ZTE Grand X - A Premium High Specification Android Smartphone

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ZTE has big ambitions to join the likes of HTC and Samsung at the top of the Android pile, and the ZTE Grand X is the company’s biggest statement of intent yet. With stock Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and a dual-core Tegra 2 processor, the Grand X sets out to give you a lot of bangs for not a lot of bucks. If the ZTE Grand X heralds anything, though, it’s the emergence of an Android middle class.

Price: $299


Ratings: 3/5

ZTE Grand X

ZTE Grand X

That’s apparent from the first time you hold the Grand X in your hand. The words solid and functional come to mind, but definitely not premium or even attractive. It’s a well-built, chunky phone in a way that reminds us of a previous- generation HTC handset such as the Incredible S - but without that device’s classy unibody design.

Indeed, because of its smaller dimensions and thicker 9.9mm chassis, the ZTE Grand X actually feels heavier than the likes of the massive HTC One X, even though, at 110g, it’s lighter by 20g.

The fact that you can access the memory expansion slot without removing the battery isn’t just a matter of convenience - the Grand X lets you hot swap microSD memory. That means you can remove and replace memory without turning the handset off, much like you would on a computer.

It’s a good job, too, because left to its own devices the ZTE Grand X’s 4GB of internal storage will soon fill up once you start taking pictures, installing apps and putting your music on to it.

But then, the key selling point of the ZTE Grand X is its near-top-end performance at a sub $00 price. Something had to give, and that appears to be in the design department. Boot the Grand X up and you’ll see the first of its upper-mid-level components in action: a 4.3-inch qHD LCD display.

Screen test

It was only around a year ago that this kind of screen was considered to be top-of-the-range in handsets such as the HTC Sensation, so it’s good to see something similar in such an affordable phone. Of course, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus has since moved the Android display game on to the tune of 4.7 inches and 720p, but that’s evidently not the fight the Grand X is looking to pick.

This kind of screen was considered to be top-of-the-range in handsets.

This kind of screen was considered to be top-of-the-range in handsets.

We have to say that the display lacks something alongside the same-sized Samsung Galaxy S2, even though at 960 x 540 pixels it’s a fair bit sharper. That’s mainly down to a relative lack of brightness and vibrancy even at the top setting - there’s a slightly washed-out feel evident in pictures and videos that had us hankering for the AMOLED alternative. The screen’s responsiveness also isn’t quite up to scratch, with the odd command requiring a second or even third firm stab of the screen to initiate.

Bargain basement: For the money, the ZTE Grand X is hard to beat

Bargain basement: For the money, the ZTE Grand X is hard to beat

While its style and specifications may belong to 2011, the ZTE Grand X’s dual-core processor and Android 4.0 OS make other sub-$300 Android devices look under-equipped. It’s not quite as impressive in the hand as it is on paper, with an unresponsive screen and a mediocre camera, but you can’t argue with the overall value.


·         Great value

·         Dual-core processor

·         Convenient expansion slot


·         Washed-out and slightly unresponsive screen

·         Under-specced camera


·         Height: 127mm

·         Width: 65mm

·         Depth: 9.9mm

·         Screen size: 4.3-inch

·         Weight: 110g


·         Supplier:

·         OS: Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)

·         Processor: Nvidia Tegra 2.1GHz

·         RAM: 512MB

·         Storage: 4GB

·         Expansion: microSD

·         Rear camera: 5MP

·         Front camera: VGA

·         Screen type: qHD LCD

·         Screen resolution: 960x540


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