The $180 ZTE Warp Elite with Android 5.1 goes toe-to-toe with the Moto G

Motorola has once again set the bar for how mid-range smartphones should be in 2015, so it’s up to other manufacturers to play ball. It seems like ZTE is ready to do that, and its challenger is the brand new Warp Elite.

Starting at the front, the Warp Elite packs a 5-inch, 1,280 x 720 resolution display, with a 5-megapixel selfie camera sitting above the display. Around back, you’ll find a 13-megapixel camera, while inside there is a 3,000mAh battery making sure you’ll have plenty of power to take as many pictures as you want. However, the real changes between the Warp Elite and its predecessor can be found under the hood.

At the center of the Warp Elite lies a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor, along with 2GB of RAM, compared to the Snapdragon 400 and 1GB of RAM found in the Warp Sync. The change in processors might not seem significant, but like comparing last year’s Moto G versus this year’s iteration, the jump is more significant than first meets the eye. You get 16GB of internal storage, a healthy bump from the measly 8GB found in last year’s Warp Sync. If that’s not enough space for your needs, you can insert up to a 64GB Micro SD card for memory expansion. Finally, you’ll be playing around with a mostly vanilla version of Android 5.1 Lollipop, though there are sure to be pre-installed apps.

What’s interesting is how well the Warp Elite pairs up with probably its closest kin, the Moto G 2015. Save for some slight underclocking on ZTE’s part, the phones square off pretty evenly. Interestingly, the Warp Elite actually gains a leg up on the Moto G 2015 with its $180 price tag, with customers having to cough up another $40 to get 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage.

Of course, whereas the Moto G 2015 is unlocked, the Warp Elite will stick with Boost Mobile, meaning it will use Sprint’s network. Even so, ZTE’s latest mid-range offering, now available, seems like a great deal for the asking price.