ZTE ZMAX (T-Mobile/MetroPCS USA)

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Senior Member
Feb 28, 2014
Tucson, AZ
ATTENTION: Discussion about this device has moved.

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I just came across this phone on T-Mobile's website, released earlier this week.

5.7" 720x1280 (258ppi) TFT screen
Quad core Snapdragon 400 1.2GHz, Adreno 305
16GB built-in storage, microSD card up to 32GB
8MP camera, 1080p video
Android 4.4.2
LTE on band 4 and T-Mo's upcoming band 12 (and a couple other bands used by other companies in North America)

All for $252 off-contract (or $10.50/mo over 2 years).

I gotta say, I'm intrigued by this new phone. There's some obvious drawbacks/shortcuts; it's big for the screen size, the camera isn't fantastic, the screen is a bit dim/bland (according to a cnet review), no NFC, etc. But it's got a frugal, adequate processor with a big battery, runs a lightly skinned, nearly stock Android, has LTE (and T-Mo's LTE speeds here are amazing) and best of all, 2GB RAM, so it shouldn't lag or stutter.

I'm somewhat interested in this phone for myself, but I'll probably just wait to get a Nexus Shamu. But a friend (who's broke) of mine wants a bigass phone to watch Netflix on and play some games and emulators. Obviously the lowish pixel density is a drawback, but for what he'd use it for, it's perfectly fine.

For $252, this seems like an amazing bargain. Where else are you going to find a phablet with LTE at this price? But I'm not very familiar with ZTE. Build quality, longevity, software stability, updates, etc, are all in question for me.

Has anyone picked one up yet, or checked one out at a T-Mobile store? What have been your impressions on other ZTE devices?
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Senior Member
Nov 15, 2014
I've been dealing with serious medical issues, ive even ended up in the hospital because of them. I release things on my own time, and since they are my own no one is entitled to them. What i have for the ZTE is working but it is not in a release state, would still require a few hours of work to get it into that state that just anyone could run it and get root. I don't have the energy, nor at this point the care to do it when people are rude.

Instead of understanding that I am dealing with things more serious and important than a phone in life, people wanted to be rude. Last time people wanted to be rude while waiting for me to get stuff done was the Sony Z1s, my response was to send the details to Sony, and get myself on their security "hall of fame". I have no reason to release things when it stops being fun for me, as it did in this case. I did release it, after about 8 months or so, long after Sony patched it.

Proof? What proof do you want? Video/photo of root checker? I could patch the apk and fake that. Dump of something? Its well known i have emmc read/write hardware, I could just hook the phone up and dump everything, or even install su through that! The only valid proof is a proof of concept, period, and im not releasing that.

OK didn't know about medical issues sorry. Hope you're doing OK. I had it wrong I thought you were rubbing it in people's noses that you had root and Cuz some people said dumb things to you that you were going to let the rest suffer. Take your time. If you release something that's great. I plan to get this phone as a backup to my g3 Cuz of band 12 support

Sent from my LG-D850 using XDA Free mobile app


Senior Member
Apr 14, 2011
ZTE ZMAX Discussion Thread FAQ!


TL; DR for those that don't want to read: Use common sense in this thread.

FAQ (Please add to OP if it qualifies)

1. Do We Have Root/Bootloader Unlock/Kernel Source
No, No Yes

2. I'm a noob, don't flame me, do we have root...
WHO LOST MY FLAMETHROWER!!! (Comedic Relief), but no... we don't... neee-oooo-bbbb

3. Maybe we can ask [Dev name here for help]...
If you manage to find a dev that hasn't scanned the thread (usually for information about progress on development, only to find that other recruited devs have been flamed to smithereens by entitled know-it-alls), please, by all means, have them pay this device a visit!

4. What if we used the root app/exploit from [Phone/Tablet/Device Name Here]?
Nine times out of ten, if it's on the internet, it's been tried. Anything American, Chinese, Russian, German and alien has been run on this device in an attempt to root, ALL without success.

5. What if we set up a root bounty?
Already been tried, no bites

6. What if we petition ZTE?
Already been done... a hundred times... it took us months just to get kernel source. They have made it clear that cooperating with us in terms of bootloader unlocking and root are not something they are interested in.

7. This guy made me cry when he said something that hurt my feelings...
Get over it

8. I don't give a [explicit] about that [explicit] son of a [explicit] that is keeping root from us, stupid [explicit]...
All of our representatives are currently assisting other customers. Care meter: 0%... 1%... 2%... it appears our servers are experiencing technical difficulties with your request for us to care... goodbye.

9. I'm a dev (with no posts on XDA) that's super good at rooting and stuff, I'm here to save the day!
Put up or shut up (I mean that nicely). The adolescents in this thread don't take nicely to being led on and tend to become very disrespectful very quickly.

10. Have you seen this website that says it can root our device.
If it was true, there wouldn't be a thread discussing root. "The Unlockr" and "Unlock-bootloader.org" or something have verified spam links that do NOT root the device.
For all of you that were like me and thought "I Used to use The Unlockr back in the day, it's legit!" It used to be, it's just a click bait ad farm now that generates money off of its reputation, now.

11. I don't have all the experience in the world, but I'm willing to do the research it takes to root the device.
We welcome you.

12. [Dev name here] said he rooted this device, maybe if we sweet talk him, he'll release it...
Please don't start up this discussion...

Fire extinguisher beats flame war. Go back to your cave... troll.

14. What if I have questions?
BEFORE YOU ASK IT IN THIS THREAD!!!! Google it, search on XDA, search within this thread, and read this FAQ. If it doesn't come up, then you ask your question. :)

15. If feel like something should be added to this FAQ.
Please consult the OP. I am simply providing the foundation.


Senior Member
Apr 22, 2013
I think I understand better why this thread keeps getting derailed & why very few are willing to help us achieve root. so if you will bear with me, here are a few facts and thoughts on the matter and how I think we can fix it.

1st, the majority of those purchasing this phone are not the usual educated, seasoned XDA members who seek out the best deals with the best hardware and the most options. The ZMax is primarily being purchased by people who saw a sign for a low price at a discount dealer. It's almost always a spur of the moment purchase after they went to the store looking for a new phone. Admittedly, I was one of them. I went from a Galaxy device to this when I saw the price.
I personally verified my findings with 3 separate phone stores(TMO and Metro), asking no less than 10 sales reps. It's a very common thread.

2nd, those coming here, as you can see in their post numbers, are new to XDA. In fact, they are new to rooting in general. Most have little to no experience in it, very little understanding of it, and are the least technical grouping of any phone owners on this site.
Look at everyone's post numbers. They are very low. Also, look at what they are posting. It's usually elementary-level understanding and steps most older XDA members took when rooting began with the G2. Nothing is new. It's all a rehash of the past.

3rd, the average age of users is either really young or really old. No one in between. Therefore, it points to the 2nd (above) answer in education. I am 45, but have been rooting and modding phones since the early 2000's. However, most people my age are luddites or not very tech-savvy. The younger users have an excited exuberance, but they lack the discipline and long-term involvement in the rooting community. The missing majority of seasoned members in their 20s means a lack of seriousness and knowledge in the thread.
Some in this thread have shown off how old they are, either by putting their obvious birth year in their username or by admitting to working with BBS's and old computer hardware, while the younger ones have been the most vocal, edgy and volatile.

So, how can we fix it? How can we stop from the emotional outbursts? How can we keep on track and get back on target?

The best way is to acknowledge the above is true. Accept that most everyone here was just looking for a cheap phone and feels oddly entitled to root. Then, we move past that and educate ourselves.
Next, we apologize to those in the community who were willing to help us in the beginning but our actions and ignorance ran them off. We accept that we were harsh, disrespectful & pushy.
Finally, we re-read the rules of the forum. Better acquaint ourselves with the proper way to post, the proper way to respond, and not repeat ourselves or post for attention.

When I put up a post to defend the abuse and outright nonsense that was pointed at jcase, many of you clicked 'thanks'. When I posted to defend the powerless, I was summarily pummeled and then had the first post in my 3 year history deleted. That moment showed me how emotionally everyone is taking this thread. We're obviously allowing it to overcome rational thought - me included. Let's all check those emotions. It's just a phone, not a primary bodily organ. Let's be reasonable, too. Being prone to outbursts, selfishness & poppycock is only going to push the better members and rooters away. We have a long road ahead of us if we want to earn their trust again. That journey begins with the first step.

So, we should all educate ourselves a bit more on the community and the phone. Maybe not hit "Submit Reply" before we think through our posts.

Thanks to the 5 of you who will actually read this. Sorry to those of you who think it is crass. I was extremely specific in my wording to avoid generalizations.

On that note - AND BACK ON TOPIC... I know @Planterz said he was probably done with this thread, but - Can we append the top post with all the common fallacies, fakery, nonsense, jibberish and questions we're all tired of answering for the 20th time? As a first step, mentioning all the links to fake roots like "unlockr" will stop the many "Has anyone tried this yet?" posts that seem to permeate this thread.
We can also add all the other common items that keep getting repeated by those who do not (or are unable to) read the entire thread...which, to be fair, is 46 pages at 50 replies per page. We can not just assume everyone has the hours needed to go through that many posts. A summary of items would help everyone.
tl;dr - New person comes in asking a question we have had 20 times, we reply with a link to the first post -- and done.

This sums up perfectly what has gone on in this thread. Thanks for getting us backbone track.
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King Ice

Apr 3, 2014
I have personally had and android phone since the T-Mobile Samsung Vibrant. I've also had the Galaxy s 2, 3, 4, Galaxy S relay 4g, Note 2, 3, my touch 4g, lg my touch, and now the Zmax. All of them were rooted. I understand rooting just fine and couldn't remember my old account so I made a new in order to post. I personally am not new to this scene by far. So not everyone coming here are new, majority, maybe.


Mar 5, 2012
Forgive me for possible dumb question. I'm just and older dude and I was wondering what purpledrake is? Googled it but no help for me.

Sent from my Z970 using Tapatalk


Senior Member
Jan 25, 2011
Masury, Ohio

SOME ONE is so butt hurt by my earlier POSTING, AKA the TRUTH, that they are sending me vulgar and intimidating hangouts messages.
Lmmfao! Really bro? You really have that little to do in your life?

That is really funny and pathetic idk who Don Dbag or Dan Droopynuts is but he just got put in his place.

I apologize to all the respectful and non aholish people here that have to read this. But before you message me WITH SOME BS KNOW THAT I'M A GROWN MAN AND I HAVE AN OPINION OF MY OWN AND A FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHT TO SAY WHATEVER I WANNA SAY. AND If you don't like IT you go cry to your mommy not me! Cuz I don't wanna hear it! Mmm Kay!




Hmmmm...... I may move this thread to off topic? :silly:

Guys, as said many times, many places.... Don't feed the trolls!

Enough of the flame wars. And sorry, but rants about off-site happenings is definitely very off-topic.

Let's keep things constructive and simply ignore or report anything you feel should be ignored or reported.

Do we have a deal? There's not much to talk about root wise at the moment.... Let's not turn on each other cause we're bored. Again, honestly... Off topic threads aren't generally allowed outside of the off topic section.... Or battleground threads. ;)

Thanks for your understanding..... I have apple pie to get back to.

Forum Moderator
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Senior Member
Apr 14, 2011
Don't forget I asked about purpledrake first. Anyone?

Sent from my Z970 using Tapatalk

Don't feel bad man. I'm 20 and an avid hip-hop music lover and have absolutely no idea what "purpledrake" is lol.

If I had to guess, it's "chopped and screwed" drake music lmao (a form of music by canadian rap artist drake in which the pitch and tempo are severely slowered and mixed in a choppy fashion. Very popular amongst weed heads and people who drink "lean" lol)
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    I tried getting as much confirmation from the ZTE guy as I could.

    He wasn't lying, if his information was accurate.

    As far as the tmo rep at the CEO of tmo's office, we may consider her cc mail to me, was a official response to my complaint of unlocking bl and she was responding to the FCC on the complaint. Note it is dated back on Feb. 4, 2015 . I believe it was the same time as the other Executive Response email came from other user here. Also note I left her tmo ceo number showing in attached jpg of her email cc to me.
    Here is her c.c. email to FCC attached.

    I got this same email in PDF form before the FCC complaint when I receive the true followup from T-Mobile via snail mail which takes 1-2weeks so roughly 1 week left, I will scan it and upload. I can promise you it will be happening and am actually waiting for the file from ZTE engineering department as we speak. I had a conference with ZTE's tech support and that department earlier today. As I said once and will say again, I have no reason to troll. I will say however if I get one more threat or accusation that says otherwise I will disregard this thread only reply to a few people in this thread that have been here with me from day one.

    Also like to point out root has been obtained on this phone for over 3 weeks. The reason its still to be posted is it being worked into a app and its not perm yet. If you guys can't be patient and support the people fighting and helping you out do not comment or go buy a mainstream phone with more support.
    I'm not going to read all those posts above.

    So here is what i ahve to say,

    I was told over and over that an unlock was coming out.
    I've been battling multiple lung infections since late december.
    I have work, family etc.
    I was just in an car accident (my poor truck!, hopefully i get it back monday!)
    I have other things I have to complete at this time (SunShine3)
    Everyone needs to understand that we aren't dealing with mom and pop companies here. These are multi billion dollar corporations. People, myself included, said that we were emailing about kernel source for months, did you all break out the pitch forks when it didn't happen when you wanted it to? No. Give him a break. I doubt any of you got as far as he did in terms of getting a response, and he did this with his own time, so don't give him all this flack because it makes people not want to work on behalf of you, which is the opposite of what XDA stands for.

    He gave us a screenshot of his email to them. Could he have faked it? Maybe. But for what? I have faith in him, and if they put in the letter that they can't do it, then so be it. It just lights more fuel for us to use to fight for what we want like the petition did. We got kernel source, which is the absolute hardest thing to get from an OEM. BL is just going to require some patience. I don't know how much root is riding on the bootloader unlock, but if it's anything like HTC, meaning you had to unlock your phone through htcdev.com in order for root programs to work, then Root will follow. [emoji2]

    Last thing, it is likely that ZTE (or T-Mo) is having to concoct a method to unlock the bootloader in the first place. NO button combination gets us to it, which means its registered as a low level mode that only they probably have access to. They'd have to set up a user friendly way of doing it, kind of like HTC does (using them as a reference again), and even the way devs manipulate Samsung Kies to flash rooted firmware. Its better than nothing. This is not over night. I've only written a script once and it was a headache inducing process. Can you imagine having to reposition employees and dedicate them to creating a GUI for a bootloader unlocking program (or even a website), something I'm sure they didn't factor in at the board meetings, whether its T-Mo or ZTE producing it, just to satisfy customers. They might not be perfect, but they have your money and they have waved the white flag with the kernel source, which shows us they can cooperate. Give them, the FCC, T-Mobile AND ESPECIALLY the guy that even brought these two conglomerates to the table a break will ya? He doesn't deserve all this doubt, nay say and threatening, because he doesn't get a dime from this unless you find it in your heart to buy him a beer.
    Too late just bought one.
    Some of you guys' behavior has gotten ridiculous. To think its funny to trash talk a guy who dedicated his time for free to get a breakthrough with ZTE and T-Mobile, not just for himself but for ALL of us, is plain pathetic. Trash talking someone who tried to help because you didn't get results quick enough is akin to an impatient 6 year old throwing tantrums. And the mods need to swarm all over this thread because I've seen threats of harm to person and property, as well as unnecessary racial slurs.... Over receiving charity. Its become beyond annoying that some of you can't calm yourselves down and chill out over a $99 phone. All of the above is WAY uncalled for.