Gorgeous hardware and a somewhat mysterious custom UI.
Earlier this week, ZTE announced its rumored high-end, 5-inch full HD Grand S smartphone. We took some time during our schlep around South Hall to hit the ZTE booth and get some hands on time with this sexy piece of technology.
Available in a multitude of colors, the phone is solid and is approaching the size of the Galaxy Note II. As such, it feels substantial in your hand and is pushing the limits of what you'd be able to fit in your pocket. It fits, but it certainly wouldn't want to be any larger.
The Grand S runs Android 4.1.2 along with a custom skin on top. Unfortunately, the folks at the ZTE booth didn't seem to know all there was to know about the device. The first person we spoke to was barely able to confirm that there was a custom UI. We finally managed to get our point across by simply stating, "But this is not vanilla Jelly Bean. What is the software you guys added?" We then spoke to a different rep who was aware there was a custom UI, and was able to tell us it wasn't as serious as the customizations with Samsung's TouchWiz. He finally did tell us about a couple of the fun features relating to the camera, including the ability to actually 'delete' people from pictures if they accidentally walk into your shot as you take the photo. Sadly, we weren't able to get a demonstration of that feature, because ZTE apparently didn't train the booth staff on the phone's special features.
The Grand S packs a 5-inch full HD touch screen with 440 PPI and Corning Gorilla Glass. Under the hood is a 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 processor, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of internal storage, a 13-megapixel camera in the back (capable of 1080p video recording), a 2-megapixel camera up front, Dolby Digital surround audio, and a 1780mAh battery. The handset, compatible with 4G LTE, will launch with Android Jelly Bean (and that custom UI we spoke about earlier) and is scheduled for release in China this quarter. Nothing solid on a release date for other territories but we'll keep you posted.