Introduction

CES 2015 in the US will probably see a lot of Chinese _phone_ manufacturers, but only ZTE among those holds the 4th place in the US _phone_ market ranking. The company has a lot in store for this edition of the CES and is showing the press all manner of smart devices, including some, which have been already announced but are just now daring to step in front of the camera.

Highlighting the lineup for ZTE are the Nubia Z7, the Grand X Max+ and Star II. Two of those have already been officially introduced to the public while the new Grand X Max+ is an entirely new device. It's making its way to Cricket in the US as the successor to the Grand X Max.

The ZTE Grand X Max+ doesn't offer much more than its predecessor. It still uses an ample 6" display of 720p resolution. It's an upper-midrange device with a 13MP/5MP camera duo, Snapdragon 400 CPU, Android 4.4.4 KitKat, MicroSD card slot, 3,200mAh battery with Quick Charge 1.0 tech.

The other two devices are admittedly more advanced than the Grand X Max+. The ZTE Nubia Z7 and Star II both tout high-res screens, Snapdragon 801 chipsets and 4K video recording.

The Nubia Z7 is the flagman here - it has a 5.5" 1440 x 2560px display, a 13MP main camera with optical image stabilization, a Snapdragon 801 chipset with 3GB of RAM, 3,000Mah battery, Dual-SIM capability and a redesigned user interface, featuring ZTE's new system-wide voice assistant.


ZTE Nubia Z7

The ZTE Star 2 is the middle-man in the ranking with a 5" 1080p display, 13MP camera with 4K video recording, Snapdragon 801 chipset and a slim waistline at 6.9mm.


ZTE Star 2

ZTE has also announced smart tech that's not confined to the phone category. The new Spro 2 is a new smart Pico-projector, built around a Snapdragon 800 chip. It will readily hook up to any device via HDMI, Blueooth or USB and will project whatever is on the device screen (a wall image of up to 120" in diagonal, with a brightness of 200 lumens).

ZTE's booth also features a heap of other devices like the Bamboo headphones, a series of Nubia smartphones (V5 Max, V5s, X6, Z7 Max and mini), the Warp Sync smartphone, the ZMAX phablet, the zPad tablet and other little consumer gadgets and accessories - all of which have been announced already.

ZTE Nubia Z7 hands-on

The ZTE Nubia Z7 is the highest-end device from ZTE's lineup this year (so far at least). It has the pedigree of a true flagship with a 5.5" 1440 x 2560px display of some 538 ppi, a Snapdragon 801 chip with four 2.5GHz cores, the Adreno 330 GPU and a solid 3 gigs worth of RAM.

The Nubia Z7 has imaging in mind with a 13MP main camera that is capable of optically stabilized stills and 4K video at 30 fps. The aperture of f/2.0 should help for some stellar low-light performance and selfies are covered by a 5MP front-facing camera. The camera software includes full manual control while the chassis has accommodated a dedicated camera key.

Thanks to its big screen diagonal the Nubia Z7 is a hefty device at 170 grams. It's still pocketable though, at just 153.2mm tall and 8.9mm thick.


ZTE Nubia Z7

The 5.5" QHD screen on the ZTE Nubia Z7 is top notch in every respect. It offers superb viewing angles, great punchy colors and is as sharp as you can get nowadays (or would need to unless our eyes develop microscopic vision).

Built inside a high-quality metal frame, the Nubia Z7 feels premium. There's a plastic back that is thankfully matte and of good tactile quality. The device deserves to be seen in real life.


ZTE Nubia Z7

ZTE is also showcasing its latest user interface at CES 2015. It has no app drawer, similar to Apple's iOS and just about every UI coming from China these days. Icons are custom made and look good while the whole device flies through tasks without an issue.

ZTE Star II hands-on

After the Nubia Z7 flagship phablet comes ZTE's smaller premium offering - the Star II. Its screen diagonal stretches to 5" with a resolution of 1920 x 1080px, which produces a stellar pixel density of 441ppi.

The ZTE Star II shares the powerful insides of the Nubia Z7 with a Snapdragon 801 chip with a quad-core CPU clocked at 2.3GHz, the Adreno 330 graphics chip but "just" 2GB of RAM. Built-in storage sits at 16GB but can be expanded with the help of the microSD card slot. Imaging is handled through a 13MP main camera on the back and a 5MP one on the front. Video maxes out at 4K at 30fps.

The ZTE Star II has a complete metal chassis with chamfered edges. It feels great in hand and offers high-quality materials. The bottom and top are rounded and feel comfortable while holding the device in hand.


ZTE Star 2

At just 140.3mm tall and only 6.9mm wide, the ZTE Star II is pocketable with good ergonomics.

The 5" screen offers great viewing angles, punchy colors and is quite sharp, rivaling the best of panels out there.


ZTE Star 2

Alongside the Nubia Z7, the Star II offers ZTE's latest user interface with colorful custom icons, eye-catching animations and no app drawer. ZTE's system-wide voice control is here as well, enabling you to change all sorts of settings or launch apps on the Star II.

ZTE Grand X Max+ hands-on

The smallest in features happens to be the biggest in size. ZTE's new Grand X Max+ is the successor to the Grand X Max and is going exclusively to Cricket in the US on a $199 retail price without commitment.

Like its predecessor, the Grand X Maxx+ flaunts a 6" front-end of 720p resolution, a midrange Snapdragon 400 chip with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of expandable storage and a surprisingly big 3,200mAh battery with Qualcomm Quick Charge 1.0.


ZTE Grand X Max Plus

The Star II also sports a 13MP/5MP duo of snappers although it shouldn't be directly compared to the OIS f/2.0 13MP shooter of the Nubia Z7. The ZTE Star II also maxes its video recording at 720p, not 4K, but that's to be expected given the sensible price tag.


ZTE Grand X Max Plus

The ZTE Star II offers a nice build for the price. It's understandably not up to par with its higher-end counterparts but doesn't feel cheap either.

The 720p resolution has been stretched rather thin over the large 6" screen diagonal but is still sharp enough. Colors are also good and thankfully, so are viewing angles.


ZTE Grand X Max Plus

ZTE brought out the second generation of its pico-projector/Wi-Fi hotspot. The ZTE Spro 2 features a powerful Snapdragon 800 chipset, full access to the Play Store and a 720p built-in projector.

The Spro 2 also acts as an Wi-Fi hotspot, sucking up 150Mbps of LTE data and spitting it back out over Wi-Fi.

Zte Ces 2015
Zte Ces 2015
Zte Ces 2015

ZTE Spro 2

It has a 5″ device on its face with the unusual 1,280 x 820px resolution. It runs Android 4.4 KitKat on the Snapdragon 800 chipset (the quad-core Krait 400 CPU is clocked at 2.1GHz) with 2GB of RAM. You can play videos from the device itself or use HDMI, Bluetooth or USB for external input. The USB is a full-size port.

Aside from videos you can use any Android app you can think of (thanks to the Play Store access and fast chipset) and get an up to 120″ picture of 720p resolution. The projector outputs 200 lumens and will deplete the 6,300mAh battery in 3 hours.

The hotspot will last 10 hours on a charge and features Wi-Fi sharing on 2.4GHz and 5GHz for up to 10 users.

ZTE Nubia Z7 hands-on

The ZTE Nubia Z7 is the highest-end device from ZTE's lineup this year (so far at least). It has the pedigree of a true flagship with a 5.5" 1440 x 2560px display of some 538 ppi, a Snapdragon 801 chip with four 2.5GHz cores, the Adreno 330 GPU and a solid 3 gigs worth of RAM.

The Nubia Z7 has imaging in mind with a 13MP main camera that is capable of optically stabilized stills and 4K video at 30 fps. The aperture of f/2.0 should help for some stellar low-light performance and selfies are covered by a 5MP front-facing camera. The camera software includes full manual control while the chassis has accommodated a dedicated camera key.

Thanks to its big screen diagonal the Nubia Z7 is a hefty device at 170 grams. It's still pocketable though, at just 153.2mm tall and 8.9mm thick.


ZTE Nubia Z7

The 5.5" QHD screen on the ZTE Nubia Z7 is top notch in every respect. It offers superb viewing angles, great punchy colors and is as sharp as you can get nowadays (or would need to unless our eyes develop microscopic vision).

Built inside a high-quality metal frame, the Nubia Z7 feels premium. There's a plastic back that is thankfully matte and of good tactile quality. The device deserves to be seen in real life.


ZTE Nubia Z7

ZTE is also showcasing its latest user interface at CES 2015. It has no app drawer, similar to Apple's iOS and just about every UI coming from China these days. Icons are custom made and look good while the whole device flies through tasks without an issue.

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