The image gallery sorts photos and videos by date or by folder. It also features Neoshare integration so you can browse photos others have posted online as well as post yourself. If you sign up for a Nubia account (you'll need a valid phone number to receive an SMS confirmation) you'll get 5 gigs of free storage.
For the more privacy conscious, you can protect images with a pattern. A security question will be set up in case you forget the pattern.
The gallery has some fun editing options that allow you to create collages from multiple images or animated GIFs instead.
There's integration with Neoshare (a Weibo service) and your Nubia account, but no western cloud services.
The music player integrates offline and online playback. Confusingly, the Local tab shows a number of floating links that lead to online features, instead you have to hit the Songs link. After that things are standard - music sorted into tabs with a Shuffle all button.
There's a Download Manager, you can download songs for offline listening, or just go into the Online tab and browse available artists and playlists. The online services are provided by Xiami Music and do not work outside of China.
Whether you pick and offline or online track, you get Dolby Digital Plus sound enhancement. There are several presets, but you can create two custom ones. There's a volume leveler and surround virtualizer, plus a 5-band equalizer.
The player will also automatically look for lyrics to display while playing the track, though it failed to find the words to some very popular tracks. This is likely a regional issue (i.e. we didn't test it in China) rather than a small lyrics library.
By the way, the ZTE Nubia Z9 supports both FLAC and ALAC - lossless digital formats, the second one is used by Apple (so no re-encoding needed if you have an iTunes library).
The Video player is fairly simple in terms of UI but very capable. Videos up to 4K resolution are supported with the AVC (H.264) codec, but HEVC (H.265) failed. Also AC3 works, though DTS and FLAC audio didn't play.
It lacks subtitle support. You can view the video in a small floating window, a feature inspired by TouchWiz.
You have access to the same Dolby Digital Plus sound settings and here you can make use of the Dialog enhancer (to reduce the "loud explosions, quiet speaking" thing that modern movies do). Strangely, you can't change the audio settings while watching a video, they are accessible only from the main screen.
The ZTE Nubia Z9 passed the first part of our audio quality test with flying colors. When connected to an active external amplifier the smartphone posted excellent scores top to bottom and garnished them with nicely loud output for an excellent performance.
Plugging in our standard headphones caused next to no distortion, save for a very minor hike in the stereo crosstalk. The volume level remained very good, rounding up an impressive showing by the ZTE flagship.
Anyway, here go the results so you can do your comparisons.
|Test||Frequency response||Noise level||Dynamic range||THD||IMD + Noise||Stereo crosstalk|
|ZTE Nubia Z9||+0.01, -0.05||-93.3||93.1||0.0089||0.022||-93.6|
|ZTE Nubia Z9 (headphones)||+0.05, -0.02||-93.5||93.5||0.0053||0.034||-72.8|
|Samsung Galaxy S6 edge||+0.03, -0.01||-95.6||92.8||0.0023||0.0078||-95.7|
|Samsung Galaxy S6 edge (headphones)||+0.05, -0.02||-92.6||92.5||0.0028||0.044||-76.9|
|Samsung Galaxy S6||+0.01, -0.04||-95.6||92.8||0.0024||0.0094||-94.5|
|Samsung Galaxy S6 (headphones)||+0.02, -0.05||-92.6||91.9||0.0025||0.042||-83.4|
|LG G4||+0.04, -0.07||-93.4||93.3||0.0021||0.050||-92.6|
|LG G4 (headphones)||+0.93, -0.13||- 91.4||91.9||0.013||0.244||-50.4|
|HTC One M9||+0.02, -0.06||-94.8||93.0||0.0049||0.026||-93.7|
|HTC One M9 (headphones)||+0.03, - 0.05||-93.7||92.7||0.0082||0.030||-91.6|
You can learn more about the tested parameters and the whole testing process here.