I thought I’d hate this cheap Android phone. It proved me wrong

A person holding the Nuu B30 Pro.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

I like phones like the Nuu B30 Pro. Not because it’s a Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra rival or that it does something spectacular we’ve never seen before — it’s because it is way better than I thought it was going to be.

I admit that I may have judged the Nuu B30 Pro a little harshly before using it, but I’m also happy to admit my flash judgment was wrong. Here’s why you shouldn’t write the Nuu B30 Pro off as just another cheap Android phone to ignore.

Why did I hastily judge the Nuu B30 Pro?

A person holding the Nuu B30 Pro, showing the screen.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

There are a lot of cheap Android phones from brands you may not know very well for sale online, in stores, and through retailers like Amazon. You take a risk by getting one, knowing the phone may not be very efficient or powerful, the software may be ugly and slow, and the camera may be feeble. The Nuu B30 Pro initially rises above those phones by costing $300 (or $270 if you’re quick enough to get the early bird deal), but the iPhone-like camera module, Android 13 software, and optimistic camera blurb (“professional-grade,” whatever that means) quickly cause expectations to fall.

When you get the phone out of the box, though, things start to look up. The Gorilla Glass rear panel and Dragontrail glass on the front both curve steeply at the sides, giving the phone a fancy style that wouldn’t have been out of place on a flagship phone five or six years ago. The chassis is plastic, but the glass gives it an upmarket feel in your hand, and you hardly notice it unless you deliberately stroke the top and base of the phone. It’s well-balanced and light.

A person holding the Nuu B30 Pro, showing the side of the phone.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The shimmering blue/green finish on my phone looks good, and although I’m not a fan of the camera layout (trying to make it look like an iPhone is part of the reason I harshly judged it early on), it’s certainly not hideous — just derivative. The Nuu B30 Pro impressed me when I picked it up, and continued to do so as I set up the software and played a few games. It feels good to hold and looks great in the unusual color. It was at this point where I began to think I’d misjudged the Nuu B30 Pro and hoped it would continue to prove me wrong.

What it’s like using the Nuu B30 Pro

The Nuu B30 Pro's app drawer screen.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Nuu has chosen the MediaTek Dimensity 7050 processor to power the B30 Pro, and my device has 12GB of RAM, plus up to 6GB more from a RAM booster feature that robs the extra from the 256GB of internal storage space. The midrange chip came out in early 2023, and while it did stutter occasionally during the frantic opening seconds of Asphalt 9: Legends races, it soon settled down and performed well.

It also happily seems to run Android 13 on the Nuu B30 Pro. It’s unfortunate that you’ll have to wait for an Android 14 upgrade, but it’s wonderful to find Nuu has not altered the software much and left Android mostly alone. The notification shade, app drawer, and Settings screen are all logical and unchanged, so Android retains its natural speed and ease of use. Outside of a couple of Nuu apps and an FM Radio, there are no additional unwanted apps preinstalled either, so the phone instantly feels like your own and requires only basic setup.

A person holding the Nuu B30 Pro, showing the charging port.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The screen is a 6.7-inch AMOLED with a switchable refresh rate between 60Hz and 120Hz, and it gets suitably bright too. It’s not the most color-accurate and returns a very different tone compared to the iPhone 15 Pro Max, for example, but it’s pleasant enough for video and games. What I really love is the full always-on screen, something that’s missing from the Redmi Note 13 Pro Plus I used recently, as well as many Motorola phones There’s a 5,000mAh battery and 30-watt wired charging.

The cameras are what you’d expect

The Nuu B30 Pro's camera module.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The camera on the Nuu B30 Pro is typical for phones at this price. There may be three cameras on the back, but you should only pay attention to one of them. The main 108-megapixel camera takes solid photos with a pleasant tone that are great for sharing online, but not so overly saturated that they become unnatural looking. There’s a shortcut to a 2x zoom in the camera app, and although it’s not an optical telephoto, the photos are decent without too much pixelation.

But it gets worse from here on. The 8MP wide-angle camera lacks detail, and the software compensates by smoothing a lot of the image out. If you try to shoot in anything other than daylight, the results are very poor. The 2MP macro camera, as usual, doesn’t add anything to the experience. Having one usable camera out of three may sound like a poor deal, but it’s pretty standard for phones at this price. That doesn’t make it acceptable, but don’t feel like you’re being shortchanged.

The Nuu B30 Pro uses Google Photos as the gallery app, and during the preorder period, Nuu will give you a year of Google One Basic access for free — adding 100GB of storage and the entire Google Photos editing suite, including Magic Eraser. This neat bonus helps make up for the camera’s shortcomings, but it’s a shame you will only qualify for it if you order the phone very soon.

Should you buy the Nuu B30 Pro?

The Nuu B30 Pro's Quick Settings screen.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The Nuu B30 Pro has impressed me more than I expected, but it’s essential to understand that you’re not getting features like wireless charging, any water or dust resistance, a multiyear software update commitment, or eye-catchers like the Nothing Phone 2a’s Glyph lights. However, it’s reasonably priced at $300, and the software is simpler and less cluttered than on some other cheap phones. I like that it’s a throwback to beautifully designed curvy phones like the Huawei P30 Pro.

It’s important to note this is not a review, but a first impressions piece based on a short time with the phone, and I have not tested the battery life or the software’s reliability or seen how it is to use every day. Negatives I have noticed include the phone getting warmer than expected while playing games, even though I wasn’t playing anything too intensive, suggesting this isn’t going to be a phone for hardcore mobile gamers. The in-display fingerprint sensor works, but it’s not the fastest or most accurate I’ve used. Neither of these things are unexpected or serious deal breakers.

The back of the Nuu B30 Pro.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The Nuu B30 Pro is a 5G Android phone for the bargain hunter who wants something a bit different, but crucially also wants to avoid the inherent risks — terrible software, laggy performance, and rubbish design — that often come with buying outside the established brand names.

The Nuu B30 Pro didn’t deserve the harsh judgment I bestowed on it before getting it out of the box. While it isn’t a phone you should buy instead of a Google Pixel 8, a OnePlus 12R, or a Nothing Phone 2a, it’s far less compromised than I expected it to be and may be an alternative to the OnePlus Nord N30. It seems you could do a lot worse than making the Nuu your new phone.

Editors’ Recommendations