Hands-on: ZTE Grand Memo II review

The Grand Memo II LTE from ZTE is the company's update to the previously launched Grand Memo and is its new flagship Phablet for 2014.

It was announced at MWC in Barcelona and we hopped over to the company's stand to take a look at whether this has the ability to challenge more-premium brands and devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the new LG G Pro 2.

Design and screen

The Grand Memo II shell is rather square and angular with curved edges top and bottom, but straight sides where possible. The back is covered in a carbon fibre material, which we've been told by people on the stand isn't carbon fibre, and while it looks good - like something you would find in a racing car - the build quality for the rest of the phone doesn't carry through. This could be because the models we've seen were early prototypes, but the overall experience felt dull rather than shiny and exciting.

It's the same with the screen, which looks like it has a matte finish to it rather than the usual high-gloss glass we've become used to on other devices. The Grand Memo II comes with a 6-inch TFT display that is by no means crisp or clear - in fact, the demo units we played with on the bright ZTE stand looked decidedly washed out. Again, it could be an early prototype issue, but we suspect it's not.

Specs

Get past the rather lacklustre screen and the device comes with an even more lacklustre Snapdragon 400 processor with 2GB of RAM. That sits the device firmly in the mid-range also-rans spot.

Other specs to note are a 13-megapixel camera on the rear, a 5-megapixel camera on the front, and the usual array of GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and sensors that you would expect. As the name states, this is also an LTE phone. Battery life is an average 3200mAh considering its size. It measures 161.5 x 83 x 7.2 if you still care.

Running Android 4.4.2 KitKat ZTE has also placed a skin on top of the stock Android interface giving it a retro two-toned shading affect which kind of works but for most will be seen as extra faff that isn't needed, especially when you go into the camera app.

Quick Verdict

ZTE pitch the Grand Memo II as a mid-range Phablet for those clearly not able to afford the flagships from LG and Samsung, however with lacklustre performance and a rather disappointing screen there isn't much Grand to the Grand Memo II sadly. That might change when it comes to putting the phone through a full review, but we doubt it. Stay tuned.