ZTE Zmax Pro is Shockingly Good for $99

In recent years, we've seen the price of top-tier smartphones drop from $700 to $400, but with the ZMax Pro, ZTE is looking to deliver a premium experience for less than a Benjamin. Available for $99 starting August 1 at Metro PCS, ZTE has created an appealing budget handset.

The Zmax Pro's price and specs are pretty impressive. It has a giant 6-inch full HD screen, a sizable 3,400 mAh battery, expandable microSD storage and even a built-in fingerprint sensor on back, a feature normally reserved for phones twice its price.

Of course, there's a few caveats too, the most important of which is that the ZMax Pro's requires an instant rebate to actually get down to $99.

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Featuring a Snapdragon 617 processor, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, the ZMax has a get set of specs for the money. It compares favorably to the $199 Moto G4, which features an almost identical set of components.

After a quick hands-on session, I came away feeling pretty good about this $99 phone. Its construction was remarkably solid, and even though it has a plastic back, the shimmery matte blue paint job doesn't look or feel cheap. ZTE even paid attention to the small details, such as adding copper accents around the fingerprint reader and side buttons, which gives the ZMax Pro a decidedly classier appearance that a lot of its similarly priced competition.

I also appreciate that the ZMax Pro comes with the latest version of Android 6.0, although since we're already so close to Android N, I have to wonder how fast ZTE and Metro PCS will be able to bring Nougat to the ZMax.

It will still take a more testing to see if ZTE has actually pushed the prices of phones even lower, but at just $99, the ZMax Pro makes a pretty good first impression.