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Nubia Z40S Pro launches as the world's cheapest Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1-powered flagship smartphone yet

The new Z40S Pro. (Source: Nubia)
The new Z40S Pro. (Source: Nubia)
The ZTE Nubia Z40S Pro is the latest Android smartphone to debut with the updated Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 flagship processor. It has also managed to undercut its rivals from Realme or iQOO in doing so, starting at the equivalent of just ~US$500 in China. Despite this, the device also offers a choice of charging speeds, an extensive rear camera hump and very thin bezels for its 144Hz screen.

ZTE's premium Android brand Nubia has delivered on its promise to release a remixed flagship smartphone with an updated, enlarged camera hump. It is dominated by a custom 35mm lens for the 64MP Sony IMX787 main shooter. The f/1.6 sensor has OIS, as does the new Pro's 8MP periscope camera.

There is also a 50MP ultrawide-angle tertiary module, which, at 116°, could have a wider field of view, but does double as a 2cm macro lens rather than having a messy, unnecessary 4th cut-out. Nubia rates them for "multi-focal-length" photography, enhanced using NEOVision technology developed in-house.

These cameras can be activated via the Pro's new hardware slider; however, Nubia will also allow the smartphone's owners to put it to other uses, such as silencing the phone or firing a gaming mode up.

Speaking of neatness, Nubia has now confirmed that (despite its relationship with ZTE), the Z40S Pro has a minimal punch-hole selfie camera for its 6.67-inch FHD+ display. It has bezels of just 0.95mm at their thinnest, for a screen-to-body ratio of 94.8%.

The panel is AMOLED and has a near-top-end 144Hz refresh rate, DC-dimming, 10-bit color and a 1,000-nit max brightness rating, although there is no mention of something like LTPO 3.0 tech here. Nevertheless, with its 8.05mm-high flat-edged frame, the Z40S Pro looks clean from the front.

Indeed, Nubia is leaving a lot of display performance duty up to the smartphone's updated Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 platform. Combined with its new cooling system full of aerospace-grade materials, a vapor chamber that has grown in size compared to that of the Z40 Pro and a "dynamic frame rate adjustment algorithm", the device is touted to run games like Genshin Impact or Honor of Kings at up to 120fps in even 39.5°C heat.

Real-world testing might be the true judge of those claims, however. Consumers in China can take that opportunity for 3,399 yuan (~US$503) at the least for an 8GB RAM/128GB internal storage SKU, thus beating even the freshly-launched iQOO 10 in these terms.

Then again, this price is due in part to its being the new flagship's 'slower' charging SKU: it has a 5,000mAh battery with 80W charging, whereas the Z40S Pro also upgrades to new higher-end models with a 4,700mAh capacity and 120W charging to go with its 12 to 16GB of RAM.

Those SKUs go for 4,299 yuan (~$637) and 6,699 yuan (~$992) respectively. Alternatively, there is a 12/256GB Special Edition presented in partnership with the anime Spirit Cage, with an exclusive, angular finish that steps on that of Nubia's own RedMagic sub-brand in a slightly iffy and literally "ATTENTION"-demanding way.

Otherwise, there are more understated Magic Green and Black colorways for the new Z40S Pro's 'normal' units. They will be available to order in China from July 26, 2022, with, unfortunately, no mention of international availability for this latest and markedly affordable late-year premium smartphone.

Nubia makes some impressive performance claims...
Nubia makes some impressive performance claims...
for its new Z40S Pro. (Source: Nubia via Weibo)
for its new Z40S Pro. (Source: Nubia via Weibo)
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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2022 07 > Nubia Z40S Pro launches as the world's cheapest Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1-powered flagship smartphone yet
Deirdre O'Donnell, 2022-07-20 (Update: 2022-07-20)