Devices – November 2016

This month we take a look at the Nubia Z11, which is a new Chinese brand trying to break the global market, and Google’s new proposition, the Pixel. See how they got on below.

Nubia Z11

You may be wondering who Nubia are… Well, I can tell you that they are another Chinese manufacturer that have made great inroads in their home market and are now taking their Nubia handset to the global masses. You may be somewhat familiar with parent company ZTE who have built up a respectable reputation in the smartphone space.

As with many Chinese firms, ZTE is aiming for quality at an affordable price. Launched in the UK this September the base model currently costs £385 and comes in two different flavours. The standard Silver Edition has 4GB of RAM whilst the Black Gold Edition is packing a hefty 6GB and will set you back £510.

nubia-z11Screen wise, the Nubia performs admirably, the 5.5 inch IPS LCD display will have most of your requirements covered with 403 pixels per inch and 1080p specs. The quad-core Snapdragon 820 processor is powering a heavily skinned version of Android 6.0 which some users may find needs a bit of time investment to get to grips with.

The 7.7mm thick shell only comes with 64GB storage which will satisfy average users, for the rest of us there is a microSD slot to handle extra media storage requirements. I’m always harping on about battery, I absolutely believe the next leap in technology has to come from the battery. The Nubia has a 3000mAh battery on board which is standard these days. With a standard battery comes standard lifespan, it will get you to the end of the day but not much further.

Nubia has really hung its hat on the rear camera which it claims can rival DSLR quality. I’m sceptical but must admit it’s pretty decent. The 16MP camera is assisted by a two-tone flash but the word on the street is that whilst it performs really well the Samsung Galaxy Edge S7 still has the edge. So if photos are your thing, stick with Samsung.

The mid-market is getting crowded but as the flagship manufacturers fail to innovate in any meaningful way many users are starting to ask the question “What is the point in
spending £700 on a phone where I can get 95%+ of my daily tasks done on one that costs half that?” If you are willing to throw the dice on a lesser known brand you won’t go wrong with the Nubia Z11.

Google Pixel

pixelWhen Google announced the Nexus range would be no more it left many staunch fans miserable with the possibility the tech giant wouldn’t be making smartphone kit anymore. Google Pixel has now been launched to replace the Nexus range and has been made by manufacturer HTC. It’s at the premium end and there are two variants, the Pixel (£599) and the Pixel XL (£719).

Google has been renowned for its no-fuss styled OS in the past and the Pixel is no different. Even though HTC has stepped in to build the device Google has clearly made this phone with their own values and ethos behind it.

The phone comes with either 32GB or 128GB of storage and as usual there is no expansion slot. This is a standard move by Google, but the firm has made the lack of storage an easier pill to swallow by offering users unlimited cloud storage for all of your photos and videos. For many people, storage on a physical device is becoming less relevant as we live in an age where connectivity is widespread.

The display is 5-inches and full HD quality which is powered by a Snapdragon 821 processor and 4GB of RAM. Other features include a 12MP rear camera, fingerprint scanner and a 8MP front facing camera.

Much of the chatter around this phone centres on Google Assistant which is the company’s new look virtual ‘helper’. The assistant learns what you like, where you go and offers suggestions and answers to your everyday problems. I haven’t given this element a proper test yet but I am excited to see how Google compiles all the data it knows about individuals in a bid to funnel useful information towards specific users. Although the specs are impressive the high cost has yet to be justified in my opinion.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine