I did not expect to like the Nubia Z60 Ultra. It’s a big, chunky slab packed with high-end specs at a relatively affordable price from a lesser-known Chinese manufacturer. The usual proposition is that you sacrifice on the software front to get cutting-edge hardware without breaking the bank. Sure enough, Nubia’s unimaginatively named MyOS adds little to Android 14, but the Z60 Ultra confounded my expectations in other ways.

Photograph: Simon Hill

Refreshingly free of bloatware, the Nubia Z60 Ultra has an expansive screen, uninterrupted by any camera cutout (there’s one under the display). Performance is near flawless, with a flagship processor providing plenty of grunt under the hood. But what really won me over was the versatile triple-lens camera. It’s a little inconsistent, but after a week with the phone, I have captured some lovely photos.

While the Nubia Z60 Ultra has a design that will turn some folks off, I have thoroughly enjoyed using it. There are things you can criticize, and I’ll get to them, but if you hunger for something different, and gaming and photography are priorities for you, the Nubia Z60 Ultra is worth a look.

A Bold Brick

Nubia was originally a subsidiary of the ZTE brand, but it became an independent company in 2015. (Nubia’s PR team specifically mentioned that the two are separate companies.) Nubia’s gaming subbrand RedMagic has been turning out impressively powerful, aggressively priced, and slightly unrefined gaming phones for several years now, and the Z60 Ultra bears some relation.

Here is the Nubia Z60 Ultra side by side with the Apple iPhone 14 Pro to give you an idea of its size.

Photograph: Simon Hill

Sliding the Nubia Z60 Ultra from the box, I was struck by its heft. This phone weighs 246 grams. For context, Apple’s biggest phone, the iPhone 15 Pro Max (8/10, WIRED Recommends), weighs 221 grams. The Z60 Ultra is a rectangular slab in a matte black or silver finish. My black review unit has an aluminum frame with textured glass on the back and a prominent camera module. The bold design also has shiny red metallic highlights around the main lens and a textured power button. Above the power button is a volume rocker, and below is a handy sliding switch that quickly launches the camera but can be used for a different shortcut. The SIM card tray and USB-C port are on the bottom edge. The Z60 Ultra is thick enough that it’s easy to balance on its sides or ends.


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