The Grand S in design looks similar to the Huawei Ascend D2, although ZTE's smartphone comes in a lot more colour options. ZTE is claiming the Grand S to be the world's thinnest 5in Full HD quad-core smartphone at 6.9mm. However, this doesn't tell the entire story since the camera section, at the top of the handset, is thicker than the rest.
Build quality seems reasonable but nothing more. Although the Grand S is ones of ZTE's nicest phones, it doesn't have a very premium feel with its plastic shell.
See also: CES Unveiled 2013 in pictures.
The screen on the Grand S is, like the Sony Xperia Z and Huawei Ascend D2, 5in in size with a Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution. At 443ppi it's no surprise that the interface looks super crisp, but the samples on show at CES didn’t have any 1080p movies to watch. Although the screen is detailed we found it lacking in brightness, even at full whack.
Internal specs are impressive with a 1.7Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor coupled with 2GB of RAM. We were disappointed, then, to find lag on multiple samples, even when doing something simple like adding a widget to the homescreen.
The Grand S has 16GB of internal storage, which will fill up quickly if you want to keep Full HD movies on the phone. Luckily there’s a microSD card slot for additional storage.
Camera technology matches that of the Xperia Z with a 13Mp rear facing camera and 2Mp front facing camera. A few test shots from the main camera looked good and the front camera was particularly good.
As you would expect from a new smartphone in 2013, the Grand S comes with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with ZTE's mostly harmless user interface over the top. A strange addition is a floating expandable menu called MyPop which saves you reaching to the touch sensitive buttons below the screen – it even annoyingly stays on the screen if you watch a video.
We don’t have a specification on the non-removable battery but a ZTE spokesperson gave us an estimate of one day of battery life.
We’ve got no details on when the Grand S will hit the UK or how much it will set you back. It will no doubt be more affordable than Sony's Xperia Z though.
The Grand S is a good effort from ZTE but performance issues and a dim screen worry us. Hopefully a cheap price tag will balance this out.