On April 9th, Smartisan held a conference in Beijing, and its third smartphone “Nut 3” targeting the mid-range market was officially released. Nut 3 comes in three colors: carbon black, wine red and light gold, with 4GB + 32 GB and 4 GB + 64 GB of RAM and storage to choose from, priced at 1299 ($206) yuan and 1599 yuan ($254) respectively.
The Nut 3 today shows no traces to the to the first Nut phone and the special Wenching edition from two years ago. After all, the Wenching version proved that you cannot reply on the group that the phone is named after, the “literati youth”, to generate a profit. The Smartisan Nut Pro built from scratch was successful, and overly-unique designs were corrected on the Smartisan Nut Pro 2 as well.
Nut Pro 2 also became one of the most popular Smartisan phones, and remains so after the release of Nut 3.
Nut 3’s overall design is very similar to Nut Pro 2, with double-sided glass, metal frames with a matte finish, chamfered edges, circular buttons, thin red lines, 18:9 aspect ratio bezel-less screen, hidden receiver and sensor.
However, its details are more similar to the Nut Pro: the 2.5 D curved glass screen is gone, the arrangement of the rear cameras and bottom bezel are all the same.
A lot of people might focus on the bottom bezel, since it’s really rather obvious. On the bottom, there is a front camera and a fingerprint recognizer. According to Smartisan, few manufacturers can make such a narrow fingerprint recognizer.
Smartisan also added a faint line to the bottom bezel, between the fingerprint recognizer and the edge of the screen. The purpose of this faint line is unclear, but it gives people an illusion that the bezel is narrower.
Although the design of bezel-less on three sides is not new, it has rarely appeared in entry-level product lines such as the Nut before. In other words, it differentiates the Smartisan Nut 3 from its competitors in the same price range.
Smartisan Nut 3 is very much like a combination of Nut Pro and Nut Pro 2. It is light like the Pro 2, not as weird-looking as the Nut Pro, but still unique enough.
Another factor restricted by product positioning and cost is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor. It is a bit disappointing when this two-year-old processor appeared on a mobile phone in 2018, since its competitors are already equipped with Snapdragon 636.
During the few hours of use after the press conference, there seems to be no problem with the fluency of the system thanks to the optimization of the Smartisan OS. Of course, if you want to use it for playing games like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) then you will be disappointed. You’ll experiences sight lags and frame drops which is predictable.
However, Snapdragon 625 plus a powerful 4000 mAh battery, although not suitable for playing PUBG, ensures a long battery life.
Cameras on the Nut 3 utilizes a combination of 13MP plus 13MP colored and monochrome sensors, where the monochrome lens is used for improving details and brightness. Here are some sample shots:
The imaging ability of Nut 3 is somewhat in line with its positioning. On the whole, under adequate lighting, its color reproduction capability is rather good, with no color cast, while white balance is also accurate. However the loss of details is serious, with obvious smearing and rather low overall crispness. Also it’s a bit weird with the HDR effect on, which needs further adjustments.
As always, more user-friendly functions have been added to the Smartisan OS. This time, it’s a function that automatically takes the phone to selfie mode. Since the front-facing camera is placed at the bottom, taking selfies the usual way can produce unusual images, thus the phone must be flipped upside down to take a normal selfie.
When the screen is lit up, locked or not, the phone will automatically enter into selfie mode if you pick up the phone with the camera side on top. It saves the extra step of opening the camera function and then reversing the phone. The speed of activating self-mode after picking it up is very fast. However, if the phone is locked and the screen is black, then the function will no longer work.
The Nut 3 did not meet previous expectations of upgrading Smartisan’s brand image with its release but you cannot ask for too much when it is only sold at 1,299 yuan ($206).
We said that last year’s Nut Pro 2 showed that Smartisan is becoming a mature manufacturer. Smartisan’s CTO Wu Dezhou said after the conference that Smartisan will establish a complete product line of low, medium and high-range products. The Nut 3 is an entry-level product and the Nut Pro Series targets mid-range consumers.
Smartisan’s highly anticipated flagship series might be revealed at their next press conference on May 15th, while the existing Nut and Nut Pro series will continue to be sold.