ZTE debuts the Nubia Z17 mini smartphone for developing markets

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A new day, a new smartphone. On Monday, ZTE sub-brand Nubia launched the Z17 Mini, a midrange handset with a dual-lens camera that’s bound for developing markets.

It’s endorsed by soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, but that’s far from the only noteworthy thing about it.

Specs

It’s an all-metal affair. The Nubia Z17 Mini boasts a curved 5.2-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixel) LTPS screen, with an 85 percent NTSC color gamut, a 1500:1 contrast ratio, and shatter-proof glass. Under the hood, there’s an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 processor and Adreno 510 GPU, 64GB of internal storage that’s expandable via a MicroSD slot, a dual SIM slot (micro and nano), and a fast-charging 2,950mAh battery that charges via USB Type-C. A pricier configuration with a Snapdragon 653 processor and 6GB of RAM is also available.

The real star of the show is the 13-megapixel rear dual camera system, comprised of two f/2.2 (with aperture adjustment from f/1.0 to f/16.0) Sony IMX258 sensors — one monochrome and one color — and a dual LED flash. Imaging data from one combines with imaging data from the other to produce much brighter, more colorful pictures than would otherwise be possible. On front is a 16-megapixel camera with an 80-degree field of view and an f/2.0 lens.

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In terms of software, the Nubia Z17 Mini ships running Android 7.1 Nougat with ZTE’s proprietary Nubia UI software.

Pricing and Availability

The Nubia Z17 mini goes on sale in China on April 12. The 4GB and 6GB models start at 1,699 yuan ($246) and 1,999 yuan ($290), respectively, and come in black, gold, and red.

It comes on the heels of the Nubia N1 Lite, which ZTE announced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. That phone boasts a 5.5-inch HD display with a 1280 x 720 pixel screen and a MediaTek 64-bit processor paired with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage expandable via a MicroSD card slot, a single-lens 8-megapixel camera, and a 5,000mAh battery.

The two are roughly the same price — about $254 on the low end — but the Nubia N1 lacks the Nubia Z17’s dual cameras.

Accessories

ZTE is selling the Nubia Z17 alongside a new 360-degree camera: The Nubia NeoAir VR. It’s a budget camera that attaches to a phone via a USB Type-C connector and captures 2K (2560 x 1280) footage with dual 210-degree cameras. It’s available in China for 700 yuan ($101).

The Nubia Z17 may not be coming to the U.S. anytime soon, but that could change as ZTE looks to nab a larger slice of the market. Last year, the company’s U.S. shipments grew 30 percent to 15 million phones. And its name recognition grew from 1 percent to 16 percent.

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