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ZTE ZMAX Pro hands-on: $99 for a whole lot of smartphone!

by Jacob Kleinman | July 18, 2016July 18, 2016 4:45 pm PDT

ZTE has been pushing the limits of what budget friendly phones are capable of since the original ZMAX launched in 2014 for just $200. Two years later, the Chinese company is offering the ZMAX Pro for half the price all while packing in more high-end features than ever. The result is a surprisingly impressive smartphone for the shockingly low price of $99 after an instant rebate.

I spent a few minutes testing out the ZMAX Pro and I’m definitely impressed. Despite the massive 6-inch display, it still felt comfortable in my hand, though it might be too much smartphone for some people. The 1080p LCD display looks nice, too, and the colors were sharp.

The rest of the design is also impressive. The back panel is plastic, but it has a nice textured feel with classy copper accents around the rear camera and fingerprint scanner. There’s also a metallic ring around the edges, giving the entire phone a premium finish.

ZTE opted for a Snapdragon 617 processor coupled with 2GB of RAM. That’s not exactly a high-end setup, but it seemed to hold up well during my demo. Apps and websites loaded quickly. Swiping between different menus and pages was a smooth experience as well.

The ZMAX Pro’s biggest draw is the fingerprint scanner, which I wasn’t able to test during the demo. We’ll have a more detailed look at that feature once we’ve spent some quality time with the device. We’ll need to put the front and rear cameras to the test as well, though based on my brief experience they seemed to work just fine.

You also get a USB-C port, which is still a bit of a mixed bag. We really like the reversible design, but it can be tough to track down the right cable if you’re in a crisis since the technology is still relatively new. Finally, the ZMAX Pro packs a solid 32GB of storage with the option to add up to 128GB of extra space, which is always a plus.

The ZMAX Pro really is an impressive smartphone and if you’re looking for a cheap device this seems like a great option. It’s limited to MetroPCS, at least for now, but if that’s not an issue you can pre-order one today.


Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...

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