average)
Apple iPhone 6 5h 22 min (Poor)
OnePlus 2 6h 38 min (Average)
Charging time (minutes) Lower is better
nubia Z9 149
Samsung Galaxy S6 78
Apple iPhone 6 147
OnePlus 2 150

Conclusion


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

Pros

  • Solid build
  • Great camera image quality in Auto mode

Cons

  • Unrealiable software
  • Underwhelming battery life
  • Heavy and bulky handset

PhoneArena Rating:

4.5
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