ZTE had a pretty rough 2018 thanks to the US Commerce Department's decision to enforce a suspended export ban against the company. That cut ZTE off from its US-based suppliers, resulting in an almost total shutdown. ZTE agreed to additional corporate changes and paid a new fine to get back in business, but it hasn't launched any new phones on carriers in the US until now. It's first post-shutdown carrier phone isn't exactly a showstopper, but you can get a new ZTE device right now on the Visible.
Visible is a small carrier that operates on Verizon's network (it prefers to be called a "digital carrier" within Verizon), offering "unlimited" service for $40 per month. It offers various Apple and Samsung phones, all of which are rather spendy. The New ZTE Visible R2 is just $99. Here's a quick rundown of the features (questionable characterizations direct from Visible).
- 16 GB with a microSD slot for up to 2TB expandable storage (not included)
- 18:9 full view display in a sleek, fingerprint-resistant design
- Includes free mobile hotspot connection with Visible service
- 5MP front camera with screen flash for perfect selfies
- 13MP rear camera with HDR, panorama, collage and timelapse flash
- LCD IPS 5.45” display fits nicely in the palm of your hand
- Smart power management to extend 3100mAh battery life
- 1.4 GHz Quad-Core Processor
- USB-C 2.0 charger
We suspect this is a branded version of the ZTE A0722 from China. It's not a flagship phone by any means, but it's not a bad package for $99. There's even a Type-C port, which is still rare on cheap phones.