ZTE's sub brand Nubia recently announced Z11 Mini S in the Indian market at a price-point of Rs. 16,999. Packing a capable 23MP rear camera, the smartphone takes on the current budget king Moto G5 Plus and other similarly priced Android handsets selling in Indian online marketplace.
The Z11 Mini S is designed to keep up with the pace of the today's smart-phone users, and comes with a familiar processor- the Snapdragon 625, 4GB of RAM, 64GB internal memory and everything else you would expect from a smartphone in today's time.
So does it have what it takes to be the best budget smartphone? Let's find out with the help of this review.
Design: It's stylish and one of the most ergonomic handset in its price-segment
Nubia Z11 Mini S is one of the most compact and ergonomic handset I have used in a while. The smartphone's 5.2-inch screen footprint makes it an easy fit in hands and the right placement of hardware buttons allows you to operate the smartphone with one hand. The rounded corners and the gentle curves at the rear side further adds to the ergonomics.
The hybrid SIM card tray is placed on left that allows you to have two nano SIM cards or one nano SIM card and a microSD card active at a time.
And while the smartphone offers a comfortable fit, it also looks quite stylish. Nubia Z11 Mini S has a metal frame that is made of 6000 series Aluminum Alloy with matte and frosting surfaces, giving it a smooth feel in hand.
You will also find Nubia's personal touches on front and rear such as touch capacitive rounded home-button at front, red circular ring on the camera module at rear, Nubia branding embossed in center and antenna bands shifted to extreme top and bottom to offer a continuous seamless design when seen from the rear side.
Overall, Nubia Z11 Mini S offers an amazing combination of style and comfort in mid-range price segment.
Display: Vibrant 5.2-inch Full HD screen with 2.5D curved glass
Complementing the design is the 5.2-inch Full HD IPS LCD screen, which is protected by a 2.5D curved Corning Gorilla glass. The display offers a pixel density of 424ppi and brightness of 450 nits. It is fairly bright and colours looks quite vibrant when you stream 1080p videos, play games or browse internet pages. The touch response is good and viewing angles are also decent, making the screen fairly usable in outdoor conditions.
Camera: The 23MP rear camera is by far the best in its price-point
Coming onto the highlight of the Nubia Z11 Mini S, it features a 23MP rear camera that uses a Sony IMX318 Sensor and has a focus time of 0.2 seconds. The rear camera comes with 6P Sapphire lens and works on an aperture size of f/2.0, which is decent to capture sharper details even in uneven light but an aperture of f/1.7 would have done wonders on this handset.
Nevertheless the 23MP rear camera delivers amazing results and makes the Nubia Z11 Mini S the best camera smartphone in its price-segment. The pictures captured in daylight look sharp, have good detailing and colour reproduction seems really good on the 5.2-inch Full HD screen.
What makes Nubia Z11 Mini S a delight for photography enthusiasts, is the variety of modes and filters the camera offers to photography enthusiasts.
You have light painting, multi-exposure, slow shutter, start trail, slow motion, time-lapse, a clone mode, macro, and more. Besides, the filers section offers miniature, old film, fish eye, black and white, etc. that further helps to enhance the images you capture.
I managed to capture some amazing macro and low-light star trail shots with the 23MP rear camera. The camera can also record videos in 4K resolution and PDAF and beauty mode is provided in both front and rear snappers. You can check the camera sample shots below.
Performance: Snappy processor and lag-free Multitasking
Nubia Z11 Mini is a swift performer. The smartphone is backed by the capable Snapdragon 625 CPU, which is a 64-bit octa-core processor built on the 14nm processing technology known for low power consumption. The smartphone performs everyday tasks such as web browsing, calling, camera usage, light gaming, video streaming, etc. without breaking up a sweat.
Application loading time is quick you can navigate from one screen to another and through the multitasking pane with no performance lags. The Adreno 506 GPU also makes sure you enjoy games with no major performance issues.
The handset can run games like Dead Trigger 2, Spiderman Unlimited, Contact Killer, etc. with no frame drops. Besides, the 4GB RAM makes sure you multitask with ease.
Nubia Z11 Mini S runs on Android 6.0.1 with Nubia UI V4.0 on top of it. I am quite pleased by the fact that how visually appealing the user interface is and how smoothly it works in everyday life. The only issue is the 'Edge' features that are not very consistent.
Thee edge features are powered by Nubia FiT 2.0 that creates a new interactive method. You can control the smartphone with touch gestures on the edges of the screen by triggering interactive responses including adjusting brightness, switching between apps in the background, returning to your last used page and clearing apps running in the background. These features in action look quite slick and come handy in day-to-day tasks.
You also get long screenshot, multi-screen view where you can two apps at the same time, screen recording that captures everything you perform on the display and dual-mode that allows you to access two accounts on one phone.
Storage and Connectivity: Ample storage and almost all the required connectivity features
Storage will not be a problem on Nubia Z11 Mini S as the handset comes with 64GB inbuilt memory that can be expanded by up to 200GB via microSD card. For connectivity, you get a hybrid SIM card tray that can accommodate two nano SIM cards, or one nano and one microSD card. Besides, you also have Bluetooth 4.1, Wi-Fi and GPS. The smartphone does not include NFC but supports both TD-LTE and FDD-LTE networks.
Battery: Not the best in its price-point but gets the job done
Nubia Z11 Mini S is backed by a 3,000 mAh battery unit that can easily last for a day and even more on a single charge depending upon your usage. As the battery has to support a smaller 5.2-inch screen, and it gets the advantage of Snapdragon 625's battery efficiency, you will not be disappointed with the good amount of time it lasts for.
I believe the nubia's patented high power efficiency technology- NeoPower that prevents the unnecessary power consumption and reduces the run time of systems and apps, gets the job done here. What seems missing is the fast charging that you will find in Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 and Moto G5 Plus, the competitors of Nubia Z11 Mini S.
The Z11 Mini S combines elegant design with a vibrant full HD display and a capable 23MP rear camera system that offers plenty of features to bring out the photographer in you. The smartphone is very ergonomic to use and delivers on everyday tasks without any performance issues.
It's priced decently for the hardware and features it brings to table and tops our recommendation list for users who are looking for a capable camera smartphone in mid-range price segment. The only problem is the brand trust that Nubia devices fails to offer in the Indian market and will lose the game to Moto G5 Plus and Xiaomi Redmi Note 4.
The smartphone also misses fast charging- a feature that is gradually becoming a standard addition these days. Besides, you have to adjust with Android 6.0 Marshmallow as of now, but that's not a very big problem as the Nubia UI is quite smooth and the handset might also get the Android 7.0 Nougat in the coming months.
If you can adjust with aforementioned things then Nubia Z11 Mini S can be the ideal handset for you in sub Rs. 17k price-point. Else you can go with Moto G5 Plus, Honor 6X and Xiaomi Redmi Note 4.