Exciting news out of China for mobile enthusiasts, as local superstar and international key player wannabe ZTE has taken the wraps off the Nubia Z5S and Z5S Mini handhelds.

ZTE Nubia Z5S ZTE makes Nubia Z5S and Z5S Mini phones official, Nubia Z7 phablet leaks out

Furthermore, an unannounced Nubia Z7 phablet has been pictured on the down low. First things first, let’s mention the Nubia Z5S, as its name suggests, is only a minor upgrade over the Nubia Z5, introduced in Asia back in December 2012 and available stateside since last month.

Still, you’re likely to sense and spot the “minor” improvements with the naked eye, as the aging quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 CPU has been replaced with a newer, faster, more furious Snapdragon 800 running at 2.3 GHz.

Snazzy, but that’s not all that’s different. The 5-inch display, which just like on the Nubia Z5 boasts 1,080p resolution, is a Sharp-made IGZO unit this time around (not IPS LCD), so in theory it should go easier on the battery. A battery that’s exactly the same size, at 2,300 mAh.

ZTE Nubia ZTE makes Nubia Z5S and Z5S Mini phones official, Nubia Z7 phablet leaks out

The 13 MP rear-facing camera also comes with obvious advancements in tow, namely optical image stabilization and 4K video capture. Then there’s a front snapper with 5 MP sensor, out-the-box Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and even optional 4G LTE speeds.

The other features are identical across the board, including 2 GB RAM, 16 and 32 GB storage options, and on the outside the Nubia Z5 and Z5S are like two peas in a pod.

ZTE Nubia Z5S Mini ZTE makes Nubia Z5S and Z5S Mini phones official, Nubia Z7 phablet leaks out

Meanwhile, the Nubia Z5S Mini may well be the most serious threat for the unannounced Sony Xperia Z1S in the diminutive flagship niche, sporting a not so tiny 4.7-inch IGZO screen with 720p resolution and packing quad-core Snapdragon 600 heat.

The 2 GB RAM, optional LTE connectivity, Android 4.2, 13 MP main snapper (with no OIS though) and 5 MP front cam put the finishing touches on a true high-ender’s spec sheet, albeit ZTE may have tried a little hard to make the Z5S Mini all cute, sleek and cuddly, with a 120-gram weight and 7.6 mm waist that are bound to impact on battery life.

No words on international launches for the two, but China is to get them both by the end of the month starting at the equivalent of $330 (the Z5S) and $250 (Z5S Mini).

ZTE Nubia Z7 ZTE makes Nubia Z5S and Z5S Mini phones official, Nubia Z7 phablet leaks out

Before wrapping up, a quick word about the unreleased Nubia Z7. Tipped to walk all over the line that once separated phones and tablets, with a gargantuan 6.44-inch screen, the phablet has shown its sexy back to the camera, being thus on its sure way to a CES or MWC unveiling early next year.

Aside from stature, the Z7 plans to impress with Snapdragon 800 speed (the MSM8974AB kind), 3 GB RAM, up to 128 GB (!!!) built-in storage, 13 MP camera with OIS, 4G LTE and, wait for it, pre-loaded Android 4.4 KitKat. Sounds like ZTE is no longer an underdog of the mobile landscape.

Sources: My Drivers, Ameblo, Unwired View