ZTE's midrange Max XL smartphone goes big on everything except price

ZTE Tempo X
Update: The ZTE Max XL is now available from Sprint, on top of the previous availability from Boost and Virgin.

ZTE’s Zmax Pro was one of the most impressive budget smartphones of 2016. We were blown away by its price point, which managed to cost less than competitors like Samsung’s Galaxy J7 and Lenovo’s Moto G4 Plus without making compromisse. And in that regard, its successor appears to be no different.

The ZTE Max XL was first launched a few months ago for Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile, however it now looks like the phone will make its way into the big leagues — Sprint has announced that users will be able to get the device through the Sprint website. Unfortunately, it won’t be as cheap as it was at Boost or Virgin — while it cost $130 at those carriers, at Sprint it comes in at $192.

The Max XL packs a 6-inch IPS (1920 x 1080 pixels) display shielded with shatter-resistant Gorilla Glass, and a 1.4GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 processor (a slight step down from the ZMax Pro, which had a 1.5GHz octa-core Snapdragon 617). There’s 2GB of RAM inside, plus a whopping 128GB of storage (expandable via MicroSD slot) and a 3,990mAh battery that lasts up to 26.6 hours on a charge.

The Max XL doesn’t skimp in other areas. There’s a 13MP rear and 5MP front camera, and an FM radio. Rounding out the internals are a 3.5mm headphone jack, Bluetooth 4.0, a fingerprint sensor, and GPS. And it ships running Android 7.0 Nougat, the latest version of Google’s mobile operating system.

The Max XL launches on Boost Mobile’s 2GB plan ($30 with auto-renew, $35 without), which includes unlimited talk and text and 1GB of additional data for $5 a month (or 2GB for $10 a month). It’s also available on Boost Mobile’s Unlimited Gigs plan, which comes with unlimited talk, text, and data starting at $50 a month ($30 a month for a second line, up to five total). As mentioned, it’s also now available from Sprint for $192.

ZTE said it’s the first Boost Mobile phone to support Sprint’s HPUE (High Performance User Equipment) technology and LTE+, which translates to faster network speeds and increased coverage. And it supports international roaming — with Boost Mobile’s $5 Todo Mexico Plus add-on, you get unlimited calls to Mexico and Canada, plus unlimited international texting.

“We continue to push the boundaries and give consumers more of what they want — bigger battery, bigger screen, and the best connection possible — all at an affordable price,” said Cheng.

From what we’ve seen of the Max XL so far, it’s tough to argue.

Product Review

With the S10e and S10 Plus, do we really need the Samsung Galaxy S10?

The Galaxy S10 is the middle child in this year’s Galaxy S10 range, between the Galaxy S10e, and the Galaxy S10 Plus. There’s no striking reason to buy it, but it’s still an excellent phone you’ll be happy with.

Google Fi: Phones, plans, pricing, perks, and more explained

Google's wireless service, formerly Project Fi, now goes by the name of Google Fi, and it's now compatible with a majority of Android phones, as well as iPhones. Here's everything you need to know about Google Fi.

Patreon is having another go at changing the way it charges creators

Patreon messed up pretty badly the last time it tried to change its payment system. Now it's having another go, though this time the changes mainly affect future sign-ups rather than its current community of creators.
Home Theater

What year is this? Apple might drop a new iPod tomorrow

After two days of surprise hardware releases that have brought us new iPads and iMacs, rumor has it that we may see an update of Apple's iPod as soon as tomorrow, sparking a mixture of nostalgia and curiosity.

Scientists wreck a smartphone in a blender, but not just for fun

It’s oddly mesmerizing to watch a smartphone get torn apart inside a blender. Researchers recently did just that in a bid to find out which materials make up a handset, and also to encourage people to think more about recycling.
Movies & TV

Apple’s next big event is minutes away: Here’s what you can expect

Apple's next big event takes place on March 25 in Cupertino, California. The company is expected to make several announcements related to its services, including Apple TV, so follow our guide to get ready for the big event.

This $76,000 Grand Seiko watch has something in common with a plug-in hybrid car

How can a watch that costs $76,000 possibly have anything in a common with any car, let alone a plug-in hybrid? It's all about the complex, technically incredible Spring Drive movement inside this Grand Seiko watch.

The excellent Apple iPad gets even deeper price cuts on Amazon

The humble iPad from 2018 is still one of the best tablets around -- and a solid choice for most people. Amazon has seen some great price drops for these tablets recently, and now you can own an iPad for even less than before.

More than a screenshot: How to record the screen on an Android device

If you've ever want to record video of your Android screen, there are plenty of apps that can help. Here's an easy guide on how to record the screen on an Android device with the right settings and apps.

Apple March 2019 Event Coverage

Apple’s next event will take place March 25 at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California at 10 a.m. PT. We’ve got a handy guide on how to watch, but don’t expect to see any new iPads, iMacs, or AirPods at the show, all of…
Product Review

Want to see how powerful the Snapdragon 855 chip is? Just rev up the Xiaomi Mi 9

How fast do you want to go? If the answer to this is “as fast as possible,” then take a long look at the Xiaomi Mi 9. It’s one of the highest performance smartphones you can buy. It’s a real monster, and we’ve been using it.

Apple Card is a credit card you can sign up for and start using with your iPhone

Apple is getting into the credit card business. Apple Card is a credit card you can sign up for directly on your iPhone, and it doesn't have fees. There's a lower interest rate and you can even get Daily Cash from all purchases.

Apple Arcade might be the new game subscription service worth signing up for

Apple Arcade will launch this fall bringing a new game-subscription service with cross-platform support for iOS, Mac, and Apple TV. At launch, the service will feature more than 100 exclusive games, with more added to the service regularly.

Check out 22 of the best iPhone 7 cases and covers for your shiny new phone

The iPhone 7 might be attractive, but it’s not rugged. To keep your device in pristine condition, you really need to think about proper protection. That's why we've rounded up some of the best iPhone 7 cases and covers available.