The bottom line
Perhaps not so many people can recognize the ZTE brand, in fact, this Chinese manufacturer is one of the very large smartphone manufacturers. A lot of carriers and companies in the world have purchased devices from this manufacturer. And with the release of the ZTE Grand X Max+, ZTE expects to have been widely recognized among the smartphone community. This phablet measures 6 inches and costs one third less than the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.
Just paying $220 to buy the Grand X Max+, but you can get a lot of value from this smartphone. The battery is powerful and the 13-megapixel camera is great. Of course, it cannot be compared to Galaxy Note 4 or the Nexus 6 or some other flagship phablets, but the values are worth your money.
- The price is very reasonable – only $220
- The battery is powerful
- The camera is very nice
- 720p display is dated on 6-inch screen
- The processor is not fast enough to run software smoothly
- Bulky, slippery design cause some inconvenience for holding the phone
- This phone is a fingerprint magnet
An absolutely massive phablet
When looking at Grand X Max+ for the first time, this smartphone seems to be bulky. While its thickness is just 7.9 mm, the screen has accounted for 6 inches. That’s why you won’t find the phone ergonomic. Because it’s large and the corners are sharp due to the rectangular shape, holding it in hands may be not comfortable. Although the manufacturer has tried to make it sleek, there is not any sense of ergonomics with it. Just one nice thing is the location of the power button on the phone side, which enables you to hold down easily without your reach versus the far distance of the top.
The Grand X Max Plus uses the Android 4.4.4 KitKat operating system, which is the combination of the AOSP-esque look and easy-to-use Android interface, together with several additional treats. Thanks to the customization of the lock screen, you can easily get access to apps via quick selections. In regard of the home screen, the Grand X Max+ is similar to not only Samsung but HTC as well. While its flip flock seems to be borrowed from HTC, the wallpaper is much similar to that of Samsung.
In addition, you can select one among some available interesting transition effects when you switch from one to another page on the home screen. This is nice, but sometimes inconvenient, especially in case that the processor selects an animation and you see a drop of the frame rate drops immediately.
Although there remain some drawbacks, this operating system is still a pretty nice Android system. The vibrant colors together with the simplicity in the design style are pretty attractive points of this smartphone.
A dated, but crisp display
At the moment, while Quad-HD display with the 1440p resolution is pretty common in the smartphone market, the Grand X Max Plus does not use this kind of display. For such a 6-inch smartphone, only 720p display is supported.
Despite the vivid colors as well as sharp images, it’s the low amount of pixels that makes the photos look out of date. Although only the pixel density can’t decide the image quality, the full Quad-HD display still brings significantly different and more vivid look. The 1080p resolution should be supported for phablets of reasonable prices; however, the 720p can be acceptable, considering the low price as well as the inclusion of Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and other things into this smartphone.
A weak, underwhelming processor
The Grand X Max Plus runs the Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 1.2GHz quad-core processor, which is older and slower than the more common Snapdragon 805 2.7GHz quad-core one. Some other phablets such as the Galaxy Note 4 uses the latter. Through benchmark test, the Max Plus did not get a pretty low score versus flagship phablet models. For example, the Galaxy Note 4 scored 23,000, nearly three times higher than the 8,300 score of the Max Plus. Besides, the benchmark test on the graphics also showed a much lower score of this phone, which is just more than 4,000 versus 20,000 of the Galaxy Note 4. Due to this, the frame rate of the Max Plus drops for every actions like playing games or using the interface.
For a low-priced model, in 2015 it costs about $200 to get this processor. In 2015, it has been put into the Grand X Mas Plus, but it’s not strong enough for handling its current user interface. That’s when you move over the home screen, you’ll see the lower frame rate. This is especially clear when you apply transition animations. In case that the above drawbacks do not matter to you, the Max Plus is still a nice smartphone. The 2GB RAM and the 16 GB storage space is included, which is enough for you to handle all of the games and images.
A Great camera held back by hardware
Both the two cameras of the Grand X Max Plus are impressive beyond something that people often expect for a low-priced smartphone. The rear camera is a large one with the resolution of 13 megapixels. It also comes with a 4X digital zoom and an LED notification light. The camera on the front allows you to takes very nice selfies with the resolution of 5 megapixels. Despite the lack of optical IS, the cameras of the Max Plus is no…. Although the optical IS is not supported, this camera can still be compared with the Samsung Note 4’s 16-MP rear camera and outperforms the Nexus 6‘s 13-MP rear camera and 2-megapixel front camera.
There are a lot of available shooting features with the cameras of the Max Plus in which HDR is also supported. However, don’t expect the camera app to performs very fast as the processor is not strong enough. It does take time for taking HDR photographs and your phone may be freezed for several second for processing the image. In addition, as the display is just limited to 720p resolution, it’s not easy to review HDR photos right on the cameras due to its very large resolution. But you can zoom these photos to see the details better.
It takes some efforts to get used to shooting photos with the phone camera because of the fact that it’s not ergonomic to hold the phone. Because there is no optical IS support, you will have to keep the phone steady while taking photos. It requires some practice, but the results after all will be nice enough to be compared with that of top smartphones. For such a smartphone at that price, the camera was impressive.
Powered by Cricket Wireless
You should also notice that you can only purchase the Grand X Max Plus from Cricket Wireless, a carrier in the system of AT&T. It costs $50 per month for obtaining 50 GB of data. The 4G LTE is supported with the speed of 8 Mbps. In addition, you can also use HSPA+ (Regular “4G”) at the speed of 4Mbps. As it’s only available in Cricket Wireless, the speeds are better for suburban or rural areas versus urban areas where many people use the network at the same time. We have noticed that throughout peak hours on Cricket Wireless, the speed is only limited to 1Mbps via LTE. You should consider this thoroughly before deciding on buying the Grand X Max Plus as it’s available exclusively on Cricket.
One strong point of the Grand X Max Plus is its battery life. The 3,200mAh capacity makes this battery one of the strongest ones in the market, which is often expected such a phablet like the Max Plus. This capacity is also found in some other devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 or LG G3, but the battery life is shortened because of the very large resolution amount as well as strong processors. Meanwhile, the battery life of the Max Plus can last up to two days after being charged as it has the lower resolution and less powerful processors.
In addition, the Qualcomm’s Quick Charge feature – version 1.0 is also supported, which enables the phone to charge up to thirty percent of the battery life in thirty minutes.