nubia Z50S Pro review

GSMArena Team, 8 December 2023.

Design, build quality, handling

The nubia Z50S is anything but generic in design - it has personality and presence to spare. The rangefinder camera-like styling, the huge lens bump, the flat surfaces, the overall size and proportions - it's unlike any other, and there's a lot of it.

Zte Nubia Z50s Pro review

The markets outside China get the Black and Khaki colorways, and we have the latter for review. Both emulate the look of a compact rangefinder camera from the not-so-distant past - a shiny strip runs along the top edge; the rest is covered in what looks like leather.

Offset to one side - because it's really a smartphone and not a camera - is this smartphone's camera cluster. It's quite a prominent one, too.

The large circular bump has deliberately been designed to look like a camera lens, with several different colored and different textured rings trying to sell you on the illusion of a lens barrel. In reality, there are three separte cameras inside it, the main one's 35mm focal length advertised in red lettering.

Zte Nubia Z50s Pro review

The look is there, but the tactile feeling is somewhat lacking. The pretend-leather material is more of a hard plastic rather than the supple grippy vegan leather backs we've seen from other makers. While it certainly is immune to fingerprints, it doesn't provide enough friction for a secure hold.

The aluminum surround of the nubia is flat and does provide plenty of grip, so that negates the slippiness of the back. Its satin finish is also not welcoming to smudges in the way that a glossy frame would be. We don't mind the antenna lines either - we reckon they contribute to the retro look.

Zte Nubia Z50s Pro review

There's no shortage of controls along the right side of the handset. The knurled red power button catches the eye first - not only is it useful for actual interaction with the phone, it serves as a design accent too. It's also perfectly placed for reaching with either the right thumb or the left index finger - for this reviewer's fingers, at least.

Above the power button is the volume rocker - this one is neither knurled, nor colored, so the two can be differentiated by multiple senses.

Towards the top end is where you'll find the slider switch - nubia went with a different knurling pattern for this bit, the rougher texture being better suited to the sliding action. Indeed, it's easy to engage and slides very positively.

Zte Nubia Z50s Pro review

On the bottom of the Z50S Pro, you'll find the USB-C port, the grille for the primary loudspeaker, a mic, and the SIM slot. The SIM tray does have a red gasket to keep the elements out, but the phone doesn't have a formal IP rating - many competitors do.

Up top, there's another speaker grille, another mic, and an IR emitter. Weirdly enough, there's no pre-installed proprietary IR remote app, but we had success controlling a TV set using a third-party app.

Bottom bits - Zte Nubia Z50s Pro review Card tray - Zte Nubia Z50s Pro review Top stuff - Zte Nubia Z50s Pro review
Bottom bits • Card tray • Top stuff

The 6.78-inch OLED takes center stage on the front, and it's surrounded by some nicely minimal bezels - the bottom one is somewhat thicker than the others, but it's still impressively thin. The phone comes out of the box with a pre-applied screen protector. While we don't doubt that there's some hardened glass covering the display, the specsheet doesn't specify what make that may be, so perhaps the extra sheet on top is a good idea.

Zte Nubia Z50s Pro review

There's a punch-hole selfie camera that eats up a few pixels of the display, and we're wondering if ZTE/nubia could have fitted one of those under-display cameras like on the Azon 40 Ultra for an even more striking façade.

Zte Nubia Z50s Pro review

The Z50S Pro measures 163.6x75.9x8.6mm, and that's taller and thicker than an iPhone 15 Pro Max while being only marginally narrower. What we're getting at is that the nubia is pretty large and bulky, and the boxy shape with flat surfaces all around doesn't help make it feel any smaller.

The Xiaomi 13T Pro is more or less the same size, but it does have a bit of a curve to its rear edges that softens the impact. The OnePlus 11, meanwhile, is almost 2 millimeters narrower and, with curves both front and back, feels like a much more compact handset.

Zte Nubia Z50s Pro review

Not only that, but the nubia is quite heavy as well - with a weight of 228g, it's more than 10% heavier than immediate competitors. Don't get us wrong, the phone isn't so big as to be a burden, it's just that its dimensions, weight, and general blockiness add up to make for a more commanding presence than most. That could be a good thing, too.

Zte Nubia Z50s Pro review

Reader comments

Bro, I'm using z50s pro,and all the camera capable of taking 4k@60fps

  • JoeM
  • 19 Apr 2024
  • 31%

Today (10/04/2024) my Z50s Pro (Global version) informed me that a new update is available. Unfortunately it is not the Android 14 / MyOS 14 Update. I will install it later today.

  • shu
  • 05 Apr 2024
  • IbK

weird... when i use mine at 3x 4x an 5x zoom its not in 1080p like the review says it stays in 4k30/60 .... hhhmmm even exif data says 4k NOT 1080p