I donít use tablets very often. There are 2 main reasons why; First off, thereís no nice way to put it but when it comes to tablets, Iím a cheapskate. While Iím fine spending top dollar on a flagship phone, Iím hesitant to open my purse strings - sorry manís bag - when it comes to a tablet.
Secondly, if I do get a tablet it must have LTE. Iím too lazy to tether off my phone, it has too much of an impact on my battery plus I use way too much data to leave it on anyways. Donít even get me started as to how many days it takes me to realize I forgot to turn it off. However, LTE usually commands quite a price premium - something my wallet is allergic to.
My parsimonious purse strings purse strings simply wonít allow me drop a stack on a tablet with LTE, Iíd rather having no tablet than have an expensive one with LTE.
Fortunately, ZTEís Grand X View might be just the answer for me. It's only a cheque book friendly $240 straight up on Bell. I can dig that price.
vs Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8Ē:
For about the same price as the View you can can pick up a Tab A 8Ē.
First off, the Tab A 8Ē Iím talking about has no LTE which puts them in two different boats. LTE makes a tablet so much more. Sure, you could tether off your phone but Iíve always thought it was a bit of a hassle plus it can be bad for your walletís health if you forget to turn it off.
On the upside, the Tab A has a 4:3 ratio display which is where the market is currently trending.
16:9 works fine on phones because they need to be a little narrower so that theyíre more friendly for one-handed use. However on a tablet, this isnít a priority. On a tablet, 4:3 screens are well suited for surfing the web and reading text while 16:9 tablets like the ZTE are more optimised for watching video.
I guess most people figured theyíll be watching lots of video on their tablet but ended up reading instead.
Screen resolution and possibly software updates aside, the ZTE is a much more compelling choice.
First off, the Tab A has an absolutely ragged looking 1024 x 768 display. Remember the original iPad Mini from a few years ago? Itís the same resolution as that. You can adjust the jagged looking display but youíll always notice it. You could argue that it comes with a Super AMOLED display but honestly, this doesnít make any difference resolution-wise.
Secondly, the Tab A only comes with 1.5GB of RAM. I can imagine the struggle at Samsung between designers who wanted to put a full 2GB of RAM in the Tab A and bean counters wanting to save $2 by only squeezing in 1.5GB. Guess who won at Samsung?
The Tab A comes with a more modest Snapdragon 410 SoC while the View comes with the speedier 615.
I havenít tried the camera on the Tab A. To be perfectly honest the camera on the View sucks - that said, I donít know about you but I always use my phone to take pictures so to me, a camera is not an important feature on a tablet. As long as I have one Iím a happy camper.
I guess for some businesses, this may be important so if thatís you, you should check out the Tab A camera to see if itís any good before making any decisions.
Anyways between the View and the Tab, the ZTE wins by a landslide.
vs LG G Pad II 8.0:
Fido has the LG G Pad II 8.0. Full disclosure: Iíve only handled the Pad briefly so Iím comparing mostly based on the specs and price.
At a glance it looks like youíre getting a better badge for the same price but itís not quite so simple.
First off, the ZTE comes with a full HD 1920x1080 display while the LG makes do with a 1280x800 one. The difference in sharpness between a Full HD and a HD display on a 8Ē screen is noticeable - this is the biggest difference between the 2.
The LG does come with a stylus which you probably wonít use. The more interesting feature is a full sized USB port. You can use it to connect your phone though I doubt most will do this. You can also use it to charge your phone but then again, power banks are dirt cheap these days. It would be easier to just get a power bank since it will be smaller and thus more portable.
Otherwise the ZTE is the obvious choice. Along with the higher resolution screen it also comes with 2GB vs 1.5GB of RAM and a more advanced Snapdragon 615 SoC vs the 400 series SoC in the LG.
- 8Ē LCD
- 1920 x 1080 resolution
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 615
- 4 x 1.5Ghz ARM Cortex A53, 4 x 1Ghz ARM Cortex A53
- 2GB RAM
- 16GB storage
- LTE bands 2, 4, 5, 7, 12, 17
- 802.11n (2.4Ghz and 5Ghz)
- Android 5.0
While not particularly stylish looking - itís still a purposeful looking tablet. The body is plastic but itís got a sturdy weighty feel to it.
The buttons aren't flush but they could stick out just a tiny bit more.
The charging port is offset.
There are stereo speakers located on the top and bottom.
The MicroSIM and MicroSD slots are located behind a panel on the back.
The 8Ē 1920x1080 IPS LCD is fairly sharp. Itís fairly bright with decent colour. Viewing angles are so-so as are the black levels.
Often times I thought text and icons were a bit small. You can adjust the text size in the settings but this doesnít really fix the problem. If you have problems seeing small text and want a tablet for its larger text the ZTE isnít the greatest choice.
The camera is pretty awful. Itís one of those cases where you the question isnít whether the camera is good or not. Itís more a matter of ďDoes it have a camera?Ē. Having a camera is better than not having one at all. Next question.
The View comes with Android 5.0 out of the box. I havenít heard anything one way or the other but I wouldnít be surprised if it stays on 5.0.
It comes with ZTEís overlay which is pretty basic. It mimics the iPhoneís UI. Instead of having the home screen with its icons and then the app drawer, it just has a home screen with icons.
It also has customized pull down switches and settings menus.
Otherwise itís a pretty simple overlay.
The only other big change is that it comes with MMGuardian which lets you lock the down ZTE which is nice if you have kids.
You get a Snapdragon 615, the same SoC youíll find on many mid-range phones like from the LG G4 Vigor, Sony Xperia M4 Aqua and Motorola Moto X Play. It has incrementally better browsing performance and substantially better graphics performance compared to its little brother, the Snapdragon 410 and 400 which youíll find on competing Samsung and LG tablets.
The 615 is necessary since the ZTE has a 1920x1080 display. It basically allows the ZTE to offer similar levels of performance as a 410 powered device.
Since I havenít had the chance to benchmark either Samsung or LG tablets, Iíll sub the Moto G 3rd gen. It has a display with similar resolution. It may only have 1GB of RAM but any more then than has little effect on benchmarks.
The lower resolution on the Moto G benefitís its graphics scores. Lower resolution means less pixels to push which makes it easier on its SoC.
Benchmarks donít reveal this but the View feels a bit more pokey than other 615 devices I have lying around. Its transitions feel a bit more choppy. Iím not sure if this is a result of the larger screen making choppiness more noticeable or what. Sometimes it pauses too - is it the fault of the overlay?
I guess the View could use a bit of tuning.
Anyways, itís far from sexy but the 615 still provides adequate performance and is more than youíd expect at this price point.
Network performance and Battery Life:
I normally use voice calls to test RF performance so I didnít test the ZTEís as I normally would.
I did have both it and a Galaxy S6 Edge+ connected to TELUS so I ran some speed tests. Network signal isnít very good in my basement so both devices dropped down to HSPA. Turns out the ZTE did very well with 10Mbps downlink while the Edge+ only managed 6Mbps. The ZTE also stronger signal and higher signal quality.
I didnít bother testing LTE because the Edge+ has carrier aggregation (LTE-A) while the ZTE doesnít and will probably get higher scores.
Inside is a 4620mAh battery which is a decent size for an 8" tablet.
A largish battery is a boon for people who use their LTE tablets for tethering. They can tether all day without having to worry about running out of juice.
At maximum brightness the View can play about 5hrs of Netflix videos. To be honest, I thought it would go a bit longer given the size of the battery.
I love how there are stereo speakers. They sound good and are fairly loud. Theyíre located on the top and bottom (or sides if youíre holding it in landscape).
You also get Dolby sound which Iím not normally fond of but on the ZTE it actually makes it better.
Overall the Grand X View provides sufficient specs, good enough components and LTE with a canít miss price tag.
If tablets were ice cream then LTE is hot fudge - they were made for each other. If you can afford the data charges and have enough RAM, storage and resolution, then having LTE is better than having more of the aforementioned specs.
You canít go wrong with the Grand X View.
4 Howies out of 5.
- Well priced
- 2GB of RAM
- Good speakers
- 16:9 screen instead of 4:3
- could use some performance tuning