ZTE unveils the budget-friendly Warp 7 at IFA 2016, bound for Boost Mobile airwaves

IFA, one of the largest and oldest consumer electronics conventions in existence is gearing up to begin in Berlin, Germany. But that’s not stopping some of the attending companies from kicking off the festivities early. On Tuesday, ZTE announced the Warp 7, a low-range, affordable smartphone scheduled to hit U.S. shores early next week.

It’s the latest in the company’s long-running line of affordable Warp devices exclusive to Boost Mobile, Sprint’s prepaid subsidiary. The last two to hit the carrier’s airwaves, the Warp Sync and Warp Elite, start at $50 and $80, respectively.

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“Boost Mobile has been very successful with the Warp smartphone lineup,” Jim Hyde, Boost Mobile’s president, said in a statement. “[We] will continue to offer our customers the most modern technology available at affordable prices.”

The Warp 7 may still qualify as a budget device at $99, but that doesn’t mean it’s compromising. The handset, which weighs 175 g and measures 154.3 x 76 x 9.3 mm, sports a 5.2-inch HD (1280 x 720 pixels) TFT display shielded by Gorilla Glass 3. Under the hood, it’s packing a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor paired with 2GB of RAM, and around the front and back a 1080p-capable 13MP rear-facing camera and 5MP front-facing shooter. In terms of storage, the Warp 7 ships with 16GB of built-in memory and a Micro SD slot that can accommodate cards up to 64GB in size.

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The Warp 7’s well-endowed when it comes to wireless, too… mostly. Sadly absent is support for near-field communication (NFC), the tech required for contactless payments and wireless transit fare. Instead, it’s got an FM radio, GPS, hotspot functionality, Bluetooth 4.0, and an LTE/GSM radio that support roaming on popular networks in Mexico.

Powering all those components is generous 3,080mAh battery, which ZTE said should last about 32 hours on a call. Better still, it supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 standard — in theory, you’ll be able to plug it into a wall charger, return in fifteen minutes or so, and count on hours of charge when you unplug. That’s a major convenience, needless to say.

Like other Warp handsets before it, the Warp 7’s debuting exclusively on Boost Mobile on September 5. It ships running Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

“Consumers continue to anticipate the Warp family of products each year and we are proud to introduce the next device in the series with the ZTE Warp 7,” Lixin Cheng, head of ZTE USA, said in a press release. “We continue to push the boundaries of what an affordable premium device is and the Warp 7 available with Boost Mobile incorporates top features at a budget friendly price.”

The Warp 7’s follows the launch of ZTE’s Zmax Pro, a budget handset that debuted on MetroPCS in July. In terms of hardware, it was an even better bargain: $100 with an instant rebate netted you a handset with a 6-inch 1080p (1920 x 1080 pixels) screen, a quad-core Snapdragon 617 processor, and a 3,400mAh battery. But beggars can’t be choosers, we suppose.

The low-end market has done well for the China-based carrier. In late August, the phone marker reported a 4.05 percent year on year boost in revenue to about 47.76 billion yuan, or about $7.15 billion. The company said those sales earned it a place among the top six global manufacturers in the world.

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