ZTE’s Grand Memo is the grand mama of mobile phones

Pop quiz: If an oversized phone is called a phablet, what do you call an oversized phablet? Uh, what?

Yep, that’s exactly how you’ll react when you see ZTE’s flagship smartphone, the Grand Memo. Unveiled early during this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, ZTE’s new device could definitely be the grand mama of smartphones, well not on speed but on size and wisdom. With a hefty 5.7-inch screen, this gadget is something that you won’t overlook, and that’s why it’s been getting a lot of attention after it was launched. Size-wise, it’s really undeniable that this is one “grand” device, but would this also be true in every other aspect of this mobile phone?

If we go by the numbers, the Grand Memo holds a lot of promise, with its specs easily besting that of other similar devices. Sporting a quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, 2 GB RAM, 13 MP rear cameras, and a 3200 mAh battery, this ZTE handset is undeniably a monster. On paper, the Grand Memo has all the bells and whistles of a top-caliber device. And considering that there are not a lot of players in the phablet niche, this device is easily one of the best in its class. But that is on paper, where everything goes well, and name brand recognition is not a factor.

Well, it’s a bit complicated

In the real world, the Grand Memo will encounter some glaring complications. It comes equipped with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the latest version available in the market. However, users would surely encounter update problems, especially if ZTE doesn’t pick up its updates soon after release. Even established names like HTC and Sony encounter problems delivering the latest updates, with disappointed users having to wait for months before they get to try the latest OS version available.

Then there’s the user interface. The Grand Memo has its own Mifavor UI, which according to ZTE, is specifically designed for smartphones. Looking at the launch images, the UI looks a bit dated, reminiscent of the TouchWiz UI during the early Gingerbread days. That old interface won’t let you maximize the size of your screen, after all, the Grand Memo is not a mere smartphone—it is a phablet. Even Samsung skinned their latest TouchWiz UI to suit big screens like that of the S3, or even bigger screens like that of the Note 2. But again, the mobile experience is subjective, so it’s really up to the users to decide if the Mifavor UI suits the Grand Memo well.

Another bit of problem would be the quality of the display. The Grand Memo has a massive 5.7-inch, 720 x 1280 screen, ideal for watching movies on the go, or using it as a business phone to edit or view documents and other work-related stuff. Unfortunately, it comes short to quality, as its TFT display is inferior to the Note 2’s Super AMOLED screen. This may not be noticeable to the common eye, but they could’ve gone for something better if they want to live up to the “grand” name.

But still, it’s really impressive

But no matter how much you focus on the imperfections, it is undeniable that ZTE’s Grand Memo is one impressive phone. There’s no doubt that this phone could handle even the hardest mobile computing tasks, after all, it has one of the most powerful processors under the hood (four cores, 1.7 GHz each). Unfortunately, there’s no definite price and release date yet, but it is expected to come out sometime in Q2 for its European release.

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