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Android face-off: ZTE Grand X vs Intel Orange San Diego

ZTE has unveiled Grand X, an Ice Cream Sandwich-based dual-core smartphone with a £200 price tag. Does it have enough oomph to take on other mid-range handsets like the San Diego?
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By Ben Woods, Senior reporter on
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ZTE Grand X - front view

ZTE's Grand X smartphone, launched on Wednesday, will arrive running the Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) version of Android and at a price below £200.

ZTE showed off the dual-core Tegra 2 device at a press event in London on Wednesday. Its launch marks a renewed push by the Chinese company to become a household name in the European smartphone market.

At the event, the company highlighted the "fast download speeds" and video processing delivered by the Nvidia Tegra 2 processor.

"This [Grand X] will be a milestone in establishing ZTE in the UK," said He Shiyou, global head of the company's Terminals division.

In general, the Grand X pairs middle-of-the-road specs with a mid-tier price point. Here, we put it up against the Orange San Diego, the first smartphone in the UK to use the Intel Atom processor — a good example of the mid-tier Android phones the Grand X will compete with.

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ZTE Grand X - Nvidia processor

To start off, here's a look at the key specs of the Grand X and the Orange San Diego.

ZTE's Grand X has a 4.3-inch qHD (960 x 540 pixel) display, runs on a 1GHz dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor and provides 512MB of RAM.

By comparison, the Orange San Diego uses a single-core 1GHz Intel Atom Z2460 processor (formerly known as 'Medfield'), comes with 1GB of RAM and has a 4-inch 600 x 1024 pixel display.

The internal storage on the Grand X maxes out at 4GB, but this can be expanded up to 36GB using a microSD.

Conversely, the Orange Intel smartphone offers far more internal storage — 16GB. However, it will not support microSD cards to add extra.

If you're trying to choose between these two on specs, you could argue a lot of these points either way.

Some people might think that a single core 1.6GHz processor is just as good, or better even, than a 1GHz dual-core. Similarly, with the Grand X, some people might prefer the expansion possibilities of a microSD card, or some people might view it as severely lacking in internal storage.

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ZTE Grand X and Intel Orange San Diego

However, the Orange San Diego (right) runs Android 2.3, rather than the newer Ice Cream Sandwich version of the OS, which the ZTE Grand X will arrive with in August.

An update to ICS is scheduled for the San Diego and is likely to arrive in October, according to Orange.

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ZTE Grand X - camera

When it comes to the camera, the Intel smartphone trumps the Grand X: it has an 8-megapixel sensor capable of capturing 1080p HD video and a 1.3-megapixel forward-facing camera for video calls.

The ZTE handset comes only with a 5-megapixel snapper on the rear and a 0.3-megapixel camera on the front.

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ZTE Grand X - depth

The Grand X measures 127mm x 64.6mm x 9.9mm. This makes it exactly the same thickness as the Orange San Diego, but a little longer and wider — not surprising, given its larger screen.

The ZTE phone is also a little lighter, weighing just 110g, compared with 117g for the Intel-powered device. By comparison, Samsung's Galaxy S III weighs 130g.

The pricing of the devices on pay-as-you-go is also very similar. The ZTE Grand X will cost £189 when it goes on sale in August in the UK, while the Orange San Diego launched with a £199 price tag.

The Intel handset is also available on a much cheaper range of tariffs, as it is free on 24-month contracts of £15.50 and up.

To get a free ZTE handset free with Virgin Media requires a minimum two-year commitment of £24 per month.

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Intel San Diego

Overall, based purely on first impressions of both devices at launch, I'm more impressed by the Intel Orange San Diego. It's cheaper on contract (and virtually the same on pay-as-you-go), has a better-specced camera and has a nicer screen.

That's not to say that the ZTE doesn't beat the Orange phone (pictured) at points — it works with all the Android apps in the app store, for one thing.

However, I'm struggling to work out why you would choose it over the San Diego, unless you really, really wanted a dual-core phone or ICS in August instead of October.

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