The Grand X Max 2 is ZTE's new super-sized smartphone coming to Cricket Wireless, AT&T's low-cost carrier arm, for $199.99.
It's the successor to the midrange Grand X Max+, retaining the same 6-inch screen size, but with updated hardware, the latest software, unique dual rear-facing cameras, and a revamped design—making it a compelling new addition to Cricket's lineup of affordable phablets.
The Max 2 lives up to its name by measuring 6.46 by 3.3 by 0.35 inches (HWD) and weighing 6.31 ounces, and there's a row of backlit capacitive buttons along the bottom of its display. This is roughly the same dimensions as the Max+ (6.38 by 3.27 by 0.31; 6.07 ounces), which we found rather unwieldy in our review, so don't expect to have an easier time using the Max 2 one-handed. The design looks to be more premium with a metal frame along the side binding together two panes of glass.
Among the major changes is a bump in screen resolution from 720p on the Max+ to 1,920 by 1,080 on the Max 2, a welcome improvement for a device with a 6-inch screen. The increase in pixel density should result in sharper text and crisper video.
Hardware is also beefed up with a newer, more powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor clocked at 1.5GHz, a big jump up from the aged Snapdragon 400. The newer chipset is the same as what you'll find on the current crop of newer midrange devices like the HTC One A9 and LG G Vista 2. There's also 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, and a microSD card slot capable of taking a card up to 64GB.
The dual rear cameras are a particularly unique feature. There's a 13-megapixel rear-facing main camera with 4x zoom, an LED flash, and a second 2-megapixel camera underneath for adding sharpness and depth. Video recording is at 1080p and the camera app supports Panaroma mode, Multi-exposure, and Manual mode shots. There's a 5-megapixel camera on the front for selfies, also with 4x zoom. Other unique features are dual-band Wi-Fi, and the latest Google Android 6.0 Marshmallow update.
The phone supports GSM bands (850/900/1800/1900MHz), WCDMA (850/1900/2100MHz), and LTE bands (2/4/5/12). There's a Hi-Fi audio chipset with Dolby audio to boost music playback.
When it comes to battery life, there's a 3,400mAh non-removable battery, which should allow for a lengthy runtime, despite the extra-large display. ZTE claims there should be 6.5 hours of talk time and 860 hours of standby time, but we'll have to subject it to our more grueling LTE video-streaming test to really put the Max 2 through its paces. There's a USB charging port that supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0, a feature that allows you to top up the battery to 50 percent in 30 minutes.
Stay tuned for our full review of the ZTE Grand X Max 2.