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ZTE Grand S Reviewed – Good or Bad

Updated on October 8, 2013

High-end smartphones are attractive for the fact that they offer features that other smartphones do not have. They are faster, have better screens and cameras and so on. However, they also tend to be much more expensive, which is the primary reason why many people cannot own the phone they want.

Alternatively, someone with a limited budget can buy a high-end smartphone by selecting one of the lesser known brands. These can often be had for much less than what better known brands tend to ask in order to promote themselves and help them enter the market

An example would be the ZTE Grand S which offers a high-end smartphone with a mid-range price tag. Such a combination is a difficult one to pull off and not surprisingly, the phone has several pros and cons that you may like or dislike.

Like: the ZTE Grand S comes with a 5 inch Full-HD screen

The front of the ZTE is dominated by a five inch screen which supports Full-HD at 1080x1920. This gives the ZTE a pixels per inch or PPI of 440. To put this perspective, the Retina screen of the iPhone is renown for its sharpness, but has a PPI of only 324.

The much higher resolution of the Grand S is especially noticeable when browsing the Internet. Since there is so much more room on the screen, webpages fit easily and effortlessly unlike other phones where things get messed up due to lack of space.

This makes the ZTE a pleasure to use because it doesn't feel cramped. People with bad eyesight will appreciate having a bigger screen to look at. Ditto for people with big fingers who will find the ZTE more user-friendly because they are much less likely to press the wrong thing by accident.


Like: the ZTE Grand is fast and fully equipped

The ZTE does its name justice because it's like a speed demon on a racetrack. The phone can easily handle any app out there. Unlike some other phones, the ZTE won't struggle with to handle high-end 3D games.

Scrolling is effortless, there's no lagging behind and everything runs smoothly. It can also deal with multiple things at once. If you like to multitask such as playing a music file while checking the Internet, the ZTE won't have a problem doing it.

That's a good thing because the phone offers lots of things to do. There are cameras in the front and back, meaning that you can take pictures and videos of other people or yourself. There is 16 gigabytes of internal storage and you can create more by installing a MicroSD card.

With the included GPS and Google Maps, you can make good use of the big screen. It's easy to find where you are or what route you need to take to go to where you need to be. Having a big and high-resolution screen is good to have here.

Like: The ZTE Grand S is a high-end phone priced as a mid-range phone

The ZTE Grand S can be had for much less than comparable phone from other companies. In the United States, it's possible to get the phone for about $350 unlocked at online retailers. That's definitely a lot cheaper than what you would find at other companies. It has to be one of the cheapest high-end phones available.

To be fair, price is not everything. However, it does determine whether a particular phone is an option for you or not. If you can't afford a phone, then there is no need to worry about whether it's any good or not. You can't have it either way.

Due to its relative low price, the Grand S is an option for more people than would normally be the case. It's possible for these people to get a phone with features that would under normal circumstances be off-limits. That is something to like about the ZTE Grand S.

Neutral: ZTE is not a well-known brand

ZTE is actually not that small of a company. It's a bigger company than for example RIMM Blackberry. However, ZTE is definitely not a brand most people are familiar with. Blackberry is much better known despite the fact that it's smaller.

Buying from a relatively unknown company creates a dilemma. On the one hand, it's possible to get a high-end smartphone at a low price, which is exactly what the ZTE Grand S is. Getting the same stuff but not having to pay as much as with other brands is tempting.

On the other hand, you cannot be as certain as to how the phone will perform after you've acquired it because the brand isn't as established as other brands where you do know what it is that you're getting. If the phone doesn't work as it should, then it doesn't matter how little you've paid for it. It's still a loss.

The phone does come with a warranty, but you will still have to decide for yourself if you're willing to risk some money to save some money. If it works out, you've gotten a great deal by saving money. If it doesn't, you'll probably lose some money.


Neutral: the ZTE Grand S is made of plastic

The Grand S is housed in a plastic shell, unlike some other high-end smartphones which come in a metal shell. Granted, most smartphones are made of plastic, even the high-end ones. The phone is also not priced expensively, so it's probably too much to ask for a metal shell at this price point.

However, plastic is surely less durable than metal. The phone is not bad looking, but it more closely resembles a mid-range phone than a high-end phone externally. All in all, you don't get the best quality housing there is, but they didn't charge you for it either. Therefore, it's a draw.

Dislike: the ZTE Grand S has a weak battery

The ZTE Grand S has only one real weakness, but it's a big one. The battery is not designed for heavy use. You absolutely need to charge it every day and make sure that you do not drain the battery with heavy use by constantly monitoring the battery indicator.

If you use your smartphone mostly to make phone calls, then the ZTE won't give you any problems. You can occasionally make use of other functions such as shooting a few pictures and so on. Just don't do it all the time.

However, if you tend to make heavy use of the screen and other functions, then the Grand S is not for you. You will find that the battery is running dry and you need to conserve power to make it through the day.

Since the ZTE is such a thin phone, they could have made it thicker and installed a bigger battery. That would have been better in my opinion. Sure, it would make the phone bigger and heavier, but the advantages would definitely outweigh the disadvantages.

4 stars for ZTE Grand S

Summary and comparison of the pros and cons of the ZTE Grand S

Despite the fact that ZTE is not a well-known brand, the Grand S will most likely be fine as a product. ZTE is a multi-billion dollar company and such large companies understand that you can't put out junk products if you want to stay in business for long.

The only real issue therefore to be dealt with it is the battery life. Basically, whether the Grand S is suitable for you all comes down to how you intend to use your smartphone. If you like to play around with your phone, then you really should not get the ZTE Grand S. Period.

However, if you are a light to moderate user who uses their phone primarily to communicate via phone, sms or email with the occasional multimedia use, then the ZTE can definitely get the job done. It does everything with ease and you won't have to pay a lot for it.

You can also look into buying accessories that can extend the battery of a smartphone. There are devices that you can connect via Micro-USB to charge the battery while on the move and that will function as a secondary battery in case the primary battery runs dry.

It may be a bit awkward for men to carry extras around, but it's very doable for certain women who tend to carry a small bag with them all the time. You can leave both devices in the bag, which in practice means that you won't have any problems with battery life.


  • Big, sharp 5 inch screen with support for Full-HD
  • Fast and smooth
  • Thin design
  • Comprehensive set of features
  • Costs much less than comparable phones from other companies


  • Poor battery life
  • Brand is not well-known

ZTE Grand S LTE specifications

Smart Phone
Operating System
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro 1.7 GHz Quad-core processor
LTE: 800/900/1800/2600
WCDMA: 900/2100
GSM/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900
Dimension (H X W X D)
140 mm x 70 mm x 6.9 mm
About 110 gr
5-inch Multi-Touch IPS LED /w Gorilla Glass
LCD Resolution
Full-HD (1080x1920, 440 PPI)
Rear camera
13 MP, auto focus, LED flash, 1080p@30fps
Front camera 
2 MP, 1080p
2 Gigabyte (GB)
Flash memory
Memory card slot
Included, up to 32GB MicroSD card
microUSB, USB 2.0, 3.5 earjack
Wireless Connectivity
Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, NFC
FM radio
Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, GPS
Lithium-ion 1780mAh


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