Nubia Z11 Mini S review – Compact and efficient!

Nubia, the sub-brand of Chinese smartphone manufacturer ZTE, has been slowly expanding its portfolio in India. Nubia Z11 Mini S is the latest device to be launched in India and competes with the likes of Moto G5 Plus, Honor 6X and Redmi Note 4. We used the device for a couple of weeks and this is our review of the Nubia Z11 Mini S.

Nubia Z11 Mini S

The device has a full metal body with a thickness of 7.6mm and weighing in about 158g. There is a 5.2-inch FHD display that is protected by Gorilla Glass and with a brightness level of 450 nits. The back of the phone features a 23MP camera protected by the sapphire glass, a fingerprint scanner, and the Nubia Logo. On the right side, we get the power key and volume rocker with good tactile feedback whereas the left side houses the hybrid sim slot. Nubia has gone for the USB Type-C port for charging which is a good move and also has included the 3.5mm audio jack.

The 5.2 inch screen has good viewing angles and color reproduction. The images and text appear sharp and we were able to use the phone under direct sunlight with no issues. Above the screen, there is a 16MP selfie camera along with sensors, while capacitive navigational keys and home button are placed below the screen. The home button also acts as a notification light for messages and when the phone is charging.

Nubia Z11 mini S

The phone packs Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 625 processor which is a very power efficient one resulting in decent performance and great battery life. It is paired with 4GB of RAM for multitasking and 64GB of internal memory that can be expanded up to 200GB. The performance is snappy and every operation is smooth, thanks to the combination of good hardware and software.  There were no issues even when playing graphic intense games or while switching applications.

Z11 Mini S runs on the Nubia UI 4.0 which is based on Android Marshmallow 6.0. This is similar to other Chinese ROMs where all the applications are on home screen and there is no app drawer. The UI offers a variety of customization options like “Edge Gestures” which allows you to swipe on the edge of the screen to bring up all the applications and then switch to any app. It also allows the user to adjust screen brightness by swiping on the edges. The UI is optimized and is very smooth. There was no lag when performing any of the tasks. The boot animation is an interesting one with random colorful images instead of the plain text or OEM logo.

The phone packs a 23MP Sony IMX318 sensor with PDAF and a f/2.0 aperture for the main camera. The camera impressed us right from the beginning with the level of details and sharpness in the images captured. The quality of the images captured is far better than other devices in this price range. The camera has quick focusing and offers various options like manual mode, slow shutter, panorama etc. 4K video recording and 1080p 60fps mode is available along with slow motion mode. The front cam is also a capable one with a 13MP sensor having PDAF and f/2.0 aperture. There are beauty modes and a screen flash to make the selfies look bright and enhanced.

Z11 Mini S packs a 3000mAh battery that allows you to charge once and use the phone for more than a day on normal usage. With casual gaming, music and videos, we were able to get through a full day thanks to the SD625 processor. There is 4G VoLTE support and the sound clarity is very good on calls and on loudspeaker too.

Nubia Z11 Mini S is a mid-range device that relies on solid build quality, outstanding camera, and capable hardware. The device is priced at Rs. 16,999 which places it above RN4, Honor 6x and on par with Moto G5 Plus. Performance wise, the device is very similar to the ones in this category but the camera does really make it a winner. Yet, at the time of writing this article, Nubia also have the Z17 Mini which features a dual camera setup and a powerful processor.