ZTE unveiled five new additions to its nubia smartphone line at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, aiming to attract young consumers and expand its share of the global smartphone market.

Jay Ian Birbeck

March 8, 2024

4 Min Read

ZTE unveiled five new additions to its nubia smartphone line at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, aiming to attract young consumers and expand its share of the global smartphone market.

The company's latest models are each designed with specific consumer interests in mind, including photography, gaming, and music. By splitting up the tech into specialized phones, ZTE manages to pack in top-notch features usually reserved for high-end smartphones at more accessible price points. It's a clever move, one that caters directly to younger consumers who crave advanced tech but don't want to empty their wallets for it.

"nubia is already well-known for its professional photography experience. With these latest models, we've added more features to embrace the individuality of young consumers," said Ni Fei, Senior Vice President at ZTE and President of ZTE Mobile Devices.

The nubia Flip 5G, the headliner of the new lineup and the company's first foldable phone, is aimed squarely at young consumers from $599 (The retail price may vary in different markets upon specific specs), making it one of the most affordable foldables available.

Yet, the Flip 5G doesn't skimp on quality to keep costs down. The handset is equipped with a 4,310mAh battery, larger than most premium rivals, such as Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip 5.

The design is complemented by a unique, circular 466 x 466-pixel cover screen within the external camera module. This screen is primarily used for widgets like a calendar and stopwatch and is especially useful for taking selfies.

For gamers, ZTE is following up on the popular Neo handset with the launch of the nubia Neo 2, which features enhanced gaming capabilities. The price of Nubia Neo 2 5G starts from $199. (The retail price may vary in different markets upon specific specs).

This phone maintains the unique bionic design of its predecessor but features a slightly larger 6.72-inch display and a 6,000mAh battery. This battery capacity is significantly larger than that of most smartphones, particularly in the budget to mid-range categories.

The Neo 2 ramps up its appeal to gamers with new features, including a multi-layer heat dissipation system that keeps the phone cool during intensive gaming sessions. Additionally, it boasts pressure-sensitive gaming triggers and Dual DTS:X Ultra speakers, enhancing the gaming experience with tactile feedback and immersive sound. 

ZTE also unveiled the nubia Focus and Focus Pro for photography enthusiasts, which will start from $199 (The retail price may vary in different markets upon specific specs).

Both phones feature large, circular camera modules and a dual-tone color scheme, lending them a distinctive retro appearance reminiscent of classic rangefinder cameras, such as the Leica M Series. Both handsets boast a whopping 108-megapixel camera, typically found only in higher-end models.

The Pro features five zoom options, enabling versatile photography from expansive landscapes to detailed close-ups. The standard model is not far behind, offering four distinct zoom capabilities. Both models support 4K video, RAW HDR, and night photography settings.

Adding a touch of convenience, the Pro includes a Sliding Shortcut on the side frame that launches the camera app.

ZTE's most unexpected twist comes with the nubia Music, a smartphone that doubles as a sound system — or perhaps more accurately, a sound system that makes phone calls.

The phone boasts a mammoth DTS-branded speaker on its rear, reminiscent of a record player, which ZTE claims can reach volumes 600% higher than the average handset. Should this bold claim stand, the nubia Music Series would essentially be the loudest phones ever made.

ZTE is also touting the device's "AI-powered extreme volume algorithm," which aims to ensure balanced treble and bass, even when cranked to eleven.

For those inclined to share their music more discreetly — perhaps after a stern warning for disturbing the peace — the device conveniently features two 3.5mm earphone jacks. This allows music enthusiasts to share tunes with a friend using wired headphones. The nubia Music will be available from $149 (The retail price may vary in different markets upon specific specs).

ZTE's specialized approach to smartphones has already borne fruit, particularly with the REDMAGIC series, a lineup of high-end gaming smartphones.

The company's focus on the gaming sector has also struck a chord in Southeast Asia, where young consumers dominate, contributing to nearly 15% of global mobile game sales in 2023. The gaming-focused nubia Neo, released in Thailand and Malaysia last year, has seen widespread success, which is attributed in part to its affordable price point.

All these handsets will begin rolling out in the next couple of weeks across Europe, Latin America, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

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