Review: Nubia Z11 Mini S could be the new Android mid-range leader
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Chinese company Nubia is not taking it easy in the Indian market. The phonemaker has bigger ambitions and it clearly shows with its aggressive pricing strategy. The Nubia Z11, released in December 2016 at Rs29,999, had several elements of a flagship smartphone. The Nubia Z11 Mini S, priced at Rs16,999, is a mini version of the Z11 and like its bigger sibling, has some very good points which makes it hard to ignore. It is available on Amazon.in at the moment. Here are some of the top reasons which makes it a solid alternative to the likes of Moto G5 Plus (Rs16,999).
Design: Slim and handy design
Wrapped in a metal casing, the Z11 Mini S comes in unique khaki grey and moon gold colours. What makes it stand out from the crowd is its slim design and compact form factor. It is 146mm long, just 7.6mm thick and weighs 157g, yet fits into small hands comfortably. The Moto G5 Plus is thicker at 9.6mm but weighs 155g.
The antennas on the back panel have been covered by a plastic strip, like some of the HTC smartphones. The fingerprint sensor is placed on the back and is well within the reach of the index finger. It is fast and accurate even with two to three fingerprints configured with it. The volume and power keys are placed side-by-side on the right side panel. The former is placed a bit on the higher side but is easily accessible.
Display: Rich and colourful display
The 5.2-inch display has a resolution of 1,920x1,080p. It looks rich and colourful, which makes watching movies and playing games a truly enjoyable experience. Text in webpages and ebooks look crisp. Wide viewing angles are also good and so is visibility under bright sunlight. The display offers some useful customisations such as the option to adjust the hue level and colour saturation. The former gives the screen a slightly warmer tone and makes it less stressful to the eyes. The latter enhances the colours giving the overall screen a richer look. The only limitation is the lack of protection in the display. Also, it picked up scratches within a few days of use.
Performance: Steady with most tasks, impressive battery
Inside the Z11 Mini S is 2.0 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor paired with 4GB RAM. It is a fairly powerful mid-segment chip and allows the smartphone to handle most tasks with ease. Switching between apps was smooth, multi-tasking doesn’t make it sluggish and games such as Real Racing 3 ran without any frame drops or heating issues. The smartphone has ample storage, with 64GB as internal storage and you can add up to 256GB of external storage. The only niggle is that the microSD card slot is built on the nano SIM tray. So you can’t add two SIM cards and the microSD card at the same time. Moto G5 Plus runs on the same processor with 4GB RAM but offers 32GB internal storage. It packs only a 3,000mAh battery, yet managed to deliver more than a day’s backup on a single charge.
Software: Old Android, limited features
The Nubia Z11 Mini S runs Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) with the proprietary Nubia UI on top. It has far too many complex gestures and shortcuts which are also inconsistent when used. The option to customise the interface is surprisingly limited. There are hardly any themes on the smartphone and there is no theme store from where you can download other themes. Some of its goodies include the pocket mode which prevents unintentional typing on screen and Dual instance feature which allows users to have two versions of the same app.
The Moto G5 Plus runs Android 7.0 (Nougat) with a near plain version of Android.
Camera: An all round performer
The Z11 Mini S has a 23-megapixel rear camera which can take clear and detailed photos in daytime. Unlike other Nubia smartphones, it doesn’t try to over-saturate colours for effect. It is also fast and was able to lock focus on close objects very well, especially in the macro mode. Photos in dimmer conditions look a bit blurry but colours came out very well. The camera has plenty to keep users busy. It offers live filters and has modes such as multi-exposure, slow shutter, star track, slow motion and time lapse.
The front camera is a 13-megapixel affair and it takes clear shots even in indoor conditions. The battery backup of the Z11 Mini S is impressive.
Nubia Z11 Mini S is a truly remarkable smartphone with stylish looks, a good camera, steady performance and dependable battery life. Its closest rival, the Moto G5 Plus, doesn’t look as stylish, but runs newer Android with a clutter-free interface and is equally powerful.