ZTE ZMAX 2 Review

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ZTE ZMAX 2 Front and Back

In this article, I give you my ZTE ZMAX 2 review with specs included. I’ve been doing reviews of a lot of expensive high-end products such as phones, laptops, and tablets and this one comes as a refreshing change of environment. This is an affordable smartphone.

I got my ZTE Zmax2 from AT&T as a “go phone” (that’s a prepaid phone with no contract) for $99. It’s kind of amazing what you can actually get for that price.

This is an Android smartphone running Android 5.1 Lollipop, sorry no marshmallow here. Marshmallow is the latest and greatest version of the Android operating system (at the time of writing this) and often cheaper phones don’t have the very latest operating system. In fact, I’ve seen some phones that cost before that still are shipping with a Lollipop so that is what it is.

ZTE ZMAX 2 has a 5.5-inch display so for those who would like to have a large phone, this is a pleasing and handful phone with a big enough display. The resolution is 1280 by 720 so we’re not pushing full HD or a qHD or any of those super high resolutions here. Still, it doesn’t look grainy, it’s sharp enough so I don’t notice any blur.

Viewing angles are fine, but it gets a little bit milky off-angle. Again it’s not bad compared to budget phones three years ago that really hurt your eyes. In fact, it’s not even a cheaper and cheesy-looking phone, it’s just fine.

The colors are okay, they’re not supersaturated or vibrant. Plus, it has a Gorilla Glass 3 but, this is not precisely bonded glass, you can kind of see the glass over the display a little bit.

False-metal material is on the sides which feels fine to me. The power button is on the right side and there is a volume rocker button just next to it.

ZTE ZMAX 2 Sides
ZTE ZMAX 2 Sides

On top, there is a headphone jack with a microphone hole. There is nothing on the left side except for the little grab spot and that’s because it actually has a removable back. That’s something that’s a nicer thing to have that sometimes affordable phones have more often than high-end phones that are all unibody and stylish.

ZTE ZMAX 2: A Comprehensive Evaluation

The ZTE ZMAX 2 is a budget-friendly smartphone that has garnered attention for its affordability and decent performance. In this detailed review, we will explore its design, hardware specifications, software features, performance benchmarks, camera quality, and overall user experience.

Design and Build Quality:
Upon first glance, the ZTE ZMAX 2 may not appear to be a standout device in terms of design, but it offers a practical and serviceable build. The rear cover features a textured surface, providing a good grip and preventing the device from slipping out of hand. While it lacks the premium feel of flagship smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S series, it is sturdy and functional.

One notable design feature is the presence of what seems like two speaker holes, but upon closer inspection, it becomes evident that one is for the speaker mesh, while the other serves as a microphone opening. Despite this, the audio output is satisfactory, particularly when utilizing the loudspeaker, which utilizes Dolby Digital Plus audio technology for enhanced sound quality.

Hardware Specifications:
The ZTE ZMAX 2 is equipped with a 3000 milliampere-hour (mAh) removable battery, allowing users to swap it out for a spare when on the go. This flexibility is convenient for individuals who require extended battery life without needing to rely on charging outlets. Additionally, the device features a SIM card slot compatible with AT&T’s network, making it suitable for use as a prepaid phone without the need for a monthly contract.

Furthermore, the inclusion of a microSD card slot expands the device’s storage capacity, with reported compatibility for cards up to 32 gigabytes (GB). In testing, a 128 GB card was successfully utilized, providing ample space for storing multimedia files, apps, and other data.

Under the hood, the ZTE ZMAX 2 is powered by a 1.2 gigahertz (GHz) Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core CPU, paired with Adreno 306 graphics. While the Snapdragon 400 chipset is considered lower-end compared to flagship processors, the device manages to deliver decent performance, aided by 2 gigabytes (GB) of RAM. Multitasking is relatively smooth, thanks to the sufficient amount of RAM provided, although users may encounter occasional lag during intensive tasks.

However, the presence of AT&T bloatware contributes to storage limitations, with 16 GB of onboard storage being partially occupied by pre-installed apps and software. This issue may be alleviated for users in other regions where the device is available as an unlocked phone, thereby reducing bloatware and providing more storage space for user data.

Benchmark tests reveal modest scores, with AnTuTu benchmarking yielding a score of 24,671. Similarly, 3DMark’s Ice Storm Unlimited test resulted in a score of 4437, indicating adequate performance for casual gaming and multimedia consumption. Geekbench 3 scores further reinforce the device’s mid-range capabilities, with single-core and multi-core scores of 476 and 1393, respectively.

In terms of connectivity, the ZTE ZMAX 2 supports LTE 4G, including the latest bands available on AT&T’s network. This ensures fast and reliable data speeds, comparable to other smartphones in its price range. However, the absence of NFC and dual-band Wi-Fi (802.11ac) may be disappointing for users seeking enhanced wireless connectivity options.

Voice quality during calls is satisfactory, albeit slightly digitized, particularly for incoming audio. Outgoing voice clarity is marginally better, with the earpiece delivering acceptable sound quality for everyday use. While the device lacks advanced features such as noise cancellation, it adequately fulfills its primary function as a communication device.

Camera Performance:
The ZTE ZMAX 2 features an 8-megapixel rear camera with an LED flash, suitable for capturing basic photos and videos. However, the camera’s performance is reflective of its budget-oriented nature, with image quality being adequate but not exceptional. In well-lit environments, photos exhibit acceptable detail and color accuracy, although noise becomes more apparent in low-light conditions.

The inclusion of manual mode allows users to adjust settings such as ISO and white balance, providing greater control over image capture. However, certain features like HDR mode may produce oversaturated colors, detracting from the overall image quality. Nevertheless, for casual photography and social media sharing, the ZTE ZMAX 2’s camera capabilities suffice.

Software and User Experience:
The ZTE ZMAX 2 runs on a near-stock version of the Android operating system, with minimal modifications to the user interface. Navigation is intuitive, although some users may find the unconventional method of unlocking the screen (press and hold instead of swiping) to be initially unfamiliar. Nevertheless, the device offers a familiar Android experience, with access to essential features and settings.

The presence of AT&T bloatware may clutter the interface, detracting from the overall user experience. However, these pre-installed apps can be disabled or uninstalled to free up storage space and streamline the user interface. Additionally, the inclusion of productivity tools such as WPS Office enhances the device’s utility for productivity-oriented tasks.

Audio quality is a highlight of the ZTE ZMAX 2, with the device’s loudspeaker delivering clear and full-bodied sound. Dolby Digital Plus audio technology further enhances the audio experience, making it suitable for multimedia consumption and casual gaming. Despite the device’s budget-friendly price point, the audio performance rivals that of more expensive smartphones, providing users with an immersive listening experience.

The ZTE ZMAX 2 offers a compelling blend of affordability, performance, and functionality. While it may not boast the premium features of flagship smartphones, it excels in providing a solid user experience at an accessible price point. From its practical design and robust hardware specifications to its near-stock Android software and impressive audio performance, the ZTE ZMAX 2 proves to be a worthy contender in the budget smartphone market.

For users seeking a reliable and cost-effective device for everyday use, the ZTE ZMAX 2 delivers on its promises, offering essential features and solid performance without breaking the bank. Whether it’s for communication, entertainment, or productivity, this budget-friendly smartphone ticks all the right boxes, making it a viable option for budget-conscious consumers.

Exploring the ZTE ZMAX 2: An In-Depth Analysis

The ZTE ZMAX 2 presents itself as an entry-level smartphone with a host of features typically associated with higher-priced models. In this comprehensive assessment, we delve into its camera capabilities, battery performance, build quality, and overall value proposition.

Camera Quality:
The ZTE ZMAX 2 boasts various camera modes, including panorama, multi-exposure, smile detection, and special effects, offering users versatility in capturing images. However, the real test lies in the quality of the pictures produced by its cameras.

Beginning with the front-facing 2-megapixel camera, selfies taken with this lens tend to appear lackluster, characterized by a milky quality that fails to impress. The images lack the crispness and detail expected from modern smartphone cameras, resulting in subpar selfie experiences.

Switching to the rear 8-megapixel camera, initial impressions suggest an improvement in image quality. However, closer inspection reveals inconsistencies in sharpness and exposure, particularly evident in indoor lighting conditions. Despite the device’s best efforts, certain details are lost, leading to a soft and indistinct representation of subjects.

In outdoor settings, the camera performs admirably, capturing vibrant colors and accurate tones. However, the lack of sharpness becomes apparent upon closer examination, detracting from the overall image clarity. Furthermore, experiments with HDR mode yield mixed results, with colors appearing oversaturated and shadows exhibiting a blue-purple tint, reminiscent of a “funhouse effect” rather than true HDR enhancement.

Despite its shortcomings, the ZTE ZMAX 2’s camera setup is adequate considering its budget-friendly price point. While it may struggle in challenging lighting conditions and fail to deliver professional-grade results, it fulfills basic photographic needs for casual users.

Battery Performance:
One area where the ZTE ZMAX 2 excels is in battery life, thanks to its energy-efficient Snapdragon 400 processor and generous 3000 milliampere-hour (mAh) removable battery. The device’s low-power consumption and modest display resolution contribute to extended usage periods, making it an ideal companion for individuals with busy lifestyles.

Under normal usage conditions, including web browsing, email correspondence, and occasional video streaming, the ZMAX 2 demonstrates commendable endurance, easily lasting through a full day without requiring recharging. Even activities such as GPS navigation and gaming have a minimal impact on battery life, ensuring consistent performance throughout the day.

Build Quality:
Despite its budget-friendly price tag, the ZTE ZMAX 2 impresses with its solid build quality and attention to detail. The device features a rubberized back cover that not only enhances grip but also provides impact resistance, safeguarding it against accidental drops and bumps.

Furthermore, the device exhibits excellent construction, with no visible seams or structural weaknesses detracting from its overall aesthetics. The components are well-integrated, resulting in a cohesive and visually appealing design that belies its affordable price point.

Overall User Experience:
In terms of user experience, the ZTE ZMAX 2 offers a commendable performance, considering its budget-oriented specifications. While it may not match the speed and responsiveness of flagship smartphones, it manages to deliver a satisfactory level of functionality for everyday tasks.

Occasional lag may be observed during intensive usage scenarios, such as multitasking or running resource-intensive applications. However, such instances are infrequent and do not significantly detract from the device’s overall usability.

Furthermore, the ZMAX 2 excels in its core functions, including voice call quality and LTE 4G connectivity. Despite minor digitization in voice calls, outgoing audio remains clear and intelligible, ensuring effective communication. Additionally, the device’s support for LTE 4G enables fast and reliable data speeds, enhancing the browsing and streaming experience for users.

Value Proposition:
At a retail price of $99, the ZTE ZMAX 2 offers exceptional value for budget-conscious consumers seeking a reliable smartphone. While it may lack the bells and whistles of higher-end models, it compensates with its practical features and affordability.

For individuals on a tight budget or those seeking a secondary device for basic communication and multimedia needs, the ZTE ZMAX 2 proves to be a worthy investment. Its combination of decent camera capabilities, impressive battery life, and sturdy build quality make it a compelling choice in the entry-level smartphone segment.

Ultimately, while there may be faster and more feature-rich options available on the market, few can match the ZTE ZMAX 2’s affordability and overall value proposition. As a budget-friendly smartphone that delivers on its promises, it stands out as a viable choice for cost-conscious consumers.

Here’s an extensive list of pros and cons for the ZTE ZMAX 2:


  1. Affordability: The ZTE ZMAX 2 offers excellent value for its price, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious consumers.
  2. Battery Life: With its 3000 milliampere-hour (mAh) removable battery and energy-efficient Snapdragon 400 processor, the ZMAX 2 delivers impressive battery life, easily lasting through a full day of moderate usage.
  3. Expandable Storage: The device features a microSD card slot, allowing users to expand storage capacity up to 32 gigabytes (GB) or even beyond, providing ample space for multimedia content, apps, and files.
  4. Decent Camera: While not exceptional, the ZMAX 2’s 8-megapixel rear camera is capable of capturing decent photos in well-lit environments, making it suitable for casual photography and social media sharing.
  5. Sturdy Build Quality: Despite its budget-friendly price tag, the ZMAX 2 boasts a solid build quality, with a rubberized back cover that provides both grip and impact resistance, ensuring durability against accidental drops and bumps.
  6. LTE 4G Connectivity: The device supports LTE 4G connectivity, including the latest bands available on AT&T’s network, ensuring fast and reliable data speeds for browsing, streaming, and downloading content.
  7. Near-Stock Android Experience: The ZMAX 2 runs on a near-stock version of the Android operating system, offering a clean and intuitive user interface with access to essential features and settings.
  8. Loudspeaker Performance: Equipped with Dolby Digital Plus audio technology, the ZMAX 2 delivers clear and full-bodied sound through its loudspeaker, providing an immersive audio experience for multimedia consumption and gaming.
  9. Dual SIM Support: For users requiring dual SIM functionality, the ZMAX 2 offers support for two SIM cards, allowing for simultaneous use of multiple phone numbers or network providers.
  10. Practical Features: The device includes various useful features such as panorama mode, multi-exposure, smile detection, and special effects, enhancing the versatility of its camera capabilities.


  1. Mediocre Selfie Camera: The ZMAX 2’s 2-megapixel front-facing camera produces mediocre selfies with a milky quality and lack of detail, failing to meet the standards set by modern smartphone cameras.
  2. Inconsistent Camera Performance: While capable of capturing decent photos in optimal conditions, the ZMAX 2’s rear camera exhibits inconsistencies in sharpness and exposure, particularly in challenging lighting situations.
  3. Limited Processing Power: Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor and 2 gigabytes (GB) of RAM, the ZMAX 2 may struggle with multitasking and resource-intensive tasks, resulting in occasional lag and slowdowns.
  4. Bloatware: The device comes pre-installed with AT&T bloatware, which occupies storage space and may clutter the user interface, detracting from the overall user experience.
  5. Subpar Display: Despite its large 5.5-inch display, the ZMAX 2’s screen resolution is relatively low, resulting in a pixelated and less vibrant viewing experience compared to higher-resolution displays.
  6. Limited Wireless Connectivity: The absence of features such as NFC and dual-band Wi-Fi (802.11ac) may be disappointing for users seeking enhanced wireless connectivity options for file sharing and faster internet speeds.
  7. Unimpressive HDR Mode: The HDR mode on the ZMAX 2 tends to produce oversaturated colors and unnatural shadows, detracting from the overall image quality and usability of the feature.
  8. Minimal Design Innovation: While functional and practical, the ZMAX 2’s design lacks the innovation and premium aesthetics seen in flagship smartphones, resulting in a somewhat uninspired and generic appearance.
  9. Average Call Quality: Despite its commendable voice call capabilities, the ZMAX 2 may exhibit slight digitization and clarity issues during voice calls, particularly in noisy environments or areas with poor reception.
  10. Limited Gaming Performance: While suitable for casual gaming, the ZMAX 2 may struggle with more demanding games, experiencing reduced frame rates and graphical fidelity due to its lower-end hardware specifications.

In summary, the ZTE ZMAX 2 offers a compelling blend of affordability, practical features, and decent performance, making it a viable option for budget-conscious consumers seeking a reliable smartphone. However, it is not without its drawbacks, including inconsistent camera performance, limited processing power, and the presence of bloatware. Despite these shortcomings, the ZMAX 2 remains a competitive choice in the entry-level smartphone market, offering essential features and functionalities at an accessible price point.

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