Of all the methods that phone makers have used to get rid of frames and avoid slots in the display, the second screen should be lowered as the most complicated one. Who needs a selfie camera when you have a display on the back of your phone that you can use as a viewfinder? The most famous example so far is Vivo's 2018 Nex Dual Display Edition, though the company's return to pop-up selfies with the Nex 3 suggests it may not consider its experiment successful.
However, the ZTE spin-off of Nubia continues with the idea. After seeing a low-key message in China last year, the company is now iterating on the dual-display concept with the Z20, the latest iteration in its flagship Z-series. And unlike many tech-savvy Chinese phones, this one is actually available in the West ̵
In pure price-performance ratio, the Z20 would be quite competitive even without the second display. The phone costs $ 549 / € 550 / £ 499 and includes a Snapdragon 855 Plus processor, 8 GB RAM, 128 GB storage, triple camera setup with Sony's ubiquitous 48MP IMX586 sensor, along with the phone and ultra-wide lenses, battery from 4000 mAh, and a curved 6.4-inch 1080p OLED screen. So far, so the Chinese flagship phone for 2019, except that it runs more or less bangs, available Android 9.
Then roll it over.
The back of the Nubia Z20 has a shiny metallic finish that picks up fingerprints if you point it so much at it. But in a strange way, Nubia attributes this to the most obvious criticism, as the panel also hides a full 5.1-inch 720p OLED display. In addition to the most challenging lighting conditions and viewing angles, the screen looks almost seamlessly integrated into the phone's bezel.
Honestly, it's really cool. I've never been one for the always-on phone screens, but it's a completely different issue when it seems like beta fish are floating on the surface of the device itself. In use, the second screen is actually quite nice. You can use it for anything you could do on the main display, not just as a camera viewfinder. If you've ever wanted a small Android phone for one-handed use without compromising the times when you want a larger screen, this might be the phone for you. Unlike the 5.5-inch Nex Dual Display 16: 9 back panel, the Z20's second screen has a smaller aspect ratio and looks more like a slimmed-down version of a modern phone.
The Nex dual display had a confusing system where you would have to switch between screens with opposite sleep / wake buttons. I'm never used to it, but the Z20 does a better job. Although there are still sleep / wake buttons on both sides of the phone, it uses gesture gestures to find which screen you want to look at and I find that it works fine. Each button also has an integrated fingerprint sensor, which means you can unlock the phone the same way you hold it.
Compared to the Vivo Nex Dual Display, I prefer almost anything for the Z20 design. It's aesthetically sleeker, there's more reason to use the second screen outside the camera, and it's easier to switch between the two. This is easily the best iteration of the basic concept so far.
With that being said, I'm still not convinced that the concept is a great idea for anyone, but full-resolution selfie enthusiasts, Pop-up selfies have been around for almost two years and there didn't seem to be too many reports of phones with dead motors. Meanwhile, the notes continue to be no problem for the tens of millions of people who buy new iPhones every year, not to mention the hole designs Samsung has adopted for its lineup for 2019.