ZTE Grand X 3 hands-on


Still on its quest in making itself a household name in the US, Chinese maker ZTE comes at us with a one-two offering for its CES 2016 unveiling. Notably, we recently highlighted the ZTE Axon Pro, its high-end smartphone this past fall, in our most underrated phones of 2015 post, but they’re back to their bread and butter routine in the affordable segment of the market. This one, in particular, is the Cricket bound ZTE Grand X 3, which comes at us with a $129.99 that’s sure entice those who have an appetite for ‘bigger’ phones.

Design


The Grand X line has generally been blessed with good designs, despite their low-cost attachment, so it doesn’t surprise us that this one follow suit with its curvy edges, matte chassis, and lightweight feel. For the price point and all, it’s comforting to know that it’s not one of those downright ‘cheapo’ phones that make us cringe holding them in our hand. Thankfully, it’s the opposite because the charming design goes a long way in adding some meaningful substance to its value proposition

Display


Sporting a 5.5-inch 720 x 1280 TFT LCD display, its rich tones and saturation instantly reminds us of qualities that are more akin to AMOLED screens. Detail, naturally, suffice enough at 720p resolution – while those overblown color help to generate attention in the dark. Honestly, it’s not bad looking of a display when you think about its price point and all.

Interface


Out of the box, it’s running Android 5.1.1 Lollipop. We know, it’s almost unthinkable given Android Marshmallow’s continuing penetration, but we’re neither all that shocked by this revelation. For the most part, it tries to stick with a stock experience, so in that regard, we’re not too critical about the fact that it’s launching with Lollipop.

Processor and Memory


Needless to say, we weren’t expecting anything grand with its processing hardware – just because, you know, it’s an affordably priced thing. With that in mind, it’s powered by a quad-core 1.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 MSM8909 SoC coupled with 2GB of RAM. In this day and age, it’s an effective combo for the simple stuff, but might prove a bit underpowered for gaming needs.

Stuffed with 16GB of internal storage, it’s a tally that’s more than generous due to the fact that it can also be supplemented by its microSD card slot.

Camera


Looking towards its cameras, the ZTE Grand X 3 features an 8-megapixel rear/2-megapixel front camera combo. We’ll take it, of course, seeing that the camera interface is greeted with a useful manual mode for still shots. Who knows what the quality of its shots will turn out like, but the manual mode is a sweet surprise that we’re sure that shutterbugs will eat up in the process.

Expectations


The ZTE Grand X 3 is yet another phone in the company’s portfolio, one that saw its beginnings in the entry-level market before transitioning into high-end, beastly phones we’re seeing from them in the last couple of years. Through Cricket Wireless, its $129.99 outright cost will surely be easy on the pockets for anyone on a light budget, and at the same time, an attractive alternative for those who are looking at phablets like the Samsung Galaxy Note 5, but can’t fathom the thought of forking over so much money just to buy a ‘bigger’ phone.



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