"Bezel-less" is not exactly the buzzword it was a few years back. Infinity displays and ultra-wide aspect ratios seem to have taken over. Still, Nubia's optical tricks are impressive enough, even if a little outdated. As already mentioned, however, there is a downside to bending light to extend out an otherwise flat LCD panel. You can spot distortions along the edges quite easily, especially when viewing the phone at an angle.
Still, if you don't focus too much on the image quality in that particular border area, the overall style benefits still outweigh the inherent deficiencies. In other words, we quite like what we see. Just like its predecessor, the Z17 uses a 5.5-inch, FullHD panel. Nothing too fancy, but still plenty sharp, with a pixel density or around 403ppi.
The panel is a rather basic IPS LCD unit, but one with surprisingly wide viewing angles.
The maximum brightness is average and tops off at around 388 nits. There is a Max Auto boost that needs to be enabled in the settings first. However, it is not particularly useful, as it only managed to push the display up to 392nits in our tests.
|Display test||100% brightness|
|Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2|
Still, thanks to the low black luminance, the Nubia Z17 scores a respectable contrast level. Sunlight legibility is serviceable, although not really impressive.
Color accuracy is not really the Z17's strong suit. This is rather surprising since it offers quite a few color correction options. On the default "Colorful" setting, we measured an average deltaE of 6.5 and a maximum of 13.1. Lowering the brightness down to 200 nits only made things worse. Overall, the panel just looks really cold, with a clear blue tint to whites. Individually, most of the other colors aren't all that bad.
For the most color-accurate settings possible, we ended up using the "Natural" color mode and sliding the gamma correction as far as it goes into the Warm setting (makes sense). This resulted in an average deltaE of 5.1 and a maximum of 11.1 - still far from what we would consider color-accurate. Of course, for many users out there, this may not be a strong point of consideration.
The Nubia Z17 ticks the most boxes when it comes to connectivity. It is a Dual-SIM device taking two nano SIMs. Worldwide band coverage across 2G, 3G and 4G is pretty decent - definitely better than the Xiaomi Mi 6, although nowhere near the OnePlus 5. The LTE is Cat. 12/13 for theoretical speeds of up to 600Mbps of download and 150Mbps of upload - there's no gigabit LTE on the Nubia Z17, even though the chipset is heavily advertised to support it. We don't really think it's that much of an issue.
Wi-Fi b/g/n over 2.4GHz and a/n/ac over 5GHz is supported. Bluetooth is still of the older 4.1 variety, so don't expect anything fancy along the lines of the OnePlus 5's aptX HD. NFC support is another check mark on the spec sheet. Positioning uses GPS, GLONASS and BeiDou satellites. There is no FM radio, but the Nubia Z17 does have an IR blaster.
The only interface you get is USB Type-C. We already mentioned that it supports analog audio output, via the provided adapter. It also has OTG.
The Nubia Z17 is equipped with a 3,200mAh battery - only a bit smaller than that of its OnePlus rival, and nearly identical in capacity to the Sony Xperia XZ Premium's unit. Since all of these smartphones are based on the Snapdragon 835 chipset, there is a certain degree of consistency to be expected in terms of battery life.
For the most part, this appears to be true. The Z17 managed to score an impressive 81 hours of endurance in our testing routine. A quick comparison with the OnePlus 5 reveals that both devices behave equally well in terms of 3G call time. 19h is definitely not bad, especially considering the poor past experiences we've had with units intended for the Chinese market and networks.
Our endurance rating denotes how long a single battery charge will last you if you use the Nubia Z17 for an hour each of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily. We've established this usage pattern so our battery results are comparable across devices in the most common day-to-day tasks. The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you're interested in the nitty-gritties. You can also check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we've tested will compare under your own typical use.