Monsters from Asia: The high-end ZTE Grand S3 and its retina scanner

If you thought that fingerprint scanners are the way forward, you may well end up being wrong. We saw two separate Asian companies at MWC 2015, Fujitsu and ZTE, that thought so, and are working hard on bringing eye-scanning technology to the masses. The former's solution, while seemingly superior, is not yet a market reality, but ZTE's is, thanks to the Grand S3.

So what exactly does ZTE bring to the table with the S3? Well, basically, it has embedded some pretty smart tech inside the front-facing camera, which it calls Eyeprint ID. As you can imagine, the scanner saves a pattern of your eyes and uses it to unlock the screen. We didn't have the opportunity to test if it can be fooled, but ZTE reps claimed that neither an image of your eyes, nor even a video of them, can deceive the scanner. That's great news, especially since it's possible to lock specific apps, such as PayPal for example, and make them inaccessible for anybody but you.

But the Grand S3 isn't just a one-trick pony, and ZTE has made sure that potential customers have a number of reasons to pick it up. For starters, it boasts a large, 5.5-inch IPS display with a sharp resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels (401 ppi). Underneath it, the company has placed a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor with Adreno 330 graphics, and the generous 3 gigs of RAM. The S3 offers 16GB of built-in storage, expandable through a microSD slot, and 2 Nano-SIM slots that work in a standby configuration (can use one at a time). Also on board is a 16-megapixel main camera with dual LED flash and 4K UHD video recording capabilities, an 8-megapixel front-facing selfie snapper, and a 3,300 mAh cell.

As for the software, we're looking at Android 4.4.4 KitKat with ZTE's own proprietary skin on top. We were told that Lollipop is on its way, and we sure hope ZTE delivers on this promise – we do understand that the Grand S3 is a showcase for the Eyeprint ID tech, but that doesn't mean that prospective buyers won't want the latest available firmware.

ZTE told us that the Grand S3 will cost ¥2,999 in its homeland of China (~$480), where it's exclusively available, but only for the time being – the company's ambition is to bring the S3 to other markets, too. Which ones, however, that we don't know.

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Monsters from Asia (49 updates)



2. AmitMajumder

Posts: 178; Member since: May 21, 2012

Why are these articles titled "Mosters from asia"?? I mean most of the tier one phone OEMs i.e. Samsung, LG, Sony, HTC are all from Asia. So??

3. bambamboogy02

Posts: 838; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

I believe they mean that these phones are predominantly marketed and sold in Asia, and won't really be here in the US. I know the US does get ZTE phones, but not these 'monsters'.

4. Manux

Posts: 26; Member since: Jan 29, 2015

Old news, we know for this device many weeks now.

5. brunelian92

Posts: 79; Member since: Feb 04, 2015

Whyyyyyyyy do people want retina scanners. At least finger print sensors work in the dark....

8. Busyboy

Posts: 731; Member since: Jan 07, 2015

Most retina scanners use infrared light, which work in any lighting conditions. Much better than fingerprint scanning IMO

6. Mube007

Posts: 260; Member since: Sep 24, 2013

now these phones are looking inferior to samsung galaxy s6 and s6 edge

9. Randy_g

Posts: 70; Member since: Jul 10, 2014

Is that A sammy boy I see in the distance


Posts: 9; Member since: Jan 28, 2015

I look at my phone lock screen all the time without wanting to open it. Yet to hear how this issue will be resolved.

10. kopkiwi

Posts: 102; Member since: May 31, 2013

Missed a trick with those specs. SoC801? 16GB Storage? 330 Adreno? If you're going to bring some new tech to the market, then BRING IT TO MARKET with a loud band.

11. Br125

Posts: 14; Member since: Mar 11, 2015

Nice looking phone with decent enough hardware to stick around for a while.

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