• Monday, July 16, 2018

Nubia M2 Review - Great design with an even better price

Introduction

A serious competitor that aims for the top of the middle class – the Nubia M2! Can it conquer the middle-class market with its amazing display, Qualcomm chipset and double main camera setup? Let’s see together!

Today we’re testing a device made by a brand that is relatively unknown here – the Nubia M2. This is a middle-class device that brings an excellent, low profile design, Qualcomm chipset, double camera and AMOLED display. Of course, just as all the other Chinese devices, what sets this one apart from devices of more prominent manufacturers is its affordable price. If you chose to buy this device off one of the online shops, the price is lower compared to, for example, the Samsung J5 2017, and Nubia with its components provides much more that the Samsung. We are testing the Nubia M2 in Black Gold color option, and next to it also available is the Champagne Gold version. Inside the factory box of the Nubia M2 we can find: user manuals, Nubia fast charging adapter, USB Type-C cable and a SIM tray tool.

There’s all that’s necessary in order to conquer the middle class, so let’s see together how Nubia managed to put everything together!

Video review


Unboxing


Display

Perhaps the biggest role for some users is played by the display. Nubia chose a 5.5” capacitive display for the M2. It is a FullHD 1080p AMOLED display with the aspect ratio of 16:9, which means that we have 401 PPI pixel density. This resolution looks amazing on a 5.5” panel and it offers great sharpness, while the number of pixels is still reasonable so the GPU won’t have too many issues running all those pixels – but more on that a little bit later.

We had a chance to see AMOLED displays mostly on Samsung devices, and they, as a rule, bring more vivid color with very deep blacks and excellent contrast. All this is also true for the display built into the Nubia M2. Since it is standard nowadays, M2’s display is also capable of showing up to 16.7 million colors. If you, for some reason, do have an issue with perhaps too pronounced colors, Nubia offers an option in the “Settings” menu to adjust color reproduction – everything from “colder” to “warmer” colors. M2 also has an ambience light sensor that will adjust the brightness of the panel automatically when in AUTO mode. Maximum brightness is pretty good, and the AUTO mode on direct sunlight offers great brightness results. The screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass, however, there is no information which generation of the protection is used.

Hardware and OS

Something that can definitely push you towards getting your hands on this device is its hardware. For the M2, Nubia opted for a Qualcomm chipset that perfectly suits the middle class in which the M2 is placed. It is the Snapdragon 625, a 14nm chipset which we could see countless times in many other manufacturers’ devices. It is consisted of 8 Cortex A-53 cores clocked at 2 GHz. Next to the octa core processor, the GPU built into this device is Adreno 506. The GPU is perfectly capable of smoothly running any material in FullHD 1080p resolution – games have a steady number of FPS, and screen animations also show no drops in performance at all. What is very good in the price range of the Nubia M2 is the memory built into it: 64GB of internal storage with 4GB of LPDDR RAM. A huge advantage is that this device has a hybrid slot, which means that you can expand your storage memory via a microSD card by up to 200GB, while 4GB of  RAM should be enough for any kind of multitasking. The fingerprint scanner is also available, and it is implemented into the Home button. It is very fast and precise.

Nubia M2 reproduces mono sound, and the speaker that does the job is located on the bottom of the device, to the left of the Type-C connector. The device also supports Dolby Atmos system, so overall, sound reproduction quality is above average.

The system gives a pretty good impression. All tasks are executed perfectly smoothly with no lag, while the system itself is clear of bloatware. A good way to show what the Nubia M2 is capable of is to run it through benchmarks: AnTuTu showed the score of 62770, whereas Geekbech graded Single-Core performance with 853 points, Multi-Core performance with 4217 and Compute with 3397.

Perhaps the biggest disadvantage in this whole story about hardware and software is the Android version preinstalled on this device. It is the Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. It, however, looks nothing like pure Android, the UI is built by Nubia, and it is called – Nubia UI. The M2 runs Nubia UI version 4.0. No software updates have been announced, so there is the sad possibility that, despite very good hardware that is more than capable of running Nougat, the M2 will stay on the Marshmallow system. Security patches are dated to July 2017. One of the functions that we would like to point out is Edge Gestures which will enable you to execute different actions with different interactions with the edges of your device. For example: if you “pinch” your device with two fingers on both sides of the device at the same time and swipe up or down, you will be able to regulate the brightness of the panel, or if you tap the edge twice, you will return on the previous step.

Level of details put into building the UI, and the attention to them is clearly seen through the screenshot interface. Honestly, options here are countless! There is an option to take the classic screenshot in any shape you want (rectangular, circular, heart shaped, free), there is Long Screenshot that lets you capture the screenshots while you’re scrolling, and even Screen Recording that lets you record the screen in 840 x 480p resolution at 60fps.

Camera

Nubia M2 can boast with a double main camera setup, just as most other modern smartphones. We have one RGB and one monochrome sensor, and both have the resolution of 13MP. Both sensors have the same specifications: f/2.2 aperture, the size is 1/2.9” while each individual pixel is 1.25µm. Both sensors are equipped with phase detection auto focus (PDAF). To the right of the sensors there is a double, two tone LED flash. Other camera options are: Geo-tagging, Touch Focus, Face Detection, HDR and Panorama. Nubia calls their camera interface NeoVision, and the current version is v6.5.

Several photo modes are available:
  • Camera Family (Multi Exposure, Light Painting, Electronic Aperture, Slow shutter, Star Track, Video Maker, Trajectory, DNG, Clone Camera, Time Lapse, Slow Motion, Panorama, Mono, Macro Camera, 3D, Zoom Blur)
  • PRO
  • PHOTO
  • Video Record
  • Portrait
You don’t have an option to manually change the resolution of photos per se, but you can do it through changing the aspect ratio of the photos, so this way we have:
  • 16:9
  • 4:3
  • 1:1
Day time photos made by the Nubia M2 are pretty good. When we say pretty good, we mean that Nubia captures a lot of details with good color reproduction, but is suffers from a huge level of noise, especially in shadowy places. Focus speed is great, as is the time needed to store photos. Night time photos are somewhat poorer. Although, on their website, Nubia promote 3D noise reproduction, the noise is more than just noticeable in night time photos, and also a lot of details are lost, while the color reproduction remains very good. Sadly, although it has two cameras, optical zoom is not available since it doesn’t have a telephoto lens.

The PRO mode is also here, and it lets you adjust the shutter speed, white balance, ISO values and focus distance. The portrait mode is, of course, here, and it will make the photos look like the ones made by professional DSLR cameras with excellent DoF (Depth of Field) effect. The M2 does a good job distinguishing between the object of the photo and the background, although it is not on par with more expensive devices.

The sheer number of options available within the camera interface of the Nubia M2 is a clear advantage and it can be easily said that this is a device suited for users that love their photos.

Video mode brings a real treat – 4K video shooting! Maximum resolution is 3840 x 2160 pixels at 30fps, and these videos look great on the display of the M2. However, as is the case with photos, in our opinion there is too much noise. Still, just the capability to shoot 4K videos is a remarkable feature in a mid- range device, and even better is 1080p FullHD video recording at 60fps. Stable 60fps framerate looks perfectly smooth, but still with far fewer details compared to 4K videos. Of course, there are still options to take 1080p and 720p videos at 30fps. All videos are stored in .mp4 format. Time Lapse recordings are available within the Camera Family section, as are Slow Motion videos in HD 720p resolution at 120fps.

Going on to the front side of the device we have a 16MP sensor that captures an 80° angle (wide). The aperture is f/2.0. Photos made by the front facing camera are excellent. Put simply, these photos have plenty of details, the colors are nicely saturated, and the dynamic range is up to the job. It can take FullHD 1080p videos and store them in .mp4 format.

Connectivity

Nubia M2 (NX551J) is a 4G DualSIM device. Here we have a hybrid slot, which means that it can house either two nanoSIM cards or, if you choose to use a microSD card (up to 200GB) instead of one SIM card, a microSD and a nanoSIM card. The device uses a reversible USB Type-C connector v1.0 for charging and data transfer. The 3.5mm headphone port is still here, and we love that Nubia chose to keep it. It is located on the bottom of the device, to the right of the Type-C connector.

The list of wireless connections consists of:
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/ac
  • Bluetooth 4.1 (A2DP, LE)
  • A-GPS (GLONASS, BDS)

Lack of the NFC system and FM radio is, however, a definite disadvantage.

Supported network frequencies are:
  • 2G GSM: 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
  • 3G UMTS: 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 MHz
  • 4G LTE: 800 / 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 / 2100 / 2300 / 2500 / 2600 MHz
Maximum download speed in 4G networks is 150 Mbps, while the maximum upload speed is 50 Mbps.

Battery

Why stop now with all the good things? The battery of the M2 has the capacity of 3630 mAh which is a great thing, especially taking into account that the Snapdragon 625 is a power saving chipset. The Lithium-polymer battery is non-removable, but we are used to that since we can nowadays see removable batteries only in the lowest sections of the market. As we have said, USB Type-C is used for charging and data transfer, and fast charging is also available. Nubia calls it NeoCharge and they claim that it is very safe since it reduces the voltage itself inside the adapter, which reduces heating up of the phone during charging, while still performing fast charging. Time needed to fully charge the device using the stock charging adapter is around 90 minutes, while one full charge with constant WiFi use, YouTube, social network apps and around 2 hours of gameplay will provide around 6 hours of SoT (Screen on Time).

Final words

Nubia M2 is our choice, and we stand behind this! Details are everything, and they are exactly what makes a device complete – and Nubia is filled with them. These details are exactly what makes this device special through software and hardware, and they set the M2 apart from the sea of pretty much the same devices. Lack of NFC is a huge disadvantage, and we would also like to see Android 7.0 Nougat update with its new camera algorithms which would greatly improve the noise in photos.

Still, we think that the Nubia M2 completely justifies its price! Do you like the Nubia M2? We’d love to see your opinion in the comment section below. If you have any suggestions or you would like to see a specific device being reviewed, feel free to write to us either here on our Facebook page. If you liked our review, please subscribe to our YouTube channel, like us on Facebook, and sit comfortably as we’re working hard on new material for you!

Nubia M2 Full Phone Specifications

Advantages and disadvantages

Reasons for and against it

Very good performances
Display
Internal storage and RAM memory
Design
4K and 1080p 60 fps videos
Only Android Marshmallow
No NFC or FM radio
No headphones inside the factory box
Noise in photos