Nubia Flip 5G review: The phone I wish Samsung would make

Nubia Flip 5G review: The phone I wish Samsung would make

Samsung has lengthy reigned within the foldable house, notably as a result of its cheaper Z Flip sequence. Nonetheless, Motorola has given the corporate some welcome competitors in North America with the launch of the Razr Plus and the less expensive Razr 2023, the latter of which continues to have shockingly low costs. Now, Nubia has seemingly come out of nowhere with a mid-range flip cellphone that goals to threaten Motorola’s maintain on the inexpensive foldable cellphone phase.

Chances are you’ll not have heard of Nubia, however the firm makes some somewhat spectacular flagship smartphones and gaming telephones. The Flip 5G is the corporate’s first foray into foldables, which is attention-grabbing since corporations usually are likely to launch bigger foldables first earlier than downsizing with flip telephones. However similar to Motorola, Nubia desires to focus on a lower cost level to undercut its largest competitor, Samsung.

I’ve hoped for a extra inexpensive Galaxy Z Flip FE, one thing that would launch alongside the corporate’s flagship flip cellphone as a extra up-to-date various to these not prepared to fork out $999. In fact, Samsung must make important modifications to carry the value down, however Nubia and Motorola present that that is very doable.

At this value level, there are sure to be some compromises, particularly for a flip cellphone. In my time with the Flip 5G, I’ve tried to find out whether or not or not stated compromises smash the general expertise of proudly owning a contemporary flip cellphone, which is presently my favourite cellphone type issue. To place it plainly, I am blended.

Nubia Flip 5G: Worth and availability

(Picture credit score: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

The Nubia Flip 5G was introduced in February 2024 throughout MWC and went on sale in April. The cellphone is accessible in two configurations and begins at $499 for the 8+256GB mannequin, whereas the 12+512GB mannequin is accessible for $699.

There are three colours to select from: Cosmic Black, Sunshine Gold, and Flowing Lilac.

The cellphone would not look like out there via retailers like Amazon, however you should purchase the system unlocked instantly from Nubia.

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Nubia Flip 5G specs
ClassNubia Flip 5G
OSAndroid 13 (MyOS13)
Show (inside)6.9-inch, OLED, FHD+ (2790 x 1188), 120Hz, 2160Hz PWM Dimming
Show (exterior)1.43-inch, round OLED
ChipsetSnapdragon 7 Gen 1
Storage256GB, 512GB
Rear cameras50MP huge + 2MP depth
Entrance-facing digicam16MP
AudioTwin Audio system, Snapdragon Sound, DTS:X Extremely
Connectivity5G, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC
SafetyFingerprint sensor, face unlock
Water/mud resistance
Battery4310mAh, 33W wired charging
Dimensions (open)170 x 75.5 x 7.0mm
Dimensions (closed)87.6 x 75.5 x 15.0mm
Colours Cosmic Black, Sunshine Gold, Flowing Lilac

Nubia Flip 5G: What I like

The Nubia Flip 5G folded upright and playing a video with the Android Bot on top of it

(Picture credit score: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

Flip telephones are recognized for being extra compact, however there additionally appears to be extra of a concentrate on design, not less than in comparison with their larger-screened counterparts. That is clear after I take a look at the Nubia Flip 5G; it is most likely one of many best-looking flip telephones I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing. The flat aluminum alloy body and angular chassis remind me a whole lot of the Galaxy Z Flip 5 however with a softer look and contact. Nonetheless, the place the cellphone actually stands out is the round housing the place the quilt display screen and cameras are.

The housing is generally black with a golden ring round it, which provides a premium contact to the design. When you have a lighter coloration possibility, resembling Flowing Lilac or Sunshine Gold, the digicam/cowl show housing actually contrasts in opposition to the remainder of the system. Actually, the cellphone appears extra just like the Galaxy Z Flip 5 and TECNO Phantom V Flip had a child.

At simply 7mm thick when open and 15mm when closed, the Nubia Flip 5G is pretty skinny for a flip cellphone, roughly matching the Motorola Razr Plus. Though, at 209g, it is a bit heavier than both of the 2023 Razr fashions and even the OPPO Discover N3 Flip. Even so, it would not really feel notably heavy, particularly with the distinctive glass overlaying the again panels (which I will get to later).

Opening and shutting the cellphone feels very satisfying and Nubia’s hinge is sort of sturdy, conserving the cellphone open at varied angles. When open, the 6.9-inch FHD+ show is fairly good when considered indoors, and the 120Hz refresh price retains issues easy, though you will have to enter the settings to allow this because the cellphone is about to 60Hz at default. However even when set to the usual coloration mode, the show is fairly vibrant, and the crease, whereas not as easy as another foldables, is happily not as deep as on the Z Flip 5 show.

The Nubia Flip 5G open with with the display on

(Picture credit score: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

The cellphone is powered by the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1, a two-year-old midrange chipset that also supplies good efficiency at this value level. The cellphone would not falter when opening and juggling a number of apps, because of the 8GB of RAM (there’s additionally a 12GB mannequin). Even when gaming, the chipset appears to deal with itself fairly nicely. Enjoying Honkai: Star Rail, the Nubia Flip 5G defaults to medium settings, however the cellphone is ready to deal with the sport even at excessive settings at 60fps, which is fairly spectacular.

That stated, the highest half of the cellphone, notably the body, will get fairly heat if you push it, so you will wish to watch out.

Honkai: Star Rail on the Nubia Flip 5G

(Picture credit score: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

The first digicam is a 50MP sensor with autofocus. I admittedly did not anticipate a lot out of the digicam, given the value level, however I used to be pleasantly stunned to see that it takes fairly first rate photographs in good lighting situations. Pictures are crisp and many vibrant through the day, and the output is best than what I might get from the Motorola Razr 2023 (and even the Razr Plus, to an extent). That stated, it may well typically go a bit of overboard with saturation, and particulars degrade shortly if you begin zooming in.

Low-light images aren’t notably sturdy, however video seize is nice, even when the cellphone tops out at 4K30. Nubia additionally has some enjoyable filters you can view and edit in actual time whilst you put together to take a photograph, which can assist make photographs a bit of extra artsy.

Nubia Flip 5G: Cowl display screen

The Nubia Flip 5G cover screen with music playing

(Picture credit score: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

The quilt display screen is likely one of the essential causes to think about shopping for a flip cellphone, because of the added utility of with the ability to examine notifications and different capabilities while not having to open the cellphone. Sadly, the Nubia Flip 5G is fairly restricted on this regard.

The quilt display screen is a round OLED panel measuring 1.43, so roughly the dimensions of a giant smartwatch show. Sadly, it isn’t almost as helpful. The quilt display screen enables you to cycle via eight completely different panels with completely different capabilities, resembling a calendar, voice recorder, digicam, and music participant. You can even view notifications, however you’ll be able to’t do something with them on the quilt display screen itself, as it is going to simply immediate you to open your cellphone to examine it. Moreover, whereas I can increase a number of notifications from the identical app, the cellphone would not let me swipe away particular person notifications, leaving “Clear all” as the one viable possibility, and even that does not appear to totally work.

This is not my solely challenge with notifications, however I will get to that within the subsequent part.

Fortuitously, the quilt display screen nonetheless acts as a viewfinder for the digicam, permitting you to take selfies with the first 50MP sensor. You possibly can faucet to begin a 2-second picture timer or swipe up and down to change between picture, video, and portrait modes.

Notifications showing on the Nubia Flip 5G cover screen

(Picture credit score: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

The Nubia Flip 5G cover screen prompting to open the phone

(Picture credit score: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

AOD performance is a plus on the quilt display screen, but it surely appears as if the brightness is related to the principle show’s brightness, which looks as if a bizarre oversight, particularly since there isn’t any solution to modify it from the exterior display screen.

Total, the constraints of the display screen are a bit of disappointing, if comprehensible. Once more, I am unable to assist however examine it to a smartwatch display screen, which lets me sort, open apps, and extra, however I clearly cannot anticipate the identical from a small cowl display screen, particularly on the app entrance. Even the Razr 2023 has comparable limitations, and it is barely bigger at 1.5-inches.

Nubia Flip 5G: What I do not like

The Nubia Flip 5G cameras and cover screen close up

(Picture credit score: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

The Nubia Flip 5G has lots going for it for a $500 foldable cellphone, however the cellphone makes fairly a couple of compromises to get right down to that value. Except for the pretty small and barely purposeful cowl display screen, the cellphone is restricted to only one usable digicam. The second 2MP depth sensor appears similar to a purpose to pad the spec sheet, because it’s largely ineffective.

Taking Portrait images requires fairly a little bit of tinkering earlier than the cellphone is ready to get even an honest picture, and even then, the Nubia Flip 5G would not do an ideal job separating the background type the principle topic.

A pillar outside

(Picture credit score: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

On the software program facet, the Flip 5G curiously nonetheless runs Android 13 regardless of launching nicely into the Android 14 cycle. The software program itself is generally inoffensive, and Nubia provides some software program prospers to make the most of the foldable type issue, which you will discover with the digicam app or YouTube when the cellphone is at an angle. Sadly, you will be met with fairly a little bit of bloatware if you first get arrange, which isn’t enjoyable. On the plus facet, you’ll be able to delete or disable any additional apps and options you do not want. I do just like the each day wallpaper perform, which retains issues recent even when a few of the photographs are fairly random (why does it present me photographs of Celine Dion and Taylor Swift?).

What I am not a fan of is the “Z-Board,” which is Nubia’s bootleg Google Uncover, which sits to the left of the house display screen. Like Google’s feed, Z-Board makes an attempt to present you related information and different beneficial data, however none of it appears notably helpful, and it simply appears to be full of adverts versus precise information. Fortuitously, you’ll be able to disable this, however you’ll be able to’t allow Google Uncover as an alternative.

I’ve additionally had points with notifications. For some purpose, notifications are available extraordinarily late, or they do not are available in any respect. After a while, I will open an app like Instagram, solely to then be bombarded by notifications from the app that had been by no means delivered. My smartwatch is seemingly the one method I can get notifications on time. On the one hand, it is a good solution to keep targeted after I’m attempting to work, however however, it’s going to trigger me to overlook out on conversations or reply late.

The Nubia Flip 5G in hand with the quick setting shade pulled down

(Picture credit score: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

Nubia wasn’t precisely upfront in regards to the replace promise and even when the cellphone would obtain Android 14, however the truth that we’re already beta testing Android 15 earlier than it launches later this yr is a nasty signal for the Flip 5G.

My different issues are principally hardware-related, such because the overaggressive auto brightness that continuously retains the show too low for my liking or the truth that the gesture to activate the flashlight solely works when the lock display screen is energetic. And whereas I actually just like the design of the Nubia Flip 5G, the AG etched glass feels extraordinarily low-cost, virtually like plastic, though the plus facet of the matte end is you can keep away from fingerprints and smudges.

Lastly, battery life is not horrible, however I anticipated extra out of the 4,310mAh battery, as it may well barely get me via a whole day of mixed-use (social media, video games, images). The Galaxy Z Flip 5 has a a lot smaller battery and nonetheless appears to last more between prices. Fortuitously, the 33W charging tops up the cellphone comparatively shortly, however the Nubia Flip 5G misses out on wi-fi charging, not like a few of its closest opponents.

Nubia Flip 5G: Competitors

The Nubia Flip 5G next to a green Motorola Razr 2023

(Picture credit score: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

Talking of competitors, for those who’re on the lookout for an affordable flip cellphone, it’s possible you’ll wish to think about the Motorola Razr 2023. The cellphone has a big battery and is powered by the identical Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 chipset with 8GB of RAM. You additionally get a comparatively inventory Android expertise, a vegan leather-based end, and wi-fi charging in addition. The draw back is that it, too, additionally runs Android 13, and Motorola’s monitor report for main software program updates is not nice.

Elsewhere, you may also take a look at the TECNO Phantom V Flip. It has an identical design to the Nubia, is powered by a MediaTek chipset, and incorporates a dual-camera system that features an ultrawide sensor. Sadly, it suffers from most of the similar disadvantages because the Nubia, and also you seemingly will not have the ability to get your arms on it for those who reside in the US.

When you’re prepared to spend a couple of extra {dollars}, Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 5 is likely one of the higher choices, even when it does price extra. It has higher cameras than what you will discover on most flip telephones, the quilt display screen is sweet and enormous, and Samsung’s software program is sort of polished. Chances are you’ll spend extra to purchase it, however with a brand new mannequin prone to launch in July, you might be able to snag some offers to get the value down.

Nubia Flip 5G: Do you have to purchase it?

The Nubia Flip 5G outdoors with a wallpaper of autumn leaves

(Picture credit score: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

You should purchase this if…

  • You need a an trendy flip cellphone.
  • You need a cellphone with an honest digicam.
  • You do not wish to spend an excessive amount of in your subsequent cellphone.

You should not purchase this if…

  • You need polished, dependable software program.
  • You need a versatile digicam expertise.
  • You need an all-day battery.
  • You want wi-fi charging.

The advantage of flip telephones is that they’re much extra versatile with regards to value. The place the bigger, tablet-like foldable telephones can simply price as a lot as $1700, flagship flip telephones are sometimes priced round $999 however can go even decrease. The Nubia Flip 5G is an effective instance of a mid-range foldable cellphone, hitting the identical value level that you’d see from different non-folding and equally specced gadgets.

At a beginning value of $499, it is cheaper than the Motorola Razr 2023 was at launch, though that cellphone is positioned a bit increased with some flagship specs thrown in. The Nubia, however, is content material to supply a number of compromises to get right down to a value that many individuals could be prepared to shell out for a foldable cellphone, at the same time as a primary foray into the shape issue.

Battery life will not be one of the best, and the quilt display screen is sadly restricted in its usability, however the cellphone makes up for it with its one usable digicam, fairly good efficiency, and a standout design.

As a lot as I might like to see Samsung launch a less expensive (however higher) foldable cellphone, the corporate’s sticking to the upper finish permits others to sort out the decrease finish, a technique that has labored for Motorola. At this value, the Nubia Flip 5G would make a superb first flip cellphone—that’s, if you may get previous the bloat.

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