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(Pocket-lint) - The new ZTE Grand X is the first genuinely powerful phone we have seen from the traditionally budget manufacturer. Priced at £189 handset only, or £32 a month from Virgin media, it is an affordable way of getting hold of Ice Cream Sandwich. 

In the hand, the ZTE has a decent build quality, not unlike that of the Galaxy Nexus, with a textured back and rounded bottom. The four Android keys seem responsive - although from what we could gather, don't light up, which could be a problem when using the handset in the dark. The 1GHz Tegra 2 chip and 512MB of RAM ensure the phone ticks along nicely, admittedly it is helped however by ZTE's approach to Android which is entirely Vanilla. 

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Rather bizarrely, some of the stock ICS apps have been downgraded, such as the media player, which runs on Gingerbread. The rest, like the 720p-capable 5-megapixel camera, works well enough. The front 0.3-megapixel snapper does leave something to be desired, but being included on a handset of this price is a plus point. 

Offering 4GB of internal memory expandable using microSD is a nice touch, as is the 4.3 inch 960 x 540 screen which seems - from our brief play with the phone - to be a lot better than those typically found on mid-range handsets. The viewing angles didn't appear great but colours were certainly nice and saturated. 

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No NFC for the handset unfortunately although ZTE did say it was something it was looking into for future phones. We gave the speaker a brief blast and, helped along with Dolby Mobile, audio was better than most although the environment in which we tested the handset was too noisy to make any real judgement.

A solid piece of kit then from ZTE and some decent-value hardware for those on the hunt for an affordable ICS handset. We can't help but think, however, that at £32 per month on contract there is plenty else available which is better.

Like the sound of the ZTE? Let us know in the comments below... 

Writing by Hunter Skipworth.