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zte boost maxThe ZTE Max is undoubtedly the most expensive offering from Boost yet and it comes with plenty of cutting edge features to justify its higher price tag. Nevertheless, you will find that the Boost Mobile ZTE Max is the best full-feature phone available in the market with a tiny phone bill!

Until the launch of the ZTE Max, Boost Mobile users were stuck with older Sprint devices and Boost’s own inexpensive lineup of smartphones. However, keeping in mind that it is predominantly a budget-friendly buyer’s company, the ZTE Max actually feels rightly priced at $299 on an off-contract price considering its physical nature and hefty feature set.

A large 5.7 inch display, plenty of processing power, decent camera performance and low monthly payments are just a few of the appealing reasons to choose this phone.

Features

Let’s take a peek under the hood of this beast. But before that remember that all of this is available for a simple package of $299.

  • IPS Display with Gorilla Glass scratch resistant 5.7 inch screen at max resolution of 720 by 1280.
  • Snapdragon 400 Dual core 1.2GHz processor.
  • 8GB Internal storage with SD Card expansion slot, 1GB RAM.
  • Bluetooth 4.0, LTE/4G, EVDO/3G, Wifi/802.11n
  • Rear camera of 8 MP at 1080p video recording and front camera at 1MP and 720p.
  • 3200mAh Battery.

Style And Design

ZTE has always managed to wow users with its unique design while managing to control the costs. This is evident in the Boost Mobile ZTE Max with a solid feel in the hands and a large yet sleek design. The right textures here and there, durable plastic covering and modern internal specs are probably its biggest offerings. However, the backside cover leaves a bitter aftertaste with the flimsy construction.

While the styling isn’t exactly awe inspiring, it is still a handsome device with a solid plastic cover all around that wraps neatly along the edges with a soft touch plastic presence over the top and bottom. The backside sports the 8MP camera, large speaker panel and a removable plastic cover that holds the SIM card slot inside the top corner. To the left edge you will find the SD Card slot and shiny volume rocker while the right side sports buttons for camera and power. The front sports capacitive buttons under the screen including a central menu button.

Display quality

If screen resolution and clarity matters to you, then you will find the rather humongous screen with 720p resolution at a density of 257ppi to be quite magnificent. Color reproduction and viewing angles are excellent, both from a distance and close up. In short, the Boost Mobile ZTE Max matches other high end IPS display screens out there.

Camera

The 8MP camera doesn’t use any fancy software to click or process pictures and hence what you get is an average picture quality. Shutter speed is calibrated for regular shooting but when used in the HDR mode, it becomes quite sluggish. Without a decent pair of steady hands, it can get difficult taking perfect snapshots. Focusing too is a tad bit difficult as it uses only a single stage button to click pictures. In short, this phone isn’t designed for photography.

Battery life

The ZTE Max offers a large 3200mAh reservoir that helps it run for days on standby and help transition seamlessly between networks. Nevertheless, expect more energy drain with this phone because of the current Sprint network’s transition as it tends to hold onto LTE signals but transfer over 3G speeds.

User Experience

You get the basic Android 4.1.2 with no upgrades in the pipeline yet (Android 4.4 KitKat though is slated for a mid-2014 release) so it will be a while before you can experience the new 4.3 Android. Considering the fact that this phone just hit the shelves in January 2014, this is a bit primitive. Furthermore, you get a stock version of all software such as app drawer, launcher and settings. The only customization observed is on the new toggle and icons in the menu with a slightly different shade for the notification panel.

A new software called the “Smart Viewer” makes an appearance helping you handle two apps side by side. This is similar to what Samsung’s Note 2 and Note 3 offers but isn’t as fluidic. Both windows can be resized and used independently.

Performance

While the hardware specs suggest it has a dual core Snapdragon processor and 1GB or RAM, the performance is at best described as sluggish. Opening websites, scrolling, opening apps all show stuttering. At times though it seems to perform quick but overall the Boost Mobile ZTE Max delivers and inconsistent performance.

Verdict

Although the smaller price tag of the Boost Max makes it a decent acquisition, compared to what is currently available in the market, it could have done a little better. Moreover, this is supposedly the most expensive phone Boost offers and as such it needs to deliver a performance that is worthy of its high mantle.

So is the Boost Mobile ZTE Max worth the purchase? Well if you are an existing Boost Mobile customer or want to switch over to their inexpensive billing plans then this is the perfect device to exploit Boost’s 4G network. However, if price isn’t any issue then there are definitely way better phones out there.

Pros:
HUGE phone – wonderful! 1280 x 720 screen. Not the highest resolution but hard to notice.
Amazingly low price! Off-contract price of only $299 – cheaper than a Google Nexus.
Reasonably fast and surprisingly good RAM included.
It has LTE!

Cons:
Rear of phone is ugly. Looks like 1st generation iPhone writ large.
ZTE’s Android software mods are minimal but not especially attractive either.
Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean)