Nubia Alpha Review: Radical Folding Screen Wristband

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In the eagerness to get rid of the traditional mobile phone: turning the hopeless hammer technology and the disappearing Luo teacher and his TNT, representing the failure of the software system level into the battle; temporarily canceling the China conference, the evaluation machine screen probability ” The rollover of the Samsung Galaxy Fold is embarrassing.

In the recent period, the “four unlike” Nubia Alpha, which has both attributes of smartphones and smartwatches, has entered the market. In this Huawei, Samsung and other manufacturers to prepare for war, even when Xiaomi began to get involved in large-size foldable screen mobile phones, Nubia has a unique approach, and also uses a foldable flexible screen, the first to introduce a wearable mobile phone Alpha.

With the description of Ni Fei’s senior vice president Ni Fei at the press conference, Alpha is more portable than traditional smartphones and smarter than watches. One is called a traditional smartphone, and one against a smartwatch. 

The screen size of the Nubia wristwatch is 4 inches, which is larger than that of a traditional smart watch. With the help of the domestic screen manufacturer Visionox, it uses a foldable flexible screen to solve the problem of adhesive reliability between the 11 layers of flexible screen bending, and it is equipped with a 5 megapixel, 82-degree wide-angle camera; Cooperation, support Unicom eSIM card.

Design & Appearance

Then this weakens the smartwatch function, and instead emphasizes the wrist machine that has some of the characteristics of the smartphone – what is the specific performance of Nubia Alpha? Next is our detailed evaluation. Remove the top cover of the box and you can see that the Nubia Alpha is the way it looks like a mainstream watch.

On the Nubia Alpha wristwatch, the brightest point or the thing that has never been seen before is the slender flexible screen that it carries. In the off-screen state, it maintains the integrity of the seam with the fuselage. It should be emphasized that its 4.01-inch screen size surpasses almost all wearable devices including the Apple Watch.

After the screen is bright, you can get a glimpse of the quality of the screen with a resolution of 960×192 and a screen ratio of 5:1 (20:4). This ratio is more exaggerated in the traditional mobile phone than the Sony Xperia 1 (21:9 ratio). It also allows it to display more than any wearable device, including the Apple Watch.

Side view to observe Nubia Alpha. The thickness of the screen module has just reached 0.64 mm, which is half of the LCD screen of the same specification. In recent years, the thickness of the 3D curved screen has been 3 times. According to our understanding of Nubia Alpha, this flexible screen has a total of 11 layers and can be flexed with a bending radius of 15 mm.

As shown in the figure above, the Nubia Alpha’s flexible screen is fixed on the base of the stainless steel, and it fits perfectly with the rest of the phone and can be bent freely with the curvature of the wrist.

As a daily wrist that does not leave the wrist, and with its own heavy and large body, the wearing experience is relatively important. Here Nubia Alpha uses a stainless steel bracelet with a sandblasted surface. In addition, the bracelet supports the disassembly design, and the spring on the back of the strap can be used to remove the bracelet.

Nubia wristwatch combines the representative functions of smartwatch products with a heart rate sensor that can be used to monitor the movements and state of mind in daily life to more intuitively understand your physical condition. The contacts near the heart rate sensor are connected to the charger base while charging.

Look at the side of the fuselage of the Nubia Alpha, equipped with two physical buttons. Because Alpha supports screen touch and gesture interaction, these two physical buttons do not assume all the interactive functions, respectively, with lighting/off screen, Home, voice, and return functions.

Functions

1, system UI

After all, as a wrist machine, it is natural to copy the system ROM of the Nubia mobile phone. Here Nubia developed a nubia Wear OS based on the Android7.1 kernel deep customization for Alpha and made exclusive customization optimization for its unique 4-inch flexible screen.

What I want to emphasize here is that unlike the Wear OS we saw on many wearable devices and the Watch OS we saw on Apple Watch, Nubia system OS is pure Android kernel!

As shown above, the system interface is different from the wearable devices that have been seen before and is closer to the elongated mobile phone interface. According to the use, it can be classified into the main home, preset application sports fitness, tools, settings, etc. Switch.

The use of a pure Android kernel means that many traditional mobile phone features, including the use of 4G networks to make and receive calls, send and receive text messages independently, mobile payments, independent maps, voice assistants, and more, do not need to be attached to the phone.

More importantly, the Android system does not have a threshold for traditional smartphone users, and it is very easy to learn.

On the homepage of the homepage, we can directly see the time information and other shortcuts as well as the signal status and even the recently opened applications, so that the features grafted from the traditional mobile phone are very comfortable.

Jumping out of the UI interface itself, we look at the hardware body of Alpha. You can see that the visual elements of its UI fit closely with the body, and there is no sense of violation. The minimalist processing allows this long and narrow screen to display a lot of information that deserves attention. All the information that users pay attention to can be displayed directly on one screen, and the wrist and the UI are combined.

2, operational interaction

What I can obviously feel during the use is that the touch operation on the narrow screen of the wristwatch is a little inconvenient compared with the traditional mobile phone, especially for some users with large tonnage and large fingers. Not comfortable. In this regard, Nubia has been considered very comprehensive, here it developed a set of gesture interactions that do not require direct contact with the screen – named “volley gesture.” In addition to being convenient and practical, many Marvel fans have seen the coolness of technology that they only see in movies.

I still remember that in the Iron Man in the early years, Tony Stark used his gestures to remotely pick up his own mechs. Nubia Alpha learned this operation. It can be seen that using the “volley gesture”, the entire process of operation does not need to touch the screen at all, and directly makes a “sliding” or “slipping” gestures on the screen, which greatly reproduces the classic skills of Iron Man. It is enough to see this imaginative thing as a reality, and you can see Nubia thick innovation ability.

Nubia Alpha currently only supports the sliding of up and down “volley gestures”. If it takes time, I believe that such smart wearable products can recognize more and more precise interactions. When fully mature, it may be possible to achieve complete man-machines from the contact surface. Interaction, such a picture gives a lot of imagination space.

In addition to the volley gestures, Nubia Alpha’s marquee function also enriches the playability of the wristwatch. We can customize the text content in the Alpha-compatible mobile app client, which can be displayed on the wristwatch. It supports the display of emoji and emoji and can choose the color of the text.

Features

From the end of March to the beginning of April this year, Fast Technology reported that China Unicom announced the expansion of the eSIM wearable device independent number business to the whole country. One of the first eSIM devices that were fortunate was the Nubia Alpha. Nubia Alpha supports eSIM function, which can realize 4G Internet access and call independently from traditional mobile phones. We have introduced the WLAN connection and Bluetooth connection in the parameters section, which is no different from traditional smartphones in communication.

It is not difficult to open eSIM to Nubia Alpha, but you need to prepare your own Unicom card, then connect the mobile phone to the wristphone, and then use the Unicom mobile phone business office to write the card on the mobile phone. We will make a brief introduction to the package fee. It has sSIM smart-10 yuan exclusive package to participate in deposit 30 get 30 activities, and eSIM smartwatch -20 yuan exclusive package can participate in save 60 get 60 activities (6 months return). The pressure on tariffs is relatively small.

Of course, the eSIM Internet is not a rare thing at present. The rare ones are the independent calls supported by Nubia Alpha and the ability to send and receive text messages independently, which is impossible for most other wearable devices. When you need to make a phone call with Nubia Alpha, the author usually presses the physical button as shown in the figure to directly wake up the Maverick voice dictation phone number to dial.

Of course, if the environment is not convenient for voice, you can also open the dialing interface of Nubia Alpha. Its long and narrow body screen is not suitable for copying the dialing interface of traditional mobile phones. So it made a slender 9-square grid that showed the overall shape of the fish. It is more convenient to dial the dial.

When making a call, in order to facilitate the call, I usually wear a Bluetooth headset. If it happens that there is no Bluetooth headset device around, it is not a big problem. When the headset is not worn, the call sound will be emitted from the speaker on the side of the fuselage. When the wrist monitor is close to the ear, the volume will be reduced compared to when there is no contact to ensure the privacy of the call. he earliest wearable devices can only read the message reminder while staying in the bracelet stage, and even the specific content cannot be read completely. Later, with smartwatches, it was only possible to turn pages in a limited area.

In the process of reading text messages using Nubia Alpha, you can clearly feel the reading experience of the large-area display area brought by this slender screen, which is far better than all the wearable devices that I have previously used. Now you can see that the Nubia Alpha’s SMS interface has a great advantage over traditional watches. A long text message can be read at once without turning pages. You can also click Reply when you need it.

This issue has been considered by Nubia Alpha. Sending and replying to text messages is very simple. If you want to write content accurately, you can use the handwriting operation shown above, but because the efficiency is not as high as the Mavericks voice, it has been left out by the author.

The author is most accustomed to long press the voice physical button on the side of the fuselage, lift the wrist directly to let the content that wants to reply from voice to text into the SMS input box, this is even faster than we take the traditional mobile phone from the pocket A lot on it.

The author actually had a strong curiosity about the first time after Nubia Alpha pre-installed WeChat, which is hard to see on other wearable devices. Somewhat surprisingly, the WeChat pre-installed by Nubia Alpha actually supports the browsing of pictures and videos. In daily chats, you can view pictures, animations and small videos sent by group friends on the Nubia Alpha.

More exaggerated is that it also supports WeChat video, voice calls, and the operation is exactly the same as the mobile phone. Just replying to the message can’t directly reply to the text, which hopes that Nubia can join the support in the follow-up. Nubia Alpha is equipped with the smart wearable version of the Alipay application, which only retains the payment code and payment code function, which is the same as most other smart wearable devices so that you can lift it without having to pull out the phone every day. Wrist payment.

Hardware & Performance

The Nubia Alpha is powered by the Snapdragon Wear 2100, a mobile platform that Qualcomm specifically targets for wearable devices such as smart watches, smart bracelets, trackers, and AR augmented reality glasses.

Regarding the reason why Alpha uses this SoC, it is obvious that the internal space structure of the body of the wristwatch is still in line with the smartwatch, and the use of such a mobile platform is naturally a boat ride.

In addition, Wear 2100 has rich network support. Its integrated X5 LTE global Netcom baseband supports various 4G/3G/2G network standards, as well as 802.11n 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 LE, NFC, GPS. Navigation, regardless of networking, calling, travel, and payment is the guarantee of many of the functions we have experienced above.

It is equipped with four Cortex-A7 CPU cores manufactured in 28nm process, clocked at 800MHz or 1.2GHz, integrated with Adreno 304 GPU (self-supporting OpenGL ES 3.0), supports LPDDR3-400 memory, eMMC 4.5 storage, 640×480/60fps display , SecureMSM hardware and software security technology, Voice+voice and Fluence noise reduction technology, Quick Charge 2.0 fast charging, USB 2.0.

In addition, the Wear 2100 integrates the sensor center with the ability to process daily data with minimal power consumption and reduce CPU pressure.

Due to the high level of integration, and the field is clear. Taking the Xiaolong 400 as a comparison object, the Xiaolong Wear 2100 is 30% smaller than the traditional Xiaolong 400 and consumes 25% less power, making it more suitable for wearable devices.

In daily operation, Wear 2100 with 1GB storage and 8GB storage, in the current wearable device is at the top level, and no need to install the application, the system carrying load cannot be compared with the traditional mobile phone, the operation is smooth and smooth. There has not been a Caton.

The endurance of smart wearable devices has always been a big problem, after all, the battery capacity of such a small body can be very limited. Coupled with more and more features, modules are also madly swallowing poor power.

Compared with the general wearable equipment, Nubia Alpha’s independent communication, independent GPS, camera and other modules are pulled out by the single tiger. The screen area of ​​the small screen mobile phone with a display area is several years ago. Don’t forget a system that consumes a lot of power and the kernel is Android.

In the multi-day actual measurement experience, the author has always turned on mobile data, WLAN, Bluetooth, GPS, volley gestures and heart rate detection. The display is set to medium brightness and is not connected to the mobile phone for independent use.

Then we conducted various evaluation tests such as call, WeChat chat, photo, payment and so on. In addition, due to the use of the wrist machine WeChat, the mobile phone automatically exits, so the high-frequency WeChat has become a major consumer of electricity.

In this way, after a full day (one night and one night) use, Nubia Alpha’s battery is completely exhausted. If you are not a heavy user like this, the average user’s time should be longer. In addition, Nubia Alpha also provides a power-saving mode that only displays time, which can support longer use. Compared to the average smart wearable device, Nubia Alpha’s endurance performance is excellent, and there is no endurance anxiety when using it.

Visit Also:  Nubia Alpha Officially Introduced and Goes on Sale at a Price of $520

Verdict & Buy

After many days of experience, our understanding of Nubia Alpha has gradually become clear. As the first flexible screen wrist machine to achieve mass production, the emergence of Nubia Alpha broke the boundaries between smartphones and wearable devices. It’s a non-smart watch, not a mobile phone, but a fusion of the two, generating a wristwatch.

It should be acknowledged that Nubia Alpha can not completely replace the traditional mobile phone at present – it only transplants the traditional mobile phone’s independent call, SMS, WeChat, payment software payment and other functions, and can not completely replace the traditional mobile phone.

However, in the case of travel, light use, etc., such a product is enough for the user to leave the phone and achieve a light-loaded battle. This is only a small step taken after the birth of the wrist machine, and it is also the significance of its present stage.

We believe that in the current era of the mobile phone industry has been smashed into the bloody sea, the breakthrough in the product can no longer rely solely on the data parameters. There is no doubt that Nubia has not taken the usual path this time, and the opportunities he gets are equal to the risks he has taken.

Nubia Alpha is currently not perfect and can be seen at a glance in many places. Compared with ordinary smartwatches, the larger and heavier body shape in the daily wear is more than satisfactory to the author, but it can guarantee basic comfort. Various functions, including eSIM, add to the use of Nubia Alpha, independent phone, independent initial text message, even when forgetting to bring a mobile phone, it does not delay contact with friends.

Xiaolong Wear 2100 with 1GB storage and 8GB storage compared to the usual smart wearable products is a luxury top, although driving a system with Android as the core OS is not cheap, but can guarantee the basic interaction smooth. s shown in the experience, Nubia Alpha is affected by the high energy consumption of the original modules supported by Android OS and many functions. The 500mAh battery can also support the heavy use of the day. What impressed me the most is the classic volley gesture in the “Iron Man” movie that he realized, so that users can complete all kinds of sliding, sliding, and sliding operations without touching the body screen. Feeling full.

Nubbia, once the only one who made an optical borderless screen and the first double-sided screen phone, has never been disappointed on the road to innovation. Compared with mobile phones, Nubia Alpha is more of a pilot product and compared to smart wearables, it is a mature consumer product that targets high-end top-level products. s the first flexible screen wrist machine, Nubia Alpha aggregates the dual shape of mobile phones and smartwatches. It is not perfect, but it is the most technological sense. It is also a powerful one in the background of smart smartphone innovation. Heart needle. Giving time to technology, we are looking forward to its next generation of products.

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