ZTE is bringing what it calls an "affordable premium" smartphone to the US with its Concord II for MetroPCS and T-Mobile. For $0 down, you can get a device that's virtually drop-proof without an annual contract. We had a chance to preview the Concord II and were pleased with its build quality for the price.
ZTE claims that the Concord II is designed to withstand up to 64 drops to concrete floors from 1.5 meters (4.92 feet) -- something the company says other manufacturers can't provide at this price. Although we were unable to test that claim, we do like the Concord II's smooth plastic back cover and metallic accents. The 4.4-ounce phone felt somewhat chunky and heavy, but that's a small trade-off.
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The Concord II features a 4-inch 800 x 480 display, a 1.2-GHz dual-core Snapdragon MSM 8210 processor with 1 GB of RAM and 4GB of ROM. You can expand the storage by up to 32GB with a microSD card. A 5-megapixel rear camera and removable 1,820-mAh battery round out the package.
The handset will support 4G (HSPA+) but not LTE, so you probably won't get blazing data speeds while browsing the web. On the plus side, the phone runs a nearly stock build of Android 4.3 Jelly Bean.
While ZTE is an established brand in China and other parts of Asia, the manufacturer has yet to make a big splash in the U.S. The company tells us it is pushing into the American market by focusing on meeting the needs of increasingly price conscious consumers. We look forward to seeing other devices by ZTE arrive stateside.