There are plenty of great entry-level smartphones to pick from in the local market especially those from Samsung and OPPO’s A series lineup that offer huge bang for your buck. However, there’s one particular model that really caught my eyes for it’s superior gaming performance and everlasting battery life which set it apart from other mainstream models. This device is none other than the newly announced Nubia Neo 5G which we’ll be looking at in this review.
Design That Stands Out From The Crowd
On the outside, the Nubia Neo 5G is nothing like what see on other budget-centric smartphones in the market. It comes with with a distinctive, space-age-inspired design similar to those we tend to see among gaming-centric smartphones such as the ASUS ROG Phone 7 (Review).
Like most other gaming smartphones, the Nubia Neo 5G settles with a flat-frame form factor which makes it easier to grip as compared to curve display which sometimes feel slippery especially when you’re holding the phone single-handedly. More importantly, the phone also feels pretty light and slim at 192 grams and 8mm respectively.
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The model I had for review comes in a Phantom Black colorway that looks cool and stylish when coupled with all the gaming-centric design elements. Just in case this color isn’t loud enough for your liking, there’s also a more attention-grabbing Yellow colorway which is sure to attract all the curious eyes around you.
Over on the front side, the Nubia Neo 5G greets us with a decently-sized 6.6” IPS LCD display which looks sharp and vibrant from all angles. The main highlight here however, lies in it’s ultra-fast 144Hz refresh rate which allows user to enjoy buttery-smooth gameplay on any fast-paced mobile game titles. In fact, this is the highest refresh rate you can get on any entry to middle-range smartphone.
Likewise, the screen has no issue getting sufficiently bright whenever the situation calls for it. This is important as it helps to ensure the screen always remain legible regardless whether you’re using the phone in an indoor or outdoor environment.
Sitting at the heart of the Nubia Neo 5G is an octa-core Unisoc T820 chipset fabricated under an advanced 6nm process. In terms of benchmark scores, the Unisoc T820 chipset generally outperforms the MediaTek Helio G99 chipset that was used on many prominent entry-level smartphones such as the Vivo V27e and OPPO Reno8 T just to name a few.
In terms of day-to-day usage, you can expect an amazing smartphone experience with smooth performance when working and switching between multiple apps. Also, I hardly came across any notable lag or heating issue even during prolonged gaming sessions under default game settings.
This will be supplemented by an ample 8GB RAM along with 256GB onboard storage which is certainly more than sufficient for majority of the users. The only catch is the absence of a microSD slot for storage expansion. As such, you’ll need to rely on cloud solution if you require extra storage for media contents.
Decent, Above-Average Cameras
For photography, the Nubia Neo 5G relies on a dual-rear camera system comprising of a 50 megapixels main camera and a 2 megapixels depth sensing unit. Unlike some other entry-level smartphones, you don’t get a 2MP macro camera on the Nubia Neo 5G – but that shouldn’t be a game changer since it isn’t a particularly useful feature due to their usually poor image quality.
Speaking of the main camera, it’s actually able to capture some pretty good-looking photos with decent dynamic range and details in bright daylight. Also, photos taken by the camera appear to look natural rather than some overly processed mess that require you to spend extra effort to edit before posting them on social media platforms.
When taking photos in poor lighting environment, the Nubia Neo 5G also has a capable night mode feature which kicks in automatically once the camera detects a low-light scene. This helps to improve overall exposure of the scene which not only makes the photos look more flattering, but also leads to improved shadow details in darker regions of the photo.
All-Day Battery Life
To keep it’s lights on, the Nubia Neo 5G is backed by a respectable 4,500mAh battery which never fails to provide me with at least a day’s worth of usage on a single charge. This includes around 8 – 9 hours of screen time with an hour of game play in between during my daily commuting.
In the event that the battery runs out, the phone can also be recharged at a reasonably fast speed thanks to it’s 22.5W fast wired charging support which takes more than an hour to completely recharge the phone from 0 to 100% during my testing. Of course, we won’t be expecting features like wireless charging to be available on device of this price point.
If you’re an avid mobile gamer on a really tight budget, then look no further! The Nubia Neo 5G is definitely one of the best option you can get in the market that offers plenty of horsepower to run your games smoothly. Even if you’re not into gaming, the Nubia Neo 5G also shapes up to be a decent phone for day-to-day usage with long-lasting battery life as well as a capable camera system to capture every special moments.
For those who’re interested the Nubia Neo 5G is priced at just S$299 in Singapore. It’ll be available for purchase through ZTE Flagship Store on Lazada, ZTE Singapore Store on Shopee as well as ZTE Authorized Resellers.