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ZTE talks up the Nexus-like Blade Vec 4G, teases Grand Band fitness wearable

ZTE has detailed its first smartphone to use the Google Now Launcher, shunning its own custom user interface, and also teased the forthcoming announcement of a fitness wristband. We heard about the Blade Vec 4G earlier this week, but have now been given the features and specs concerning the device.

The phone has a 5-inch screen with an HD resolution – we’re betting that’s 720p, but ZTE hasn’t confirmed it – and is powered by the latest version of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 400 chip, which provides it with 4G LTE connectivity. On the rear of the phone is an 8-megapixel camera with autofocus, but selfie fans are going to be disappointed by the 1-megapixel camera above the screen.

ZTE has provided the Blade Vec 1GB with RAM and 16GB of storage space. There’s the usual array of sensors, plus GPS, Wi-Fi Direct, and an FM radio. A 2300mAh battery should be just about enough to power this relatively simple phone for at least a day. The operating system is Android 4.4, complete with the Google Now Launcher, and Google’s voice control system. A revised version of the Grand S2 smartphone was announced alongside the Blade Vec 4G, and it now boasts a new Snapdragon 801 processor, 2GB of RAM, 4G LTE, and 16GB of internal memory.

The company took a moment to tease us about a forthcoming fitness wearable device, which has been given the highly amusing name of the Grand Band. It sounds like ZTE’s take on Samsung’s Gear Fit (and not a well-dressed orchestra) and it will apparently measure the wearer’s heart rate, store the data, and help monitor health conditions. It doesn’t specifically mention tracking activity, but we’d be surprised if it wasn’t a feature. Described as “fashionable and practical,” we can look forward to the Grand Band launching later this year, in a variety of colors.

ZTE’s Blade Vec 4G is the first phone outside of the Nexus and Google Play Edition phones to come with Google’s launcher pre-installed, and the company promises there are more to come. For now, the Blade Vec 4G is available in Hong Kong and several European countries. A U.S. launch could come in the future though.

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