The Nuu Mobile G3 is one of the best devices in its price range
The G3 from Nuu Mobile is one of the latest entries into the budget smartphone market from a brand many have likely never heard of, but that just goes to show you that there are tons of different devices out there when it comes to smartphones running on Android and that means plenty of consumer choice which is great for the market, and great for the consumer as it really means you can get the device that’s perfect for you, thanks to all the different specs and parts and features being used which allows for phones at varying price points. On paper the Nuu Mobile G3 lives up to its price point of being a budget device, as it comes with fairly low-end specs, but it also carries some pretty decent specs that make it a hard device to pass up for the $200 mark. So if you’re looking to save money than the G3 from Nuu mobile might be a really great option to consider. Let’s take a closer look at the G3 and see if what it has to offer on paper is worthy of use as your day-to-day device in real life.
When it comes to the specs, some of the hardware is more seemingly on par with what you might expect from a $200 handset, and some of the specs seem like they’re robust and a good value for the price. Starting off with the display, RAM and Storage. For instance, the display on the G3 is 5.7-inches and comes with an HD+ resolution which is 1,440 x 720. So it’s no quite Full HD but it’s better than standard HD. The resolution actually looks quite nice when holding and using the phone in person and it felt this way throughout the duration of using the G3 over the past week. The size of the screen also makes for a nice display for media and games. When it comes to the memory, the G3 is working with 4GB of RAM which is still pretty standard for phones these days even higher than the budget tier, and it has 64GB of internal storage that is also expandable via microSD cards up to 128GB, so there should be no shortage of space for storing apps, games, pics, videos, and other documents or files.
In regards to the cameras, the G3 is packed with a dual camera setup on the back and a single camera on the front, though both are adequate on the face of things. On back you’ll find a 13-megapixel sensor paired with a secondary 5-megapixel sensor, and on front you’ll find a 13-megapixel sensor for selfies and video chat. On the inside it’s powered by the Helio P25 processor from MediaTek and it has a 3,000mAh battery, and it comes running on Android 7.1 Nougat for the software version, which, might be a little bit of a disappointment for some as it is a bit behind now that Oreo has been out since last Fall and we’re on our way towards Android P. For the most part, the specs are decent enough for a daily driver for most users, and for the price these specs are nothing to shake a stick at.
In The Box
Many smartphones that launch in the U.S. don’t come with extras, though some at the extreme high-end tier when it comes to cost will. For the most part though any phones which usually cost a lot less don’t have accessories that are packaged with the phone. Not so with the Nu Mobile G3. In the box you’ll find the phone, the charging cable and wall adapter, which is a U.S. plug by the way as this is a U.S. model phone that comes unlocked, and it also comes with a TPU case, a 3.5mm to USB Type-C adapter as it uses USB Type-C for charging and data transfer, and lastly there’s the quick start guide.
Hardware & Design
Design-wise the G3 is very close to Samsung’s Galaxy S9 in style. There are of course some differences but immediately upon looking at this phone the first thing you might think is how much it looks like Samsung’s latest flagship, which is interesting considering this phone launched before the Galaxy S9 was even announced. All that aside, the G3 comes with a metal frame and glass front and back panels, so it’s nearly glass all the way around. It’s a fairly slick-looking phone too, and it looks and feels premium so when you’re looking at it or holding it you would never really know that it wasn’t a high-cost device. One thing which you will notice easily is that the bezels on the G3 are larger than those on the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus, by a good margin, so while this phone does use the taller aspect ratio and gives you a really decent amount of screen real estate, the bezels are not as small as you would think they might be.
Aside from all that the phone simply looks good which is harder to find at this price range. On the right-hand side you have all your buttons including the power button and the volume up and down buttons, with the USB Type-C charging port on the bottom, the fingerprint sensor on the back, and the SIM card and microSD card tray on the top. You also have LED flash modules to the right of both the front and rear cameras, so you’ll get good lighting (or should) in just about any shot.
With a MediaTek Helio P25 processor inside I expected the phone to run just fine for multitasking and gaming and I was not let down, not really. I was able to open up and launch and keep running multiple applications with the G3 without issue and without feeling like the phone was slowing down on me, which is a testament to how good some of the lower-end CPUs are getting, though it’s worth reiterating that MediaTek has come a long way in the CPU market and some of their chipsets are really good, especially when you consider that they cost less than Qualcomm’s, which in turn helps to keep the device cost low.
With multitasking covered and knowing that the G3 would be able to handle running multiple apps nearly at all times, it was time to put the G3 through its paces as a gaming device. Now, it’s clear that the G3 isn’t going to hold a candle to top flagship smartphones when it comes to mobile gaming, but it does hold its own. For our testing, we played games like Arena of Valor, and the recently released PUBG Mobile, both of which have some really good graphics and special effects. While the phone did play each game just fine, there was a little bit of lag noticed in each game, and some choppyness. That said, the lag for the most part in Arena of Valor, was really only noticeable when turning the graphics up to their highest setting, and even then the game was still very much playable. The verdict is that this won’t beat out the Razer Phone, the Galaxy S9 or Galaxy S9 Plus, or the Pixel 2 XL, but it will suffice for most of your mobile gaming needs, or perhaps all of them. All told the performance on the G3 is great if you aren’t looking for the utmost in performance from a mobile device.
As described above the Nu Mobile G3 comes with a 5.7-inch HD+ display, which is a resolution of 1,440 x 720, so it’s still HD but it does have the 18:9 aspect ratio for the taller screen, which gives more screen space to use and helps with giving the phone those slimmer bezels. This is good for a few reasons, and one is that it makes the device more aesthetically pleasing, another is that it should make using the phone more enjoyable as well and this is thanks to having more display that you can interact with.
The screen gets plenty bright which is fantastic if you live in an area where it gets lots of sun, as the glare from the sun outside can make it hard to see many smartphone screens. That isn’t entirely not the case here with the G3, as no phone usually comes with a completely glare-free display, but being able to turn the brightness up to improve the visibility without having to turn it up all the way is nice as it can help with the battery life. There are no special features or anything like that for the display like we’re used to seeing on some of these budget phones, but then again most of those are coming from Chinese brands and that tends to be a trait of those types of devices. Screen responsiveness on the G3 is pretty good and we didn’t notice any dead spots with pixels or touch reaction, so all in all the display was a strong point here. The color reproduction could have been a little bit better but it was by no means bad or even in that realm of quality. What it comes down to is that most users shouldn’t feel slighted from the display quality they’re getting should they pay $200 for this device.
With a 3,000mAh battery I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of battery life. On the one hand, 3,000mAh is a decent amount for many smartphones, and it’s more than my Google Pixel which has trouble lasting a full day without a single charge, but the G3 does come with a 5.7-inch display so even though it’s only HD+ I thought this might degrade the battery life a bit. To my surprise though, the G3 performed admirably and didn’t have any issues staying powered on for the majority of the day. Even when I was done at the end of the day in most cases I didn’t need to plug it in. The only times where I noticed it was needing a charge before the day was over was when I was playing Arena of Valor as this is a really battery-hungry game. During normal use, the Nuu Mobile G3 should easily last you about four to five hours of screen on time, and during heavy use, such as gaming, you might notice it die after a few hours though it’ll have to be something that draws a lot from the power, like an online game such as AoV. As far as battery life outside of the screen-on time, normal everyday use should get your through about a day if not more, so you shouldn’t have any trouble unplugging this device at 7 am and keeping it going beyond 7 pm.
Just like every other device we test, we put the Nuu Mobile G3 through some different benchmarks to see how it stacks up on paper in the performance department. Things to keep in mind are that the benchmarks are not necessarily indicative of how the device will perform in the real world. That said, we put the G3 through AnTuTu, Geekbench 4, and 3DMark to see how things ended up. If you’re interested in seeing the results of those benchmark tests, you can view the screenshots in the gallery below.
The fingerprint sensor on this device is a double-edged sword. Sometimes it works great and other times it has a little trouble recognizing my fingerprint, which can be an issue if you rely on this for unlocking the phone most days. Sure you can just use the PIN, pattern, or password instead, but the fingerprint tends to be faster, though in this case your mileage may vary. To clear things up, the fingerprint sensor can be quick here, but in my case, it felt a little slower than I was hoping it would be. You’ll notice varying speeds for this depending on if you wake the display first or not. If you wake the display it unlocks pretty fast, though still a bit slower than the Pixel. If you don’t wake the display first it’s quite a bit slower. One thing I noticed is that even using the fingerprint sensor on my Pixel from a sleeping screen state, it was still faster than unlocking the G3 with the fingerprint sensor when the display was woken up first. In the end the fingerprint sensor is not the strongest feature of this phone, but it’s still good to have as it is accurate the majority of the time and it’s still quick enough to be useful.
Phone Calls & Network
Most times when we review a phone that comes out of China that’s aimed at the budget market, or any market for that matter, the device tends not to work with U.S. networks. That isn’t the case with Nuu Mobile as even though Nuu Mobile is a company that is based out of Hong Kong, the G3 is a device which was launched in the U.S. this year and this is the U.S. model, which means it will work on T-Mobile and AT&T, and in turn it should also work on Metro PCS and Cricket Wireless or any other U.S. GSM network. I have Project Fi, so the phone would work to some degree but you will probably have better luck with T-Mobile or AT&T. During phone calls the device worked pretty well and I didn’t experience any dropped calls, and I was told the audio quality sounded good to people on the other end of the call, so should be no surprises here for anyone. In terms of the supported bands you can find them listed below.
2G: Bands 2, 3, 5, 8
3G: Bands 1, 2, 4, 5
4G LTE: Bands 2, 4, 5, 7, 12, 17
Audio quality was actually quite good here and there weren’t too many complaints really, though it would have been nice to see stereo speakers. That said this is a $200 device and cuts have to be made somewhere to save money and keep the cost to consumers low. We didn’t use the phone for much music streaming but we did test this and the audio does seem to get a little tinny at the loudest volumes but in most cases it was pretty decent. During gameplay the audio also came through just fine and as this is a smartphone speaker you shouldn’t expect it to be room-filling but it gets the job done. The speaker is located on the bottom of the device, so depending on how you hold it you may cover it up just a little bit. This easily avoidable though. Overall the sound quality was pretty good and while it won’t win any awards there should be no complaints from users.
Though the UI and the software experience in general is mostly stock Android that’s based on an AOSP build, there are a couple of things that are different which you won’t find in a completely stock build of AOSP. For instance, the Nuu Mobile G3 has a one-handed mode so you can, as the name suggests, use the phone with one hand. When you turn this feature on, which can be found in the settings menu, you can dictate which side of the display the smaller interactive portion gets pushed to, so whether you’re left-handed or right-handed you’re covered. To enable this feature once you have it toggled on you simply swipe towards the middle from the left bottom edge, and to close it out you swipe back the other direction but start from the right edge.
There is also a small selection of gestures available, which includes things like double tapping to lock the device and sliding to adjust the volume, which you can do by swiping two fingers up on the display to turn the volume up and swiping two fingers down to turn the volume down. This actually came in pretty useful as I personally use gestures a lot thanks to Nova launcher on my Pixel. If you like gestures, the native ones aren’t super extensive, but they do come in handy, and you can always expand on them by installing a third-party launcher that adds more. Overall this is a nice, easy software experience to get used to as there weren’t too many bells and whistles, but that also means there are less features to play with and for some that will be the letdown.
The Nuu Mobile G3 may be a budget device but it doesn’t come with a budget camera experience. Upon opening the app the camera UI is simple enough but still has a handful of features on offer, including standard photo and video modes, a beauty mode, a portrait mode, a panorama mode, a mono mode, and a pro mode. To be sure, there are no shortage of camera options here to make the most of your photos, and make the most of them you can. The great thing about the pro mode is that if you really no your way around a camera then you can turn your photos into some really nice shots, and the pro mode helps as you can adjust more of the settings on the image before you snap it. Even if you don’t want to go this far, though, the other modes are fun to play with too and you won’t see this a lot in budget devices. Similar to the portrait mode on other devices with this one you’ll be able to focus on subjects in the foreground of your image while the secondary camera sensor and the phone’s camera software will blur out subjects in the background, giving you that nice depth of field of effect. This worked pretty well and to be honest, a lot better than I expected it to as it has not been so great on other devices in this price range that offer the feature.
If you’re only planning on using the standard photo mode most of the time, images in this mode are pretty decent too, coming with a nice amount of color reproduction that is fairly accurate, a quick snap to get a processed image and have the camera back to ready to snap another in no time, and a handful of different color or effect filters you can toss on the image before you take it. Images didn’t appear to come out with too much noise or a grainy look, especially in the best lighting, so the camera is definitely a surprising category here.
Pretty good camera, especially for the price
Fingerprint sensor is pretty accurate
Sound quality was good
Nice, big screen with decent resolution
Great build quality
Comes with a USB C to 3.5mm adapter in the box
Ok battery life
Works on U.S. networks
Fingerprint sensor was not that fast
No headphone jack
Only comes in one color
In the realm of budget devices the Nuu Mobile G3 is one of the best devices in its price range, and is a phone which definitely deserves to be looked at. It only costs $200 and for that price you get some really decent specifications, along with pretty good battery life and a camera that puts out some nice pictures. If you’re not on the hunt for the top of the line smartphone, you can’t go wrong here.
Should you buy the Nuu Mobile G3?
There are lots of reasons to buy this device, especially if you’re not wanting to spend a whole lot. If you don’t need to have the best camera, or the highest performance, then save some money and get this device as it works in the U.S., it has a pretty good camera, decent sound quality, and it’ll only cost you $200.