ZTE is bringing yet another of its rare smartphones to the US, this time offering it without any carrier support or subsidy. The nubia 5S mini's 13 megapixel camera and focus on digital photography features, however, might make it a more interesting pick compared to the manufacturer's previous devices, even or especially those limited edition marketing gimmicks.
The nubia 5S mini LTE, a name that is likely to cause some confusion, is, for all intents and purposes, a mid-range device. It runs on a 1.2 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400, with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage, expandable up to 32 GB via a microSD card. The 4.7-inch 1280x720 display might not sound impressive, but ZTE boasts that it has applied Sharp's power-saving IGZO technology. It is powered by a 2,000 mAh battery and is compatible with US LTE networks. Unfortunately, it only uses Android 4.3 instead of the latest KitKat.
While the specs may sound mediocre or decent at best, ZTE is selling this device more as a camera-centric smartphone than an Android powerhouse. The 13-megapixel rear camera comes with a BSI sensor and an F2.2 aperture, is made up of five pieces of precision optical lens and protected by sapphire glass. The front piece is no underdog either with a 5 megapixel sensor. Of course, there are various software features designed to take advantage of that hardware, including different camera modes for different needs, editing and filter effects, as well as a "smile trigger" for easier selfies. ZTE is claiming to offer a DSLR-like photography experience with controls and photo editing capabilities.
ZTE will be selling the nubia 5S mini LTE unlocked through Amazon. The company claims that this shows its confidence in its product, meaning that they're confident users will buy them without the help of US carriers. The smartphone costs $279.99 and comes in only one color configuration of white with black front bezels. The nubia 5S mini LTE will officially launch on August 27 but is already available today for pre-order from Amazon.