ZTE Nubia Z17 Review: Driven By Ambition: Performance

By 06:46 Wed, 18 Aug 2021 Comments


Synthetic benchmarks

The Nubia Z17 is a accurate flagship offer and a beastly one at that. It is built around the latest Snapdragon 835 chipset. This means a potent 4x2.35 Giga Hertz (GHz) Kryo & 4x1.9 Giga Hertz (GHz) Kryo Central Processing Units (CPU) setup and Adreno 540 GPU. Naturally, this lets the Z17 rub shoulders with the cream of the crop of today's smartphone market.


The Snapdragon 835 powerhoutilize is still found in only a number of handsets. These include the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ pair, Sony Xperia XZ Premium and HTC U11 - all more expensive than the Z17. However, there are other rivals out of China which have also taken up the hard task of integrating a Snapdragon 835 chip on a budacquire - most notably, the OnePlus 5 and the Xiaomi Mi 6. In a perfect scenario, free of all the additional availability and support concerns, these are the contenders the Nubia Z17 has to face and beat.

Making it in this fairly new, ultra-value, sub-$500 niche is probably one of the toughest challenges a manufacturer can hold on in 2017. After putting the Z17 through its paces quite thoroughly, we are excited to report that it aces the performance round.

Kicking things off with the pure CPU-based GeekBench, we can see the Nubia Z17 hrecent its own with a multi-threaded workload and even out-inch the other Snapdragon 835 phones in single-core tests.

GeekBench 4.1 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Mi 6

    6719

  • ZTE nubia Z17

    6622

  • OnePlus 5

    6604

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SD 835)

    6301

  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium

    5460

  • LG G6

    4175

GeekBench 4.1 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • ZTE nubia Z17

    1966

  • OnePlus 5

    1932

  • Xiaomi Mi 6

    1929

  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium

    1836

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SD 835)

    1832

  • LG G6

    1767

Now, it is vital to note that Nubia has included a special per-app Performance mode in Nubia UI 5.0. It promises to push the phone that extra bit harder for a while at the expense of more heat and a bigger battery draw. Naturally, we gave it a go, but the incompatibility in purely synthetic performance wasn't all that big. On the flip side, the phone did start to heat up quicker, so we opted not to utilize it.

That being said, all the posted results are achieved without any additional trickery or boost modes. There mere be a more noticeable performance incompatibility in certain real-world scenarios, but during our tests, we really didn't manage to trip up the Z17 not even a tiny bit. And we tried. The Snapdragon 835 simply has more than enough power to go around, without any additional tweaking. It is also worth noting that we have the 6GB Random-Access Memory (RAM) version of the Z17. We don't really think having 8GB will net you any significant performance improvements either, but that's a topic for another discussion.

GeekBench 4 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 5

    6404

  • ZTE nubia Z17

    6275

  • Xiaomi Mi 6

    6132

  • Huawei Mate 9

    6112

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SD 835)

    6106

  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium

    5837

  • Samsung Galaxy S7

    5245

  • Xiaomi Mi 5s Plus

    4333

  • Xiaomi Mi Note 2

    4278

  • LG G6

    4209

  • HTC U Ultra

    4201

  • ZTE Axon 7

    3990

  • Nubia Z11

    3926

  • Sony Xperia XZ

    3868

  • LG V20

    3824

  • HTC 10

    3621

GeekBench 4 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • ZTE nubia Z17

    2065

  • OnePlus 5

    2031

  • Xiaomi Mi 6

    2026

  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium

    1943

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SD 835)

    1915

  • Huawei Mate 9

    1898

  • Samsung Galaxy S7

    1854

  • Xiaomi Mi Note 2

    1824

  • Xiaomi Mi 5s Plus

    1815

  • Nubia Z11

    1755

  • LG G6

    1733

  • HTC 10

    1708

  • ZTE Axon 7

    1702

  • HTC U Ultra

    1647

  • Sony Xperia XZ

    1578

  • LG V20

    1576

Baseimprint Operating System (OS) 2.0 is a small bit less kind to the Nubia Z17, but its score is still nothing short of impressive. We have to confess that our original expectations for the Chinese review unit were pretty low, considering all the added bloat the Read-Only Memory (ROM) is lugging around. As it turns out, however, Nubia is keeping a tight grip on the background activity and other unnecessary loads.

Baseimprint Operating System (OS) 2.0

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 5

    3601

  • Xiaomi Mi 6

    3547

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SD 835)

    3319

  • ZTE nubia Z17

    3281

  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium

    3174

  • Huawei Mate 9

    2637

  • Xiaomi Mi 5s Plus

    2434

  • Xiaomi Mi Note 2

    2381

  • ZTE Axon 7

    2346

  • HTC U Ultra

    2222

  • LG V20

    2159

  • Sony Xperia XZ

    2151

  • Samsung Galaxy S7

    2128

  • LG G6

    2126

  • HTC 10

    1839

  • Nubia Z11

    1790

Pretty much the same can be assumed about AnTuTu as well. It is another compound benchimprint that takes a lot of metrics into account, meaning things like Random-Access Memory (RAM) and storage speeds are also up to code on the Nubia Z17.

AnTuTu 6

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 5

    180331

  • ZTE nubia Z17

    178629

  • Xiaomi Mi 6

    177326

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SD 835)

    168133

  • Xiaomi Mi 5s Plus

    155185

  • HTC 10

    154031

  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium

    144223

  • LG G6

    143639

  • LG V20

    141945

  • Xiaomi Mi Note 2

    140324

  • HTC U Ultra

    139750

  • Samsung Galaxy S7

    132084

  • ZTE Axon 7

    129926

  • Nubia Z11

    129099

  • Sony Xperia XZ

    124266

  • Huawei Mate 9

    122826

The Z17 shows off some impressive muscle in the graphics department as well. We are just a small bit skeptical of the Open GL 3.0 and 3.1 off-classy screen scores, since 3 frames is a gigantic incompatibility on the exact same Adreno 540 GPU. Regardless, the Z17 definitely performs on par with the competition.

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • ZTE nubia Z17

    63

  • OnePlus 5

    60

  • Xiaomi Mi 6

    59

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SD 835)

    57

  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium

    50

  • HTC 10

    47

  • Xiaomi Mi 5s Plus

    44

  • LG G6

    41

  • HTC U Ultra

    41

  • Xiaomi Mi Note 2

    40

  • LG V20

    40

  • Samsung Galaxy S7

    38

  • Sony Xperia XZ

    37

  • Nubia Z11

    31

  • Huawei Mate 9

    30

  • ZTE Axon 7

    15

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • ZTE nubia Z17

    56

  • OnePlus 5

    56

  • Xiaomi Mi 6

    56

  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium

    47

  • Xiaomi Mi 5s Plus

    47

  • Xiaomi Mi Note 2

    41

  • Sony Xperia XZ

    37

  • Nubia Z11

    34

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SD 835)

    34

  • HTC 10

    28

  • Huawei Mate 9

    28

  • Samsung Galaxy S7

    27

  • LG V20

    25

  • LG G6

    24

  • HTC U Ultra

    24

  • ZTE Axon 7

    12

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • ZTE nubia Z17

    43

  • OnePlus 5

    41

  • Xiaomi Mi 6

    41

  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium

    39

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SD 835)

    39

  • Sony Xperia XZ

    31

  • HTC 10

    31

  • ZTE Axon 7

    31

  • Xiaomi Mi Note 2

    30

  • Xiaomi Mi 5s Plus

    30

  • LG V20

    29

  • Samsung Galaxy S7

    28

  • HTC U Ultra

    27

  • LG G6

    26

  • Nubia Z11

    22

  • Huawei Mate 9

    22

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • ZTE nubia Z17

    41

  • Xiaomi Mi 6

    41

  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium

    41

  • OnePlus 5

    40

  • Sony Xperia XZ

    32

  • Xiaomi Mi 5s Plus

    32

  • Xiaomi Mi Note 2

    30

  • Huawei Mate 9

    23

  • Nubia Z11

    22

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SD 835)

    18

  • LG V20

    17

  • Samsung Galaxy S7

    15

  • HTC 10

    15

  • ZTE Axon 7

    15

  • HTC U Ultra

    13

  • LG G6

    12

GFX 3.1 Car scene (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • ZTE nubia Z17

    25

  • Xiaomi Mi 6

    25

  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium

    25

  • OnePlus 5

    24

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SD 835)

    23

  • Sony Xperia XZ

    20

  • Xiaomi Mi Note 2

    20

  • LG V20

    20

  • HTC 10

    18

  • HTC U Ultra

    18

  • Xiaomi Mi 5s Plus

    18

  • Nubia Z11

    16

  • LG G6

    16

  • Samsung Galaxy S7

    15

  • ZTE Axon 7

    15

  • Huawei Mate 9

    13

GFX 3.1 Car scene (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • ZTE nubia Z17

    25

  • Xiaomi Mi 6

    25

  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium

    25

  • OnePlus 5

    24

  • Xiaomi Mi Note 2

    20

  • Sony Xperia XZ

    19

  • Xiaomi Mi 5s Plus

    19

  • Nubia Z11

    17

  • ZTE Axon 7

    16

  • Huawei Mate 9

    14

  • LG V20

    12

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SD 835)

    12

  • HTC U Ultra

    10

  • HTC 10

    9.9

  • LG G6

    8.5

  • Samsung Galaxy S7

    7.9

Baseimprint X and Baseimprint ES 3.1 paint a bit of a different story. Again, we can't really deduce what caused the lower scores for sure, but they don't see all that trustworthy. We are confident the Adreno 540 can do better.

Baseimprint X

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 5

    38844

  • Xiaomi Mi 6

    38541

  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium

    38507

  • Huawei Mate 9

    36519

  • Xiaomi Mi Note 2

    36506

  • Xiaomi Mi 5s Plus

    36062

  • HTC U Ultra

    35875

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SD 835)

    34951

  • ZTE nubia Z17

    33513

  • Samsung Galaxy S7

    32345

  • ZTE Axon 7

    32243

  • LG G6

    30507

  • Sony Xperia XZ

    29548

  • LG V20

    29385

  • HTC 10

    28882

  • Nubia Z11

    23899

Baseimprint ES 3.1 / Metal

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Mi 6

    861

  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium

    842

  • Samsung Galaxy S8+ (SD 835)

    817

  • OnePlus 5

    796

  • Huawei Mate 9

    794

  • Samsung Galaxy S7

    732

  • ZTE nubia Z17

    619

  • ZTE Axon 7

    606

  • HTC U Ultra

    582

  • Sony Xperia XZ

    577

  • Xiaomi Mi Note 2

    556

  • LG G6

    541

  • Xiaomi Mi 5s Plus

    538

  • LG V20

    526

  • Nubia Z11

    432

The Nubia Z17 clearly has some distress with synthetic tests. Some of the results we got are a bit suspiciously high, while others descend just a small short. After some careful evaluation and a lot of re-tests, with and without Performance mode, we are certain the Z17 makes proper utilize of its Snapdragon 835 chipset and can live up to the flagship performance expectations that come with it.

Most inconsistencies we recorded seem to be linked to the OS. We experienced absolutely no problems or slowdowns while using the phone for real-world tasks. Hopefully, we can acquire our hands on a proper international version of the phone soon so we can re-test everything. In case you are looking into the Nubia Z17, definitely scout out a non-Chinese version, as well. We really do think it will save you some headaches. If nothing else, Google Services are enough of a bonus in our book.


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