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Forget dual cameras, this phone has dual screens

Taking a novel approach to selfies, the Nubia X's second screen is a massive viewfinder.

Bucking all of the hot smartphone trends, Chinese company Nubia introduced a new flagship phone with just one camera and no notch. Originally announced on Oct. 2018, Nubia demoed the phone at this year's CES

The phone is unique because the Nubia X has two screens -- one on the front, and a second on the back for setting up the perfect selfie. 

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The Nubia X.

César Salza/CNET

The Nubia X comes equipped with a primary 6.3-inch LCD display and a secondary, rear-facing 5.1-inch OLED. The second display eliminates the need for the front camera found on most phones, which is usually technically inferior and embedded in an unsightly notch -- think Apple iPhone XS and Google Pixel 3 XL. When you flip the Nubia X around, the second display activates and boom, there's your dedicated viewfinder for selfies. 

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This kind of thing has been done before, kind of. In 2014, the YotaPhone 2 came out of Russia equipped with a standard front LCD and a secondary E Ink display on the back. It was designed to let you read e-books for long periods without draining the battery. But the E Ink technology wan't great, and the phone was too expensive to become anything more than a niche device. On paper, at least, the Nubia X appears to have more potential to help dual-screen devices hit the mainstream. 

In addition to the two displays -- and an in-screen fingerprint scanner, like the one found on the OnePlus 6T unveiled earlier this week -- the Nubia X has a respectable array of features. Here are the specs listed on Nubia's Chinese-language website (as translated by Google):

  • Front display: 6.3-inch LCD, 2,280x1,080-pixel resolution
  • Rear display: 5.1-inch OLED, 1,520x720-pixel resolution
  • Nubia's own UI, based on Android 8.1 Oreo
  • In-screen fingerprint scanner
  • Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
  • Adreno 630 GPU
  • 6GB or 8GB of RAM
  • Up to 128GB of storage
  • 3,800-mAh battery
  • Dimensions (HWD): 6 x 2.9 x 0.33 inches (152 x 74 x 8.4 mm)
  • Weighs 6.4 ounces (181 grams)

In 2015, Chinese electronics giant ZTE spun off Nubia into its own brand. Though some ZTE and Nubia phones have been released outside of China, the Nubia X will only be sold in China. However, the company confirmed it was working on its sequel for 2019, and hopes to sell the upcoming phone in other markets.

Editors' Note: This piece was originally published on Oct. 31, 2018 and has been updated with additional information from CES 2019.