Chinese OEM ZTE has announced that it’s moving into the Australian retail market, and will sell its devices directly to consumers under its own brand for the first time with its V969 smartphone going on sale this month at Dick Smith stores nationwide for $299.
The V969 smartphone – perhaps better known by the name “Grand X2 L” in other markets – launched in the second half of 2013 in select markets overseas, including the Phillippines. It’s being pitched as a phone designed for consumers who are looking for high end specifications without the high end price tag. It’s a dual-SIM phone, so could be handy for frequent travellers, or those trying to get a better deal out of different carriers at different times of the day.
It’s a 3G device, which means it’s unlikely to appear on-contract with major Australian carriers as they push 4G LTE devices – it could find a place in their prepaid lineup, but seems more likely to stay at retail. We’ve seen a number of devices go this route in the last couple of years, especially as Australian carriers transitioned to 4G devices.
We’re looking at a Note-class “phablet” device here – the V969 has a 5.5-inch screen. It’s got a quad-core 1.3Ghz Mediatek MTK6582 CPU running the show, with 1GB RAM, 4GB storage and SD card expansion slot. There’s a 5MP camera on the back and a 0.3MP on the front, and a huge 3,200 mAh battery packed inside. ZTE also advises that the phone comes with a 2-year warranty.
That’s the good stuff. The disappointing stuff? Well, it’s mid-2014, and this phone is launching with Android 4.2, and ZTE isn’t known for providing software updates. The 5.5-inch screen also packs a comparatively low qHD resolution (960×540). But, this is a $299 phone, so we’ll avoid being too judgey just yet.
ZTE’s equipment has historically been sold by Telstra as prepaid devices under Telstra’s own branding, so this marks the first time you’ll be able to buy a phone with the actual ZTE brand on it in Australia. Is that important? Maybe yes, maybe no – it depends how closely you follow the manufacturing side of the smartphone market. It marks ZTE’s first foray into consumer marketing in our country, and though the V969 mightn’t set the world on fire you never know what ZTE will come to market with next – we’d love to see their Grand Memo series here.
There’ll be a launch event in Sydney in the next couple of weeks, and the phone should be available later this month. We’ll be sure to check out the phone and report back!
Are you interested in the ZTE V969? Are you excited to see ZTE products at retail in Australia? Let us know in the comments!