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ZTE Grand S3 hands on and first impressions

We take a quick look at the ZTE's latest smartphone offering that offers some very unique security features, as we go hands on with the ZTE Grand S3!

Published onMarch 3, 2015

We see a lot of smartphones launched at MWC every year, and sometimes, smaller players have had the tendency to get lost in the crowd, especially if there are any big hitters around that steal the spotlight. While that is somewhat the case this year as well, especially with HTCand Samsung introducing their respective flagships, what the other lesser known names in Android have done extremely well is to offer something unique with their products, that go beyond what their otherwise standard nature, or price point, would suggest. One such device is from ZTE, that takes smartphone security to a whole other level. We got to spend some time with this phone, and here is our first impressions about the ZTE Grand S3!

In terms of design and specifications, the ZTE Grand S3 is no different from the slew of other mid-range to high-end smartphones, so lets get that out of the way first. The design of the Grand S3 is definitely more functional than flashy, with a soft touch plastic back cover that is removable. Opening the back cover gives you access to the replaceable battery and the dual SIM card slots. The volume rocker and power button are found on the right, with the power button placed perfectly to make it easy to reach. With its metal frame, the Grand S3 does offer a premium look and feel in the hand, and it certainly is a good looking device.

The Grand S3 features a 5.5-inch IPS LCD display with a 1920 x 1080 resolution, with a resulting pixel density of 401 ppi. The device is powered by a 2.5 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, backed by the Adreno 330 GPU and 3 GB of RAM. While not the latest and greatest, the Snapdragon 801 is still a fantastic processor, so performance shouldn’t be a concern with this phone. 16 GB of on-board storage is further expandable via microSD card, and a full suite of connectivity options are also available. On the battery front, the Grand S3 packs a large 3,100 mAh unit, which should allow for more than decent longevity.

On the software side of things, you will find ZTE’s highly customized UI on top of Android 4.4 Kitkat, which is a little disappointing for a new device releasing in 2015. As expected, there is no app drawer, leaving you having to depend on folders to keep things organized. It is a bright and colorful interface, and the processing package helps the phone fly through its various elements.

When to comes to the camera, the Grand S3 packs a 16 MP rear camera and an 8 MP front-facing unit. The camera interface itself is quite simple, especially in the Auto mode. There is a Pro mode available, that opens up a slew of settings that you can manually adjust, such as ISO, white balance, and more, that will help you really cater the shot to your liking. Of course, it’s too early to comment on the quality of the pictures and videos, which will get to during the upcoming comprehensive review of this device.

zte grand s3 9

Finally, we come to what makes the ZTE Grand S3 stand out from the crowd, by being one of the first smartphones to offer a new biometric security feature that scans your eye via “Eyeprint ID” technology. To set it up, what you have to do is go into the Security settings to Sky Eye to start the setup process. The device uses the 8 MP optics of the front-facing camera to not only capture a video of how your eyes look, but also see the blood vessels inside of the eyeballs.

Once set up, all you have to do to unlock the smartphone is swipe down from the top of the lockscreen, and the phone will scan you eye and unlock it. Using this feature multiple times helps improve the experience as well, as each time you unlock the phone, the scan details are also updated. It’s not the fastest unlock solution though, but can be very useful if you’re worried about keeping your device locked and secure.

So there you have it – a quick look at the ZTE Grand S3! The ZTE Grand S3 is definitely a solid device in terms of design, build quality, and specifications, but the addition of the Eyeprint feature is what makes this smartphone very unique, and should be a lot of fun to use, apart for being very good for security.

Stay tuned with Android Authority as we continue to bring you more from ZTE, along with all our other great coverage from MWC 2015!

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