26
Feb
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After having a chance to play with the ZTE Grand Memo yesterday, I was a bit perplexed. It was kind of slow. Actually, it was really slow - I haven't seen UI lag like that on a top-tier smartphone in over a year. It was terrible switching between tasks, and while ZTE's hilariously overwrought UI is likely slowing it down a fair bit, something just didn't feel right for a phone allegedly running on the very latest Snapdragon chip.

Well, something was not right - because ZTE was very wrong about the specifications of its own product. Originally, ZTE claimed the Grand Memo had a Snapdragon 800 chipset - the most powerful mobile chip Qualcomm makes, and which probably isn't even available outside limited manufacturing samples at this point. And ZTE didn't just claim this once - it was said during the press event, and the Snapdragon 800 is mentioned 5 times in the official press release.

Then, Qualcomm chimed in and said 'no way, the Grand Memo is running a Snapdragon 600.' Which is still a really fast chip (it's in the HTC One, as well). But then we decided to do a little sleuthing, and as far as we can tell, that's not even true: all benchmarks we've run so far point to an APQ8064 processor - the Snapdragon S4 Pro found in the Nexus 4, Optimus G, and numerous other devices from late last year. The Snapdragon 600 is an APQ8064T.

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What's worse, ZTE's official press release stated that on top of the claimed 800 processor (which ZTE has now itself amended to 600), the Grand Memo had 2GB of RAM. And... it doesn't. It has 1GB - as shown on ZTE's specification sheet for the device on the show floor, but not in its official press release.

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We confirmed on the phone itself that the number is indeed 1GB. That same spec sheet also just says "Qualcomm" for the processor which, given the dancing around this issue, makes us all the more suspicious as to how much of an 'accident' all of this was.

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The phone itself benchmarks terribly, too. Like, Galaxy S II terribly (in AnTuTu). It does manage to stand up to a One X in Quadrant, but the score shown is even lower than other APQ8064 devices I've tested like the DROID DNA or Optimus G.

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Would ZTE - a company that might have difficulty making waves against the likes of HTC, Samsung, and other rivals at a major trade show - resort to 'confusing' a few numbers to get more attention on its newest product?

I can't say for certain - I'm not ZTE - but at this point, what I can say is that I would not put it past them. Irrespective of intent, ZTE has still lost the trust of a significant number of people this week.

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • Chronus719

    Weak.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ajac09 Anthony Evans Jr

    check one off my list

  • tomcat84

    While you are perfectly right about the SoC, one should mention that the Snapdragon 600 (APQ8064T) is only marginally faster than the S4 Pro (APQ8064), if at all. Hence the same product code (apart from the T).

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      According to some benches, it's quite a bit faster than the Pro. Like 40% faster. In benchmarks. Which measure things (not necessarily the things we care about, but still - they let us compare one product with another on a certain level).

    • Chronus719

      The fact of the matter is that they're claiming it has a next-generation Snapdragon when it doesn't.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      The 600 does bench significantly better (ala HTC One benchmark scores thus far), though. I admit, it's definitely an incremental improvement.

      • tomcat84

        Well, ok, the benchmarks speak for themselves. Maybe the improvement is higher than I thought.

        Still, I wouldn't give much about the benchmarks here, since there are many factors (besides raw cpu power) that influence them...

  • http://twitter.com/s99nj S. Ali

    Who cares ZTE only sells on MetroPCS and ATT in the U.S, they are a budget OEM, didn't really expect a high end device from them

    • 12fusion

      ZTE is on boost too. What do they have on att I can't think of one

    • Magnus100

      That doesn't justify their action

      • http://twitter.com/s99nj S. Ali

        It's a Chinese OEM, this is standards business practice.

    • omegavesko

      The US isn't their primary market. Their phones are extremely widespread in Europe and Asia, nearly every carrier here has them.

  • abdulhadi

    snapdragon 600 is more powerful then snapdragon 800 !!!

    that what zte said !!!!

  • Sergio

    Shame on them...

  • http://www.facebook.com/davmendmar David Méndez

    Feels weird to me hearing that their software slows down the phone. I've seen several ZTE devices and they usually pack pure Android with some extra apps of their own. Too bad if they are not keeping this trend. I hate builders interfaces, specially when they aren't well done.

    • omegavesko

      Same here, I seriously had to do a double take when I read that this phone would be heavily skinned.

  • hldc1

    Shocking that you can't trust the word of a Chinese company. If Chinese companies want to be taken seriously internationally, they have to stop being so effing backwards.

  • DaveNull

    Lol, classic ZTE confusion. Now they've become big enough to someone to care...

    By the time it hits the market (just before Christmas), hardware specs have been changed at least three times and probably the device's marketing name too. :P

  • Mario

    Not surprised this happened. I was very skeptical that a smaller company would be the first out of the gate with the 800. I was expecting a bigger name to be the first, and I guess that's the way it will most likely be.
    Not that I was planning to get this phone anyway.

  • Magnus100

    Shame on them!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000318532195 Aaro Kirss

    this is probably insider stock market fraud.
    Or anything else you know, maybe they just wanted to lie because it's fun.

    • John O’Connor

      fun for who exactly.. other than us tech nerds who either spit out our drinks upon reading, seeing, hearing about this (at home or in person) and then subsequently dying of laughter... It's like a train wreck that we just can't look away from or the laugh that escapes when someone falls down or stumbles in the most absurd way and you just can't help the laugh. Sure you might ask if they are OK and what the hell they were thinking, but knowing full well they are, everyone is now in on the laughter including the injured party... Come on ZTE, I am calling a total faceplant here.

  • http://twitter.com/PearCidre James Glen

    Anyone considered that there is no lying, just a complete, total and utter screw up in ZTE's marketing team?

  • Dainghiaho

    i don't believe china's companies

  • Rob C

    HTC One (source http://youtu.be/iu6-f2pX9to?t=1m10s ):
    Quadrant 12264
    Antutu: Total Score: 22607
    CPU: 11278 RAM: 4085
    GPU: 6337 I/O: 907
    1728 Mhz (x4) [1080x1776]

    ZTE Grand Memo (source: this Page's Photos):
    Quadrant 10400
    Antutu: Total Score 6197
    (Trying to read the numbers on the bottom of the Photo is too difficult).