zte zmax unboxing and first impressions aa (13 of 20)

When the Moto G debuted last year it instantly shattered consumer expectations when it came to budget-oriented devices under the $250 mark. Since then, we’ve seen a number of handsets that aim to give us a similar price/value ratio, and while few live up to the standards set by Motorola, we’ve seen several devices come close. The new ZTE ZMax is one of these handsets.

At a special press event in New York City, ZTE took the veil off the ZMax, a 5.7-inch ‘phablet’ that will be exclusively sold through T-Mobile for just $230 outright or for zero down with 24 monthly payments of $10.50. During the event ZTE promised this is only the beginning, and that the brand is committed to delivering high quality, low cost products. As ZTE put it on stage, “We believe we are well positioned to understand your needs”. In addition to focusing on price/value ratio, ZTE is also committed to larger form factors, believing that such a device is perfect for consumers looking for one device to rule them all — instead of needing both a tablet and a smartphone.

Pricing for the Zmax certainly isn’t bad, but the real question is what’s under the hood. The ZTE ZMax has surprisingly solid specs for its price tag, powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 with 2GB RAM, a fairly decent 16GB storage with microSD, a 5.7-inch 720p HD display and a massive 3,400 mAh battery that’s said to provide a full two days of life on average with a single charge — at least according to ZTE.

zte zmax unboxing and first impressions aa (12 of 20)

ZTE ZMAX specifications:

  • Battery: 3400 mAh
  • Dimensions: 6.4” x 3.3” x 0.35”, 6.7 oz.
  • Display: 5.7″ TFT LCD HD 1280 x 720
  • Memory: 16GB storage, expandable to 32GB via micro SD
  • Network Compatibility: LTE, GSM
  • Operating System: Android KitKat 4.4
  • Processor: Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 400 Quad Core with Adreno 305 GPU at 1.2 GHz
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Camera: 8MP rear, 1.6MP front, 1080p video

For those that are fans of stock Android, you’ll be happy to know that ZTE is opting for a near-stock approach with Android KitKat 4.4, though you’ll find a few custom apps and other minor changes to the UI. As for the handset’s exterior design? In our hands-on first impression we noted that the handset really is quite a looker for the price range with square corners and a rounded back, though it’s also rather bulky.

Overall, the Zmax packs a pretty mean punch that easily compares to or beats out the Moto G (both 1st and 2nd gen) in most ways, and with a price tag that isn’t too much more than Motorola’s popular budget line. On the other hand, a 720p resolution on such a big display isn’t going to look too impressive and the phone is rather unwieldy. Still, for under $250 you get a large-screen phone experience with LTE, a reasonable amount of storage, decent cameras and what appears to be one hell of a battery.

So when can you get your hands on the ZTE Zmax? The handset will arrive on September 24th both online and at select T-Mobile brick-and-mortar locations. MetroPCS will also carry the handset a bit later this year.

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