So many smartphones and little time to play with them!

Monsoon hasn't graced us yet, but it sure is raining budget smartphones. While one offers staggering battery life, the other aims to please with its sultry exterior. Then comes another, boasting about its 'Selfie' cam prowess. While most of these phones fail to impress once we get around to reviewing them, some truly do.

If we take the recent past into account, a few names such as the OnePlus One and the Xiaomi Mi4 instantly come to mind.



Rise of the 'Nu' kid

Nubia (yes that is the brand name, do not be confused with the way it is printed on the box) aims to further plunge the numbers lower as far as pricing is concerned, while offering a top-notch spec list. But first, we must talk about that Aircraft-grade aluminum alloy body and metal and glass design with a star-texture finish on back panel. It impresses, but no jaws dropped today, the hard-to- please lot that we are.



specs appeal

Inside, a 1.5Ghz Snapdragon 615 64bit Octa Core Processor powers the Z9 Mini and is helped along nicely with the built-in 2GB RAM. As we installed a plethora of apps and games and multi-tasked, the overall experience was fluid enough for us to not complain. Internal storage tops out at 16GB, but you can expand that to 128GB via the microSD card slot.

As we fiddled more, we realised that this truly does not feel like a phone that sells for roughly 17K. The Nubia UI 2.8 wrapped over Android L v5.0.2 is minimally intrusive and the 5in (1920 x 1080) screen (manufactured by Sharp) offers a balanced colour output and does justice to videos played in Full HD. At 441ppi, text looks sharp as you browse online and so do images. That brings us to that one killer bit about the phone. It's camera.


Say hello to the SLR Smartphone

We are more than wary of impossible features most new smartphone companies boast about. While the Z9 Mini may not have a physical SLR system inside, it does manage to take some spectacular shots that are unrivalled in its category. Nubia calls it the NeoVision 5.0 SLR system which comprises of a 16MP Sony IMX234 Exmor RS sensor on the rear and a 8MP Sony IMX179R on the front.

cam that can

As you can see from our test shots, images shot outdoors and indoors are sharp, detail-rich and lack noise, which is a good thing. You will notice only a hint of it when you choose to shoot in low-light. We like the cameras on this phone a lot and with good reason. They can even make some of the more expensive phones break a sweat!

Both cameras impress us, a lot, specially with their ability to capture detail and colours indoors (image 3) or in low light (image 5), a large ƒ / 2.0 aperture is to thank. Pictures shot outdoors in bright sunlight too pop with detail (image 1,6) and the Nubia Z9 Mini is a star when it comes to shooting in the Macro mode (image 2). The front cam sports a 80-degree wide field of view, helping you to squeeze in your entire crew for yet another selfie. However since we aren't that huge fans of the 'Selfie', here is a shot (image 4) of baby Iron Man snapping one for you!

The stupendous image quality makes its presence felt as you shoot videos in Full HD, with the camera capturing smaller details in all its richness.


Initial Verdict

To sum it up, the Nubia Z9 Mini will sell exclusively on for 16,999, which we think is a killer deal. If you are click-happy and if image quality matters to you in a smartphone, it doesn't get better than this on a budget. The Nubia Z9 Mini is a stylishly simple design, packed with speedy internals and heck of an awesome pair of cameras.