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Nubia Z9 Mini Hands-on, First Impressions

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So many new entrants in the Indian market recently, and each of them have their own way of attracting users. The latest one, is Nubia, a subsidiary brand from ZTE. But what got launched, was not something one would’ve wanted to see. Mini version of its flagship Z9? why not a flagship directly? whatever the reason, here’s Nubia Z9 Mini and it will be from a company that functions independently, just like Yu (part of Micromax).

A glass body, decent specs and a very good looking design, but is the Nubia Z9 Mini a worthy device for the price of Rs. 16,999? Too early to say, but the early thoughts still incline towards the “no” side, because you’d expect this to be priced at par with the price of Mi 4i from Xiaomi, which has almost similar specs, but the camera on the Nubia Z9 Mini seem to be much better on paper.

The glass back on the Nubia Z9 Mini has what they call it as “Star texture finish”, with a dotted pattern that is under the glass layer, and thus, the smooth glass attracts fingerprints. Metallic frame on the side, glass body on the front and back, makes it look and feel quite premium. And to add to that, every port and button is placed just right, and even the touch buttons on the front bottom is very responsive. The center home button has a ring that acts as a notification light, and glows when there are pending notifications.

OGS 5-inch screen has a Full HD display, giving it the 441 PPI of pixel density, quite standard but this looks quite sharp and good. The screen comes with a Gorilla Glass 3 protection, and we aren’t told whether the back glass panel also is protected or not. To be fair, we haven’t even scratched the back panel to check if it resists that, or is prone to easy scratching.

A Chinese brand, so how would you expect the interface to be? like iOS. No surprises here, you won’t find an app drawer, and everything on the home screen of Nubia V2.8 UI based on Android Lollipop. But frankly, the UI seems very polished, and has a neat look with dark look to begin with, but the themes section helps in personalization.

Now, why did we talk about its similarity with Xiaomi Mi 4i, is because of the internal specs. Qualcomm Snapdragon 615, MSM8939 octa-core chipset is exactly what powers both the devices, and 2GB of RAM and 16GB internal storage is the same as well. But, the Nubia Z9 Mini rocks a MicroSD card slot for storage expansion.

One of the most interesting parts about the device, though we couldn’t already test it to the fullest, is the camera combination. A 16-megapixel camera on the back, and a 8-megapixel camera for the selfies, is what you can have on the Z9 Mini. Although the company claims a lot about this, and call it a quality of DSLR, that is being said more than what it actually is. Of course the camera on the back of the phone is quite good, but comparing with a DSLR camera has just become a trend, and it is true that the captures are not as good on the smartphone comparably. The F/2.0 aperture and software support seem to be helping in taking good photos in low light conditions.

While ZTE / Nubia tried to show how well they have worked on every aspect to make this device, we’ll know how well it does, only after using it for a few days. On the connectivity front, the Nubia Z9 Mini has Dual SIM with 4G LTE connectivity (4G FDD-LTE).

Parts of Nubia Z9 Mini

So far, so good. The Nubia Z9 Mini doesn’t disappoint in any aspect, and we still feel it is priced a little higher than what it should’ve been, especially for a new entrant that is launching its first device in a market as big as India.

[Inputs by Shimon Das]

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