ZTE Blade S7 press (4)

ZTE is back with another “premium mid-ranger,” the selfie-centric Blade S7.

Following the well-received Blade S6, launched in February, ZTE now ups the ante with better specs and premium build materials. Where the S6 had a plastic build, the Blade S7 comes with an aluminum frame and 2.5D Gorilla Glass on the front and back.

The LCD display is still 5 inches, but resolution has been bumped up to 1920 x 1080, for an excellent 445 PPI and a 72.1% screen to body ratio.

That ratio could have been higher, but ZTE opted to mount a rectangular fingerprint sensor in the  home button on the front. The squared design of the sensor looks a little out of place, but the functionality it enables may be worth it. Besides the standard unlocking feature, the sensor controls access to encrypted files and lets you create shortcuts to several apps.

The ZTE Blade S7 features a Snapdragon 615 processor, which has become a standard for upper mid-range devices launched in the past months. There’s 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage.

ZTE Blade S7 press (3)

The big story here are the two 13MP cameras, a feature that is only matched by Sony’s Xperia C5 Ultra. The selfie camera comes with phase detection autofocus, a dedicated flash, and no fewer than 14 beautification options – now that’s progress. On the back, the shooter features laser autofocus for fast and clear shots in lower lighting conditions.

ZTE’s MiFavor skin is back in its 3.2 iteration. This Android 5.1.1 Lollipop-based UI draws heavy inspiration from iOS, which is rather typical for Chinese smartphones targeted at the Chinese market. In terms of added functionality, ZTE boasts Magic Gestures, which is an Oppo-like shortcut drawing feature, as well as various gestures for common tasks like muting the device or launching the camera.

The Blade S7 will be available in Lemon Green, Rose Gold, Diamond White and Space Gray. The device will first go on sale in Thailand, with more Asian markets to follow. No word on whether the device will ever be available in other parts of the world.

ZTE hasn’t announced an official price of the Blade S7, but the phone has already gone up for pre-order at various Chinese retailers for around $280.

Thoughts on ZTE’s latest?