Following both Sharp and Oppo’s efforts to create a smartphone with as minimal side bezel as possible, ZTE has gone ahead and tried its own hand at a bezel-free smartphone.
The ZTE Nubia Z9 is a new Android 5.0 smartphone with a face that appears to be bezel-free. It achieves this look using a combination of 2.5D glass and bezels that are just 0.8mm thick. There are more to the design than looks, though, because ZTE has used the minimal bezels to enabled special features that are triggered by performing gestures on the middle of the phone’s frame.
Called Frame Interactive Technology, or FIT, the feature lets you do things like unlock your phone with a unique grip or use a regular one-handed grip and flicking through apps with your thumb. You can also activate the camera by turning the Nubia Z9 horizontally and touching the four corners with your index fingers and thumbs, or squeeze the sides of the phone twice to activate one-hand mode and shrink the size of the screen to the side that your thumb is on. Finally, you can slide your finger along one or both sides of the screen to do things like adjust brightness or sound. ZTE says that third-parties can take advantage of FIT, too, so there may be more gestures added in the future.
When it comes to raw specs, the Nubia Z9 is packing a 5.2-inch 1920×1080 display, octa-core Snapdragon 810 processor, 4G LTEand a 2900mAh battery. The Z9’s rear shooter is a 16-megapixel camera with a Sony-made IMX234 sensor, f/2.0 aperture, and optical image stabilization, and the front camera is an 8-megapixel cam with an f/2.4 wide-angle lens. As for storage and RAM, there are actually two different options for consumers to choose from: a 32GB storage/3GB RAM “Classic Edition” or a 64GB storage/4GB “Elite Edition.”
The Classic and Elite editions of the Nubia Z9 will launch in China on May 21 at prices of 3,499 yuan ($564 USD) and 3,999 yuan ($644 USD), respectively. ZTE will also offer a “Premier Edition” of the Nubia Z9 that includes a fingerprint reader on the power button, which is located in the middle of the frame, for 4,499 yuan ($725 USD).
The bezel-less design of the ZTE Nubia Z9 certainly looks nice, but the question with these style of phones is how usable they are in day-to-day life. After all, bezels serve as a place to rest your fingers and give you some area where the front of the phone won’t react to your touch. Another thing that’ll be interesting to see is how well ZTE’s FIT gesture features work. It’s nice to see ZTE using the minimal bezels for more than just looks, but they won’t mean much if they don’t work well.
What do you think of the ZTE Nubia Z9? Do you like its super-minimal bezels?