BreakingModern — CES isn’t traditionally a hotbed of smartphone activity, but this year has seen the launch of a half dozen new Android models from LG, Asus, Lenovo and ZTE, along with a feature phone from Microsoft. The phones range in price from $29 for Microsoft’s Nokia 215 to $400 or so each for LG’s high-end G Flex 2 and the Asus ZenFone Zoom. Two Android smartphone models — the G Flex 2 and ZTE Grand X Max+ — will definitely see availability in the U.S., and this will probably be the case for some other phones, such as the Asus ZenFone 2.
On the other hand, Sony and Samsung opted to sit on the smartphone sidelines this time around, leveraging their press conferences instead to introduce TVs and other types of gear (including, for Samsung, a washing machine with a built-in sink).
ZTE Grand X Max+
China-based ZTE — previously best known on these shores for TVs — is now entering the U.S. smartphone market with a bang. The ZTE Grand X Max+ is available in the U.S. starting Jan. 9 as a prepaid phone from Cricket Wireless. Samsung, the current leader in prepaid Android phones, had better watch out for ZTE!
Priced at $199.99, the new smartphone from ZTE and Cricket offers nice specs like a six-inch HD screen with 720p HD resolution, quad-core 1.2 GHz QualComm Snapdragon 400 processor, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of storage, 3.200 mAh battery for fast charging, 13 megapixel rear camera and 5 megapixel wide-angle front-facing camera. However, the device runs Android 4.4.4 KitKat instead of Android 5 Lollipop.
LG G Flex 2
Already snapped up for future availability by AT&T and Sprint, the LG G Flex 2 has garnered tons of attention at CES due to both its controversial shape and its impressive specs.
LG‘s second curved phone is curved in four different places, not just one, and its design is much slicker. The G Flex 2 is tougher and more shock resistant than the original G Flex. Moreover, LG’s self-healing plastic case has reportedly been enhanced to the point where it now recovers from scratches in under 10 seconds.
Running Android Lollipop instead of the earlier G Flex’s Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, the G Flex 2 comes with a quad-core 2.0GHz Snapdragon 810 processor rather than the original phone’s quad-core 2.26GHz 800 processor. Some other specs are the same as the first G Flex: a choice of 2 or 3 GB of RAM; expandabilty through memory cards; and a 3,000 mAh battery.
The 13 megapixel/2.1 megapixel camera combo is also the same as in the first version. Features of the rear camera include laser focus, optical image stabilization and support for 4K video. The 2.1 megapixel front-facing camera supports 1080p HD video.
Asus ZenFone 2
According to unconfirmed press reports, the ZenFone 2 is also heading to the U.S.
Priced at a reasonable $200 without a contract, the ZenFone 2 will offer rather high-end specs, such as a 1.8 GHz Intel Atom processor, 5.5-inch 1080p display, 4 GB of RAM, 13 mexapixel rear camera and Asus’ Dual Channel technology, which is designed to double the efficiency of data transfer.
Asus ZenFone Zoom
This phone is targeted at photo buffs. In the words of Asus’ promotional materials, “ZenFone Zoom is engineered to embed 10-element lenses for 3X Optical Zoom while still (keeping) the device as thin as 11.95mm. It’s the world’s thinnest 3X optical smartphone offering up to 12X zoom-in effect.”
Due largely to this camera, apparently, the ZenFone Zoom will cost a much heftier $400. The Zoom will use a more powerful 2.3 GHz 64-bit Intel Atom processor, too. The other specs are pretty much the same as for the ZenFone 2.
The Lenovo P90 probably won’t make it to the U.S., and neither will the Lenovo Vibe X2 Pro. That’s because Lenovo has articulated intentions to use its Motorola brand for U.S. phones.
In any event, the Lenovo P90 Android phone is the first to include Intel’s Atom 64-bit processor. Additional specs include a 5.5-inch full HD screen, 4,000 mAh battery, 13 megapxiel rear camera and 5 megapixel front-facing camera.
Lenovo Vibe X2 Pro
Instead of the Intel processor, the Vibe X2 is built on a 64-bit octa-core processor from Qualcomm. The Vibe’s display is only a slightly smaller 5.3 inches. Like the P90, the Vibe includes a 13 megapixel/5 megapixel camera.
Microsoft’s Nokia 215
Microsoft’s low-cost Nokia 215 feature phone will assuredly not appear in the U.S. It’s targeted instead at “select markets” in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
The Nokia 215 runs Nokia‘s long-time Series 30+ operating environment, as opposed to Windows Phone. Even though this isn’t a smartphone, novice users will get a lot for their money. Features include an Opera Mini browser, Bluetooth 3.0, Bing search, Facebook, Twitter, an MSN weather app, an FM radio, an MP3 player and support for 3G networks. The Nokia 215 provides a 2.4-inch screen, plus a numerical button pad for voice calling.
For BMod, I’m Jacqueline Emigh.
First image: ZTE
Second image: LG G Flex 2 via Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)
Featured image: © Kurhan / Dollar Photo Club