ZTE debuts Grand S smartphone: high-def, quad-core, ultra thin

On the heels of rival Huawei, the Chinese company unveiled a flagship Android smartphone that's slim and sophisticated. Is it your next business buddy? Only if you work in China.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor


LAS VEGAS -- When it comes to the phone category, this year's Consumer Electronics Show is turning out to be an arms race between China's biggest electronics companies.

On Monday, Huawei revealed two premium smartphones in an attempt to fire a broadside at the top end of the market. 

Today, rival ZTE took the wraps off its Grand S, its flagship device in a trio of premium Google Android-based smartphones that it hopes can take on all comers -- including those from Huawei.

If you're a business power user who prefers the best devices money can buy, listen up.

The calling card of ZTE's 4G LTE device is the phone's five-inch, Full HD ("FHD" in parlance) display, which offers a resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels, enough to show the entirety of a website without scaling. (It matches displays in LG and Huawei phones introduced this week.) It was only a few years ago that televisions achieved this kind of visual sophistication; here, we're seeing it in the smallest device in the modern gadget arsenal.

Under the hood, you'll find Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 Pro processor (quad-core, 1.7GHz) paired with 2 gigabytes of memory (plus 16GB EMMC expansion). Out front, there's a 13-megapixel autofocus camera (flash, 2-megapixel 1080p video); out back, there's Dolby Digital surround sound.

The device is 6.9 millimeters (0.27 inches) thick, 69 millimeters (2.7 inches) wide and 142 millimeters (5.59 inches) tall. It runs version 4.1 ("Jellybean") of Google's Android operating system.

There is one business-minded feature: "Palm Manager" allows you to manage data privacy, among other things. Other than that, it's the standard Android kit.

But as I mentioned in my post about Huawei yesterday, the best business devices are also the best consumer devices. In an era of consumerization, it's merely a matter of who executes the best.

For ZTE, known better to ZDNet readers outside China as a company that makes data telecommunications equipment, the Grand S joins the Grand Era (for "the most advanced") and Grand X (for "the most passionate") in vying for the coveted pockets of power users. These handsets put the company at parity with the most advanced devices announced this week here at CES.

One catch, however: ZTE's Grand S will only be available in China, online, in Q1 of this year. Unlike Huawei, the company has no plans to push its flagship device beyond its home borders.

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