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ZTE Grand S and Nubia 5 ready for pre-order on Saturday

Both smartphones are unlocked and cost less than others in their class, run on GSM networks

October 3, 2013 09:00 AM ET

Computerworld - Two new unlocked Android smartphones from ZTE USA -- the Grand S and the Nubia 5 -- can be pre-ordered starting Saturday.

The Nubia 5 will cost $449.99 through Amazon and other channels, while the Grand S will go for $399.99, ZTE USA said in a statement. Those prices are for unlocked, higher quality smartphones and are more than $100 lower than the prices of many comparable unlocked smartphones.

ZTE Grand S smartphone
The ZTE Grand S smartphone will sell for $399.99 unlocked.

The two devices are similar in many ways. Both have 5-in. displays, run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, use Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processors with 1.5 GHz quad-core CPU's, and have 13-megapixel rear and 2-megapixel front cameras. They both have 16 GB of internal storage and 2GB of memory. Both will run on GSM/UMTS carriers, which include AT&T and T-Mobile US, but it also means they apparently are not LTE compatible.

ZTE Nubia 5 smartphone
The ZTE Nubia 5 smartphone has a price tag of $449.99 unlocked.

The biggest distinction is in the size of the phones. The Grand S, introduced at CES in January, will be the slimmest smartphone available in the U.S. at 0.27 inches thick. Overall, the Grand S is 5.59 x 2.72 x 0.27 inches, while the Nubia 5 is slightly shorter and slightly thicker at 5.43 x 2.71 x 0.30 inches.

Internally, the major difference is that the battery in the more-expensive Nubia 5 is larger at 2300 mAh, while the Grand S comes with a 1780 mAh battery.

ZTE USA, a division of ZTE in Shenzhen, China, called the Grand S "elegant, stylish and open," adding that it "caters to today's design-conscious consumer." Lixin Cheng, CEO of ZTE USA said today's high-end smartphones "must be both physically and emotionally compelling," and he promised more products like the Grand S in the future.

The Nubia 5 has glowing red buttons on a matte finish to keep with the design theme that ZTE wants to emphasize. The camera includes Pro Mode, which brings features such as four-direction panoramic shooting and burst mode for continuous shots. Nubia 5 also has Digital Dolby Plus audio with specially designed earbuds.

More information for pre-ordering the Grand S and the Nubia 5 is available on ZTE USA's websites. ZTE USA didn't say when the devices will ship to customers.

ZTE is an up-and-coming smartphone vendor and had 4.4% of the smartphone market at the end of 2012, according to IDC, making it the fourth largest behind Samsung, Apple and Huawei, in that order. ZTE and Huawei are nearly even in market share, however.

Sprint began selling the Vital smartphone from ZTE in June for $99.99 after rebate and with a two-year service agreement. It also runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and has a 13-megapixel rear camera but runs a slightly less powerful 1.5 GHz dual-core processor.

Sprint boasted that Vital had little bloatware, making it closer to what Android is intended to be. In general, analysts view ZTE smartphones as being closer to pure Android than other manufacturers' smartphones that run Android with special software overlays.

This article, ZTE Grand S and Nubia 5 ready for pre-order on Saturday, was originally published at Computerworld.com.

covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at Twitter @matthamblen or subscribe to Hamblen RSSMatt's RSS feed. His email address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

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