The online-only mantra seems to be working for most brands. After the success of Xiaomi, OnePlus and the sub-brands such as YU from Micromax and Honor from Huawei, it's ZTE who has introduced Nubia in the Indian market. Available exclusively on Amazon India, the Z9 Mini is the first offering from Nubia in India.
Design: In the age of all touch phones, having a distinctive design seems next to impossible. This Z9 Mini has a solid built and my review unit in black looked stunning. The sleek design reminded me of the LG Chocolate range. While most of them were sliders, Z9 Mini has a similar glossy effect in a candy bar and holding it in the hand caught a lot of attention. The Z9 Mini has a 5inch touch display with 1920x1080p resolution. The circular home button under the screen illuminates in bright red, complementing the overall looks of the phone. A red colour ring has been added to the camera too. With the nano-SIM slots placed on the side, I first thought it to be a uni-body design. But the rear panel is removable, giving access to micro SD card slot that accepts up to 128GB of expandable memory. The glossy front and the rear attract a lot of smudges. It feels sleek at 8.2mm and weighs only 147 grams.
Performance: One good thing about Nubia Z9 Mini is that it runs on the Android Lollipop but is customised to a great extent. It has the Nubia UI, the customised user interface with custom apps, app icons, menu and more. There isn't any app drawer and all the apps and widgets are on the home screens. There is a slip screen option that allows two apps to run side by side. The custom UI isn't annoying and you will get a hang of it quickly. The performance was also impressive as it managed to run all the apps without crashing or slowing down. It played HD videos smoothly and browsing in multiple tabs was fast. Multitasking or switching between multiple running apps was easy. The phone is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 615, 64-bit 8core processor clocked at 1.5Ghz and is paired with 2GB RAM. However, the phone heats up after a few minutes of gaming or capturing images or videos. It scored decently in synthetic benchmarks too, with 15,490 in Quadrant Standard and 33,150 in AnTuTu.
Camera: This smartphone has a 16MP rear camera and an 8MP front facing one. And it's not just the megapixel count, the phone's camera is actually worth praising. It manages to capture great images not only during day or in well lit surroundings but also in low light. The images were sharp and had depth. The colours looked natural. The colours looked natural. The colours looked natural. The camera app offers customisation and the Pro mode even offers more control over camera settings. The 8MP camera comes handy for capturing great selfies.
Battery: All the other features would have been a letdown if the company had not added a 3000mAh battery that lasted me a little over a day with heavy usage. If used moderately, the phone will easily last a day and a half.
Bag it or Junk it: A great smartphone but slightly overpriced. Faces stiff competition from Xiaomi Mi 4, Levovo Vibe X2 and OnePlus One.
Price: Rs 16,999
Plus: Design, Camera
Minus: Heating issues