ZTE ZMAX PRO Z981 4G LTE 13MP Smartphone (Metro PCS/T-Mobile)
|Price:||$228.99 & FREE Shipping|
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- 13 MP autofocus camera with LED flash
- 1.5 GHz octa-core
- 2 GB RAM/32 GB ROM
- microSD up to 128GB
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Ready to experience the future today? Transform the way you use your phone with the ZTE ZMAX PRO! The ZMAX PRO balances perfect form with awesome performance. Powered by a 1.5 GHz Octa Core processor and 32GB of internal memory, you have the power of mobility in your hand. The security of your personal information and content is important, that is why the ZMAX PRO comes with a state-of-the-art fingerprint sensor to keep your data secure & private.
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AS FOR THE REVIEW
Especially considering that I got this phone for $74+tax, there is very little to complain about. Even at the advertised $99 in-store price, I would be completely satisfied. The hardware specs speak for itself and you'd be hard pressed to find this type of horsepower without paying at least one hundred dollars more.
That said, the phone isn't perfect but it is an AMAZING VALUE for the hardware you are getting, on a T-Mobile network that supports HD Calls, WiFi calls, and unlimited plans at a reasonable monthly clip. I wanted to stay with a 6" screen and so this ZTE served as a nice replacement-upgrade.
For comparison purposes, please keep in mind that my last two phones were the LG G Flex (which I proudly owned for 2 years) and the Nexus 6.
The screen is vibrant and bright. It is definitely a step up from the LG G Flex (which had a 720p screen). It is actually so bright that I can turn it down to about 35% brightness and see it fine in most all daylight situations. That adjustment save you some battery as well. In terms of the touchscreen, it seems very responsive and maybe even overly so, as I have been inadvertently opening the camera from the lock screen widget. I may need to simply adjust my habits and learn to put the screen to sleep before idly holding or storing the device.
As stated, the hardware specs are nice for this price point. I tested the device with AnTuTu and it came in at around 45000 which seemed consistent with other tests found on the internet. I am not a huge gamer but did install my favorite racing game, Re-volt 2 and a first person shooter, Zombie Call. Both of the game titles run buttery smooth and this device seems to handle my general use just fine (Web Browsing, Gmail, Yahoo mail, Text, WWF, FaceBook, Draw It, etc... ). It probably could benefit from an extra GB of RAM (as I wish it had 3GB for future proofing / potential device longevity) but the 2GB is sufficient. It tends to load my applications faster and feels snappier than my LG G Flex, as it should. The rear firing speaker is NOT great. It could be a lot louder and one feature that is not better than my previous phones. While playing music on the ZMAX Pro, the Dolby Audio app makes up for some the speakers inadequacies. That sound processing app is actually really nice. I am no photographer but will say that both cameras (especially front facing) is exponentially better than what is on the LG G Flex.
I think this is one of those phones you have to see and hold to truly appreciate. It's sleek, thin, and looks to me like a higher end device. I honestly hate to even put a case on it. It is all plastic with exception to the power and rocker volume buttons. It has some nice rose gold color accents and a silver bezel around the the slender edge of the phone. At a glance, you wouldn't guess that this bezel was plastic as well. It's a shame the device wasn't offered in other colors.
I use my phone for work so call quality and call loudness are important to me. In short, call quality on the ZTE ZMAX Pro is fine. I can hear people clearly and folks on the other end can hear me just fine. This call quality seems to be consistently good through the earphone, speakerphone, and bluetooth (infotainment through car). That said, I wish the call loudness was even louder and/or on par with the LG G Flex. For comparison purposes, it is way better than the call loudness of an (unrooted) Nexus 6. It just needs to be tad higher for my liking but this is certainly not a deal breaker. It performs Voice over LTE / HD calls perfectly (making for crystal clear, wideband communication with other MetroPCS and T-Mobile subscribers) and is capable of doing clear WiFi calls should you elect to use it or when you are out of carrier signal range.
Ahhhhh, so here we are at battery life. In a sentence, I wish the ZMAX Pro were better in the battery life department! It's all relative right? Coming from the LG G Flex (especially when it was new), this phone does not come close. Granted, the Flex was one of the best in this regard and I will admit to being spoiled by that over the last two years. Here's the facts - I have been getting 4 to (almost) 6 hours of Screen On Time on this ZMAX Pro. From what I could remember, it seems to hold a charge longer than the Nexus 6. I have been testing with Deep Sleep (DS) Battery Saver and Greenify. While I am usually against battery saving apps, these seem to keep the battery from trickling down during non-use. In my experience, the battery life on this ZTE phone is in the OK - DECENT range (likely to get you through the day with moderate use) but definitely not great. You'll see and read conflicting battery life reports on this device. I suppose for all the power it is packing, it does OK. For analysis purposes, I have GPS / Wifi / Bluetooth / 4g LTE powered ON, auto-brightness control OFF, and screen manually set to 35% brightness. I have had this phone off of the charger and powered on for 10 hours and 30 minutes (as I write this review). I would consider it a moderate day of use. At this moment, it has logged 2 hours and 17 minutes of Screen On Time and I have 53% battery life left. Today, this phone will likely last until bedtime-charging. On a more extreme day, I've been able to kill this phone in as little as 7- 8 hours of heavy use (video conference calls, telephone calls, seemingly constant fiddling, light gaming, constant texting, etc...) which required a mid-day charge.
Speaking of CHARGING, and this may be its saving grace... this ZMAX Pro supports Quick Charge and will charge from dead to 100% in about 2 hours. Even better, you can top off very quickly with a Quick Charge charger should you need to (as QC is suppose to theoretically charge to 80% in something like 35 mins). You'll read some of the early reviews that say charging is really slow with the stock charger (somewhere around 5 hours). That wasn't my experience with the stock charger (as it charged much faster than that) BUT I ran out and got a QC 3.0 home and car charger anyway after other reviews confirmed QC compatibility. I want to be ready for when I kill this device by 1PM again.
*How I paid $74 + tax
At the MetroPCS Corporate store, the price of the ZTE ZMAX Pro is $99. The current special is $50 off because I was adding a line to my current account. That brought the phone down to $49. There was an additional perk since I was already on the $50/month plan, as I could add another ($50/month) line for just $25/month. You of course need to pay that $25 up front since it is a pre-payment plan. $49 (for the device) plus $25 (for the first and only month) = $74 plus tax. I did NOT need a rebate to get this price. Once I got familiar with and decided to keep the ZMAX Pro, I called MetroPCS to have them switch my primary number to the new phone and cancelled the second line. The whole process was really very painless. The Sacramento Area rep stated that this special was valid through 10/13/16.
*Update for 10/27/16 - section to address phone random phone behavior*
QUIRK #1 - There could be something going on with a lot of these ZMAX Pro devices. I've owned this device for almost a month now and noticed this 3 times. *It is an issue where it will flash a varying array of vertical color stripes across the screen for a split second.* I believe it occurred on my device during a screen transition induced by software and while I was on a (speakerphone) call. I was definitely multitasking and had multiple chrome browser windows open. This may have to do with graphics rendering. A quick Google search and you'll find out that many ZMAX Pro owners have experienced this and moved to warranty-exchange their device to rectify the issue. Some of those that have swapped their devices continue to experience this intermittent problem. I've read that it occurs when the hardware is being taxed or pushed to its limits. You may want to reboot and /or clear the cache if you see this issue. Considering the testimony of others in this regard, I will be keeping my device as long as this glitch does not get worse or become annoying to me (and I am generally very picky about electronics). I can live with this level of infrequency and the split second duration (for now) but will continue to monitor it. I am hoping that an update fixes it for good in the near future. It is noteworthy that my Dad has this same phone and has not detected any such glitch, though I would consider him a very light user. The jury is still out but I will not be decreasing my original 4 star rating at this point as I am still generally enjoying this phone, believe it to be relatively solid where it counts (quirks aside), and at a price that is hard to beat.
QUIRK #2 - When you are on a call and using the earpiece, the sensor on the ZMAX Pro seems to have a hard time determining when your face is pressed against the phone. This may result in the screen flashing on and off randomly while you are talking. You can easily blank out the screen with a single tap of the power button.
I hope this review helps someone make an informed decision. The thoughts and experiences expressed are that of my own, and your actual experience may vary.
Most recent customer reviews
It is locked permanently never got to use it and it turns itself on and off whenever it feels like.