No-contract carrier Boost Mobile has debuted its first big-screen smartphone, the ZTE Boost Max. Available starting today for $299, the 5.7-inch Boost Max can be had with an annual no-contract $55 Monthly Unlimited plan with Shrinking Payments. Users who make six on-time payments, can shrink their monthly fee by $5, eventually dropping their payments to $40 a month for the carrier's unlimited nationwide talk, text and data over Sprint's admittedly small LTE network.
The handset itself features a sleek design including a 720p, edge-to-edge display below which sit three soft-touch Android buttons. Around back is a gray back panel ensconced by black borders along the top and bottom. At the top of the phablet's back panel is an 8-megapixel camera. At 6.9 ounces the Max is a full ounce heavier than the 5.9-ounce Samsung Galaxy Note 3, which also sports a 5.7-inch display.
Though the Note 3 and Max have the same size screen, they don't have much else in common. The Boost Max' display resolution is a paltry 720p, while the Note 3 gets an outstanding 1080p screen. Inside, the Boost Max features a 1.2-GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of onboard storage, which can be offset by a 64GB microSD card slot. The Note 3, on the other hand, has a quad-core processor, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of RAM. To top it off, the Note 3 includes Samsung's excellent S Pen stylus and accompanying apps.
So why would you want to grab the Boost Max? Cost savings. If you purchase a Max at $299 and pay $55 for two years of unlimited data, voice and text, you'll end up shelling out $1,619 over the phone's lifetime. Pick up a $299 Galaxy Note 3 for Verizon with a two-year 2GB per month plan for $60 with an additional $40 line access fee and you'll pay $2,699 over the lifetime of your contract, roughly $1,000 more than you'd pay for the Boost. Will the cash you'll save with the Boost be worth it? We'll let you know when we can get our hands on a review unit in the coming weeks.