Now sometimes we have to agree that there is many phones out there that can game, well or not will be another question too and all depending on the specifications and price, and of course the most focus for user or gamers in this case is sometimes affording a phone with the right choice and purpose, and yes even for gamers it is a concern.
We will delve into one of the phones that ZTE sent in for a review, the ZTE nubia Neo 5G, a gaming focused phone first, while the price is friendly to a surprise, which is why we have to take a look at it and find out more about it.
- The ZTE nubia Neo 5G
- Translucent Case
- USB A to C Cable
- 22.5W Fast Charger (EU or UK Type)
- SIM Ejector
- User Manual/QSG
I will just start by looking at the back of the phone, the nubia Neo 5G, the design shouts gaming in a subtle way, no fancy RGB lights there, but still brings the cyber robotic theme to it, the gold and black fits in just nice. That being said, the ZTE nubia Neo 5G still provides the essentials, a USB C port for data transfer and charging, a down firing speaker, power button with fingerprint scanner and lastly a 3.5mm headphone jack. Since most of the material used for the body are durable plastic and glass, its only weighted at 192 grams while the thickness is just about 8mm, which in my personal opinion is on par compared to many smartphones out there while I do like the rounded curves on four sides that makes it kinda comfortable to hold on it.
Display & Audio
Now having a fast refresh rate display is important, the phone does have a 120Hz refresh rate display, albeit it is just an IPS display, but it is fair to say that the phone still be able to reproduce out fairly accurate display and good amount of vibrance and I should add, with that price point that ZTE is offering, it is pretty generous as it still supports HDR while you can enjoy all its glory with a 6.6 inch FHD+ display. However there is no widevine L1 but it does have L3 DRM, enabling basic streaming services apps to be installed and run, like Netflix or Disney+. Another thing to take note that the refresh rate aint dynamic, but fixed, however you can select between 60Hz or 120Hz, which either you can dial down anytime via the display settings or with power saver, it will force down to 60Hz, extending it’s play time.
There is some strength and drawbacks when come to the ZTE nubia Neo 5G’s audio, it came to a surprise that it indeed has DTS:X audio tuning in it, and here comes the drawback, that is driven by a single down firing speaker, it does produce quite good quality audio deliver however I do wish they would have integrate dual speakers to it, pushing even more listening space to it. But it is not all bad as it still can give you good audio experience to it, and there is still option of plugging in your own wired headphones via USB C or 3.5mm jack, if not pair it with your favorite Bluetooth TWS.
It has been a common thing for camera is just performing on it’s averages, especially for a gaming where most brand will do their budgeting best of putting in a set of optics, however when looking towards this phone, it is equipped with a 50MP wide PDAF lens with 2MP depth sensor on the rear, while an 8MP wide selfie is present on the front tear drop display.
So coming over to the camera experience, automatic mode wise it can take pictures as best as it can without much issues, all of the picture just came out fine, even zooming in and snap gave out some details and nights shot just turn out sub par. Suffice to say as long the capture area has some light and brightness, you should be able to take some decent pictures with some occasional over noise and minimal washed out colors, as a budget gaming phone, it certainly done quite adequately already. Oh yeah, video capture can only go up to 1080P, 30FPS with some stutters.
Performance, Experience, Benchmarking
Equipped internally, this phone is powered by Unisoc T820 5G SOC with Octa Core Processing that is arranged in 4 power saving core and 4 performance cores, along with 8GB of RAM + 10GB Virtual Fusion RAM and 256GB internal storage, the ZTE nubia Neo 5G focuses on reliability on usage with some power saving features combined with a close to mid tier gaming performance you can get from most common games, with it’s subpar 4500mAH power battery, it is expected that you can get by around 1.5 days if your purpose is just focusing on calls, messages, some social media scrolling and a couple of short clips.
With that, we tested out games like 1945 Air Force, which I am impressed that it can take full advantage of the 120Hz screen, runs at an almost full 120FPS on all times. We also tested with the new Metal Slug Awakening and it is able to hit between 30FPS to 45FPS, which is proven impressive. Surely MOBA titles can be played smoothly if since we tested with a mix of light and heavy titles. Genshin Impact can also hover up to 45FPS and we do recommend to set it to low graphics and locked it to 45FPS during gameplay in order to have a stable gameplay. So to speak, it passes our gaming test.
Software wise, similar to most ZTE 2023 phones, it is running on Android 13 with almost stock UI experience from ZTE’s MyOS, and just a few bloatware here and there, nothing serious or intruding apps. Most of the base features are AOSP with Google Services ported over to this phone with ZTE’s own Adaptive 5G feature, gesture and motion and dual app duplicator, so basically you are enjoying an almost pure Android experience with close to no compromises. There is also a GameSpace app where you can set gaming profiles, bypass charging and stats monitoring. Upon that it supports most of the RedMagic gaming accessories via the included Goper App.
Towards benchmarks, the phone is standing between some of the mid tier SOC from its competitor, and thus this phone creates a new field in budget gaming phone that can punch some of it’s capability on multitask and gaming, so long you know what you are paying for.
|Processor||UNISOC T820 Octa Core Processor with 5G|
|RAM/ROM||8GB + 10GB Virtual RAM/256GB Internal Storage|
|Display||6.6“ HD+ 120Hz Display|
|Camera||Rear: 50 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (wide), PDAF|
2 MP, f/2.4, (depth)
Front: 8MP Wide
|Speaker/Audio||Single Speaker with 3.5mm Audio Jack|
|Battery||4500 mAh with 22.5w charging|
|OS||Android 13 with MyOS + GMS|
Verdict, Conclusion & Pricing
The ZTE nubia Neo 5G is a good attempt in luring in a few factors that just might hit it’s target, budget gamer, those wanted a 5G phone and not having to spend too much but still capable of squeezing an adequate amount of power with the included efficient Unisoc Mid tier processor, and with a price of RM899, this can be easily recommended for those seeking a gaming phone mixed with affordable daily use to it, if not getting it solely as a casual gaming phone works too that is packed with good modern features to it.