ZTE, one of the two Chinese handset makers we pay attention to here at Android Authority, the other one being Huawei, has just announced a new phone called the Grand Era U985. It’s got a quad core NVIDIA Tegra 3 under the hood, it has a 4.5 inch 720p display, an 8 megapixel backside illuminated camera, and it has an “average thickness” of 8.6 mm. What does “average” mean? At the U985’s thinnest point, it’s 7.9 mm thin. The company doesn’t say how thin it is at it’s thickest point, but some quick math says it should be around 9.3 mm. Most importantly, this phone supports China Mobile’s TD-SCDMA network. In case you aren’t aware, China Mobile is the world’s largest wireless operator. They have over 650 million customers.
So are there any bad things about this device? Without having touched the U985, something tells us it’s going to have mediocre to subpar build quality. That’s just how ZTE rolls. They make cheap phones for the masses, which means the first thing they sacrifice is materials. Besides that though, the phone ships with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and the company doesn’t say when, if ever, it’ll get Jelly Bean. Yes, the U985 will probably never leave China, but there’s probably going to be a GSM variant for Americans and Europeans.
Should you buy this phone, assuming it comes to your local market? To be perfectly honest, we’re not thrilled with devices that use NVIDIA’s Tegra chips. They’re decent, some might say above average, but you’re almost always better off going with something that has a Qualcomm chip inside. The international HTC One X uses a Tegra 3, but the American varient uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4. Why? Because of LTE support, better battery life, it doesn’t heat up as much, and the list goes on and on.
All in all, we’re glad companies like ZTE exist, because the world definitely does need cheaper smartphones, but if you’re going for a “high end” smartphone then you may as well go with a brand that’ll charge you an extra $100 or so to get a higher quality product.