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Hands-on: ZTE Grand X Max+ for Cricket

January 5, 2015 - Written By Nick Sutrich

As smartphones get more and more prolific the cost of producing a device that can keep up with the latest apps and games gets cheaper.  We’ve seen a drastic cut in prices for phones over the past year yet not a cut in specs, and ZTE is here at CES 2015 to unveil its latest phone that fits this moniker.  The ZTE Grand X Max+ is heading to Cricket on January 9th for $199 out the door, in other words no contract needed and no hidden monthly payments.  The Grand X Max+ packs a large 6-inch 1080p display, a quad-core Snapdragon processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB internal storage, 13MP rear-facing camera, 5MP front-facing camera, a 3200mAh battery and Dolby Digital speakers.  All this shows just how much the bottom line has come down and how much ZTE is delivering for so cheap.

The phone itself was very impressive, especially for the price.  It’s a little bit heavier when compared with the smaller Star 2, but that’s par for the course with a larger phone that also packs a larger battery.  It features a plastic build so while it doesn’t feel as premium as the other ZTE products I was able to get my hands on it’s not priced like those either.  Despite the price and the normal trend of the market the display wasn’t the first thing to get cut.  A 1080p display is important at this size, and it shows in sheer quality over the other budget phones on the market at 6-inches.  The buttons on the side of the phone have a great texture to them, with the power button having a sort of lattice work texture so you can easily find it.

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It’s also great to see ZTE pushing standard Android software buttons here, giving the face of the phone a clean look with no obvious buttons when the screen is off.  Turning on the phone reveals that ZTE is using a different skin here than the one found on the Nubia Z7 or Star 2, and while I wasn’t crazy about the aesthetics of the design of the skin it all worked rather well.  Everything was buttery smooth and quick, and all the quick toggles and other buttons were in the right places and easy to access.

The sound that came from the phone was truly impressive, even taking the price out of the equation.  The speaker is on the back but the quality of the speaker was obviously paid attention to, as the ZTE representative that was showing me the phone stressed that this would probably be the main entertainment device for the person who purchased it.  ZTE’s market for this phone is a person that wants a device that does everything but doesn’t want to spend a fortune on it, so it does plenty of things right without going too overboard or cutting back too much.  More time with the device would be great but this seems like the budget phone to own if you’re in the market for a large device without the high-end price.