ZTE announces US availability of Grand S and Nubia 5 — will this help them become a major OEM in America?

ZTE has announced that their high-end smartphone — the Grand S — will be headed to the United States soon. The phone isn’t new at all — in fact, we saw this thing at CES this past January. We didn’t think we’d ever see it launch in the US, but ZTE seems to be taking the first few baby steps toward trying to establish themselves as a major player in one of the most important mobile markets in the world.

ZTE Grand S Specs

Grand S (Side Front)

For $400 unlocked through Amazon, you’ll be treated to the following:

  • OS: Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
  •  Display: 5” FHD (1920 x 1080), 440 ppi with scratch-resistant glass
  • Processor: Qualcomm® SnapdragonTM S4 Pro processor with 1.5 GHz quad-core CPUs
  • Cameras: 13 megapixels Auto Focus with Flash, and 2 megapixels Front Facing camera
  • Battery: 1780 mAh
  • Dimensions: 5.59” x 2.72” x 0.27”
  • Memory: 16GB internal storage, 2GB RAM

It’s quite the looker, and it’s pretty darn thin, as well. It plays the part in looks, though whether or not it’s worth $400 will depend on more than just its chassis. ZTE’s hoping their negative stigma in the Android world can be erased with the release of the Grand S. It was difficult to do that without launching any key devices in America, but now that they have one we’ll definitely be looking to see how it helps.

ZTE Grand S Gallery

The Grand S is quite beautiful. It’s one of the first smartphones ZTE has launched under its new design language. It doesn’t look like much when up against other high-end options from the competition, but from a ZTE standpoint it surely is a decent achievement. Take a look at it in this quick gallery below:

ZTE Nubia 5 Pricing and Availability

ZTE also announced forthcoming availability of the Nubia 5 in the United States, a less-imposing smartphone when it comes to specs and stature. It’ll be available for pre-order through Amazon and “other channels” starting October 5th, and you can grab this one for about $450 unlocked.

ZTE Nubia 5 Specs

The spec sheet makes it sound an awful lot like the Nubia Z5, and we wouldn’t be surprised to learn that’s the case. We’re waiting on word from ZTE to confirm, but both devices sound pretty much identical.

The Nubia 5 will sport a 5-inch 1080p display, a 13 megapixel Finoca-Minolta rear camera with LED flash and something called a “Sapphire Lens,” a 2 megapixel front camera, a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, a 2,300 mAh battery, Android 4.1.2 and more. It’s a bit thicker than the Grand S at .30 inches, but that’s still thin enough for us. Indeed, most of that matches up quite closely to the Z5, though the storage is cut in half here.

ZTE Nubia 5 Gallery

The chassis is also slightly different. It’s roughly the same dimensions across the board, but it adds a pretty distinctive Nubia logo that we didn’t see on the original Z5. Beyond those few minor differences, though, these are two peas from the same pod. Just take a look for yourself:

Will these help?

It’s no secret that ZTE has had a pretty tough time trying to become an OEM who offers more than cheap devices for prepaid carriers here in America. The company’s role as that type of player is quite important, but their aspirations have been upgraded and there’s no doubt they want their brand to match.

Of course, not being able to convince a carrier to take these devices on isn’t the best first step, but it’s a first step regardless. These two smartphones aren’t breathtakingly groundbreaking, but it’s going to take devices like these — and more like them — to give ZTE some legitimacy in a very competitive North American market. Let us know if you’ll be eyeing one of these when they’re available in the weeks to come.

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  • satsmine2k4

    $400 is a definate pass… $200 i would have thought about this…

    • malcmilli

      you cant compare prices of these phones to a nexus.

      • satsmine2k4

        Am not, even if i did, Except for the display and camera everything else is the same or a downgrade… when compared to a Nexus 4…

        • malcmilli

          ok, im just saying i’ve never seen a $200 5inch 1080p 13mp camera phone. If anything this phone has better specs than the moto x which is priced at 500… i dont think 200 is reasonable to expect from an OEM. That’s probably how much it costs to make.

  • BENSTEEL

    1750 Battery…?
    They know it’s 2013 don’t they…?
    Among other things, HTC never really recovered after the Thunderbolt…did they..?
    What’s that saying about learning from history….doomed to repeat it.

    • a) youth.in.asia

      They included a battery so you don’t lose what you’re working on when you unplug your phone and move to the next closest outlet 100% battery… 80% battery ….40% battery, please connect to electrical outlet soon…..20%….game over

  • ChicagoBob

    With tablets coming out at 350 with LTE and Snapdragon 800 why are these phones so costly?
    Its extremely confusing where the price increase comes from. Smaller monitor has to cost less. Battery? Not sure but a S3 3400Mah battery is $30. So where is the big bucks in smaller configuration?

  • domatau

    nubia 5 appears to be the better buy of the two at $450 unlocked although it’s a tough sell for the 1 year old S4 Pro. also there’s no mention off LTE radio that’s another negative if not included.

  • jeremyseattle

    hehe… the Grand Nubias – new Chinese rap group.

  • Jayshmay

    No memory card support? Fail!

  • steveb944

    That Nubia 5 sounds pretty decent. I want to know what that sapphire feature is.