If commercials are to be believed, everybody needs to spend $800 – $1000 USD on their smartphone because of some magic juice inside, or some other such nonsense. What if that weren’t the case? Can a $200 smartphone really handle all of your needs? The NUU Mobile X5 is one of the nuuest (sorry, that was awful) smartphones from NUU and it seeks to answer that very question. Can the NUU Mobile X5 handle all of your smartphone needs at a price that is very wallet-friendly? Keep reading this full review to find out.
- Operating System: Android™ 7.0 (Nougat)®
- Processor: MediaTek MT6750T 1.5 GHz Octa-Core
- 5.5″ IPS Panel
- 5-Point Touch Technology
- Smart Gestures
- FHD 1920 x 1080
- Rear: 13 MP w/BSI Sensor
- Auto Focus
- Live Photo
- Front: 5 MP w/ wide-angle lens
- Auto Focus
- Rear: 13 MP w/BSI Sensor
- FHD Recording and Playback
- Recording Resolution: 1080p
- Playing Resolution: 1920 x 1080
- Video Playing Format: H.264/H.263, MPEG4/2, 3GPP
- 0.5 W Speaker
- 3.5mm Audio Jack
- Battery: 2,950 mAh, Li Polymer
- Storage: 32 GB, expandable with microSD™ (up to 128 GB)
- RAM: 3 GB
- LTE + GSM (Dual-Sim, Dual-Standby)
- SIM 1: 4G LTE (micro-SIM)
- SIM 2: 4G LTE (nano-SIM)
- GSM: 850, 900, 1900
- WCDMA: 850, 1900, 2100
- LTE Bands: 2, 4, 7, 12, 17
- WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
- micro USB v2.0
- Bluetooth® 4.0
- Hot Knot™
- FM Radio
- Dimensions: 6.02 x 3.01 x 0.31 (in)
What’s in the Box
- NUU Mobile X5 Smartphone
- USB to MicroUSB Data/Charging Cable
- USB Power Adapter
- Screen Protector
- Microfiber Cloth
- Quick Start Guide
Phones really all pretty much fall into the same “rectangular’ design, and naturally, the NUU Mobile X5 does as well, though once you get past the overall same shape that all phones share, it’s more exciting to dive into some of the other design decisions present. The phone comes in with basic measurements of 6” x 3” x ¼”. Under the hood, you’ll find a MediaTek MT6750T OctaCore processor along with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. You can increase the storage by another 128GB with your SD card. The X5 includes a metal unibody design with chamfered edges along the top and bottom with a slightly smaller bevel along the left and right side.
The 5.5” 1920×1080 touchscreen is surrounded by incredibly small bezels on the sides, with just over ½” of bezel on the top and bottom. The bottom bezel includes the capacitive buttons (Back, Home, and recents from left to right, as expected) which gives you just a bit more real estate on your screen since there aren’t software buttons taking up room at the bottom. The top bezel has the phone speaker as well as the front-facing 5MP wide-angle selfie camera and front LED flash.
The top does include a 3.5mm audio jack while the bottom includes the MicroUSB charging port flanked by the mono speaker grille to the right and a similar cut-out of the metal frame to the left which is simply covering up another part of the frame. I do appreciate the symmetry even if the left cutouts don’t do anything. The right side of the phone includes the volume rocker closer to the top with the power button just below. The power button is situated nicely and was almost exactly where I found my middle finger resting when holding the phone lefty, and it was easy enough to hit with my thumb when holding it righty. The left side of the phone features the dual SIM, or SIM/SD tray.
The back of the phone has approximately ½” of the uni-body frame before the slight indent of the antenna band on both the top and bottom. The NUU name mark is centered just above that line at the bottom of the phone, while the fingerprint scanner is centered just below the line at the top of the phone. The rear 13MP camera crosses just over the antenna on the upper left side of the phone, while the flash sits directly to the right of the camera, and fits fully above the antenna.
The NUU Mobile X5 feels really nice in your hand. It’s very thin and light but has a quality build. Moving the capacitive buttons to the bottom bezel frees up just a bit of additional screen real estate that you can definitely notice. The included earbuds, screen protector, and bumper case are quality inclusions as well.
At 5.5” you’re getting a very nice size screen. The 1920×1080 resolution is acceptable here as well. Sure, it would be nice to see something slightly higher, but let me know when you can get a higher resolution screen on a phone for under $200 USD and we’ll talk. The screen is big and bright with good contrast, offering 401 pixels per inch. Even alternating between this phone and my Pixel XL, I didn’t have any problem with the way this screen looked. NUU Mobile covered the touchscreen with Asahi 2.5D curved glass for added durability and scratch resistance.
NUU has included an almost entirely stock Android experience with the NUU Mobile X5 with Android 7.0 Nougat on board. There are a couple apps included on top of the normal Android offerings including AppLock, Backup and Restore, ETWS, File Manager, FM Radio, SIM Toolkit, and Sound Recorder. The camera app has a couple additional tweaks from the standard Google camera, but otherwise, you’re getting a pretty close-to-stock Android 7 experience. The adjustments that have been made add to the experience without getting in the way at all.
No word yet on whether or not the X5 will see the Android Oreo update, though I’m confident the hardware could run it.
The MediaTek MT6750T 1.5 GHz Octa-Core processor is powering the NUU Mobile X5 along with 3GB of included RAM and they keep the phone humming along nicely. MediaTek processors can absolutely hold their own, and the chances are growing that MediaTek may be supplying processors for some of those pricier phone options in the future. The included 3GB of RAM is great since we’re most accustomed to seeing 2GB in phones at this price range.
In real-world use, I only had a few issues with even the slightest bit of slow-down and that was with some bigger and more graphically intense games. Normal day-to-day operation was quick and smooth, with apps opening quickly. The standard apps that most people are going to use — Facebook, Gmail, Camera, Google Play, etc. — all open quickly and are responsive.
The X5 has a single speaker on the bottom edge on the right side. NUU is far from the only company to position their speaker in this manner, so feel free to compare to some other significantly more expensive phones here to see how they all do the same thing. The positioning here isn’t ideal, as depending on how you’re holding your phone you can muffle or entirely cover the speaker, though it generally works well enough for landscape usage where your right hand is going to kind of naturally cup and amplify the output for you.
The speaker itself is acceptable, providing decent sound for your videos, apps, and games. It gets relatively loud without getting too distorted, though it’s still plenty loud at more reasonable volumes.
The NUU Mobile X5 comes equipped with a 13MP Sony F/2.0 sensor as well as a complex 5-P element lens which promise fast focusing and clear, precise photos and video. The front facing camera is a 5MP wide-angle shooter with soft LED flash. I did find that the rear camera does focus very quickly, allowing you to get your shot without having to wait. The resulting photos do also look mostly quite good, at least to my eye. There was some lost detail and focus especially in macro photos, but under most other circumstances I was pleased with the results. The fingerprint scanner can be used as a shutter for either camera, though that option needs to be turned on in the phone settings. This shutter will work with any finger, so you can just tap any finger, not just fingers that you’ve set up for fingerprint unlock.
The camera app will be the most noticeable area where there are differences from stock Android. There are definite similarities, though the arrow on the left side of the screen that brings out different filter options will one immediate difference. The top photo options also include a bit of a surprise. Stuck between the panorama and standard photo options is a Picture-in-Picture (PiP) mode. When activated, a small Polaroid-looking snapshot is superimposed over the image from the rear camera. The box can be moved and re-sized, and shows what’s coming from the front facing camera. The opposite is true if you’ve flipped the camera to the front facing camera, the rear camera will be shown in the smaller window.
This is a neat option for reactions and so-forth, and you may or may not get a whole lot of use out of it. It’s fun to play around with though. It feels like the same could be said about most all other areas of this phone, but the camera is not an area that was sacrificed in order to hit the low, low price here.
Call quality during my testing went smoothly. I could hear callers clearly, though there were a few instances where callers said I was just a little bit quiet when I felt I was speaking at a reasonable volume. Other on-board radios — i.e. WiFi and Bluetooth — responded as they should, with signal and connections holding strong across an expected range.
The included 2950 mAh battery should be able to handle most days of usage. On particularly heavy days the included quick charging will get you back up and going in no time. I found that with what I’d probably call “moderate” usage I had no problem getting through a full day on a single charge. That type of usage would include Hangouts, various social media, email, a couple videos, and some gaming on a few regulars including Clash Royale and Fire Emblem: Heroes. If either of those games started getting into heavy use I’d have to break out the charger, but the same could be said for most any phone out there.
For $200 USD are you freaking kidding me? Even better, the NUU Mobile X5 can currently be yours for only $150 USD. At full price you’re getting an incredible value. At $150? That’s just completely bonkers. You’re not only getting the phone, but included earbuds, screen protector, and bumper case in the box. Complete and utter madness I tell you. Jump on this deal right now if you’re in the market for an unlocked Android phone that runs on T-Mobile or AT&T out of the box.
Commercials want you to believe that you need the newest $800 flagship device but it’s just not true. Sure, a handful of people will really and truly need or use all of the bells and whistles that come on that device, but when you can get 95% of those bells and whistles for less than ⅕ of the price? Most users honestly won’t notice the difference.
*We were sent a sample of the NUU Mobile X5 for the purposes of this review.
NUU Mobile X5$199.99 USD
Reception/Call Quality8.5 /10
Battery Life9.0 /10
- Big and bright 5.5 inch screen
- Very premium feeling build quality
- Very nearly stock Android experience
- 3GB of RAM
- Good battery life
- Under $200 USD, seriously
- Would have liked to have seen USB-C for charging, but that's a minor gripe
- Some callers said I was a bit quiet when speaking at a normal volume