Phablets are becoming increasing popular, and because of that, more and more companies are starting to make them. In a recent PC Advisor poll, we asked the question ‘Will you buy a phablet this year’ and a whopping 35% said that they were planning on getting one, while 7% apparently already have one. Bearing this in mind, it’s no surprise to see phone companies such as ZTE making a big effort to produce a desirable phablet (or "pha-ba-let" as the locals here in Barcelona say), while the market is still reasonably young. See also Group test: What's the best Android smartphone?
Primarily, the ZTE Grand Memo is a high-end smartphone with a big screen (that’s essentially what phablets are, if you weren’t sure). The screen size is a more-than-ample 5.7-inches, what this means in reality is that if you use this phone with just one hand, your thumb can only reach approximately 60% of the screen...presuming you have normal sized hands.
The storage and performance specs are pretty in-line with all the other smartphones that have been launched this year at MWC. The ZTE Grand Memo has 16GB internal storage and a microSD slot that can expand the phones capacity by up to 32GB. There is nothing special in terms of the 2GB RAM, but it is the first device to have a Qualcomm (APQ8064T Snapdragon 600) 1.5GHz quad-core processor.
The chip maker claims that this chip improves the battery life and speed of devices. We only spent a small amount of time with the ZTE Grand Memo, so we can’t really comment on the battery life (especially as it was on constant charge when we were using it), but we can confirm that the ZTE Grand Memo is a speedy ol’ thing to use.
The ZTE Grand Memo boasts an HD 720 x 1280 5.7-inch screen, giving it a pixel density of 258ppi according to our calculations, making it incredibly average. In fairness to the phablet, the screen looked sharp and 720 x 1280 pixels is hardly a puny amount.
We saw this device on our final day at MWC 2013, and what’s becoming alarmingly obvious is the fact that Android smartphone, tablet and phablet makers are largely equipping their devices with the same sort of specs and are hoping to win business in two key areas, design and specialist software.
In terms of design, ZTE has opted for a very thin (0.3-inch) device that is 6.3-inches tall and 3.2-inches wide. In our hands it looked and felt great (for a phablet). It’s a solid feeling device too, which is impressive when you consider its proportions. The one thing it is missing is a stylus, which won’t bother some people, but is something I’d imagine a typical phablet-er would like the option of having. We were unable to get an official weight out of the demo-guy for some reason, but don’t worry, it didn’t feel especially heavy to us....or light for that matter.
ZTE has put its own UI over the top of the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS that runs on the ZTE Grand Memo. And to be fair to ZTE, it has done a pretty good job of it – perhaps that’s because ZTE hasn’t strayed too far away from a traditional Android UI, there is just an added touch of fair here.
Finally, the camera is a bit of a beast, boasting a 13Mp rear-facing camera and a secondary 1Mp front facing camera. We all know that megapixels don’t necessarily mean good pictures, but the ones we took at MWC were impressive, this is certainly not an area you need to worry about – it’s a good camera.
There has been no official release date or price given yet. We are however told to expect to see the ZTE Grand Memo in Q1 2013, while the general consensus is that it will cost between £500 and £600.