With the Smartisan Nut Pro 2 a new manufacturer found its way into the Chinahandys.net test laboratory. Few people have ever heard of the Smartisan company. For several years the Smartisans could be found occasionally in China shops to get a few clicks via Google. Smartisan itself is quite young for a premium manufacturer and only released its first smartphone, the Smartisan T1, in mid-2014. The in-house operating system Smartisan OS tries to find its own way. But to improve what has been tried and tested is easier said than done, as you can see in the test. The Nut Pro 2 is available in 4 different colours and 5 memory versions (4/32, 4/64, 6/64, 6/128 and 6/256GB). The price varies between 271 and 497$, depending on the version. For a smartphone with Snapdragon 660 processor and otherwise also coherent equipment, it is a comprehensible price. We have put the Smartisan Nut 2 Pro through its paces.
Information in advance: in order to use the Smartisan Nut Pro 2 properly, you have to flash the phone with a deep flash cable! Alternatively, order the device without Custom ROM!
Design and build quality
With a glass rear and stable metal frame, the Smartisan Nut 2 Pro is on the cutting edge of time. Although the glass rear would be suitable for Qi Wireless Charging, this is not possible with the device. The dimensions are 154 x 73 x 7.5 mm, making the Nut 2 Pro a very thin smartphone. Even though the device has a 6-inch display in 18:9 format, one-handed operation is not always possible. The 73mm in width provide for a pleasant position in the hand. With a weight of only 156g the device is remarkably light and looks a little like a plastic toy. However, the outstanding build quality comforts over this initial blemish without any problems. The transitions of the glass into the stable-looking metal frame are excellently implemented. The smartphone looks as if it’s made of one piece. The keys are round, consist of metal and fit absolutely perfectly in the casing. On the right you find 3 buttons; volume control (+ and -) and the power button. On the left side, next to the SIM slot, there is another button for the language assistant, which is only suitable for China. Only 2 Nano-SIMs fit into the SIM slot, a memory expansion is therefore not possible. Here everyone should decide in advance for themselves how much storage you need, because there are 5 versions available.
The Smartisan Nut Pro is operated via on-screen buttons and a notification LED on the top informs you about missed messages. The bezels are very slim with 2mm and above and below the display there are only 8mm. The fingerprint sensor on the rear serves at the same time as the strange Smartisan logo. Regardless of the funny logo, the fingerprint sensor simply works perfectly and unlocks the smartphone with 100% accuracy within 0.5 seconds directly from standby. Alternatively, Face-Unlock is also available, but works not really fast. It can be set up as a supplement to the fingerprint sensor, but it can’t be used for more. As far as security’s concerned, my brother was able to unlock the phone. However, it is not possible with a simple picture. A modern Type-C USB connection can be found next to a loudspeaker and the microphone at the bottom. Unfortunately, you have to do without a jack connection here.
I was pleasantly surprised by the single mono speaker at the bottom. It delivers a loud, differentiated and noise-free sound. The quality is audibly superior to a OnePlus 6, Mi6 or Mix 2S. Really impressive what Smartisan did here. If you attach great importance to clear and loud sound, the Smartisan Nut Pro 2 is the best choice. Otherwise, the build quality of the smartphone is simply excellent. Except for the strange logo on the rear, nothing disturbs visually about the black briquette. Placing the front camera in the middle without notch is also an interesting step. If you like glass smartphones and light devices, the Smartisan device is the right choice for you. The Smartisan Nut Pro 2 has definitely reached the premium smartphone sector in terms of design and build quality.
The Smartisan Nut Pro 2 offers a 6-inch IPS display. It has a 2160 x 1080 pixels resolution, resulting in a razor-sharp 402 pixels per inch. First of all, the high colour saturation of the IPS display is striking. So for the first few days I even thought it was an AMOLED panel. If you like unnatural and exaggerated colours, Smartisan Nut Pro 2 is definitely the right choice. The colour temperature can be adjusted in the options menu and a night mode (blue light filter) is also available. The contrast is also very convincing for an IPS display and black really looks black. No matter from which angle you look at the display, the colours remain almost unchanged and so does the legibility. The brightness of the display is also convincing. Even in direct sunlight the readability is still OK and otherwise there are no problems on bright days. The automatic brightness control also works well, but I had to set the default value very low, because otherwise it was always too bright for me.
The touch screen registers up to 10 points of contact simultaneously and carries out all inputs very precisely. The display is protected from scratches by Corning Gorilla glass and the device passed our scratch test on the front and rear without damage. Unfortunately, both sides are susceptible to fingerprints and grease marks, which is however normal for glass. There is nothing to complain about on the display and even AMOLED fans get their money’s worth.
If you are looking for the perfect mix of performance and energy efficiency, the Snapdragon 660 is a must-have. Only the 636 from the Redmi Note 5 would be the somewhat less powerful alternative. The 660 is my favorite mid-range processor because the difference to much more expensive high-end devices is no longer noticeable with normal use. The Snapdradon 660 is manufactured in a 14 nanomillimeter process and based on 8 Kryo 260 cores. The cores clock sufficiently high at 4 x 1.8 and 4 x 2.2GHz. The CPU is supported by an Adreno 512 GPU with 850MHz clock rate and 4 or 6GB memory.Antutu Result Geekbench Multi Result Geekbench Single Result 3D Mark Result
The eMMC memory chip achieves solid reading/writing rates of 240/200 MB/s. The LPDDR4 RAM can also keep up with a Xiaomi Mi Note 3 with 6.3GB/s. The system performance is extremely fluent, apps install in a second and there are no delays or lags.
The heat management is convincing and after one hour of playing PubG Mobile the temperature is not above 38° at the warmest point. Even demanding 3D games are no problem for the Smartisan Nut Pro 2 and are played with ease. The benchmarks are on a par with other SD660 smartphones.
Smartisan OS on Android basis
The Smartisan Nut Pro 2 runs with the current system version 18.104.22.168 and received already two updates in the 3-week test phase. The system still runs on Android 7.1, but an update to Android 8 is quite possible. There are a bunch of additional China Apps ex works, all of which can be uninstalled. Only a few system apps remain.
Attention! Our Smartisan Nut Pro 2 was delivered by Banggood with a custom ROM. We assume that this custom ROM is also available at other online shops. With this custom ROM, Google Playstore is pre-installed. Unfortunately, the system with the custom ROM jerked significantly and no OTA updates are possible. We recommend to order the Smartisan Nut Pro 2 with the official China ROM and to add the Playstore to it afterwards and to use the Playstore Apps in English (or another language) with Morelocal 2. In order to get rid of the custom ROM, you need a deep flash cable and then just follow these instructions.
To install the Google Playstore on your fresh Smartisan OS, simply download and install the Google Installer (Google GMS) in the Smartisan Playstore. Then you can use all Google Apps as usual. Additionally, you can use the apps from the Google Playstore with the app Morelocal 2 in other languages as well. Instructions for using apps in other language can be found here!
Smartisan OS is an optically and technically highly adapted system and goes a different way in many areas. Some features that Stock Android also offers are being made worse – while others are simply being revolutionized. First, let’s talk about optical aspects. The app launcher is surprisingly monotonous, but can be further customized in the options menu. Like with most China Custom ROMs, there is no app drawer (overview page with all apps) and you have to organize your apps in folders. This looks very chic and like a bookcase. Multitasking is displayed together with the quick start bar. If you drag the top bar down, you will find the individual app notifications in a structured way. It takes some time to get used to the settings menu and try out the settings. Many settings are in other places than you know it from Stock Android. But this is the case with all known custom ROMs, also with MIUI or Flyme OS. Smartisan does not only try hard visually, as with fullscreen apps for example, a volume control tab is displayed at the top and at the same time you can adjust the screen brightness at the bottom.
Technically, Smartisan OS has a special multitasking mode called Onestep. Once you activate it, you’ll find apps on the right side between which you can switch and at the top you can use images, files and copied text in all the different apps. The feature is quite practical and well solved, because e.g. the copy function even has a history. This means that you can also use copied content that dates back a little further. I had the Smartisan Nut Pro 2 with me during my holiday in Vietnam and this function was often used because I didn’t have a laptop with me and had to sort some things out with my smartphone. The so-called IdeaPills are also very practical: A to-do list, which you can drag in at any time from the right edge of the screen and see and tick off your created to-do points. A perfected notification management is also available in the Smartisan OS.
Unfortunately, there are occasional problems with notifications. If you don’t use your smartphone for a longer time, notifications are only sent every 10-20 minutes, so with a significant delay. However, this was not the case for permanent use on holiday; here, the system seems to aggressively restrict background use. Unfortunately, the system does not offer a split-screen mode either.
Before the test, it was hard for me to imagine that a “small” manufacturer like Smartisan could present such a complex and lovingly designed system. Apart from small obstacles during the initial setup and possibly a deep flash because of a crappy China Custom ROM, the Smartisan scores well in terms of the system. Maybe there will be devices with Global ROM in the next years. Otherwise, the system runs very smoothly and is largely bug-free.
The Smartisan Nut Pro 2 provides a contemporary dual camera setup consisting of a 12 megapixel Sony IMX386 sensor with f/1.8 aperture in combination with a 5 megapixel Samsung S5K4E8 sensor with f/2.0 aperture. The second camera can only be used in combination with the main sensor and is responsible for the depth of field in bokeh shots. The algorithm for the bokeh shots was developed by Arcsoft and provides natural-looking images without problematic outliers. So, Bokeh shots can definitely be done well. Even in terms of normal shots, the Smartisan Nut Pro 2 surprises, not only because of the low price, with strong images. The main camera sensor is already known from the Mi6, Mi Note 3, Mi Max 2 and Mi Mix 2. However, the software makes the difference and especially the natural colour representation is convincing. The large lens opening also largely keeps the image noise level low. In daylight, the images are razor-sharp and full of details. Unfortunately, the HDR mode rarely brings a nice added value.
Videos can be recorded in 4K and are stabilized by an EIS. The result is quite respectable, but it is a little far from the great stabilizing of Redmi Note 5. The videos, however, convince just like the pictures with many details and good sharpness.
The front camera sensor is also up-to-date with a 16 megapixel Samsung S5K3P8SP sensor. Videos in FHD with 30 FPS are possible in good lighting conditions, but the recordings are not stabilized. Beside Face-Beauty also Bokeh pictures are possible with the software. Both succeed very well, although the intelligent beauty mode is only suitable for Chinese people, unless you like to look like an alien. Otherwise, the Smartisan Nut Pro 2 produces nice selfies, although image noise occurs quickly in low light. The front camera is also used for the face unlock, but it is no longer possible to unlock the smartphone by face in the dark. In normal lighting conditions the unlocking is fast and except for my brother nobody could unlock it.
The camera app is worth to be mentioned, too. It is maximally changed and the options menu can only be found by swiping to the left. Meaning: you have to search for the different functions and settings first. Once you got used to it, you can use the Smartisan Camera App without hesitation and find not only a QR code scanner but also a Pro mode or an HDR function.
Connectivity and communication
The Smartisan Nut Pro 2, like every Chinese smartphone, offers a dual SIM function. On the left side, 2 Nano-SIM can be inserted into the slot; memory expansion is not possible due to the 5 available memory versions. The Smartisan supports most of all necessary frequencies. The call quality is high and the noise-canceling microphone at the top provides a usable speakerphone. The signal strength when talking and using mobile data is exemplary.
|4G||FDD-LTE||B1 / B2 / B3 / B4 / B5 / B7 / B8|
|TD-LTE||B38 / B38 / B39 / B40 / B41|
|3G||WCDMA||B1 / B2 / B4 / B5 / B8|
|TD-SCDMA||B34 / B39|
|EVDO||BC0 / BC1|
|2G||GSM||B2 / B3 / B5 / B8|
|CDMA 1X||BC0 / BC1|
Modern WIFI with ac standard in 2.4 and 5 GHz network is also supported. Range and data throughput are fully convincing. The Bluetooth 5.0 module works without any problems. NFC is only available in the 256GB version; OTG is supported by the USB-Type-C connection.
The GPS reception never created problems. The position is determined to an accuracy of 3-4m within a few seconds and was maintained constantly. There were no problems neither as a pedestrian nor in the car.
If you can do without NFC, the Smartisan Nut Pro 2 provides you with the latest reception standards and offers outstanding performance. Besides the 3 standard sensors (acceleration, brightness and approximation), there are also a compass and gyroscope available.
BatteryBattery lifetime Result Unit: hours
The Smartisan Nut Pro 2 provides a 3500 mAh battery and supports Quick-Charge 3.0. Thus, the device is fully charged again after one hour and 20 minutes. The partly aggressive app management benefits the battery life especially in standby mode. This way the device loses only 3-5% of the battery overnight. The daily run time is also surprisingly positive. Watching a one-hour YouTube video consumes 12% of the battery, when set on medium brightness. In the PC-Mark battery test, the device achieves a solid 9 hours. Spread over 2 days, you get a DOT (time with display on) of 7-8 hours, which makes the Smartisan Nut Pro 2 a 2-day smartphone for normal users. On holiday, I also managed to drain the battery to in one day with a lot of YouTube and navigation.