ZTE showed the world how to build an ultra-cheap smartphone that could still hold its own against much more expensive heavy hitters.
At just $100, ZTE’s unbelievably inexpensive yet fully-featured ZMax Pro was one of the great tech bargains of 2016. Between its 6-inch Full HD display, octa-core processor, tasteful, understated design, long-lasting battery, and fingerprint sensor, the ZMax Pro fended off competition from Motorola, Huawei, and Asus to immediately become one of our favorite budget phones when it debuted last summer.
Unfortunately, it was only available on smaller carriers like Cricket Wireless. Still, it appears ZTE is preparing a follow-up to the price-conscious phablet. Although we are still in the early stages, here is everything we know about the ZMax Pro’s successor.
The ZMax Pro was so disruptive precisely because it boasted midrange internals with a price tag more befitting of a feature phone than a smartphone. Thanks to an entry on GFXBench for a device named “ZTE Z986,” we have reason to believe the next ZMax Pro will at least hold true to the hardware end of the deal.
The first phone’s internal name was Z981, so while it isn’t definite the specs in question relate to the Pro 2 — ZTE hasn’t officially announced a new product in the line. The contents of the benchmark indicate the kind of reasonable performance gains expected in a successor.
That would mean another octa-core system-on-chip, but clocked at 2.0 GHz, instead of the 1.5 GHz of the original ZMax Pro’s Snapdragon 617. Combined with an Adreno 506 GPU, up from the previous Adreno 450, the spec sheet seems to indicate the ZMax Pro 2 could ship with a Snapdragon 625. The rest of the details — 2GB of RAM, a 6-inch, 1080p display, as well as 13- and 5-megapixel cameras at the back and front, are dead-ringers for the first ZMax Pro, supporting the claim that this is indeed the Pro 2 we are looking at here.
Additionally, the device is said to be running Android 7.1.1 Nougat “ZTE Edition,” referring to the manufacturer’s skin over the operating system. We found ZTE’s spin on Android unobtrusive and very close to stock on the previous ZMax Pro, though more recent devices, like the Axon 7 Mini, feature an updated rendition of the company’s MiFlavor UI with more pronounced design tweaks.
This article will be updated as more information becomes available.