ZTE Grand X Plus Z826 Smartphone Review - Final Thoughts

Article Index
ZTE Grand X Plus Z826 Smartphone Review
Features and Specifications
General Usage
Camera Testing and More
Battery Life, Calling and More
Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts:

I’ve never used a ZTE device before this unit and just like many other people here in North America, I thought that ZTE might be more of a "budget quality" device. After using this device exclusively for about a month, my thoughts have changed a bit. The phone certainly isn’t a flagship device, but it’s a whole lot more than a budget device as well. The screen resolution of 720p may be a turn-off for some resolution snobs, but the screen quality is actually really, really good. The bonus of fewer pixels is that the phone is much easier on the battery and I’d gladly give up a few pixels for an extra day of usage.

That brings us to the battery and CPU. With a 1.2GHz Quad-core CPU, the phone isn’t the most powerful - but in turn, it gives you better battery life here as well. For pretty much any non-gaming App, the CPU and GPU combination is a great match and provides more than enough power for most applications and does so while sipping power. I was able to consistently get two days of use out of the device with moderate usage - much better than my Nexus 5 (with battery saver disabled).

ZTE Grand X Plus

 

Another great feature - and really a must-have is the removable back, battery and MicroSD card slot. As the phone only ships with 8GB of memory, additional storage is a must. While ZTE claims up to a 32GB card, I’m using a 64GB Lexar card and it detected and works great. I wish that every phone had additional storage as you don’t want to have to stream everything from the cloud and turning an 8GB device into a 72GB device for $35 is awesome.

As far as network performance goes, the WiFi is limited to 802.11n – which is much faster than your home internet connection and the Cellular radio is capable of LTE. The radio scales and transitions nicely between 3G, 4G and LTE and I never dropped calls while hopping towers or changing bands. It’s rock solid in terms of wireless performance.

 

While the majority of my experience with the ZTE Grand X Plus has been positive, there are a couple of things that let me down a bit. The camera quality is not quite as good as my Nexus 5 and that camera isn’t as good as many others. The camera is not horrible, and it seems to do white balance better than the Nexus 5. Still, when you view the images at 1:1, there is a lot of compression and artifacts that I’d rather not see on my photos. Keep in mind that this device costs 25% to 50% of other devices with the better cameras that I mentioned.

The other small thing that annoyed me was the location and sensitivity of the ambient light sensor. I use my phone in "landscape" mode quite frequently and I use it both left and right-handed. The sensitive dimming of the screen in a light room is frustrating when I hold it "wrong". As I mentioned before, if I make sure the home button is oriented to the right, it works fine. Still, I think I should be able to hold it anyway I want and not have the screen dim as if I were in a dark room.

In Canada, this device will set you back $200 without a contract and for that price, you really can’t go wrong. Fido is a carrier here up North that is stocking the phone and if you sign a contract, they are giving it to you. For that kind of money, it makes a great backup device for your flagship phone if you drop it in a puddle, and is more than adequate for your main device as well.

Battery life is probably the biggest reason that I don’t really want to go back to my Nexus 5. Even though benchmarks show that the ZTE phone lags behind many other devices, in real-world usage the phone is snappy, responsive and works very, very well.

If you’re in the market for a new Android device and don’t want to strap yourself into a long contract, or grab a cheap Samsung Galaxy Ace, the ZTE Grand X Plus will impress you. The low price and great performance of this device make the overall “Value” a perfect 10/10. For not a lot a money, you get a whole lot of phone.

Pros:
  • Bright 5-inch IPS screen
  • Fast LTE performance
  • Quad-Core ARM Cortex-A7 1.2GHz CPU
  • 2GB of RAM!
  • Great battery life
  • Excellent Call Quality
  • Amazing value
  • Bare OS runs nice and fast
  • MicroSD slot!

 

Cons:
  • Camera quality is less than I’d hoped
  • Ambient light sensor is very sensitive and gives some "false positives"
  • Lack of accessories such as cases and screen protectors here in North America

 

Based on the value and overall quality and performance of this device, it easily earns a "Gold" award. It does everything they claim - and does it well.

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I’d like to thank ZTE for sending over this phone for us to review. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post them at the link below.

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