Design: Stylish and handy
Nubia M2 is a stylish-looking smartphone with a metal chassis, matte black finish and dual diamond cut metal frame. The flat edges, the matte finish and the phone’s 168g light form-factor make it easy to handle. The oval-shaped home button, which also doubles up as a fingerprint sensor, blends well with the phone’s rounded corners. The navigation keys are placed on the lower bezel and are backlit. The fingerprint sensor is fast and accurate. The physical keys look prominent and are placed closer to the middle than top which makes accessing them easier. Overall, it is one of the best-designed mid-range smartphones which offers a fine balance between good looks and user comfort.
Display: Big and bright screen
The 5.5-inch AMOLED display offers a resolution of 1,920×1,080p and looks as bright and sharp as the two rivals. Colours pop out well in games and videos and text in web pages and ebooks look crisp. The big screen offers ample space for gaming, reading and typing. Display customisations are pretty limited. All you get is the option to modify colour tone. Xiaomi Mi5 offers the option to enhance colour contrast, and has a reading mode for night time reading.
Software: Runs old Android
Nubia M2 runs Android 6.0 with its proprietary Nubia UI over it. With the next version of Android expected in a few months’ time, using a two-year-old OS is a bit disappointing. The custom offers some cool gesture controls and features such as dual instance and split screen mode, but is not as rich and polished as MIUI8. Also, the gesture controls are a bit erratic. It doesn’t have a theme store. The Z Play offers Android 7.0 with stock Android experience.
Performance: Cool customer
Driving the Nubia M2 is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor which has been paired with 4 GB RAM. The Moto Z Play also runs on the same chipset with 3GB RAM. However, this is not as powerful as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset, which drives the Mi5, but was able to handle multi-tasking and games such as PES 2017 , fairly well. Switching between apps was smooth, even if not super quick. Nubia M2 offers 64GB internal storage and supports microSD cards, but there is a catch to it. You can’t use both SIM slots and the micro SD slot due to the hybrid design. The Moto Z Play is better placed as it offers 64GB storage and has a separate microSD slot. The Mi5 has only 32GB storage and no microSD slot.
The Nubia M2 is powered by a 3,560mAh battery that easily lasts over a day on a single charge.
Camera: Impresses in good-light
The Nubia M2 is the latest addition to the dual camera club. It has two 13-megapixel cameras which can reproduce colours and details very well, especially during daytime. The macro mode can turn in stunning close-ups. Indoor and low-light shots look blurry and washed out. The camera apps offer plenty of useful camera modes and features such as multi-exposure, macro, time lapse, slow shutter and monochrome. The Pro mode offers some professional-level tools such as the option to adjust shutter speed and capture fast moving objects with focus panning. The front camera is impressive and can muster good-looking selfies even in indoor conditions.
Nubia M2 is a solid mid-range smartphone with very few flaws, but it faces stiff competition from the likes of Moto Z Play which offers new Android with clean UI, supports Moto Mods, and has a water resistant body. The Xiaomi Mi 5 has a smaller display, but is a lot more powerful and has a custom UI which offers more features than Nubia UI.