Nubia Z9 mini: First impressions
Chinese handset maker ZTE knows well how to do things differently and perfecetly. The company recently launched Z9 Mini — which is the small variation of the Nubia Z9 flagship, in India. Falling into the upper mid-range devices category, it is a pretty impressive phone offering top-notch spec list. Here are our first impressions:
Design and Build
The Nubia Z9 Mini comes with a eye-catching design and looks absolutely stunning. It is built with an aircraft grade aluminum alloy frame and has a polycarbonate back panel. The removable back panel of the device features a diamond pattern and has a reflective, glass-like look, which ironically makes it vulnerable to smudges.
The front of Z9 Mini comes with a beautiful 5-inch full-HD OGS display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. The device fits firmly in the hand with its little curved metal sides. The thickness of the device is 8.1mm and it weighs 145 grams. Just below the display are three capacitive touch buttons. The right hand side of the smartphone features grey colored metal keys for power and volume controls. The left edge features a dual Nano SIM cards slot, just like the iPhone. On the top of the device sits the 3.5mm headphones jack and the secondary noise cancellation mic. At the bottom, you'll find the speaker grill, primary mic and Micro-USB charging/ data port.
On the back, there is a 16MP rear camera lens and the LED flash. To look different, the camera lens has a red coloured ring which you'll also find in the round Home button and other capacitive navigation keys (backlit in red).
The Nubia Z9 Mini offers an impressive 5-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) OGS display with a pixel density of 441ppi. The display itself is vivid, sharp, crisp and offers great viewing angles with no noticeable color shift. However, it is a bit reflective in the direct sunlight, but it may be due to the pre-installed screen protector. You can adjust many different settings to make the display look more appealing to your eyes. The touch panel of the device is very responsive. The bezels have been kept pretty narrow which adds to the rich display. In short, it is a great LCD panel.
The device comes with a 16MP Sony sensor with f/2.0 aperture. The ZTE phone comes pre-loaded the phone with a feature-rich Camera app and offers plenty of features including slow shutter, panorama, and video features. It also has a Pro mode for granular control. You can either shoot in auto mode or go pro and adjust different settings if you like to. The camera offers blazingly fast auto-focus speed, at par with flagships like iPhone 6 or Samsung Galaxy S6.
The picture quality delivered by the phone is impressive as the images delivered look sharp, vivid and with excellent color reproduction. While the camera gave excellent images in day light conditions, the low light performance was also good.
The device can only shoot maximum 1080p videos, and they are pretty sharp and smooth.
Nubia Z9 mini's selfie camera is 8MP with f/2.4 aperture. The images captured are rich in details, even in low light conditions.
Software and performance
The handset runs a highly customized version of Android 5.0.2 Lollipop. To give the UI a distinct flavor, the software skin Nubia UI is flush with custom apps, app icons, menus and transition effects. The UI is devoid of an app drawer and app icons and widgets are spread across the home screens.
Nubia UI offers a lot of functionality including features such as split screen to run two apps simultaneously and a one-hand use mode. While these features are common in large screen phones, it may appear handy on a 5-inch device. It also offers motion sensing gestures and double tap to unlock.
In addition, to make the device look the way you want, you also get many customisation options including tons of themes and wallpapers.
Under the hood, the ZTE Nubia Z9 Mini is powered by a 64-bit 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor, Adreno 405 GPU and 2GB RAM. It has 16GB internal storage and a microSD card slot that supports cards of up to 128GB. While the first quad core processor has a clock speed of 1.5 GHz, the second processor remains idle with four core and clock speed of 1 GHz. Adreno 405 graphic user interface is probably the best GPU in market and gives smooth HD and 3D gaming.
The phone is very responsive and gives no lag or shutter. You won't struggle to open multiple apps or browser tabs in the background.
Gaming and Connectivity
A gamut of sensors makes the Z9 mini a gaming console. It packs Accelerometer, Compass, Gyroscope and Proximity sensor. The Gyroscope sensor is one to read 6-axis tilting during the excitement of gaming.
The device supports 2G, 3G and 4G LTE bands on both slots.
The handset packs 2900mah battery for a device with 5 inch screen size. This means you can easily go through an entire day even in heavy usage.
At Rs 16,999, the ZTE Nubia Z9 Mini is a must buy smartphone. Though it may appear to be a little overpriced, if you go through its specs, you'll find it performing well in all departments. It has a flagship grade quality camera, great processor, has superb built quality, expandable storage, better battery life and eye-catching looks. It spots a beautiful 5 inch display and it makes the whole device compact and the addition of dual nano SIM card as well as micro SD card slots is a good thing. Also, the UI is fast and responsive, has a lots of customisation options, but has some artificial English translations.