Nubia Z17s Review: Top-Notch Smartphone With Tons Of Innovations

The performance provided by smartphones gets more stable and smoother gradually. The shooting performance doesn’t fall behind as well. The camera sensors found on flagship devices get higher and higher. The camera features get stronger and stronger. The single-camera modules have been replaced with dual-camera lenses. Every day more and more manufacturers begin paying more attention to this feature. As a result, you can find many smartphones providing an SLR-like shooting experience. One of such devices was the Nubia Z7 Max launched back in 2014. It was capable of taking clear photos. Starting this model ZTE always comes with good cameraphones. Even if we can’t call them in this way, the company’s smartphones are packed with great cameras. According to statistics, all flagships launched before August 2017 and performing well in the market sport great cameras. This simply means the camera features in any phone have become decisive factors when looking for a new smartphone. Nubia has been always good in this niche, and its newly launched Nubia Z17s and Nubia Z17 miniS models are no exception. They use a quad-camera design, which means the front shooter, as well as the back one, use a dual-camera setup. But there is another trend in the smartphone market – the full-screen. So it’s quite reasonable to see this technology on the aforementioned models as well. As for the Nubia Z17s, its screen counts for 90.36% of the front panel. This is one of the best screen-to-body ratios. Even the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2 does only 80.3%. The Apple iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S8 were only 82.9% and 83.6%, respectively. At last, the company uses a new concept named full-screen 2.1. This mainly assumes the use of a border-less screen technology combined with the full-screen technology. But the Nubia Z17s is not about these two features only. So let’s explore more about this amazing handset.

Nubia Z17s Appearance

There are two versions of the Nubia Z17s. This review is written for the higher model, which also comes in a stylish Aurora blue color option.

The box still uses the previous style with a matte black coloring. The brand name is printed on the top.

The back carries some important information about this model.


Once it’s open, we can see the phone itself. The packaging also includes a traditional set of accessories including a charging head, cable, instructions, and so on.

Unlike many other full-screen smartphones, the Nubia Z17s comes with a 17:9 aspect ratio providing a great visual effect. As we said, the display occupies 90.36% of the front panel. Practically, there are no borders. It uses a very popular technology called aRC. The pixel density is 403ppi. In comparison to other models, this is one of the most real full-screen phones. Though it sports a 5.73-inch display, the actual grips corresponds a 5.2-inch body grip. It provides a 2040 × 1080 (FHD +) resolution.

The forehead carries a dual-camera, light sensor, and the speaker.

Though the chin is in the same size as the forehead, it’s blank.

The front panel is covered with a 2.5D arc glass. This makes many people think the Nubia Z17s’ screen will cause the rainbow lines appear on the edges. But this is not the case. Everything is thought very well.

The back of the phone is made of glass. It provides a smooth and delicate touch. ZTE has worked together with a Japanese NISSHA and used their own-developed double-printed six-layer foil technology to bring a variety of colors in the glass body. According to the light change, the rear panel will provide a gradient color change effect. The back side is also covered with a Gorilla Glass to protect it from scratches. The frame is made of metal. It’s a 7 series aviation aluminum alloy with a hardness close to the steel. Compared to ordinary aluminum, it’s lighter in weight and higher in hardness.


The back of the Nubia Z17s reveals many key features of the phone. There is the dual-camera with a dual-color dual-temperature flashlight, a fingerprint scanner, and a built-in NFC. The fingerprint key supports a wet-hand recognition, 0.1s screen unlock, WeCat and Alipay payment methods.

The top side carries only a noise cancellation microphone.

The speaker, USB Type-C, and another microphone hole are on the bottom. As you see, the company has canceled a 3.5mm audio jack. But the package includes a headphone adapter.

The volume rocker and the power key are on the right.

As you guess, the SIM card slot is on the left. It supports dual-SIM dual-standby. However, none of the SIM slots can be used for memory expansion.

Nubia Z17s Performance

The Snapdragon 845 hasn’t launched yet. This means the current flagship of Qualcomm is the Snapdragon 835. It’s also one of the fastest mobile chips around the globe. Even Microsoft is working with this chip maker to bring this SoC to the tablet PCs. The Nubia Z17s is packed with it as well. In comparison to the previous-gen chip, the Snapdragon 821 it has been reduced in size by 35%, but it provides smoother and faster performance at a 25% lower power consumption. There are two variants of this phone packed with a 6GB and 8GB of RAM. This is the higher version that means it should provide better performance.


It scores over 170K points at AnTuTu, which makes it the fourth. It yields only Apple products and the OnePlus flagship. Note, the test has been held when the OP5T wasn’t out yet.


It outruns the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Xiaomi Mi MIX 2 when tested in single-core mode. Plus, it provides an identical performance with the Mi MIX 2 when tested in a multi-core mode.


As all three compared models run the same chip, their results are identical.


The overall use of the Nubia Z17s is similar to the Nokia 8.


The continuous read speed of the UFS 2.1 flash memory is about 750MB/s.

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We tested it by playing the King of Glory, and as expected, the phone provided a stable playing at 30fps.

Nubia Z17s Software

The phone runs on Nubia UI 5.1 system based on Android 7.1.1. Many users have been complaining about the previous versions of this OS, but now when the company has made an in-depth optimization and added the latest NeoSmart engine and technology, it has got a new life. It’s now more user-friendly than before.

There are many improvements made in this software, but we’d like to focus on a few of them. First, it is more conducive to one-handed operations. Various swipes in various directions will open various screens.

Second, the NeoSmart intelligent engine has been optimized for night charging, independent automatic clean-up, and automatic disk optimization.

Third, Nubia is one of those brands that use the curved edges to bring more functionality rather than for a visual impact only. Like other Nubia-branded borderless phones, the Z17s uses both sides for various adjustments for the brightness and so on.

Finally, the Nubia UI 5.1 comes with an intelligent gaming mode to reduce the errors, to accelerate it and supports ‘do not disturb’ mode.

Nubia Z17s Camera

The back camera of the Nubia Z17s uses a dual-camera setup of a 12MP Sony IMX362 and a 23MP Sony IMX318 sensors. Their apertures are f/1.8 and f/2.0, respectively. The first lens also comes with a full-pixel 1/2.55-inch CMOS sensor as well as pixel size of 1.4um. The first sensor also supports dual-core focusing. Thanks to it the phase focus speed increased by 100% in comparison to the ordinary PDAF. It counts for 0.03 seconds, while the noise reduction has been improved as well. The camera sports a new NeoVision 7.0 Photo Engine with AI Portrait 2.0 mode. Thanks to the f/1.8 large aperture and 1.4μm unit, the Nubia Z17s indoor photos are taken out of a sufficient brightness. The resolution is very high. The details are restored without any overexposure

Daytime photos

Night photos

Macro Photos

The front camera uses two 5MP sensors with an aperture of f/2.2, 80 degrees wide-angle, bokeh effect support, beautify options including a video beautifying features, and multi-effect filters.

Nubia Z17s Battery

The Nubia Z17s is equipped with a high-density polymer flash rechargeable battery with a capacity of 3100mAh. It supports a NeoCharge 2.5 flash charge at 26W. Plus, the phone comes with a built-in NeoPower 3.0 power consumption control system. Thanks to it the phone provides up to 1.54 days of life even for heavy users.

PC Mark battery life test

When testing the brightness was set at 50%, volume at 20%, and WiFi was ON.

The test shows 8 hours and 13 minutes. This is identical to the Huawei Honor V9’s battery performance that is packed with a 4000mAh battery.

Video Playback

We watched a video online for 30 minutes. The remaining power was 18%. After the test, it was 12%. Thus the Nubia Z17s can provide up to 9 hours of online video playback.


When we started playing the King of Glory, the remaining power was 40%. After 30 minutes it was 31%. So we should be able to play games for 6 hours.


It takes about 75 minutes to charge the phone fully. All the benefits go to the NeoCharge 2.5. The latter uses smart and secure charging methods in parallel. Thanks to multiple temperature control protections with new materials such as lithium cobalt oxide, graphite, and additives the charging process is faster, more efficient, and safer. The battery uses a 1.67C flash charge core that allows it to charge from 0% to 50% in only 20 minutes, and up to 78% in 30 minutes.

nubia Z17s


Actually, there is nothing to complain of. The Nubia Z17s comes with all the latest trendy features and innovative technologies concerning the hardware as well as software. This is one of the best devices launched in 2017. So not accidentally it managed to win customers’ hearts very quickly.

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