updated 10:37 am EST, Mon February 25, 2013
ZTE's new Android flagship
ZTE has continued its upmarket push with its new Android flagship, the Grand Memo, which will be one of the first devices to arrive with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 processor. We stopped by ZTE's Mobile World Congress booth ahead of the company's press conference to handle the new device ahead of its public launch.
Despite its smartphone marketing, the Grand Memo actually integrates a 5.7-inch, 1280x720 display that hedges even closer to the limit for a pocketable phone before it becomes a tablet. This is the same space occupied by The Galaxy Note II, though Samsung's alternative offers a slightly smaller 5.55-inch panel. Despite the larger display, the Memo is only 8.5mm thick and relatively light.
Qualcomm's quad-core 1.7GHz Snapdragon 800 chip is certainly very fast. We never encountered any hesitation when trying out a variety of features, such as browsing, flipping through the interface and video playback. Every year at Mobile World Congress several devices raise the performance bar, and the Grand Memo appears to be a strong contender for the first half of 2013.
We tend to prefer Google's stock Android UI, rather than ZTE's customized "Mifavour" overlay, though the company appears to be focusing on the Chinese market rather than immediately attempting to appeal to Western users.
ZTE has yet to announce pricing information or a specific launch date. Plans for release outside of China also remain unclear.