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ZTE gives us that déjà vu feeling with the announcement of the Grand X Android smartphone

ZTE Grand X AndroidIt’s difficult not to get excited about a device described as “an advanced gaming phone,” especially when it’s coming from a company that has already released a selection of high-powered Android phones, but has yet to show its true abilities as an innovator.

However, the more jaded amongst us like to keep our expectations in check, as fluff from PR folk isn’t always entirely accurate. When ZTE tweeted that they would be unveiling just such a phone this week, we were suitably intrigued, but suitably reserved too.

At a special event in London yesterday, ZTE revealed the Grand X, its new, gaming-orientated Android phone. Now, all things are relative and compared to many phones, the Grand X is indeed “advanced,” but in comparison to others, it’s not even close. But there is a very important difference, which we’ll come back to shortly.

Tegra power

First though, here’s what the Grand X is all about. It has a 4.3-inch touchscreen with a 960 x 540 pixel resolution, and is driven by a 1Ghz Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor, plus it uses Nvidia’s Icera i450 modem too.

The Tegra 2 is the Grand X’s link to the gaming world, as the TegraZone portal comes pre-installed, providing access to games specially enhanced for the dual-core chip. Dolby Mobile audio enhancements should make it all sound great too.

On the rear of the phone, which measures 9.9mm thick and weighs 110 grams, is a 5-megapixel camera, and there is a 0.3-megapixel video call lens on the front. Other features include Bluetooth 2.1, 4GB of internal memory, a microSD card slot, Wi-Fi, DLNA connectivity and a 1650mAh battery.

There’s good news on the operating system front, as the Grand X uses Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, almost without any modifications at all.

Sound familiar?

After reading that spec, if you’re thinking it sounds more than a little familiar, you’d be right. The Grand X is exactly the same as the Mimosa X, which was unveiled just before Mobile World Congress earlier this year, and similar to the Grand X LTE, which substitutes the Tegra 2 for a dual-core Snapdragon and adds 4G LTE.

That’s a lot of noise about a phone we’ve seen at least twice already, but it does explain how ZTE will have the Grand X on store shelves in early August.

So, the Grand X turned out not to be the gaming powerhouse we’d hoped for, but as we mentioned earlier, it does have one major difference between it and say, the Tegra 3-powered HTC One X. When it goes on sale in the UK, it will be priced at £190 on Pay As You Go. That’s $297 all-in for a device that would have been top-of-the-range this time last year, and twice the price.

ZTE could bring the Grand X or its LTE counterpart to the US in the future, but no release date has been given yet.