Nubia Z11 mini, in-depth analysis -


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Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Nubia Z11 mini, in-depth analysis

The Chinese smartphone maker ZTE is looking for its niche in the segment of cheap smartphones with the Nubia Z11 Mini, but with so many choices of so many brands in the market, it will be a difficult sale even with a spec sheet pretty eye-catching see below. Some direct competitors terminals of this terminal of Nubia are the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 or Moto G4 Plus .

Features of the ZTE Nubia Z11 Mini

First of all is to observe the main characteristics. A striking feature to be a Mini terminal since we are talking without a doubt of a terminal mid-high range with premium finish.


Dimensions 70.0 mm x 141.4 mm x 8.0 mm
Weight 138 gr.
Colors Black, gold and silver.
Technologies / Bands 4G / FDD-LTE: 1800, 1900, 2100, 2300, 2500, 2600 MHz, 3G / WCDMA 800, 1900, 2100, 850, 900 MHz 2G / GSM 1800, 1900, 850, 900 MHz.
Type of SIM Dual Standby (Nano SIM + Nano SIM)
Display Technology IPS / Capacitive / rounded glass 2.5D / GFF full lamination / 95% NTFC / Corning Gorilla Glass 3 / LTPS (Low Temperature PolySilicon)
Dimension: 5 inches
Resolution 1080 x 1920 px (441 dpi) / 160K
Useful Surface / Viewing Angles 68% / 178 °
CPU: Make - model - frequency - colors Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 MSM8952 / 4 × 1.5 GHz ARM Cortex-A53 + 4 × 1.2 GHz ARM Cortex-A53
GPU Qualcomm Adreno 405
Capacity 64GB
SD slot: Yes, (shared with second SIM slot).
OS Version: Android 5.1 Lollipop
Brand and model / Resolution 15.9 MP with flash and autofocus / Sony IMX298 Exmor RS (photos) / f / 2.0 / Led flash
characteristics Autofocus Continuous Shooting Digital Image Stabilizer Digital Zoom Exposure Compensation Face Detection Front Flash Geotagging HDR ISO Settings Macro Mode Panorama Pictures Scene Mode Self-Timer Touch Focus White Balance Adjustment
Secondary camera 8MP / f / 2.4
Kind Li-Polymer
Capacity 2800 mAh / Non-removable
Fast charge Yes
Mini jack Yes
Loading port: Micro-USB
USB OTG: Yes, Type C
Wifi 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, 802.11n, 802.11ac (5GHz, dual band).
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.1 LE / Low power consumption
NFC No (HotKnot 3.0)
FM Radio Yes (Headphone required)
Performance Test Antutu 6.0: 43,000 points
Sensors Light, proximity, accelerometer , fingerprint.
Box contents 1 x Nubia Z11 1 x USB cable 1 x Charger (with European adapter)
Spanish Language Yes (Multi)
materials Aluminum.


A brief look at the ZTE Nubia Z11 Mini and you'll notice the similarity of the iPhone 6s in front and on the sides. The design seems simple but with some class touches that will make it stand out within the current generation of cheap smartphones like the plastic Moto G4 Plus and the Redmi Note 3.

The Nubia Z11 mini features a glass and metal design with rounded corners and also has a 2.5D glass front and rear.

The front glass has Gorilla Glass 3 protection and has an oleophobic coating to avoid the dreaded fingerprints. The back, however, does not and because of the lack of the same coating, makes it a rather dirty surface surface just after you start using it with your hands. This we say is more evident for the black model than for the target.

The capacitive keys are located at the bottom of the screen at the front and the fingerprint reader is located at the top half on the back. However, what most impresses with this design is the fact that ZTE has used small plastic parts on the top and bottom of the frame. The left and right sides of the frame are made of metal and you can hardly tell the difference between the two, even if you look closely. What gives it away is the sensation. The side of the frame feels cold (by its metal) while the upper and lower part feel normal (because it is made of plastic). It is a very nice trick looks much better than the plastic inserts seen on smart phones like the Xiaomi Redmi Note series.


The summary in this section is that the specifications are very similar to those obtained in the Motorola Moto G4 Plus. You have a Full HD 5-inch screen (441 PPI) with Gorilla Glass 3 to protect it. Inside, there is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 chipset at 1.5 GHz along with an Adreno 405 GPU and a 3 GB RAM. There is 32 GB of internal storage (eMMC 5.1) and the memory can be expanded up to 200 GB with a microSD card.

As for the communications, it has support 3G, WCDMA, 4G and LTE band (VoLTE) with dual SIM configuration (nano + nano) dual-standby (4G + 4G). At the bottom is Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and a USB port type C.

The performance figures (in terms of gross power) are quite similar to the Motorola Moto G4 Plus. It is once again a updated Snapdragon 615 with a higher clock speed, so you can not expect a midrange performance that you would get with a Redmi Note 3 or a LeEco Le 2.

That said, we do not face any performance issues in everyday use, since the old software somehow matches well with the updated hardware. The smartphone did not heat up and this is good since the 617 was built to deal with that same problem. The games ran smoothly, though with lower textures and the smartphone can be used to play some intensive 3D games as well. The phone did not heat up while playing.

Call quality is what you would expect from a budget smartphone and it sounds great. The audio quality using the built-in music player was quite good and I could hear the bass and treble perfectly. The built-in DTS added more strength and depth to the music, which could also be customized according to the tastes of each. On the other hand, the loudspeaker volume was not as loud as we wanted it to be, as we could barely hear the output in a quiet outdoor setting.

In the Full HD 5-inch screen with 441 ppi that we can find in the Nubia Z11 Mini is really difficult to find some flaws. The screen looks vibrant and produces very saturated colors. The levels of sharpness are as good as it is supposed in a phone in this range and in our tests in full daylight behaved really well.

The viewing angles are quite good for a smartphone in this range. While the colors remained intact even when viewed from a very steep angle, the brightness diminished, something quite habitual. Speaking of colors, the screen looked a bit saturated. But this can be reduced by custom preferences that are accessible from Screen> Screen Display Preferences and by adjusting the levels of saturation and hue. Even so, this smartphone easily has one of the best displays of its kind.


The ZTE Nubia Z11 Mini Z11 features a functional and polished user interface. It seems similar to the many offers from other Chinese smartphone manufacturers like Xiaomi, LeEco and others. But it is also functional. It supports side passes and even hides some practical tricks. One such practical feature is the ability to switch between active applications by simply sliding your finger vertically along the edge of the screen. This works quite well and for all applications (also those of third parties) and the results of gestures on the screen can also be customized. You can even use the function on the left-hand bezel instead of the standard right, especially useful for the left-handed. The software at no time felt heavy and only showed some small lag in some screen updates.

However there are inexplicable things. While the user interface looks polished, it is still running an older Android Lollipop below. Point less for Nubia.


Coming to the cameras, the configuration is once more similar to the Moto G4 Plus. There is a 16MP Sony IMX298 sensor on the back with an f / 2.0 aperture and an Sony IMX179 8 MP Sony (f / 2.4) on the front for auto-send. All of the above is powered by a 2800mAh battery in a package that weighs just 138 grams.

The pictures taken looked sharp and well saturated. And the images stayed crisp from corner to corner, which is impressive for this budget smartphone. However, sometimes the images seemed a bit saturated. In fact, some of them were so brilliant that I had to resort to HDR mode to add some realism.

Although many would prefer contrasted and saturated images, that is not exactly the reality. The Moto G4 Plus showed realistic colors without having to take things to the extreme, so this has to do with Nubia's processing algorithms.

Switching to low light, the camera still managed to impress me. Both the luminance and the chroma noise seem to be very well suppressed and the Z11 Mini produced good images with minimal noise that once again was impressive.

Going to dim light or night scenes, here the thing was completely ruined. The noise was excessive and the images blurred to the point that they almost looked like oil paintings. In fact, I could blame the ZTE image processing algorithms here, since the camera worked very well in the two previous scenarios. Overall, this is still a great camera that would amaze many with its performance.


What I liked about the Z11 Mini was its design and that camera. What I did not like was the battery life and the Android software 5.1.1 Lollipop outdated. And it's a tough market as there are a lot of options in the range of this. The ZTE Nubia Z11 Mini with a price of more than 250 euros, has no chance against the powerful Moto G4 Plus. The same can be said of the current king of the market, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, which has a similar price, but includes better hardware and a larger battery. What you do not get in the latter is a microSD card slot. That said, it is difficult to recommend the ZTE Z11 Mini especially with an outdated Android version on board. 

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