There’s a good chance you’ve owned a ZTE device before, but you may not have known it. ZTE has built so-called “white label” handsets sold in the United States under carrier brands for years, but now it is trying to build consumer recognition in the United States. One of the first phones sold in the United States under the ZTE name is an affordably priced “phablet” handset for T-Mobile.
The ZTE Z Max has two things going for it: First, it’s got a big 5.7-inch screen running at a 720p resolution. Second, it’s cheap — $252 unlocked, or $10.50 per month on a [company]T-Mobile[/company] payment plan. For that price, you actually get a fair amount of phone for your money — a midrange Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, an 8-megapixel camera, a big 3,400mAh battery, and Android 4.4 that’s blissfully close to the way Google intended, with only a few tweaks like T-Mobile apps and ZTE’s custom camera software.
There’s a lot of competition in the $200 to $300 price range for smartphones in the United States, not to mention in markets like China where the mid-range is the sector that receives the most attention. Motorola has the new Moto G, but the latest version doesn’t have LTE support yet. Sharp’s new bezel-less phone is also a strong contender, especially for Sprint subscribers, but its screen is only 4.7-inches. If you want a big, phablet-type phone for cheap, the [company]ZTE[/company] Z Max will be one of your best options this fall.