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While I tend to focus on reviewing and buying flagship phones there is clearly a market for low cost smartphones that help you get work done and stay connected. During this tragic period of our history as the world battles a pandemic, companies like Nuu Mobile are doing its part to help us stay connected at a price just about everyone can afford.
For the past couple of weeks I have been testing out the newest Nuu Mobile X6 and it is a solid device for $99.99, less than the amount of sales tax for many modern flagships. It's not going to lead in any benchmarks or help you capture award-winning photographs, but it is going to let you stay in touch with family and friends through these trying times. It's perfect for those who don't have a mobile phone and need something inexpensive, yet functional to communicate.
In order to help people get setup and stay in touch over the next few months, Nuu Mobile provides a free 3-Month Mint Mobile 5GB 4G LTE Unlimited Talk and Text SIM card kit for free with the purchase of an X6. A protective case is also included to help you keep the device protected from bumps and bruises.
Nuu Mobile X6 specifications
Processor: Mediatek Helio A22 quad-core
Display: 5.71 inch, 1440 x 720 pixels resolution 18:9 aspect ratio
Operating system: Android 9
Storage: 32GB internal with microSD expansion card slot
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4, GPS, NFC, FM radio
Battery: 2,800 mAh user-replaceable
Dimensions: 148.5 x 70.8 x 9.1 mm and 150 grams
The Nuu Mobile X6 is pretty capable for a phone under $100 with NFC support for Google Pay, a 3.5mm audio port, microSD expansion card support, and dual SIM card support. It offers more than many other entry-level phones and is a solid first phone or backup phone too.
When I was asked if I was interested in checking out this entry-level phone I didn't expect much for $100. While the Nuu Mobile X6 isn't going to dominate the benchmarks, it has worked just fine for me to work with emails, Microsoft Teams, phone calls, text messages, and music. The camera is pretty basic, compared to flagships today, but I was able to capture decent shots to share with family and friends.
The Nuu Mobile X6 is a glossy black plastic phone with 2.5D curved glass display. The LCD screen has minimal side bezels and a teardrop notch on the front. The bezel at the bottom is just less than half an inch, but overall the screen-to-body ratio is over 80% and it looks good for an inexpensive phone.
Power and volume buttons are found on the upper right side, nothing is on the left side, a 3.5mm audio port is up top, with a microUSB port on the bottom with a mono speaker. Yep, there is a microUSB port here, which is still pretty standard for inexpensive Android phones today. Nice to see the 3.5mm audio port though.
A small dual-camera array is in the top left corner of the back with the second VGA camera used for depth sensing Bokeh effects. A central fingerprint scanner is found on the back above the Nuu branding. I'm still a huge fan of these rear fingerprint sensors and like this option on the Nuu Mobile X6.
Unlike the flagship LG V60 I am also testing, Nuu Mobile provides a face unlock option with the front-facing camera. It's not a secure option for banking and such, but it helps to get the phone unlocked fast. Then again, I find rear fingerprint sensors to be the best way to unlock a phone that doesn't have secure face unlock technology.
In addition to a microSD card for low-cost storage expansion, the Nuu Mobile X6 has a dual SIM so you can have a couple of SIM cards inside. The phone is sold as a GSM unlocked phone and currently comes with a free three month 5GB 4G LTE SIM card from Mint Mobile to get you started and help you stay connected during this season of uncertainty. Even if you already have another SIM card to use, it's nice to have a second option to help you stay in touch with family, friends, and coworkers.
The retail package includes a silicone case, two screen protectors (one is mounted on the phone), a removable battery (yes, user-replaceable), and a charger.
Nuu Mobile X6 hands-on review: in pictures
The Nuu Mobile X6 is powered by Android 9 Pie, but also just received the 5 March monthly Android security update. While we can't count on the major software updates for low-cost devices, it's great to see that Nuu Mobile is staying current on the security updates. The phone runs a very stock version of Android with Google Chrome, Gboard, Google Files, Gmail, and more. Since it is unlocked there is no bloatware from US carriers installed. The only Nuu Mobile apps are the FM radio, sound recorder, and SIM toolkit. The camera software is also made for the phone.
Launching the camera gives you options to capture monochrome photos, video, pictures, beauty shots, Bokeh shots, and night mode images. There is also a manual pro mode available so you can control the fine details of the camera. The front-facing camera supports mono, video, picture, and beauty modes. The beauty mode has a slider to control the strength of the beauty effects.
Daily experiences and conclusions
There are always compromises when you use a low-cost smartphone and for the most part I have seen some slightly slower responses to app launches and limited camera performance. However, movies have played flawlessly, communications has been fine, and I've gone full days with the battery. The phone even supports WiFi Calling on T-Mobile with a Mint Mobile SIM inside, which is great when a significant number of Americans are working from inside where they can stay connected to WiFi.
I've been pleasantly surprised by the Nuu Mobile X6 and think it is a solid device to start with for younger folks and seniors who may not have a mobile phone. It's a good phone for events like we are currently experiencing with a battery that can be replaced by the user so you can carry extras and make sure you stay connected even if you are dealing with temporary situations where you don't have access to a power outlet or charger.
For just $100, you can get everyone connected with a phone and cell service for at least three months. Due to COVID-19, direct sales from Nuu Mobile are impacted so check out its Amazon store for current availability.
If you want an affordable phone, currently $109.99, that is fully washable with soap and water so you can keep coronavirus off of it, then you may want to consider the Nuu Mobile R1.
This rugged phone has a large 4,000 mAh battery, 5-inch display, 8-megapixel rear camera, IP68 dust and water resistance, and certified to MIL-STD 810G shock and impact standards.