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HolidayBuyer's Guide

ZTE's Nubia 5S and 5S Mini

Slim look with 1080p

Powered by a Snapdragon 800

Aimed for photogs

4K video coming at you

Nearly identical in size

Scaling back the specs

Colorful design options

There's still a quad-core inside

Reaching our shores?

LAS VEGAS -- In addition to LTE, both of ZTE's Nubia phones pack a 13-megapixel and 5-megapixel camera on their back and front sides, respectively. These handsets made their debut at CES 2014, but there's no word yet on whether they'll be available in the US later on.

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The 5S is available in both black and white, and it sports a 5-inch, full-HD 1080p screen. Keeping in line with the original Nubia 5, the two new Nubias have ultra-thin profiles, clean lines, and solid build quality.

Caption by / Photo by Lynn La/CNET

Along with the Grand S II, the Nubia 5 is one of ZTE's first handsets to be souped up with a Snapdragon 800 processor inside. It also has 2,300mAh battery and 32GB of internal memory (but no expandable storage).

Caption by / Photo by Lynn La/CNET

Both smartphones sport a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. ZTE reported that it put such an unusually high amount of megapixels into the secondary shooter because the Nubia series was created for photography enthusiasts in mind.

Caption by / Photo by Lynn La/CNET

For that same reason, the company packed the 5S camera with a new RS sensor from Sony for low-light settings, several photo editing features (one of which includes customizing your image's white-balance), and the ability to shoot 4K video.

Caption by / Photo by Lynn La/CNET

When held next to one another, the size difference between the Nubias is hard to discern. In fact, the fastest way I was able to tell them apart was due to the location of the rear-camera lens and the direction of the "Nubia" branding on the back.

Caption by / Photo by Lynn La/CNET

The 5S Mini is, as its name suggests, is smaller with a 4.7-inch screen. Unlike the 5S' 1080p screen, however, the Mini packs a 720p display.

Caption by / Photo by Lynn La/CNET

Again, the 5S Mini still packs powerful camera chops, but its camera doesn't have as many impressive hardware specs as the 5S. However, the handset comes in several colors (white, green, pink, yellow, and blue), with some battery doors being made out of glossy plastic.

Caption by / Photo by Lynn La/CNET

The Mini has a 1.7GHz quad-core processor from Qualcomm, a 2,000mAh battery, and 16GB of built-in storage that can be expanded up to 32GB via a microSD card.

Caption by / Photo by Lynn La/CNET

Though official US availability is up in the air with the Nubia 5 and 5S, ZTE remains cautiously optimistic that the devices may eventually make their way to the American market, with or without a carrier. Especially since the Nubia 5 was released here, unlocked, for $450.

Caption by / Photo by Lynn La/CNET
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