October 20, 2017

ZTE ZMAX Champ (Z917VL) Review - Tracfone Android

Tracfone ZTE ZMAX Champ Review (Z917VL)

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A large screen at a budget price, the ZTE ZMAX Champ has a 5.5" touchscreen and can be found for just over $100. It also has a quad-core processor and runs Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow.

tracfone zmax champ specs
Tracfone ZTE ZMAX Champ Review
Find the full list of feature and specs listed below for the Champ, along with our review and how it compares to some of the other Android phones available from Tracfone.

There are currently several smartphones available from Tracfone with 5.5" screens, which is becoming a popular choice for many. The LG Fiesta and Samsung Galaxy Sky Pro both have large screens like the ZMAX Champ, and we will be looking closer at how these phones compare.

Tracfone continues to release new smartphones to use with their wireless prepaid network. You can keep up with the new devices in our List of Latest Tracfone Smartphones or simply visit our Cell Phone Reviews page where we include all the reviews we've done for Tracfone devices.

The ZTE ZMAX Champ has some great features, but it also cut some corners to keep the price low. Here are the main pro's and con's for the Z917VL.

ZTE ZMAX Champ (Z917VL) Quick Facts

The Good:
-Large 5.5" touchscreen
-Decent 8 MP rear camera
-Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
-Triple Minutes for Life

The Not so Good:
-8 GB Internal Memory
-Low Screen DPI (267)

The ZMAX Champ includes Triple Minutes, which not all new phones from Tracfone include anymore. In fact, Tracfone is slowly removing that feature as they release new phones. (You can learn more by reading Tracfone Makes Changes to Triple Minutes.)

A major downside for this device is the lack of internal storage, with just 8 GB. Uses may be able to use a Micro SD card as internal storage, but it is still a hassle to deal with a phone that is out of space.

Below are the full features and specs for the ZMAX Champ.

ZTE ZMAX Champ Features and Specs

  • 4G LTE service using CDMA (Verizon) network towers
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • Triple Minutes for Life
  • WiFi, GPS
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • Access to over 1 Million apps on Google Play
  • 8 MP rear camera with Auto Flash/Auto focus
  • 2 MP front camera
  • SMS, MMS, and Voicemail
  • Alarm Clock
  • MP3 Player
  • Handsfree Speaker
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, Light, and Proximity

ZTE ZMAX Champ Technical Specs

  • Size: 3" x 6.07" x 0.37" (6.16oz)
  • 5.5" IPS Touchscreen (HD) with 1280x720 resolution (267 dpi)
  • 1.3 Ghz Quad Core Processor
  • 1.5 GB RAM
  • 8 GB Internal Memory
  • Battery: 3080 mAh with 20 hrs talk time, 10 days standby
We recently reviewed the ZTE ZFIVE which shares many of the same features and specs as the ZMAX Champ. However the Champ does have a larger screen, and more RAM.

ZTE is a major electronics company based in China and one of the largest cell phone manufacturers in the world. They usually focus on low-cost devices, especially those targeted at prepaid users, and distribute throughout the world.

ZTE's phones generally offer a reasonable mix of features and performance to handle basic smartphone activities, like surfing the web, using a few apps and taking photos, while maintaining a low price tag.

In the case of the ZMAX Champ, it features a large touchscreen, but makes sacrifices in other areas to keep the price low. Lets take a closer look in our review for the ZTE ZMAX Champ features.

ZTE ZMAX Champ (Z917VL) Review

The Champ comes with a 5.5" HD touchscreen that has good viewing angles and brightness. It lacks a little in pixel density, with just 267 dpi, but for most this won't really be noticeable. Not everyone prefers a large screen, and Tracfone does offer several other devices with 4.5" or 5" screens. A 5.5" screen is great for easier viewing of photos, videos or text.

Internal Specs - Memory, Processor and RAM:
Although it has a 1.3 Ghz quad core processor, the ZTE Champ cuts corners with just 1.5 GB RAM and 8 GB Memory. Most smartphones, even low cost options, are using closer to 2 GB RAM and 16 GB internal memory. While 1.5 GB RAM is enough for most activities on this phone, users may be limited in multitasking (such as having many different webpages or apps open at once).

zmax champ review z917vl
ZTE ZMAX Champ front, back and side view
8 GB internal memory will limit the number of apps and media users are able to store on this device significantly. A possible upside is that the ZMAX Champ does have a Micro SD Card slot that can be used to store media, and apps (if formatted as internal storage - here is an article with details).

The 8 MP rear camera on the Champ is surprisingly decent for a low cost phone. It has flash and auto focus, and can shoot 1080p HD video at 30 fps. The 2 MP selfie camera on the front is nothing special, but adequate for video catting etc.

Included with the ZMAX Champ is a 3080 mAh removable battery that gives about 20 hrs talk time and 10 days on standby, although real world use will probably result in slightly lower battery life. A large phone usually results in a larger batter, but a large screen will also drain it faster. The ZMAX Champ strikes a good balance with battery life.

Android OS:
The ZTE ZMAX Champ runs Android 6.0.1 which is a relatively new OS. Some Tracfone devices, like the LG Fiesta, come with the newer Android 7.0 OS. One downside to Tracfone smartphones is that they do not receive OS updates, so it is not possible to upgrade to a newer operating system. If this is an important feature for you, consider the BYOP program which allows users to bring unlocked smartphones that can still receive OS updates.

Additional Details:
The ZMAX Champ includes Triple Minutes which many users will like. This only affects regular airtime cards (60, 120, 200 etc.). In some cases, the new Smartphone only airtime cards are a better deal, especially for texts and data. Visit our Tracfone Airtime Comparison Guide to learn more about which airtime cards are the best deal.

Comparison to LG Fiesta and Samsung Galaxy Sky Pro:
There are several newer phones available from Tracfone that all have a 5.5" touchscreen, so how do they compare to the ZTE Champ? Let's look at the comparison table below with the LG Fiesta and Samsung Galaxy J7 Sky Pro:

ZTE ZMAX Champ comparison
ZTE ZMAX Champ vs LG FIesta vs Samsung Galaxy J7 Sky Pro

The ZTE ZMAX Champ can generally be found for less money compared to the Fiesta and Sky Pro, but those devices boast better storage and performance. As you can see from the table above, the Fiesta has a higher megapixel camera (13 MP) compared to the Sky Pro and Champ. However, the Galaxy Sky Pro has better performance specs, with 2 GB RAM and an Octa Core processor.

Last we checked, the LG Fiesta is actually available on Amazon for $99 with airtime bundle and the Samsung Galaxy J7 Sky Pro is also available with airtime bundle for $149.

Each of these phones are capable devices, but have certain areas where they are a little better or worse, so take that into account when choosing which to purchase.

Where to Buy the ZTE ZMAX Champ

The ZTE ZMAX Champ is available from several different online retailers as well as in certain retail stores.

Find the ZMAX Champ on Amazon bundled with 1000 talk, 2000 texts and 2 GB Data for just $89

Also take a look at Cases and Covers for the ZMAX Champ.

The ZMAX Champ is also available from HSN for $110 with 1200 talk/text/data.

That concludes our review of the ZTE ZMAX Champ. We gather and share the information in this review with the goal of helping our readers make a more informed buying decision. Leave a comment below with any thoughts or questions!

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We've got lots of other useful articles, including 10 Tips to Boost your Cell Signal and 4 Ways to Check your Tracfone Airtime.

If you are new to Tracfone, start with our Beginners Guide which shares lots of helpful info about using Tracfone.

And don't forget to check the latest Tracfone Deals and Discounts!

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Unknown said...

Just this week bought and activated the ZTE Maven for a buddy. Seems to have everything the Max does but onlt cost 30 bucks. On sale at Good Old Family Dollar and if they don't have it (as is usually the case with their advertised deals) I found it at WalGREENS for the same price. Darn nice phone, I like it better than my everyday carry, the moto g 4 play.
BTW, this has the 7.1 Noughat OS!!

Anonymous said...

bought a zte champ, not enough space for upgrading apps after 2 weeks.
don't buy this get something else. I have 1 app I need for work the rest is preinstalled apps that cant be removed.
not a happy camper.

konaberry said...

I purchased through evine...immediately the sim card reader did not work...new sim card did not resolve the "invalid sim card" message. It took two months to finally get a replacement, had it for one week...GUESS WHAT? "invalid sim card" and I am assuming its a faulty card reader...too bad it could have been great. Also can't find ZTE to work on it in US???

Unknown said...

Is there a way to bypass the goggle account

Unknown said...

Zte z917vl goggle account fro bypass how can I do it

Unknown said...

How do you move apps and etc. to an SD card I've tried everything. I Reformatted, tried going through file manager. So frustrating!!

Hawk Theatre, Jackson, GA said...

ZTE Champ (Z917vl) Battery is REMOVABLE. One can buy new replaceable batteries. Please try to provide accurate information TF Reviewer. I tend buy phones with removable/replaceable batteries...... if I planned on keeping them more than 3 years. - Patrick Genna, Portland, OR

William A Randolph Jr said...

My sister brought me this phone in 2017 and I was trying to stay away from phones that I have to buy cards to re-fill every month or sometimes earlier,but I gave it a shot.Althought I LOVE the phone,now that I have a cracked screen,I went to OFFICE MAX and try to get it fixed,THEY CAN'T cause it's NOT in their database.I went through TRAC PHONE it seems that the warranty only last 1 year and it don't cover repairs like a broken screen and it eats up a lot of data,so you have to spend alot of money of cards to keep up.They should at least offer me another phone or as clsoe to it,which I found out that MODEL they don't have any more:(

Anonymous said...

Go to family dollar and buy the blade. T2 for 20.00