Plenty of US smartphone users have owned a ZTE device, but they might not know it. The Chinese OEM has been providing phones for carriers to re-brand for years, but its US presence has grown considerably. The unlocked Nubia 5S Mini will be a test of how positively the brand is viewed when it launches on August 27th for $279 on Amazon.


The Nubia 5S is an unlocked GSM/LTE handset with modest specs and a slim design. Here are the relevant deets from ZTE.

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 Quad Core with Adreno 305 GPU at 1.2 GHz
  • Battery: Li-ion 2000mAh
  • Dimensions: 134.8 x 65.8 x 7.6mm
  • Display: 4.7", HD 720 x 1280, 16.7M color
  • Memory: 16GB expandable to 32GB via micro SD
  • Network Compatibility: LTE, GSM, WCDMA
  • Operating System: Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
  • 13 megapixel rear-camera with a BSI image sensor and LED flash
  • 5 megapixel front-camera

The specs match a lot of other mid-range devices, and a 4.7-inch phone is becoming an increasingly rare find. ZTE is talking up its 13MP camera quite heavily—supposedly it's a big step up for the company's devices. Oddly, the Nubia 5S Mini will launch with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. We're coming up on the one year anniversary of KitKat, so that should really be the standard for new phones now. C'mon, ZTE. Oh well, you can't have everything.


Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • james pepper


  • Michael

    That's honestly a beautiful render! Not for me, verzion, but I definitely support what they're doing.

  • jm

    htc one (m7) has a 4.7 inch display. It wasnt mini a few months ago.
    i guess 4.7 is the new mini then

  • Willie D

    I was about to say, I think this device was cool like 6 months ago...

  • Matthew Fry

    Isn't Google restricting new devices from the play store that aren't running the latest version or something?

    • Ryan Callihan

      Last time that was reported, it was a still a rumor I'm pretty sure. Besides, 4.3 is still a very recent API version. It'll hopefully get a KitKat upgrade. Although, it is sad to see it not ship with 4.4...

      • joser116

        ...especially since KitKat is almost a year old.

    • joser116

      Not exactly. More specifically, Google, after some time, will not certify devices debuting with older versions of Android to run Google Apps. Manufacturers can still debut devices with 4.3 on board and be certified to run Google Apps as of the moment.

  • Mike Dye

    What about ram!? Probably the single most important spec on a smartphone.

    • tintin.92

      Personally I haven't seen a single Snapdragon 400 device with over 1GB of RAM...

      • matteventu

        Galaxy SIII Neo and others have 1.5GB ;)

        • tintin.92

          Oh yeah, you're right! Never of that phone before though...

          I guess its because the international Samsung phones all have Exynis chipsets...

    • Tony Byatt
  • Domus

    very nice the wallpaper on lockscreen :)

  • ProductFRED

    Read a review on this that it's a great phone, but the battery lasts no more than a day on the dot. As in morning to evening and not more. May not be a problem for some though. But I'd take the Moto G with the same processor and better battery life over this.

  • blindexecutioner

    Never seen a phone that can only take a 16GB sd card before.

  • John Motschenbacher

    Ugh...Jelly Bean.....was gonna give it a shot and with it have JB I doubt it will ever be updated.

  • ClickFire_

    If I was in the business I would still be making 4.5 to 5 inch phones with flagship specs. These OEMs are making phones way too big some random company is going to capitalize on the fact that almost no flagship phone is under 5 inches anymore. Most consumers and tech heads agree that 4.7 and 5 inch screens is perfect some even prefer 4.3 or 4.5.

    Either OEMS like Samsung and others need to make extremely thin bezels or stop increasing the phone size otherwise I might have to start buying "mini" devices instead of flagships. For the love of all that is good please start making smaller flagships without skimping out on specs.

  • AGoodM8

    Dated software + unimpressive hardware specs makes the price rather stale.