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ZTE wows CES 2015 audience with ultra-low-cost phablet, next-gen smart projector

An iPad mini lookalike too, but that one’s shrouded in mystery for the most part.

ZTE Grand X Max Plus

Substantiating an otherwise obvious market trend, the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show has been more about surprisingly solid budget-friendly mobile gear than next-generation flagships. As odd as it may sound, the industry’s big money and profits currently lie in low-cost devices.

Especially low-cost gadgets like the $200 ZTE Grand X Max+, headed for US prepaid specialist Cricket Wireless with, get this, a 6-inch 720p panel, 4G LTE connectivity, quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, 2 GB RAM (!!!), 13 MP rear camera, 5 MP selfie-friendly front snapper, and 16 GB internal storage.

Quite the enticing proposition for the two off-contract Benjamins, and in keeping with recent tradition, ZTE also pulls amazing battery feats with the X Max+, stuffing 3,200 mAh energy inside the hood, and promising swift power loading, thanks to Qualcomm’s Quick Charge technology. Why oh why is then Cricket exclusivity considered?


Oh, well, at least the dirt-cheap 6 incher is setting foot on US soil in the first place, which feels a stretch for the just-unveiled 8-inch zPad. A shameless iPad mini clone, down to the hilarious name, the gold-coated slate is thus far confirmed squarely for China, with no price tag attached.

LTE-capable, super-slim and uber-fashionable (if you’re willing to turn a blind eye to the obvious aesthetical “inspiration”), the ZTE zPad isn’t exactly a powerhouse, which makes us hope it’ll be priced accordingly. Say, $200?

Yeah, sounds about right, with a humdrum 1,280 x 800 pix res display in tow, quad-core 1.2 GHz CPU, 1 GB RAM, 8 GB on-board storage, microSD support, 4,000 mAh battery, and 5 MP/2 MP cameras.

Spro 2

Last but certainly not least (for generous tech-savvy individuals), ZTE debuted a rather unique hybrid gizmo at CES in Las Vegas. Part pico projector, part mini-tablet, part mobile hotspot and digital streaming device, the Spro 2 vastly improves on its all-around poorly executed predecessor.

Running an intelligently modified version of Android 4.4 KitKat, this thing can beam 1,080p video onto a wall of choice up to a diagonal of 120 inches. The native resolution, we’re afraid, is fairly modest, at 1,280 x 720 pixels, but the main selling point here is Spro 2’s versatility and multitasking abilities.

ZTE Spro 2

The on-board 4G LTE works without a glitch even when using the contraption as a projector, and you can connect up to eight devices to its network. Or load up more content for later viewing. Remote controlled, and powered by a quad-core Snapdragon 800 chip, the “smart projector” is en route to at least a couple of American carriers.

It’s not going to be cheap, though, qualifying for the “affordable premium” market segment. In plain English, that’s no less than $600, and no more than $1,000 contract-free.

Sources: ZTE USA Newsroom, Digital Trends, The Verge

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