Hands-on with the ZTE Grand S II, a voice-activated phone

ZTE is bringing the device to China in March or April

The side of the ZTE Grand S II

The side of the ZTE Grand S II

With all the smartphones on the market, Chinese company ZTE is hoping to set its phones apart by bringing voice-assistant technology to its newest flagship device, the Grand S II.

ZTE unveiled the new Android handset at the International CES show in Las Vegas this week, and will start selling it in its home market of China in March or April. But the company wants to bring the phone to other markets, later in the year.

The phone will be priced between 2000 yuan ($US327) and 3000 yuan without carrier subsidies, and comes with some high-end specs, including a 2.3Ghz quad-core processor from Qualcomm and support for 4G LTE networks. It has a 5.5-inch 1080p screen, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage, along with a 3000mAh battery.

ZTE's head of mobile devices Zeng Xuezhong showed off the phone, including some of its voice-assistant functions. When speaking "Hello ZTE" into the phone, the device will automatically reply and ask the user what tasks to perform. In a demo, Zeng showed that the device can respond to requests to make phone calls and play music tracks.

The voice features can also turn the phone into a hands-free navigation system for driving. But the catch is that the Grand S II currently only understands Chinese. Other languages will be incorporated in the future, Zeng said.

ZTE, however, may still need some time to iron out the voice functions. When a display unit of the device was tested, the Grand S II didn't always respond when asked "Hello ZTE," or comprehend the voice commands. Often, the phone had to be placed close to the mouth in order for it to understand the voice instructions.

The phone weighs 150 grams, and comes with a metal-like casing and silver border. The power button is oddly placed on the side of the phone, rather than the top, making it a little uncomfortable to turn on. Applications on the phone ran fast, and the device felt sturdy and easy to hold.

The Grand S II also features a 13-megapixel camera in the rear, and a front-facing 2-megapixel camera. But when taking pictures, shots from the camera often came out of focus. Another issue is the small speaker in the back of the phone, which may contribute to making audio sometimes hard to hear.

The Grand S II is just the latest higher-end handset from ZTE, which has been trying to move away from primarily selling lower-end phones. In the future, the company's voice assistant will become a major feature in all its upcoming flagship phones, according to Zeng.

Tags CESconsumer electronicsZTE

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?