ZTE is trying hard to gain some attention in the Indian market. Since the Indian smartphone space is completely captured by the companies like Xiaomi, OPPO, Vivo, all the new companies are pushed to deliver best in the low price range. ZTE has been very active this year and released a sling of new smartphones within a short time span. The Chinese vendor has launched mid-range and budget phones like M2, M2 Lite, N2 and flagship phones such as Z17 Mini, Z17. But the company is now gearing up to launch another M2 lineup smartphone in India, named M2 Play.
M2 Play was announced back in June this year. I got an opportunity to personally use this phone when I received a unit of it about a fortnight ago. Then, something happened and I got a second unit of it a few days back.
Well, the point is – I am using it as my primary phone since two weeks, and my first-hand exposure with the phone has shaped my opinion as to how it will perform in daily usage. Or, whether it’s really worth your money or not.
Check out the in-depth review of Nubia M2 Play that will help you make an informed choice. But before, a quick take on its specs sheet.
ZTE Nubia M2 Play Specifications
- 5.5-inch HD display, 2.5D curved glass
- Octa-Core Snapdragon 435 processor
- 3GB RAM
- Adreno 505 GPU
- 32GB internal storage
- External memory up to 128GB with microSD
- Android 7.1.1 Nougat Nubia UI 5.0
- Hybrid Dual SIM
- 13MP primary camera with LED Flash, f/2.2 aperture, PDAF, CAF
- 5MP front camera, f/2.4 aperture
- Fingerprint sensor
- 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.1 LE, WiFi 802.11 ac
- 3000mAh battery
Nubia M2 Play Review
Hardware and Build Quality
Nubia M2 Play comes with a metal unibody design. On the front panel, it has a 5.5-inch Display with 2.5D curved glass on the top. Below the display, there’s a Home button which is integrated with a fingerprint sensor. On the left, the volume rocker buttons are placed while on the right side the Power button and SIM slot are positioned. On the top of the front panel, sits the front-facing camera.
On the top of the back panel, the primary camera is placed with the LED Flash. The camera panel has a red circular ring on the outside. In the middle region, the Nubia logo is placed. The rest of the back panel is covered with black metal finish. Being metal, the back panel is very slippery, so much so, that we broke a piece during our review. Remember, the line in the introduction where we mentioned that something happened and I received the second unit of it. It was because the first unit got slipped out of my hand and got broken. So, make sure you have installed a tempered glass and a back cover for your Nubia M2.
The display is 5.5-inch but it is very easy to hold in one hand due to the narrow bezels and curved glass. The phone is solidly built and looks very premium in hand. For a smartphone under $160, we can’t expect more. Nubia has done a great job keeping the hardware simple and pretty clean. We have nothing to complain about the hardware and its design.
Nubia M2 Play features a 5.5-inch HD IPS Display with a resolution of 1280×720 pixels and 274ppi pixel density. Considering the price range, the display is pretty good. In terms of brightness, contrast, the phone performs well indoors. Outdoors? Not so much on very bright days because the display is very reflective. The viewing angles and color reproduction are also very good and accurate. The only drawback we can find is the HD resolution.
Performance and Gaming
Nubia M2 Play is powered by Octa-Core Snapdragon 435 processor along with 3GB RAM and Adreno 505 GPU. The Snapdragon 435 SoC can run almost every game you throw at it. But when it comes to heavy games, the medium graphics work better than high graphics, as you will notice lags and framedrops. Can’t really complain because flagship SoCs are there to run them at high graphics settings.
We have tested out Asphalt 8 Airborne, Modern Combat 5, Subway Surfers and many other high graphics and low graphics games. All of them are running pretty smoothly. The 3GB ensures smooth performance while doing multitasking. We have noticed the increase in temperature while gaming. So far the device is performing very well and it can really compete with other competitors in this same price bracket.
Software and UI
M2 Play runs on Android 7.1.1 out of the box with Nubia UI 5.0 on the top. The software is pretty straight forward and you will not notice any heavy animations like we see in other UI, MIUI to be specific. The quick toggle buttons can be accessed by swiping up the bottom-end of the display. The device comes with extra features like Edge Gestures, Screen Split, App Cloning, Touch gestures. Edge gestures are really very useful especially if you are controlling the brightness manually, a fanatic of multitasking. The screen split also works perfectly. You can also interchange the Back button and Task button which is really a good feature to have.
One weird thing we have noticed while installing the CPU-Z app from Google Play and trying to open it; the device is restarting every single time. To reverse this effect, we deleted the app. We have no idea why happened. Maybe this is a software glitch.
M2 Play features a 13MP camera at the back with LED Flash, f/2.2 aperture, PDAF, CAF. The camera works very well in daylight. The colors in the pictures are pretty good but in day light, we have noticed that pictures are coming out a bit overexposed. Unlike other cameras in this price range, this device doesn’t have any stabilization so if your hand is very shaky the pictures will come out blurry to an extent. In low light, the device performs quite well. The colors are very natural, not over-saturated. But we have noticed grain in low light pictures. The camera app is also really very simple to use. It has a PRO mode for professionals. The video output in this device is very good.
The front-facing camera is a 5MP shooter with f/2.4 aperture. The selfie camera I would say is average. In day light the pictures are coming out well but in low light, they are getting pretty bad.
Rear Camera Samples:
Front-Facing Camera Samples:
The fingerprint sensor in this device is really fast and responsive. It works 99% times I would say. The sensor is integrated into the front Home button.
Battery and Sound
M2 Play features a 3000mAh battery under the hood. The battery doesn’t support fast charging. It takes around two hours to fully charge the device. With heavy usage, the device can stay alive up to 8-10 hours, with medium usage up to 16-20 hours and very light usage it can provide juice up to two days. While playing heavy games with high graphics settings the device heats up sometimes.
The sound quality of this smartphone is very good. The speaker grills are situated at the bottom. While playing games and watching movies, they work fine. The call quality is also very good. No issues so far on call quality.
Nubia M2 Play has everything you need on a smartphone. The smartphone will have a price tag of Rs. 9999 in India. Comparing the price point and features, we really can’t whine about anything. If you are a mediocre user and need a good smartphone which can fulfill all your needs, Nubia M2 Play is a perfect smartphone for you. It will not be easy for Nubia to compete with other phones like Redmi Note 4, Redmi 4 but I guess they will still have a chance.
Nubia has sent us two M2 Play units. So we will giveaway one unit to a random RayArena fan through a contest. The giveaway article will be up soon. Stay tuned.