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printed October 16, 2017
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Review: ZTE Grand X Max+ for Cricket Wireless

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Screen

The display measures 6.0 inches across the diagonal and consists of 1280 x 720 pixels. It's not remotely the best size-pixel ratio in the market, but it still manages to look pretty good. ZTE did a good job optimizing most of the elements you'll see on screen for the resolution available. That means icons, menus, and other bits of the UI all appear smooth and free of pixelated edges. Text is a different story. You'll notice the lower pixel density most when reading small text on web sites or in Google Docs. High-def movies look good. The screen offers plenty of brightness. I was able to set it quite low most of the time indoors, and only had to ramp it up a little bit outside. I had no trouble using the phone as a camera outdoors under a sunny sky. Viewing angles are excellent. There's only a minor drop in brightness even when viewed from extreme angles.

Signal

New phones from Cricket, including the X Max+, operate on AT&T's network. One of the improvements the X Max+ made over last year's phone is the addition of LTE 4G. The X Max only had access to HSPA. The X Max+ can use LTE anywhere AT&T offers it. In that respect, the X Max+ performed on par with other handsets I've tested on AT&T's network in the metro NYC area. It connected all the calls I made on the first dial and never dropped or missed any calls. LTE speeds weren't the fastest I've seen, but that didn't seem to impact how long it took to load web pages or upload images to Facebook. The X Max+ did well even in areas with weak coverage.

Sound

I was quite impressed with call quality. Voices come through the earpiece speaker loud and clear. I was able to hold conversations in most everyday environments - such as coffee shops and local shopping centers - without worrying about missing anything. I didn't experience any interference or choppiness, just clean sound. Those I spoke with through the X Max+ said I sounded "far away." The speakerphone isn't quite as good. Since the speaker is on the back, I'd recommend you place the X Max+ on a hard, flat surface, such as a desk or table, for the best sound. Volume is good enough for an office with a closed door or other semi-quiet spaces, but I had a hard time hearing conversations in the car when I had to hold the phone in my hand. Quality also dips a bit. Ringtones and alerts will get your attention most of the time, even if you're in a different room. The vibrate alert is quite strong, and the phone offers five different vibrate patterns.

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Battery

ZTE managed to squeeze a large 3,200 mAh battery into the svelte profile of the X Max+. It's an ample power supply that never wavered in delivering a full day's use to the X Max+. The 720p HD screen has half as many pixels as a 1080p HD screen, and that helps keep power drain in check. I consistently had battery capacity left to spare at the end of the day while testing the X Max+.

The phone has a great battery saver tool, as well. It provides a detailed look at what's draining the battery and how much uptime you have left with a handful of activities, such as voice calls, music playback, video playback, and web browsing. Moreover, there are three operational modes for the phone that help conserve battery life. The most extreme of them is called Long Standby Mode, which kills all functions except the ability to make/receive calls and send/receive text messages. With this mode enabled, the phone's battery life extends for days.

Battery  

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