Feb 13 AT 3:22 PM Brooks Barnard 50 Comments

ZTE Boost Max first impressions

Boost Max Feature

It was announced at CES in January as the ZTE Iconic Phablet. Later that same month, Boost Mobile announced it would be carrying the Boost Max, which is simply the ZTE Iconic Phablet renamed. For now, Boost Mobile is the exclusive carrier of this ZTE phablet and it’s got some interesting perks. If you’re not familiar with Boost Mobile, it’s a prepaid Sprint MVNO that has pretty cheap unlimited plans. Right now, Boost Mobile is offering a deal for unlimited 4G LTE for the first six months for only $35 a month with the purchase of an LTE device, such as the Boost Max. The catch? You have to pay full price for the Boost Max. The twist? The Boost Max is only $299 off contract.

So the Boost Max is a phablet. That means in regards to its size, it’s in the same class as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, the Galaxy Mega, and the LG G Pro. Is the Boost Max in the same class as these devices with anything besides size? Not really. But where it can seriously compete is with price. ZTE is gunning for a market that thus far has been untouched in the mobile arena. No one is offering an entry level phablet. So are you on the hunt for a BIG phone with a budget price? Read on my friend.


  • Height 6.5″
  • Width 3.25″
  • Depth 0.4″
  • 5.7″ 720p (258 ppi) IPS LCD display
  • Weight 6.87 oz
  • Non-removable 3200 mAh lithium ion battery
  • 1.2GHz Dual Core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor
  • 8MP rear camera, 1 MP front
  • Fairly stock Android 4.1.2
  • Dual mode 3G/4G LTE

A few pics

What has impressed

  • The battery life. I’ve had the Boost Max since Friday and I may have charged it three times. It has battery life like a tablet, likely because it’s the size of a tablet. But seriously, I haven’t been easy on the device using it as a GPS and watching video and it’s up to the task.
  • The display. I thought I was going to hate looking at a 720p 5.7″ display after being so accustomed to the 5″ 1080p display on my Nexus 5, but it hasn’t bothered me at all. The IPS LCD display is bright, has great viewing angles, and is great for consuming media content.
  • The size of the display. I don’t know if I *love* the size of the phone, but a 5.7″ display is pretty fun. It’s easy on the eyes. I find myself grabbing for the Boost Max over my Nexus 5 when I’m going to be doing some internet browsing or YouTube watching.

What has not impressed

I’m going to preface this not impressed section with a disclaimer in that these beefs I have with the Boost Max so far could matter to you very little. So be sure to read them in context.

  • The Boost Max is running Android 4.1.2. I don’t really understand why a brand new 2014 Android device would be running a version of Android released in October of 2012. However, for most everyday uses it doesn’t matter at all. The Boost Max is running a very stock version of Android 4.1.2 which is nice and light. This biggest thing you may miss out on are some new apps like Muzei that requires Android 4.2+. However, there are plenty of apps out there that are compatible with Android versions way older than 4.1.2. It’s really not a huge deal.
  • The Boost Mobile Network. The Boost Max has 4G LTE and therefore the capability to pull down some respectable data speeds. However, where I live in the outskirts of San Francisco the Sprint network that Boost Mobile uses is awful. Therefore, this beef is very area specific. If you’re considering the Boost Max or Boost Mobile in general, ask around the office or your friends to see how Sprint is working for them or check out the Cell Phone Coverage Map app by RootMetrics. My guess is that there are some areas out there where Sprint is killing it and Boost Mobile would be a killer deal.

So these are some of my first impressions of the Boost Max. I’ll have the device for another week or so and I’ll continue to put it through the paces. I’m using it as my personal device, so I’m sure I’ll continue to notice things I like and dislike about the device. If you have any questions or curiosities regarding the Boost Max, leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to answer you or include your question in my full review.

What are your thoughts on the Boost Max? Might you be interested in a budget phablet? Do you think there’s a market for it? Let us know!

Brooks is an engineer living in the Bay Area recently dislocated from the Great Northwest. He's an Android enthusiast who decided to start doing something (productive?) with his countless hours Android modding and theming. He has a hot wife, is a father of three, an avid F1 fan, and enjoys watching sports when he can. His current devices include the Nexus 6 and 7 (2103) both running stock roms and may or may not be rooted. You can follow Brooks on Twitter @Brooks_Barnard.

    Most Tweeted This Week

  • weed smoker michael phelps

    the chinese are coming

  • captdago

    Does it have a microSD card slot? And if so, is it useable to move apps to? Seems like a fairly entry level phab, but 8gb isnt a whole lot once you take into account OS, bloatware and El Googs apps. I bought an L9 for Metro pcs in September and cant move squat to my 16gb external (app-wise).

    • Diesel

      I have the Boost Max. Yes it has a external sd card. You can move apps to the sd card. The only thing that pizzed me off was this lum bar tool that you cant uninstall its preloaded bloatware and it the only thing you cant uninstall or kill. I finally got fed up and rooted the phone and got that lumbar thing off. WOW it was a ram hog trying to run in the backround. Love the phone. And you can take screen shots with it hold power button and down volume button. Bingo! Also phone has wireless charging. No battery removal. Overall for what it is, I have zero complaints.
      The split screen feature is cool and works flawless with any app. This is a buget note 2 phone. But everything is zippy smooth

      • david

        How you root it? I can find anything.

      • krissy

        i just purchased this phone and i wanted to know how to root it. and if i need a computer to do it? w/ rooting it, did it affect any apps? were you able to change the resolution at that point?

  • Chankey Pathak

    Looks decent

  • Droz

    Of the 8gb hard drive space, how much of that is available to use?

  • 金


  • me

    I dont know about that statement that no one has an entry level phablet. I consider the Galaxy Mega as an entry level phablet.

    • http://www.androidandme.com Brooks Barnard

      You’re right. Even the Galaxy Mega doesn’t hit the price point of the Boost Max, but it is it’s closet competitor. I’ll fix that in my full review. Thanks

  • donger


  • superwoman325

    Has anyone found cases?????????!!!!!!!!!!

    • Cree

      There are cases on amazon. I ordered one. Should arrive tomorrow…

    • brownie

      yes on Amazon

  • julia

    I wanted to know if you can take the battery out of the boost max and if Not how do you restart it?

    • Tee

      Did you ever figure out how to restart it since the battery doesn’t come out? I’m in need of help!

      • chelsea barnes

        you hold down the power button & it should pop up as the first option “restart” press it and then its goibg to ask for your confirmation again then press “ok”

  • julia

    I wanted to know if you can take the battery out of the boost max and if Not how do you restart it and what happens when the red light stays on??

  • Tony

    nice phone loving it……. had it 24hours now!!!!

  • mewhoo

    Does anyone know how to add fonts to this phone???

  • stephanie

    i need to know how to take screenshots on this..please

    • beercrpse310

      Hold volume down and power button.

  • N. Flores

    What wireless chargers are available for this phone?

  • wifey typeshitt

    How do i change the font writting on this

  • Atiya

    This phone sucks.My screen shot only works when it wants to. When im on a phone call it last only 30mins before the phone call cuts off by itself. Service is bad to be 4g, bs phone

  • Curtis neilaon

    Bought it yesterday love it hope zte expands more product line in the usa

  • Curtis neilaon

    Bought it yesterday at a boost store good phone all around hoping to see more zte products in the future

  • jen

    How can I change my font?? please help..I have downloaded font switcher and nothing works!!

  • Rocksanne

    What Do You Mean By Wireless Charging If U Dnt Mind Me Asking,Disel

    • Xio

      A flat dock that you just lay your phone on to charge. It has that capability.

  • Rocksanne

    Wirless Charging What Do U Mean By That If U Dnt Mind Me Asking Diesel ?

  • chauncey ragland

    does the phone take a full charge with the car charger? mines tend to stop after getting a brief charge…

  • tahisha

    How do you change the font style and yes this phone sucks

  • tahisha

    Now my screen shot not working

  • Natalie

    I love the phone except sometimes it has a few minor problems like not charging which is a one day problem and fixes itself and another being the screen shot not working and when that happens you are unable to shut it down using the power button. That problem only last bout a day or so and it should fix itself too after a while.

  • Roger

    I was woundering if this phone work with long distance calls and do u think I should get the galaxy note 4 or the boost mobile max zte

  • angelica perez

    My boost max dont want to turn off whats the problem thanks

    • Lacie

      Did you ever figure out how to turn your phone off since it won’t power off?

  • angelica perez

    My boost max dnt turn off

  • shawana gilliard

    My volume on boost max just up and quit working anybody know what to do ? It hasnt got wet or anything ive shut it off, back on still no luck it just vibrates…

  • heem

    How do i save to my sd card. I cant figure it out

  • Regina

    Charged my phone last night but when I try to turn on the phone it will not power on just has a solid red light lit. HELP! What could it be?

    • Tracy Branner

      My did the same thing several time what I do is I plug the charger back up in the phone and the outlet and push power button several time indeed it comes on

    • Fox

      Hold up and down on volume while holding power button until you see the start screen (green adroid guy) This phone is a pos. I had it for 6 months and it started doing this daily until it stopped charging and turning on altogether….

  • Tracy

    My problem is how do you save your photos on your SD card when I take a picture is not saving on my SD card is saving on my phone

  • julie

    On a boost zte max At a motel where theres only wireless internet and you must open browser to accept use of wifi how can I stream my Netflix, Hulu, Amazon prime to the hdmi tv. I cannot use my roku2 & there’s no wired connection just the wireless. Due to fire we’re going to be here for quite awhile til we find new place. I’ve tried everything. Help

  • Sadie Boone

    I can not save on the external SD card. It keeps telling me insufficient storage and I have a brand new 16 card. With nothing on it. When I bring to boost they tell me they moved my pictures to external SD but my apps aren’t saving to it. My apps only save to internal SD card.

    • TyeTye

      I’m having the same problem let me know if you figure this out

  • TyeTye

    I just got the boost max an I love the phone my only problem is how do you save things to the external sd card I have a 32GB sd card an it won’t let me save anything to it it only goes to the internal sd card please help

  • barbar

    Do the boost max have a flash on it? Can you download music?