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ZTE Boost Max+ is Underwhelming 5.7-inch Phablet for $200 Unlocked

Looking for a large phone without the hefty price tag? ZTE today (July 17) released its new Boost Max+ phablet, which boasts a 5.7-inch display, Android 5.1 Lollipop and a huge battery for just $200 unlocked. The phone is available today online on Boost Mobile and in stores.

The new Max+ has been upgraded from its predecessor to feature a newer, faster Snapdragon 410 processor (1.4 GHz clock speed versus its predecessor's 1.2-GHz Snapdragon 400). It also packs a larger 3400mAh battery compared to the 3200-mAh one on the original Max, and runs the latest Android Lollipop OS.

MORE: Tested: Boost Mobile Faster Than MetroPCS and Cricket

The new phablet also comes in a lovely gold hue, as opposed to the industrial-looking silver and grey on its predecessor. We liked the original Boost Max for its large, colorful display, solid speakers and long-lasting battery, but in today's market, the Max+ might have a tough time standing out.

Unlike some other affordable unlocked phones already available, the Boost Max+ doesn't really hold its own in the specs race. In a market full of octa-core processor-backed smartphones, the Max+ only has a quad-core Snapdragon 410 chip. Its display resolution is a mere 1280 x 720, compared to the full HD screens you get on the likes of the Alcatel Onetouch Idol 3 ($250) and the Asus ZenFone 2 ($200).

The Max+'s 8-megapixel rear and 1-MP front camera setup also falls short of the 13-MP/5-MP setup on the ZenFone 2 and 13-MP/8-MP cameras on the Onetouch Idol 3.

One area the Max+ pulls ahead is battery size. Its 3400-mAh pack is bigger than the ZenFone 2's 3000-mAh and the Idol 3's 2910-mAh batteries.

We'll have to perform a full review to see how well the Boost Max+ stacks up against the competition, but as it stands, it seems the only reason to pick the Max+ over another unlocked phone is its larger screen.

Staff writer Cherlynn Low writes about smartphones, wearables and apps. Follow her @cherlynnlow. Follow Tom's Guide at @tomsguide and on Facebook.