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Nubia Z60 Ultra Photographer Edition Review

Nubia's thoroughly modern smartphone has imaging at its heart.
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Z60 Ultra Lead

Pros

  • Impressive Camera: The unique 35mm camera setup genuinely offers a fresh, yet more traditional perspective on mobile photography.

  • Battery Life: Phenomenal staying power, ensuring you'll have enough juice for that perfectly framed shot.

  • AI Features: Clever AI enhancements truly innovate.

Cons

  • Design: The divisive styling showcases camera credentials, but may be an acquired taste.

  • Selfie Camera: Image quality from the front-facing camera leaves room for improvement.

  • Weight: The device is on the slightly heavier side, well distributed but it remains a lot of phone.

The Nubia Z60 Ultra Photography Edition may be a bit of a mouthful - but this is certainly a phone that commands attention.

While perhaps not a household name in the West (yet), Chinese manufacturer Nubia has been quietly making waves with its range of affordable, attractive smartphones.

However, with the Z60 Ultra Photography Edition, Nubia aims to blend a bespoke piece of hardware with incredibly appealing mainstream features.

With the original Z60 Ultra priced at ÂŁ899, this photography-led variant promises fantastic performance, an impressive camera system, and outstanding battery life.

But does it deliver on a multitude of fronts? Let's dive into the detail.

Z60 Front

Design and Specifications

The Nubia Z60 Ultra Photography edition is a testament to design innovation, melding traditional and modern sensibilities alike.

Its two-tone rear is a refined amalgam of vegan leather and glass—a clear nod to classic cameras of old—achieved through a meticulous micro-etching process to give it a realistic aged patina.

That's not to say this phone is delicate. Official IP68 certification means this variant of the Z60 Ultra can withstand the elements through water and dust resistance.

The device boasts a bright and expansive 6.8-inch 120Hz AMOLED display with a resolution of 2480 x 1116 and a 20:9 aspect ratio, underpinned by a bleeding edge Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset.

On the bright side, the screen also has minimal bezels and no notch, thanks to the front camera being nestled underneath it—which has its own pros and cons.

DTS HD sound means that audio is handled adeptly, with support for an array of formats, although it's another smartphone sans headphone jack.

With 16GB of RAM and 512GB storage on this model, it's a premium powerhouse designed for the photography enthusiast.

Its industrial angular nature and imposing camera housing makes the Z60 Ultra stand out with real presence, tipping the scales at a weighty 246g.

Thankfully, the distribution sees it well balanced in one's hands when held in portrait mode and for normal use.

Z60 Ultra Camera Module

Camera and Photography

As the name suggests, full-frame photography is where this device truly aims to set itself apart.

A triple camera setup with optical image stabilization across a 50MP main camera (35mm), a 64MP periscope (85mm), and a 50MP ultrawide (16mm) is nothing short of a photographer's dream.

The main camera's 35mm focal length is a rarity in smartphones, offering a unique perspective that's closer to classic photography standards. Delving into each lens sheds a lot of light on why this phone is so special.

The Z60 Ultra features a primary 50-megapixel Sony IMX800 sensor with an f/1.59 aperture - a revered focal length in classic photography circles.

This sensor captures bright, detailed shots across various conditions.

The optical format and aspect ratio (1/1.49", 1.43:1) results in a boxy 4:3 crop for photos, yielding a total of 12.5 megapixels after 4-to-1 'pixel binning'.

The 35mm equivalent lens boasts a whopping 7 elements (including one made of actual glass), ensuring stability with optical image stabilization (OIS).

Photos from the main camera look great, with minimal noise, excellent detail, and pleasing textures.

Z60 Ultra Photo 1

Next is the ultrawide autofocus camera, equivalent to an 18mm focal length, which pairs nicely with the main camera's distance-snapping credentials. It features another 50-megapixel sensor, courtesy of OmniVision, with an f/1.8 aperture.

The large 1/1.55" sensor is the largest on an ultrawide camera in a phone with a 35mm main camera.

The bright lens and OIS contribute to its benefits. While not the most extreme ultrawide, it strikes that perfect balance between coverage and image quality.

Z60 Ultra Photo 2

Rounding out the trio is a telephoto effort (similar to that found on the Nubia Z50 Ultra) with an 85mm focal length.

It features another OmniVision sensor—this OV64B40 boasts a hefty 64-megapixel—with an f/3.3 aperture and optical stabilization (again). The phone is also versatile for distant subjects and is pretty effective at guiding you to the correct distance to make the most of your shots.

Nubia Z60 Ultra Flower

The 3.3x optical zoom here is a welcome complement to the other lenses, making it a valuable addition to the camera system.

Video capture is decent also, with support for up to 8K at 30fps or 4K at up to a silky 120fps (but only for a brief period of time). Flipping the phone over, the Nubia Z60 Ultra's standout feature is its under-screen selfie camera.

While sacrificing photo quality due to its hidden position, it ensures a notch-free and expansive display. The 12-megapixel lens captures selfies without compromising screen real estate.

It's a clever solution, however there's a compromise to the ultimate image quality when compared to similar devices.

Z60 Ultra Situ

Battery Life

The Nubia Z60 Ultra boasts a massive 6,000mAh battery—the largest we've seen in a high-end phone.

This capacity ensures two-day usage potential, even with heavy use, and even stretched to two and a half as the Photographer Edition acted as our daily driver, with 80W fast charging provided.

While the battery contributes to the phone's weight, many users will gladly accept it in exchange for a phone that won't let them down on photo-snapping odysseys.

Z60 Ultra Camera Key

Operating System and Functionality

Nubia's bespoke user interface uses the MyOS monicker, which is served here in its 14th incarnation on top of Android 14.

It's entirely serviceable, although it lacks a bit of the finesse we find in top-tier stablemates.

The smart stuff clearly presents itself as the Z60 Ultra Photography Edition integrates AI optimizations for photography, including fine-tuning image processing and object removal from shots.

It also introduces generative AI image features and real-time language translation for calls, which is impressively accurate.

The phone's underlying performance and iterations, which we've seen during this review process, have frequently compensated for any initial drawbacks observed.

Powered by the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor, the Z60 Ultra handles intensive tasks effortlessly. A cooling system lends support where it counts, ensuring this beast purrs whether consuming or creating content on the go.

Z60 Ultra Final

Verdict

The Nubia Z60 Photography Edition is a true novelty and a welcome island in a sea of samey smartphones.

It delivers stellar battery life, top-notch performance, and a considered and capable camera system—and it is keenly priced.

However, its potentially divisive—albeit painstakingly created—aesthetic, compromises regarding selfies, and relatively unfamiliar UI give it a few personality quirks for the uninitiated.

The Nubia Z60 Ultra Photography edition is a bold statement in the smartphone camera domain, which has to be seen and believed, as are its images.

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