After hearing all about the ZTE Grand S at ZTE’s CES 2013 press conference, we elbowed our way to the demo booths to have a play with this five-inch quad-core super-slim Full HD smartphone.
Coming in a variety of colours, we of course had to play with the pink version. This vibrantly coloured handset certainly is impressively slender as you can see here, despite the ‘floating glass’ panel that is stuck on top of the glossy plastic frame. The phone feels reasonably solid although you’ll see distortion if you push hard on the Gorilla Glass screen.
The SIM card slot and microSD memory card slots are found on the edges as you can’t prise off the rear panel, but they’re covered to prevent dust and other rubbish infiltrating the slim frame. ZTE has even labelled them so you don’t get confused over which is which. The metallic power button is on top, with a volume rocker on the right edge (no dedicated camera button here).
Hit the power button and you’ll see ZTE’s custom Android lock screen. You can either push down on that central icon or tap it to bring up six app shortcuts, more than the average lock screen holds. Tap one of these and you’ll go straight into that app, although the motion felt a little clumsy and was slow to react.
That slowness also compounded scrolling through the Grand S’ Android menus, bizarre considering the powerful 1.7GHz quad-cre processor buried inside. We’re putting that down to demo unit issues/production samples for now.
Android looks a little different than normal with a few little ZTE tweaks. For instance, you have home/back/menu/recent apps shortcuts that you can move around the desktops, in case the standard shortcuts at the bottom of the screen aren’t enough.
ZTE has also stamped its mark on the Grand S’ notifications bar, which is now split into notifications and shortcuts. The shortcuts section allows you to toggle Wi-Fi, GPS and other power options, and can also hold even more shortcuts to your favourite apps.
One of the more interesting new features is the Drive Mode, which features voice activation so you can call people, check the traffic or play your favourite tracks all without taking your eyes off the road or hands off the wheel. We’re looking forward to testing it in full (the noisy CES halls aren’t the best test environment).
We’re also interested in checking out AliveShow, which allows you to stream content wirelessly from your phone to your TV.
Check out our full ZTE Grand S specs run-down for more info, and we’re hoping to see the Grand S in the UK in the second half of 2013.