Archive for ZTE

Review: ZTE Grand X 4

Posted in Products with tags on February 16, 2017 by itnerd

ZTE has proven that they can make a phone for a low price that packs a lot of value. Their latest effort is the ZTE Grand X 4. Let me get to the price right off the bat. If you’re on Freedom Mobile, you can get it for $99 on a two year plan if the plan is $45 or more. What do you get for that price? A lot actually. Here’s the specs:

  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow

  • 5.5-inch 1280×720 LCD

  • 1.4 GHz quad-core processor

  • 2 GB RAM

  • 16 GB Storage

  • microSD slot

  • 13MP rear camera

  • 5MP front camera

  • USB-C

  • Bluetooth 4.2 LE

  • 4G LTE

  • 802.11b/g/n WiFi

Those aren’t lightweight specs.

The ZTE Grand X 4 is not a small phone. That said, the curved edges, textured back and a solid in-hand feel make the phone much easier to handle than you might expect. It’s also light. I used it all day to shoot pictures and video at the Canadian International Auto Show media day and I never found it to be bulky and heavy. It also feels solid and well constructed. 

Some features stand out to me. First is the fingerprint scanner. A smartphone with a fingerprint scanner isn’t common at this price point. This this is a plus. The second is the screen. Okay, you will notice the pixels on it. But colors were vibrant and images seemed bright to me. I seriously doubt that anyone who sees it will complain. Fingerprints on the screen are a bit of a problem though.

Performance is pretty good. Apps open quickly and I never noticed any significant lag or real slow-downs during casual usage. I have no complaints on this front. But what’s missing is NFC which is understandable as you have to cut costs somewhere to hit this price point. For the record, another area that ZTE saved a few bucks on is WiFi. It only has 802.11b/g/n WiFi in an age where 802.11ac is common. The software is pretty much stock Android with some slight (yet helpful) additions. The most obvious difference will be on the notification area, which does look rather unique.

The camera on the Grand X 4 is pretty decent. I used it to shoot this 1080p video at the Canadian International Auto Show. Set it to 1080p and full screen to see what I mean:

Sound quality is a bit tinny. You’ll also note the fact that it constatly tried to autofocus. To be fair, you can turn that off if it bothers you which is a good thing. In terms of stills, they were decent. Here were a few examples:

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There is some pixelation. However, these pictures are decent. Considering that this is a $99 phone, that’s to be expected.

Battery life was great. I started using it at 7:10 AM to tweet, take photos and videos almost non stop, and upload a video to YouTube and got to 3PM with 46% of the battery left. That’s pretty impressive as I was hammering the phone pretty hard. That means that battery life under normal usage will be in the two day range. Pretty impressive from a $99 phone.

The bottom line? If you want a phone at this price point, the ZTE Grand X 4 is hard to beat. Sure it’s not perfect, but this phone has a lot going for it. Enough that you should put it on your shopping list.

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Android Nougat & Daydream By Google Available Now For The ZTE Axon 7

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 7, 2017 by itnerd

ZTE USA today announced that both Android Nougat and Daydream are available now for its award-winning Axon 7 smartphone.  With these updates, the ZTE Axon 7 continues to deliver the best value of any flagship smartphone on the market today. 

The release of Android N provides Axon 7 users with the ability to personalize the device like never before. With added capabilities at their fingertips such as the ability to run two apps side by side, save battery power while on the go, and express themselves through added emojis, Axon 7 continues to provide a flagship experience at a price that is unbeatable. 

As one of the first companies to support Daydream, Google’s platform for high quality, mobile virtual reality, the Axon 7 is now Daydream-ready. With its powerful audio and visual capabilities, the Axon 7 provides an immersive VR experience and is the most affordable Daydream-ready phone in the US. 

Since the Axon 7 launched in the US in July 2016, members of Z-Community have helped provide insight into what consumers want to see updated in the device. For a full list of phone specifications and features visit www.zteusa.com/Axon7.

ZTE’s Project CSX Crowdsourced Smartphone Comes to Life As “Hawkeye”

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 4, 2017 by itnerd

ZTE USA today announced “Hawkeye” as the winning name of the Project CSX eye-tracking, self-adhesive smartphone device.  With 540 name submissions from consumers around the world, the Hawkeye phone is available for pre-order today on Kickstarter at kickstarter.zteusa.com for a discounted price of $199.00.

Continuing with the crowdsourced theme surrounding Project CSX, the Hawkeye phone is available for pre-order on Kickstarter and is expected to ship globally in Q3 2017.

 

Project CSX kicked off at CES 2016 when ZTE announced its plans to completely crowdsource a mobile device that the company promised to build in 2017. In October 2016, thousands of consumers from 176 countries selected the winning concept, a device that aims for an easier and smoother user experience with eye-tracking capabilities and a self-adhesive back.

To learn more about ZTE and to keep up with the latest Project CSX developments visit csx.zteusa.com or to become a member of Z-Community, visit community.zteusa.com.

The IT Nerd Award For The Best Smartphone Of 2016 Goes To: ZTE Axon 7

Posted in Commentary with tags , on December 19, 2016 by itnerd

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There were two smartphones that stood out for me this year. The Asus ZenFone 3 and the ZTE Axon 7. Both of them deserve a place on your shopping list as they are great phones that have the capability of using two SIM cards and being reasonably speedy and feature rich. But the reason why the ZTE Axon 7 wins the day was because of the fact that it had amazing audio quality and the camera was quite good (though the auto-focus was a bit flaky). This is a great follow up to the ZTE Axon which took home last year’s IT Nerd Award for the best smartphone of 2015, and it will be interesting to see if ZTE can pull of a “three-peat” in 2017.

 

ZTE Grand X 4 Smartphone is now available at Freedom Mobile

Posted in Commentary with tags , on December 6, 2016 by itnerd

ZTE announced the launch of the Grand X 4, their first LTE device with Freedom Mobile (formerly Wind Mobile). The Grand X 4 will be future ready for Freedom Mobile’s new LTE network and is now available in stores.

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Security and Convenience

A fingerprint sensor on the back provides the security you want with an intuitive and ergonomic placement that is convenient to use. The fingerprint sensor isn’t just for unlocking your phone as you can use it to unlock an app, serve as a button to instantly take photos or answer a call.  

Large Screen for Entertainment

A large, 5.5-inch HD display with Gorilla Glass 3.0 lets you view any content such as movies, television or games on a large screen without the worries of scratches or breaks.

Power and Performance

Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 1.4 GHz quad-core processor and the inclusion of a 3,140 mAh battery with Qualcomm Quick Charge technology, the Grand X 4 is designed to deliver a smooth experience and powers you as long as you need to go.

Better Camera, Better Photos

A 13MP rear-camera captures 1080p video quality and the 5MP wide angle front-camera captures the perfect moments the way you see them.

For full list of phone specifications and features visit http://www.ztedevices.ca/products/smart-phones/smart-phone/grand-x-4.html

The ZTE Grand X 4 will be available with Freedom Mobile for $299 outright, $99 on MyTab or $0 on MyTab Boost.

Review: ZTE Axon 7

Posted in Products with tags on October 28, 2016 by itnerd

Last year, I gave the ZTE Axon the award for the Best Smartphone Of 2015. Here’s the reason why: 

Let me boil all of that down to just the facts. ZTE has a fast phone that has the best audio that I’ve ever heard in a phone, a camera that works in all conditions, and a battery that not only lasts the whole day and then some, but charges quickly as well. It’s a phone that will have Samsung and Apple looking over their shoulder, and you smiling all the way to the bank because it won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Now, it’s one thing to get to the top of the mountain. But it’s difficult to stay there. Given how competitive the smartphone market is, that’s doubly true. So ZTE’s latest effort has to be one that keeps them out front. To that end, they have brought the Axon 7 to market and it comes to the table with the following specs:

  • Android 6 with MiFavor 4.0 skin
  • 2.15 GHz Quad-core processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 64GB internal storage
  • microSD card slot / Dual SIM slot
  • 20MP rear-facing camera 
  • 8MP front-facing camera
  • 32-bit HiFi Dolby ATMOS audio with dual front-facing speakers
  • 5.5″ AMOLED display with Gorilla Glass 
  • Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 with MiFavor 4.0 skin
  • LTE
  • 20 MP rear camera
  • 8 MP front camera
  • 802.11 ac WiFi
  • Bluetooth 4.2

In terms of the design of the phone, it looks cool. There’s a USB-C connector on the bottom, a slot for the two SIM cards and micro SD card on the left, power and volume on the right, and a fingerprint sensor on the back. It has a very cool looking full-metal unibody with a premium-feeling silky matte finish which felt great in my hand. Though it is on the heavy side. The screen is very sharp and is readable in every lighting condition but bright light. One note is that the screen does NOT attract fingerprints. You’ll really like that. It felt fast during my testing. Nothing I tossed at it made it bog down. Now, I’m not a big fan of skins, but the MiFavor 4.0 skin isn’t bad and doesn’t feel like it gets in your way. But if it does annoy you, you can turn it off easily enough. Though I don’t think you’ll bother to do so.

ZTE did up its game in a number of areas. First is the fact that the Axon 7 is an unlocked dual SIM phone which also has the ability to pop a microSD slot. The former makes this phone a great phone to travel with as you can pop a local SIM card into the phone and save on roaming charges. The latter addresses the lack of expandability in the original Axon. There is a catch though. You can use two SIM cards (a micro SIM and a nano SIM) or you can use a nano SIM and a micro SD card. If you rely on having memory beyond what comes with the phone, that might be a problem for you. Another area they’ve upped their game is the 5.5″ display which is viewable in every condition that I tested it in, including bright sunlight. Sound is another area where things have improved. The Axon 7 comes with 32-bit HiFi mobile audio with Dolby ATMOS and dual front-facing speakers. To be frank, they crush the effort that ZTE made in the original Axon. That’s no small feat as the Axon was exceptional when it came to sound, and I was skeptical going into this review as to if ZTE could actually do better on that front. But it did and If you’re an audiophile, you will love the Axon 7 as the sound quality is absolutely stunning. 

The biggest change is the rear camera. Gone is the dual camera setup from the Axon and replacing it is a 20 MP camera on the back and an 8 MP front-facing camera. Video capabilities include 4K recording. I tested it by taking shots of the 2017 Mazda6 that I am reviewing this week and I will be using it next week to take photos of the Mazda3 that I will be reviewing and I will be using it on a short getaway to Kingston Ontario. I did further testing at Pearson Airport in Toronto. Here’s some of the still shots that I got during my testing:

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The only issue that I had when taking photos is that sometimes the autofocus would not work properly. But other than that, all the photos were sharp and clear.

Now here’s a couple of videos that I shot in 4K resolution. Please set the videos to full screen and 4K resolution:

While there is wind noise, it did a good job of capturing good quality audio and video.

When it comes to the battery, I got almost two days of charge which is excellent. It also has the ability to deliver a full charge in about 90 minutes via the USB-C port which is handy as well. You can find the Axon 7 for $519.99 CDN which undercuts the competition from Samsung and Apple. One plus is the fact that it comes with a bumper style case and great quality headphones as part of the deal. Excellent! The bottom line? It’s a great second effort at a flagship smartphone from ZTE. The addition of dual SIM capability as well taking what was already good audio and making it better is going to get it a lot of looks. It should be on your shopping list if you’re in the market for a flagship level smartphone at a bargain basement price as it does a lot for the money that you’ll pay for it. 

 

ZTE Announces Top 5 Project CSX Concepts

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 14, 2016 by itnerd

ZTE has announced the top five mobile device concepts selected by consumers and judges from submissions around the world. Consumers can vote starting today through October 19 at http://www.projectcsx.info/ to determine which device ZTE will build next.

The top five mobile concepts consumers can vote from, in no particular order, are:

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Eye Tracking, Self-Adhesive Phone: A true hands-free experience that allows you to scroll up or down based on eye movement and a self-adhesive back that would allow the phone to stick to a wall or flat surface.

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Intelligent Smartphone Covers: Expend the power of a smartphone through functional cases such as a gamepad, stylus or e-ink flip cover.

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Powerglove: An exo-glove that controls your fingers for use in learning or rehabilitation settings, all powered by your Android smartphone.

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Stock Android Flagship Phone: The next generation of Axon to include stock Android as well as improvement in performance and camera.

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VR-Interactive Diving Mask: A waterproof VR mask allows you to swim in a pool or lake and feel like you’re in the open ocean.

The idea that accumulates the most votes will be deemed as the grand prize winner. In addition to dreaming and conceiving ZTE’s next mobile device, the ultimate Project CSX winner will also receive an all-expenses trip to the 2017 International Consumer Electronics held in Las Vegas, Nevada.

To learn more about the top five concepts and Project CSX visit community.zteusa.com.