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ZTE’s stunning bezel-free Nubia Z9 is coming to the U.S. later this year

ZTE often does things a little differently. A while ago, it introduced the Nubia Z9 Max and Z9 Mini — which are the large and small variations of the Nubia Z9 flagship — but it failed to even mention the standard Z9 in its presentation. Then, in May, ZTE finally revealed the Z9 we’ve all been waiting for.

Updated on 06-04-2015 by Kyle Wiggers: Updated with U.S. availability news.

Availability and price

ZTE’s incredible Nubia Z9 phone will sell in China first, with the 32GB variant priced at 3,499 Yuan ($565) and the 64GB model at 3,999 Yuan ($645). A more expensive version of the phone, which has 64GB of storage and ZTE’s fingerprint scanner on it will cost 4,499 Yuan ($726). Chinese consumers can already pre-register for the device on the company’s official website or Jingdong Mall.

It’ll migrate from the mainland soon enough, though. On the heels of competitor Huawei’s unlocked P8 Lite unveiling in New York, ZTE has announced — via a billboard in Times Square, pointedly enough — that it’s bringing the flagship Nubia Z9 to U.S. shores later this year. It’ll come in three models priced from $564 to $725, according to the press release. No word on retail partners yet.

ZTE Nubia Z9

The Nubia Z9 is just about everything we imagined it’d be based on the many leaks we’ve seen ahead of its launch. The nearly bezel-free phone looks absolutely stunning and continues along the lines of the Nubia design language, but it has a metal chassis and 2.5-dimensional screen. The slightly curved screen measures 5.2 inches and sports a 1,920 x 1,080 pixel resolution. The screen spills gracefully over the edges by a millimeter or so, and thanks to ZTE’s new Frame Interaction Technology (FIT), certain gestures made along the bezels will enable preprogrammed actions, like taking a screenshot or turning the screen off.

A Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 64-bit octa-core processor powers the Z9, along with 3GB of RAM. ZTE offers both 32 or 64GB of internal storage, depending on how much you need, and no MicroSD card slot is mentioned. The Nubia Z9 runs Android 5.0 Lollipop with ZTE’s Nubia UI 3.0 on top. The phone packs a 2,900mAh battery, which should keep things running for a day or so.

ZTE popped a 16-megapixel OIS camera with an f/2.0 aperture, 6P optical lens, and 1/2.6-inch CMOS sensor on the back of the Z9 next to a LED flash. The front camera is a selfie taker’s dream with its 80-degree, wide-angle 8-megapixel sensor.

ZTE Nubia Z9 Max and Mini

The Z9 Max’s screen measures 5.5-inches and shows Android 5.0 with the latest Nubia user interface over the top. It’s driven by a 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor with 3GB of RAM. The design is reminiscent of the Apple iPhone 6, and in turn, the ZTE Blade S6.

ZTE’s made an effort with the camera, fitting a 16-megapixel rear camera, and an 8-megapixel front camera — but there’s no mention of the retina-unlocking system, which utilized the same type of front camera on the Grand S3 here. This camera combination is repeated on the Z9 Mini, which has a slightly smaller 5-inch 1080p screen, and the 64-bit Snapdragon 615 chip with 2GB of RAM. The Z9 Mini also has swappable rear panels to give the phone a unique look, while the body on both phones is made from metal.

Both phones have 16GB of internal memory, a MicroSD card slot, and dual-SIM functionality, plus a 2,900mAh battery. The models announced here run on China’s 4G system, but ZTE has released Nubia phones in the U.S. before, so there’s a chance we’ll see international versions in the future. Converted pricing puts the Z9 Max at $400 unlocked, and the Z9 Mini at $240. In China, this puts the Z9 Max in direct competition with the new Xiaomi Mi Note, which costs slightly less, but has a Snapdragon 801 chip, and a 13-megapixel rear camera.

Previous updates:

Updated on 05-06-2015 by Malarie Gokey: Added official launch news for the Nubia Z9.

Next page: All the rumors of the Nubia Z9 prior to launch

ZTE could be about to release a smartphone with an almost bezel-less display, according to new rumors about a device named the Nubia Z9. We may not have to wait long for the rumors to be confirmed, either. The company has announced it will hold a launch event on March 26, and the teaser picture features a large number 9.

Updated on 03-17-2015 by Malarie Gokey: Added more leaked photos of what appears to be the ZTE Nubia Z9.

This could be taken as a very strong hint that we’ll see the Nubia Z9 revealed, after it failed to make an appearance during Mobile World Congress at the beginning of March. ZTE”s Nubia brand contains some of the company’s best looking devices.Leaked ZTE Nubia Z9

What’s more, the Z9 could have a large 5.5-inch, almost bezel-less screen, complete with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels. If a leaked picture spread by @leaksfly on Twitter is accurate, the Z9’s edge-to-edge screen will rival that of the Sharp Aquos Crystal, which was released in mid-2014. However, there’s no guarantee this leak is anything other than an optimistic render.

Shortly afterward, more photos of what appears to be the Nubia Z9 appeared on a Chinese website, and were picked up by Android Headlines. The images also show a bezel-free device with what appears to be a gold-toned metal back. It could, of course be plastic masquerading as metal, but it’s shown next to an iPhone for comparison.

Additionally, the Z9 may be the most technically competent entry into the Nubia series yet. According to speculation, it could use the same Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor, recently seen in the LG G Flex 2. We already know what ZTE can do when it puts a 64-bit Qualcomm chip to work with Android 5.0 — which is most likely running on the Z9 — in the already fast Blade S6, which makes the prospect of an even more powerful version very exciting.

A set of benchmarks spotted on AnTuTu’s website show the Z9 with 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal memory, a 16-megapixel rear camera, and an 8-megapixel front camera. This last spec is intriguing, because it matches the one found on the Grand S3, which has ZTE’s very cool retina unlocking system onboard. Perhaps the Z9 will also include this feature.

Finally, as if to put a seal of official approval on the Z9’s impending announcement and bezel-less screen feature, the South China Morning Post’s article on the rumors was retweeted by none other than the official ZTE Press account. We’ll find out all about the Z9 on March 26, and keep you up to date here, in the meantime.

Andy Boxall
Andy is a Senior Writer at Digital Trends, where he concentrates on mobile technology, a subject he has written about for…
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