Iterative steps in hardware and software, and a new colorful shell choices
Just a handful of months removed from the release of the original Nubia 5, ZTE is refreshing the brand with the Nubia 5S and 5S Mini. Being so close to the release of their predecessor, it's not surprising that these two devices don't differ heavily in their software and hardware. The dimensions of the Nubia 5S are nearly identical to that of the 5, as are the button placements and 1080 x 1920 5-inch screen. Aside from a material change from soft touch to hard plastic and a move from a black to white color scheme, you wouldn't immediately know which device was more recently released.
What you are getting with the addition of the "S" on the name is the bump to a Snapdragon 800 processor inside, 32 or 64GB of storage and a brand new 13MP Sony Exmor RS camera with OIS. The new camera hardware is accompanied by an improved camera software suite with advanced shooting modes, as well as a hardware camera key on the bottom right side of the phone.
The Nubia 5S Mini isn't particularly tiny as the name would lead you to believe, with a screen size of 4.7-inches compared to the 5-inch display on the full-sized variant. It also follows many of the same design cues as the original but with a glossier back, different camera placement and a variety of color options. Just as we've seen with other "Mini" versions, the Nubia 5S Mini lacks the same hardware chops as the larger version. You're getting a Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, a 720 x 1280 screen resolution, just 16GB of internal storage and a 2000mAh battery. But did we mention it comes in several colors? Yellow, blue, pink, green and white, to be exact.
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Just as you would expect, these devices really do feel iterative when compared to the original Nubia 5. While they feel nice in the hand in their own regard, we're a tad upset that the soft touch material wasn't carried to the second generation. The addition of new camera features is welcomed, but only coming to the Nubia 5S and not the Mini is a tad disappointing. We're still likely a couple months away from official pricing and availability on these devices, but we're very interested in spending more time with them for a full review treatment.
ZTE Nubia 5s
ZTE Nubia 5s Mini