ZTE Nubia Z9 Mini Unboxing and First Impressions

by Linus 13

ZTE is one of those major Chinese manufacturers, which is widely known for its devices not only in China, but also internationally. What is more, their Nubia sub-brand is known for offering high quality for a price, which is lower than competitors like Apple or Samsung. In the past few years Nubia managed to prove that with the Z5 mini and Z7 mini smartphones, which received positive reviews. This time around, we have a just announced ZTE Nubia Z9 mini. Let us unbox it and our first impressions.


Display 5″ 1080p resolution (Full-HD)
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 615, 64bit, 1.5GHz Cortex A53 quad core + 1.0GHz Cortex A53 quad core;  GPU: Adreno 405
Camera 8MP Front/16MP Back, f/2.0 aperture
Connectivity Bluetooth, 3G, 4G LTE, GPS, WIFI, GSM,EDGE, GPRS, UMTS, HSPA, HSPA+, Dual SIM standby (nano SIM slots)
Battery 2.900 mAh Li-polimer (non-removable)
Dimensions 141.3 x 69.8 x 8.2 mm (5.56 x 2.75 x 0.32 in), 147 g (5.19 oz)
OS Android 5.0.2 Lolipop
Storage 16GB (can be expanded up to 128GB via Micro SD)

As far as the specs go, the Nubia Z9 Mini goes into the upper mid-range devices category. It does not spot a top of the line chip, but Snapdragon 615 processor has proven to be an excellent choice in the this category. Also, it is a 64-bit chip and Nubia Z9 Mini uses this architecture to the full extent as it comes with the Android 5.0.2 out of the box. Other noticeable specs are the powerful cameras, huge battery and the Micro SD card slot.



The device comes in a black box, which has a minimal design. On the back of it you can find a list of basic specs and some info, which is, however, in Chinese.


The first thing that comes out of the box is the smartphone itself. It was wrapped up in the plastic, but I removed it as I have the device for a few days already. If you take the top off, you will find a “drawer” embedded on its side. There is the place where the envelope containing SIM ejector tool and some instruction manuals are.

Other contents include a nice flat micro USB charging/syncing cable. It spots the design similar to what we have already seen from the OnePlus. Anyway, it definitely looks and feels great and stands out from the crowd of usual cables that come out of the box.

Moreover, there is the US charging brick, which can be used anywhere in the world with a help of the adapter.

Overall, the whole presentation seems to be great and it is a pleasure to unbox all the contents. Everything seems to be made out of quality materials and is organised neatly.



Once you first take the device into your hands, it feels like a solid piece of hardware, which has a great built quality. Also, since the device “only” has 5 inch display, it is a very compact smartphone.


Let’s start by taking a closer look at the front top. Here you can find and earpiece, proximity sensor and the 8MP snapper.

IMG_8810On the bottom there are typical Nubia-style capacitive keys. The programmable back and menu keys light up once you press it only. The home button at the middle has a signature Nubia pulsing effect once you press it. Moreover, it looks like it is always light up once you are outside since it has a red coating. You cannot say the same about the back and menu keys.

A great thing about these keys is that you can adjust its brightness (including auto mode) to either make it visible in the sunlight or make it dimmer to save power.

In addition, they are very responsive and convenient to use.



The device spots an alloy frame, which, however has a plasticky feeling coating on top of it. Not sure why Nubia made that, but most of the people would say it feels like plastic. On the other hand, it definitely feels sturdy and well made.


On the left you will find a dual Nano SIM cards slot. Since the manufacturer decided to implement Nano SIM card standard to be in the same league with the iPhone, you may need to cut your card if you are not using this type of card yet. The device supports 2G, 3G and 4G LTE bands with each band (GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 – SIM 1 & SIM 2
CDMA 800; HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100; TD-SCDMA 1900 / 2000; LTE band 1(2100), 3(1800), 7(2600), 38(2600), 39(1900), 40(2300), 41(2500).


On the bottom you can find a speaker, mic and the micro USB charging port.


On the top of the device there is a secondary mic along with the headset jack.


On the right there is a volume rocker and the power on/off key. They are made out of metal and has a great tactile response.




The back plate is made out of plastic, but feels like glass. It is glossy and thus attracts fingerprints and smudges easily.


On the top left corner there is a 16MP shooter with a single LED flash. I have already taken some photos and it is one of the best shooters I’ve used in a while. Make sure to check out the full review and judge it by yourself.

The back plate can be very easily removed. Under the hood you will find a micro SD card slot (up to 128GB). The battery, however, is not removable.

What I like about the back plate is that it is so easy to remove it, but once you put it back it stays firm.


The display on the Nubia Z9 Mini is bright, sharp and vivid. Also, the colour reproduction seems to be natural, but on a warmer side. A pleasant panel to look at. It is a bit reflective in the direct sunlight, but it may be due to the pre-installed screen protector. All in all, I’m happy about it as it spots usual positive aspects of quality LCD screens.



The first impressions are pretty good. The smartphone comes in a quite premium packaging and the presentation is really good. I would love to see a pair of headphones included, though. On the other hand, you receive a nicely made flat USB cable.

The device spots a nice design with a great build quality. Also, it is really compact as the screen has the size of 5 inches only. Moreover, the screen seems to be sharp and vivid, but a bit reflective in the direct sunlight.

All in all, the initial impressions are positive and I will share my in-depth review after I spend a bit more time with the device. Stay tuned!

In case you got interested in the device and can’t wait for the full review, you can buy ZTE Nubia Z9 Mini for €279.99 from Giztop.com.

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