Sep 11th, 2013

Nubia Z5 front and back

Who is ZTE and what’s a “Nubia”?

With only a modest 5% global smartphone market share, Chinese manufacturer ZTE is relatively unknown outside of their homeland of China. While it’s true we’ve seen a handful of their lower to mid-range devices launch here in the US, you wouldn’t know by looking at them. More than often the devices are scrubbed clean of ZTE logos in favor of their respective carrier branding.

In hopes of capturing the wallets of consumers in new markets, ZTE announced a new line of premium Android handsets dubbed “Nubia” back in December of last year. The ZTE company logo was never very “western friendly” and the Nubia brand was exactly the fresh, new makeover the company needed.

Nubia Z5

The first device to launch out of the new brand was the Nubia Z5, a premium Android smartphone sharing many of the same high-end specs as its sister device, the ZTE Grand S. The Z5 featured an industrial design concocted from the mind of Italian designer Stefano Giovannoni. It also came equipped with then super high-end specs like a Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 5-inch 1080p full HD display, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, and a 13MP f/2.2 camera. Needless to say, the Nubia Z5 was exactly what the company needed to help break them into a western market dominated by largely by Galaxy Ss and iPhones.

FCC docs reveal North American availability

ZTE Nubia Z5 FCC

Given the device was originally intended for the European market, we didn’t think we’d ever see the Z5 hit stateside. Fast forward to today, where we just caught wind of the ZTE SRQ-NX501 (Nubia Z5) passing through the FCC. The device comes with support for the necessary frequency bands in North America, and if you needed further confirmation as to where the Z5 is headed, the FCC docs specifically mention both the US and Canada by name.

After rummaging around inside the docs, we found actual images of the Z5 as it was probed by an FCC worker. According to GSM Insider, the device might even launch with an upgraded Snapdragon 800 CPU by launch time, though we’ll take that with a grain of salt for now.

Final thoughts

You might be asking yourself, “Why the heck is Chris so excited about this Chinese phone when there are hundred of awesome devices launching every day?” Well, a friend of mine was nice enough to forward a handful of images taken with the Nubia Z5 and I must say — that’s one helluva camera ZTE has on their hands there (FYI it’s a Sony). As we now wait for official release date, check out these photos that rival even the iPhone 5S’s “revolutionary” new iSight camera.

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