Review: Nuu Mobile X6 smartphone – perfect for mobile game streaming
You don’t need a beefy phone for game streaming and the X6 proves that.
We tend to spend a lot of time focusing on the high-end of the smartphone market, as the flashy devices tend to get all the glory. Today we’re looking at the other end of the spectrum, with the $100 X6 from Nuu Mobile. No, that’s not a typo. It really is $100.
That’s astonishing value for a phone, but that’s only part of the story. See, the rise of game streaming services such as Microsoft’s xCloud, Nvidia’s GeForce Now, and Steam’s Steam Link has meant that low-powered, low-cost mobile devices have a chance to shine as all the heavy lifting is done by the cloud.
So, is that the case with Nuu Mobile’s X6?
What’s under the hood?
Okay, what does $100 get you in a smartphone nowadays? The answer is quite a lot. There’s Android 9.0, a MediaTek quad-core processor running at 2.0 GHz, 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage with microSD support to add external storage, and 4G connectivity. There’s a 5.71-inch screen at 1440 x 720 resolution (18:9 aspect ratio) which has pretty decent color accuracy and a touchscreen that’s fairly responsive.
That’s all powered by a 2,800 mAh removable battery, so you can easily swap in another in case you don’t want to wait for charging. There’s dual-band WiFi, although it’s limited to Wireless-N, and Bluetooth 4.0. A 3.5mm headphone jack is part of the design, so you’ll be able to use your favorite headphones. The speakers actually impressed me, far better than the rattle-y ones on my old Pixel. It does have a fingerprint sensor on the back, which is a nice addition, and this has been very responsive to touch.
There’s a 13 MP camera on the back and a 5 MP one in the tear-drop screen as a selfie cam. Neither of these is anything to write home about, but what do you expect at this price? Images aren’t bad when in well-lit areas, with grainy low-light performance.
In the box, Nuu Mobile has really gone all-out with some thoughtful touches. There’s a pre-applied screen protector on the device, just needing the final piece of film to be peeled off. There’s also a replacement screen protector in the box and a smoky-clear TPU case. I wish that some of the more premium device makers would include useful extras like this.
Game streaming performance
I’ve been testing the Nuu Mobile X6 with xCloud, GeForce Now, and Steam Link. All three worked great, with a few minor hiccups when my WiFi network got congested as I had other things downloading.
The screen was responsive, colors were good, and movement didn’t blur any more than the same games played on my PC. Using the phone hooked onto an Xbox One controller by a gaming clip was a good experience, only requiring a little fiddling to find a position that felt comfortable to balance out the phone’s weight.
After using the Nuu Mobile X6 for a few weeks I feel confident that game streaming services are the future for mobile games. There’s no need to worry about onboard storage limits or to be limited to only high-end devices with the latest chipsets.
What’s it like to use as a phone?
Look, it’s less than a Benjamin. If you temper your expectations accordingly, you’ll find you’ll get surprised. App performance is fine once you’re in the app, although loading times are extended as you might expect from a lower-powered device.
Sound is fine from the speakers, although I did notice that using the phone in hands-free mode was substantially quieter than hand-held. Maybe this is something that can be fixed via a firmware update, or you can fix it yourself by using a set of headphones.
So, should I buy the Nuu Mobile X6?
If you’re looking for a second phone as a spare, or need to get a device for your kids so they can stay in touch with you, definitely put the Nuu Mobile X6 on the shortlist. It’s got enough power for most apps you’d want to run, and decent battery life. It’s only let down by lackluster camera performance, but if the camera is all you care about, you’re likely not looking at this end of the market.
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Just a heads up, if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the sale. Click here for more. A sample unit was provided for the purpose of this review.