A 6″ phablet for $99? The ZTE Zmax Pro is proof that a budget smartphone doesn’t have to suck. For starters, not only does the ZTE Zmax Pro have a large display, but that display is light years ahead of the typical display you’ll find on a $99 budget phone. It’s a 1080p display with a 367 ppi, which is a hell of a lot better then the low res/low ppi displays we’re used to finding on budget smartphones.
Another welcome yet unexpected inclusion is a fingerprint reader. This is another feature usually relegated to much more expensive devices. In any case, the fingerprint reader is not the fastest — it takes about two seconds to bypass the lock screen — but overall, the fingerprint reader works well. We also like that they’ve placed the reader on the back side in an ergonomic position.
Despite being made of plastic, the ZTE Zmax Pro’s brushed texture and anodized silver body makes it look and feel more expensive then it is. The build quality of the ZTE Zmax Pro feels very solid and sturdy. The device is also pretty thin despite its large display. And thanks to its curved back side and rounded edges, it feels quite comfortable to hold and grip in your hand.
Under the hood, the ZTE Zmax Pro is powered by a capable octa-core Snapdragon 617 SoC, which is comparable in performance to the Moto G4 we previously tested. The phone earned a score of 47011 in AnTuTu. In day to day tasks like checking email or web browsing, the phone is solid, but it can occasionally feel a bit sluggish, particularly when performing graphics intensive tasks. But, it’s a $100 phone. Can’t expect everything.
The phone packs in a very respectably sized 3,400 mAh battery which allows it to keep going for pretty much a full day of use. The camera is solid as well and quite good at this price range. The camera app is also quite fast for snapping photos. Photos generally lack detail and the camera does struggle in low light, but we’ve seen similar results from significantly pricier phones.
When it comes to software, the ZTE Zmax Pro comes running Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow preloaded with some, but not too many bloatware apps from MetroPCS. We’re not particular fond of the skinned icons or the preloaded MetroPCS wallpaper and widgets, but these can all be easily changed in the settings.