ZTE’s Grand Memo is its new hope for a flagship phone

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Chinese phone manufacturer ZTE made it clear throughout its press conference at Mobile World Congress 2013 that it plans to be a major player in mobile going forward. It’s already the fourth-largest OEM in the world, but ZTE’s Executive Vice President, He Shiyou, stated his company’s intention to crack the top three by 2015. One of the biggest steps to make that possible is developing a flagship phone; and ZTE believes it has just that in the Grand Memo, which was announced today.

To fully understand the areas of focus for the Grand Memo, it’s worth noting that ZTE laid out its path to success with a simple four-step process referred to as 4S: slim, safety, screen, and speed.

The ZTE Grand Memo draws attention quickly thanks mostly to its size. The device has a large 5.7-inch display, which plants the device firmly between the intersection of “big phone” and “small tablet.” The screen offers a up a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. It may look best when displaying photos and videos captured on the handset’s 13 megapixel camera, which will be capable of capturing full 1080p HD video. 

The screen looks even bigger on the Grand Memo than it usually would thanks to a rather thin body for the phone. It measures in at just 8.5mm, an impressively slim size given everything the device has under the hood.

Perhaps most impressive is the 1.5GHz Snapdragon quad-core processor. It’s an 800 series chipset, and the very first of its kind in a phone. There was no indication given in terms of benchmarking, but we have to imagine this ties in well to the company’s new focus on speed.

Keeping the device running is a 3,200 mAh battery, which will stay running longer than ever with the help of ZTE Safe. Another focal point of the 4S chart, ZTE Safe is part of the custom user interface found on the phone. It provides management power to the user, allowing them to monitor and modify power settings, software permissions, data usage, and more. There are also security tools built into ZTE Safe to protect the device from threats coming from inside and out. Though it’s not safety related, the customized UI, running atop Android 4.1, will also include features like sending media via Wi-Fi to other displays, a ZTE-made navigation app, and a keyboard that switches to the left or right for one-handed use.

Though it’s an “s” word not on the 4S checklist, the sound on the ZTE Grand Memo may be its killer feature. The speakers within the phone are provided by Dolby and will mark the first time a phone has incorporated Dolby Digital Plus. It’s a system that has been used on other pieces of technology, including televisions, but it makes its mobile debut here. It’s worth noting the sound during ZTE’s conference was also provided by Dolby and was incredibly bad and full of static, but hopefully that’s not a bad omen.

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