At $179, MetroPCS’ ZTE Blade Z Max is a relatively affordable smart phone for those on a budget.

Running Android 7.1 and featuring an octa-core 1.4GHz processor, the phone also features touch sensors and a dual camera. Inside the box, one will find a fairly barebones assortments of items: a charging cord, a wall jack, a SIM card ejector, and an instruction booklet.

The Basics

 

Along with the fingerprint scanner, the phone also features a standard PIN password system for security. While the fingerprint scanner provides some nice feedback, via vibration, when it is touched, this scanner is definitely not the most accurate on the market today. There have been several occasions when the scanner clearly registered a touch but could not recognize the scan.

 

It takes a few hours to charge, but the 4080mAh battery lasts for about six hours depending on what you’re doing. Using the phone’s camera, for example, uses more battery power than checking Facebook.

The ZTE Blade Z Max is about as large as a iPhone 8 Plus, with a full 6 inch screen, and weights approximately 6.17 pounds. Even at this size, the phone fits fairly comfortably in your pocket.

Camera

One of the phone’s major features is it’s dual camera system. These two cameras, one 16MP and the other 2MP, allow the phone to feature a number of interesting photo options. There is also a 8MP front facing camera. In addition to standard Photo and Video modes, both of which feature nine different filter modes, there are two additional modes: Dual-Camera and More Mode”.

“Dual-Camera” features three different sub-categories, Bokeh, Portrait, and Monocolor. However, the camera’s quality is lacking. The existence of these multiple modes are more of an oddity than worthwhile experiences seeing as how the image quality is nowhere near as high as that of even the cheapest iPhone on the market. These features are more interesting than practical. The difference between Bokeh and Portrait, which is not clearly stated, is that Bokeh allows for manual changes to the F-stop, while Portrait adjusts this function automatically. 

Monocolor is the real stand out feature among the “Dual-Camera” modes the phone has to offer. Occasionally the cameras are unable to pick up certain colors that seem quite clear to the human eye. Likewise, certain colors tend to bleed into other areas.

Design

 

ZTE’s Blade Z Max is fairly sleek, despite taking some inspiration from the iPhone 8 Plus. The two are about the same size and both feature buttonless front pieces as well as power and volume buttons on the right side. The Blade Z Max’s power button is nicely textured, as is the back which allows for an easy grip. On a surprising note, ZTE has kept the headphone jack alive. Although not buttons, three touch-buttons light up on the bottom bezel. The leftmost one, a dot, acts as a back button. The right one, also a dot, opens a kind of task manger. The center one, a circle, acts as a home button. This center button also lights up when the phone is charging.

As one would hope, the touch interface is responsive enough yet the phone, out of the box, comes with a bunch of pre-loaded apps from MetroPCS and Google. Facebook is also preinstalled on the phone. Additionally, like the iPhone, the main home screen can be swiped to the right to reveal a screen that displays top news, although here from mZone rather than pulling from Apple News’ sources.

The phone offers standard calling and texting services and does not feature any kind of Animoji equivalent though updates, likely because the phone does have facial tracking software.

Conclusion

For it’s price point, $179, the ZTE Blade Z Max may be an affordable alternative to other smart phones on the market however it is by no means comparable in terms of quality to those devices. This is very much a budget phone that meets all the basic requirements and doesn’t expand too much upon them, with the only relatively interesting features being the camera options, which are hampered by the less than stellar quality of the phone’s dual cameras. 

 

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