At this year's Consumer Electronics Show, Chinese smartphone manufacturer ZTE unveiled a wide range of new Android-powered smartphones, but the bigger story here is probably the crazy mobile hotspot and me-too smartwatch released in conjunction with the new Nubia and Grand S devices. ZTE invited us for an opportunity to take its new line-up of products for a spin, so read on for our first impressions and hands-on photos.
Let's start with the smartphones, which would make for a notable CES announcement on their own. ZTE is adding to its Nubia line with the 5S (yes, it's really called the 5S) and the 5S mini, while the Grand Series adds the Grand S II to round out the company's phablet offerings.
The 5S comes equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, while its smaller sibling packs a still-speedy Snapdragon 600 processor. The 5S will also feature a Sony RS 13-megapixel BSI image sensor, f/2 lens, and optical image stabilisation.
All that coupled with ZTE's revamped camera interface, which now allows for independent focus, exposure, and white balance points, should make for some pretty impressive images. To top it off, the 5S will also be capable of shooting 4K video, and ZTE even claims that footage will be captured at a smooth 30 frames per second.
The Grand S II packs a 5.5in 1080p display and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor. According to ZTE, the marquee feature here is the new always-listening voice control. Like the US-only Moto X, the Grand S II will allow users to unlock their device at any time using a voice command. You'll also be able to trigger photos with your voice, as well as control your phone with your voice for hands-free driving. It worked in our demo, but didn't seem quite as useful as Motorola's solution.
Okay, now onto the more ambitious ZTE Projector Hotspot (pictured below). This nifty little device is a mobile hotspot, projector, and touchscreen Android device all rolled into one. It'll provide 4G Internet speeds for up to 8 devices connected over Wi-Fi, and will connect over Bluetooth to project images and videos onto walls. This whacky hybrid might just be the perfect mobile companion for businesspeople on the go, but it's definitely a niche device.
ZTE also showed off its BlueWatch smartwatch (the first image in the slideshow below), which will connect with smartphones via Bluetooth to put instant notifications on your wrist. It also boasts sensors for tracking your movement and even body fat percentage, according to the company.
There’s no word on pricing or the availability of any of these products, but the entire range of smartphones integrates 4G LTE support. Stay tuned for full reviews once we get our hands on this lot of goodies.