At the company's IFA 2014 press conference, ZTE debuted three new Android smartphone models which are clearly designed to fill in the lower and mid-tier market behind LG and Samsung.
The Blade Vec
Leading off with its newest performance models, ZTE introduced two flavors of the Blade Vec: a full 4G version and a budget 3G-only version. Both flavors are powered by the latest version of Android KitKat and will be update-able to the upcoming version (codenamed "L") according to General Manager, Qin Xiaojun.
While the phones are on the cutting edge of operating systems, the specs of the Blade Vec are surprisingly last gen. With a 1.2-GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor and only 1GB of RAM, the Blade will likely be sufficient for most users, but those asking for the latest and fastest will be disappointed. Interestingly, the battery is disproportionately large at 2300 mAh which, combined with the low-power processor, should translate into longer usage times.
The mid-tier internals are contained in a slim (7.8mm) and light fiberglass body, designed to mimic carbon-fiber texture and look. The phone fits nicely into the hand and the standard HD resolution 5" screen seems quite serviceable.
The Kis 3 Max
ZTE also introduced its entry-level KIS 3 MAX. Bucking the current trend, ZTE decided to equip the KIS 3 MAX with a smaller 4.5" display, which is likely to please many smartphone users with reasonably sized hands. While the specs are nothing impressive (1.3-GHz A7 Dual Core processor), and the KIS isn't going to win anyone over on screen resolution (280x854), it certainly looks pretty with its rounded edges and off-white, glossy finish.
The KIS 3 MAX also includes two interesting and unique features. Again going against current trends, ZTE chose to include hardware buttons for basic OS controls like Home and Back, but made them customizable. Don't like the back button to the left of the Home button? Simply access the settings and adjust the placement.
The second interesting fringe feature is basic built-in remote control access. With this feature, the user can lock, erase, or recover their PIN with a simple text. This can come in useful when the phone is lost or was given to a son or daughter who refuses to answer their parents' calls or texts.
All models will be released in selected countries in Europe in the fall.