ZTE Nubia Z7 mini first impressions: defies its name with loaded specs

“Don’t be fooled by its ‘mini’ branding, the Nubia Z7 mini is a powerful smartphone and comes with loaded specs”

Chinese brand ZTE is now moving forward in the lucrative Indian market with all guns blazing. After its budget-oriented V5 (review) and the solid phablet Grand S2 (first impressions), the company will be launching the Nubia Z7 mini which will go on sale next month. The device is a part of the brand’s flagship trio, which also consists of the Nubia Z7 and Nubia Z7 Max.

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We are still curious as to why the the brand chose to launch the Nubia Z7 mini in India first and not the other variants, but there’s no doubt that the Z7 Mini is a powerful device, even though it sports a ‘mini’ branding. Moreover, it’s only ‘mini’ when compared to its 5.5-inch display-toting siblings, and otherwise its size is equivalent to most smartphones these days.

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We were able to spend quality time with the smartphone at its launch event to bring you our first impressions.

With a 5-inch display, the ZTE Nubia Z7 mini is similar in size to the V5. However, the similarities end right there, as the former comes across as a better-designed product, even though it’s fashioned out of plastic. The device also feels lighter as it tips the scale at 143g. Though the demo unit we played around with came in white, the handset is available in a riot of colours such as black, red, green and yellow. Instead of the blue accents on the V5, the Nubia Z7 mini features bright red accents. Red backlighting on the Android navigation keys and around the camera instantly makes the device quite distinct and look good too, at the same time. The home key gets a large circular backlighting and also doubles up as the multitasking menu when long-pressed. On its either side, the options menu and the back key light up as small red dots.

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Both the volume keys and the power button with metallic texture offer good feedback and are available on the right spine of the device. The 3.5mm port is present on the top, while the bottom houses the micro-USB port.

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On the rear, the smartphone features the camera unit along with an LED flash, Nubia branding, a speaker grille. Prying open the back panel of the ZTE Nubia Z7 mini will give you access to a pair of SIM cards and a micro-SD card, however the battery isn’t removable.

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Inside the phone’s chassis lies a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chip. However, instead of the usual clock speed of 2.2 or 2.5GHz, the SoC runs at slightlylower clock speed of 2.0GHz. For graphics, the device utilises an Adreno 330 GPU. In terms of memory, the ZTE Nubia Z7 mini offers 2GB RAM and 16GB storage. Sadly, just like the V5, the internal storage is bifurcated in two separate chunks, though the combined space of 11.5GB should satisfy the needs of most users. Additionally, users can make use of the expansion slot to increase the storage.

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For imagery, the smartphone is loaded with a 13-megapixel camera at the back. With an LED flash, the shooter can also click images in poorly-lit conditions. On the front, the ZTE Nubia Z7 mini rocks a 5MP fixed-focus camera. The custom camera app provides a ton of settings and options, available in different shooting modes of Auto, Pro and Fun. Both the shooters can record full HD videos at 30fps.

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Unlike the ZTE Grand S2, the Nubia Z7 Mini offers the newer Android KitKat. However, what’s confusing is that the company has chosen a different customisation layer for its Nubia series, which goes by the name of Nubia UI, while the Grand S2 offered MiFavor customisation. ZTE’s software overlay brings a new interface to the device, which includes a unified home screen and the applications menu. The UI also offers numerous gesture-based features as well.

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The dual-SIM smartphone accepts micro-SIM cards, and supports 3G networks. Other connectivity options are dual-band Wi-Fi along with support for the latest ac standard, Bluetooth and GPS. The ZTE Nubia Z7 mini gets power from an embedded 2,300mAh battery.

ZTE has neither shared pricing details of the smartphone, nor its exact launch date in India. However, we expect it to be priced in the region of Rs 20,000, which will make the Nubia Z7 mini a compelling offering.

Rahul Gupta contributed to this article. Video by Pratik Vyas

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