Hands-On: ZTE Grand X Max+ and SPRO 2
Here is a quick take on ZTE's new hero phone for Cricket Wireless as well as a peek at the new mobile hotspot projector.
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ZTE today showed off the Grand X Max+ fro Cricket Wireless. This device is little more than a spec bump from last year's X Max, but still demonstrates just how serious the company is at attacking the US market.
The Grand X Max+ is a massive phablet. With a 6-inch screen, it's flat-out huge. I found it to be no noticeably bigger than the Motorola Nexus 6, for example. Like last year's phone, the Max+ design is quite appealing. The front and back are both Gorilla Glass, which are held together by a strong polycarbonate frame. The frame has a bit of a matte finish to it. Despite the huge footprint, the phone is impressively thin at just 7.87mm. The top and bottom edges have a rounded design that I like, and the sides are just flat enough that the phone can stand on edge. It is a classy looking phone.
The monstrous screen, which has the same specs as last year's phone, looks better than it should. What I mean is, 1280 x 720 pixels stretched out over 6 inches of glass usually means you'll see lots of pixels. That's not really the case here. I was pleasantly surprised by how sharp and bright the X Max+'s display was. Colors looked great and I was easily able to see the screen when under the harsh glare of spotlights and the sun. The front surface remains free of smudges, but I noticed the back side collected fingerprint oils quite easily.
The volume toggles are located on the left edge of the phone. They have a decent profile and were easy to find. I thought travel and feedback would have been a bit better. The SIM card tray is also on the left side. You'll find the screen lock button positioned about the midway point on the right edge. It is small, but still easily found and used. Travel and feedback was good. There is no dedicated camera button, which is a shame. The headphone jack is on top and the microUSB port is on the bottom.
The device uses on-screen buttons to control the Android 4.4.4 KitKat operating system. They come and go as needed. Since the device has a glass back panel, the rear cover is not removable. That means no swapping batteries. However, with a 3,200mAh battery inside you probably won't need to.
The user interface has some slight customizations from ZTE, but sticks close to stock Android. I thought the device performed well in the few moments I spent with it thanks to the jump from a Snapdragon 200 processor to a Snapdragon 410 processor. There were not surprises in terms of bugginess or lagging.
The real story of this device is the price point. Cricket plans to sell it for $200 free of any contract. At that price, the ZTE Grand X Max+ will be hard to beat.
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