Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Review of ZTE Blade V – Pros and Cons

The traditional cellphone or feature phone is steadily getting replaced by the smartphone. People are no longer contend with simply making phone calls and text messaging. They want to do more with their phones and that's what smartphones allows them to do.

However, for a long time smartphones were too expensive and out of reach of the average person. That's no longer true and smartphones are increasingly becoming more affordable as prices continue to drop with the newer generation of smartphones.

One of these is the ZTE Blade V, which is the latest iteration in ZTE's Blade-series of entry-level or budget smartphones. So how does the phone stack up? Continue to read this review to find out what's good or bad about this smartphone.

Good: the ZTE Blade offers a lot of value considering its low price

Budget smartphones are of course priced much lower than other types of smartphones. That makes them more affordable to people, but they often tend to come with certain drawbacks. In order to keep the price low, smartphone companies often have to cut corners somewhere.

However, the ZTE Blade V manages to offer a true smartphone experience when it comes to features. This is not some souped-up feature phone being passed off as a smartphone. The ZTE Blade V is a real smartphone that can handle the things people expect from a smartphone.

To start off, there's a four inch LCD touchscreen. If you were used to those tiny screens that feature phones came with, you'll be surprised at how easier things are with a bigger screen. There's much less strain compared to smaller screens.

However, the picture quality is not the best. It's somewhat duller and grainier than the best phones in my opinion. I would say that the picture of the ZTE is about average for a budget smartphone. It's still acceptable for its class of smartphone, though.

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There's also a quad-core processor, which is unusual for a budget smartphone that tends to come with dual-core processors. That extra horsepower is combined with one gigabyte of memory and four gigabytes of internal storage, which is expandable. Some of it is already taken up by the Android operating system, however.

The phone supports both Wi-Fi and 3G for high-speed Internet connections. It also has a radio and a GPS receiver, which works with Google Maps. The ZTE is compatible with such popular smartphone apps as Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and so on.

What the ZTE cannot do is run high-end games, only simple ones such as card games. While the ZTE is more powerful than the average budget phone, these types of phones do not have the kind of horsepower required for this kind of software.

However, for mainstream use, the ZTE is more than adequate. It may be a low-cost phone, but for the most part, it didn't cut corners in terms of what you're able to do. All in all, the phone has what it takes to be called a smartphone and will easily beat any feature phone in capabilities.

Good: the ZTE Blade has good battery life for a budget smartphone

One disadvantage of smartphones in comparison to feature phones is that the battery doesn't last as long. That's because smartphones need more power to run. For instance, a big screen offers many benefits, but it also needs more power than smaller screens.

Bigger batteries have more power than smaller batteries, but are also more expensive. Unfortunately for budget smartphones, their price doesn't allow them to have as big a battery as more expensive smartphones.

However, the ZTE Blade V does well in this area. For a budget smartphone, it actually has a very large battery. Again, the ZTE did not cut any corners when it comes to battery life. The phone will easily last the whole day with plenty of juice left. If good battery life in a smartphone is important, the ZTE fulfills that requirement.

Neutral: the ZTE Blade V comes with cameras in the front and back

Smartphones tend to vary greatly when it comes to their internal cameras. On the one end, you have high-end smartphones, which have the best cameras. On the other end, you have the budget smartphones such as the ZTE Blade V whose cameras are far worse.

At the front, you have a camera which produces output that looks like that of a webcam, but even worse. It's probably okay for video calling, but for anything else, it's no good. You can forget about taking decent pictures with the frontal camera, including selfies.

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The camera in the back is better, although it's best used for photos that are not meant to be archived, but to be used temporarily. If you want to preserve those precious moments for the future, you need to get a real camera, which is something the ZTE Blade V does not have.

Both cameras of the phone are in no way comparable to even the cheapest digital cameras when it comes to photo quality. However, they're not alone in that regard, but actually similar to other budget smartphones and representative of what you can expect in this price class. Overall, not good, but not bad either.

Neutral: ZTE is not a well-known brand

In the United States, most people are not familiar with the brand ZTE. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's definitely not a good thing either. If a product is made by a well-known company, it can convince someone to choose the product, even if they're not totally convinced. If it's made by some unknown company, it can make someone hesitant to pick the product.

However, despite its lack of brand awareness, ZTE is actually one of the biggest smartphone companies in the world. For example, it's several times larger than BlackBerry, a company that most people in the United States are familiar with.

Clearly, products from ZTE cannot in general be of poor quality if they're able to sell so much more than BlackBerry, Motorola and so on. People want a product that works first and foremost. If ZTE products weren't any good, people would not be buying them and they wouldn't have the global market share they possess.

Therefore, in my opinion, it's not unwise to get a ZTE smartphone, even if the brand doesn't ring any bells. However, if one chooses not to use a ZTE product because of the brand, that's certainly understandable. It's up to every person to decide if brand is really all that important.

Bad: the ZTE Blade V won't work everywhere

In order for a smartphone to work, it needs to be able to communicate using some frequency band. Globally, there are four frequencies used by GSM phones. Unfortunately, the ZTE only supports three of the four. That means the phone will not work in areas that require the one frequency that's missing, 850 MHz.

Other budget smartphones do support all four frequencies and can be used everywhere without any restrictions. The Blade V does not and this seems to be the one area where ZTE had to cut corners to keep costs down.

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In practice, this means that you need to verify to make sure that the ZTE will work in a certain area. You should check with your carrier to know which frequencies they require from a cellphone. This can be a hassle if you go to lots of places you're not familiar with, because you'll have to do a lot of checking.

The good news is that most places tend to use the frequencies that the ZTE does support. The vast majority of people should therefore be able to use this phone. A small minority will have trouble getting a signal and will have to use another phone.

Summary and comparison of what's good or bad about the ZTE Blade V

For a budget smartphone, the ZTE Blade V is a very good option. It's a well-rounded smartphone with only its lack of quad-band support a real negative. The phones comes packed with lots of features and is better equipped than the average budget smartphone. Despite that, the cost has been kept low, even for a budget smartphone. It can be had for less than $150.

At the same time, it can run all the popular apps out there, including all the social media apps, Google Maps, Docs and so on. High-end games are out of the question, but that's not uncommon for a budget smartphone.

In my opinion, the phone is an excellent choice for those people who want to make the jump from feature phone to smartphone because of its good price to value ratio. Anyone on a budget or who just wants as much value for their money as they can get should take a look at the ZTE Blade V.

However, the phone is not suitable for people who need to travel a lot. Those people are better off with a quad-band phone, which doesn't have the restrictions of the ZTE. Gamers and other power users are naturally not a good fit for budget smartphones, including the Blade V.

The vast majority of people should be able to make use of the ZTE Blade V as long as they make sure that they don't need the 850 MHz frequency. It's well-build, feature-packed and won't cost much. There's not much more you can ask from a budget smartphone.

  • Offers great value at a low price
  • Well-build considering its price
  • Lots of features
  • Nice screen
  • Good battery life
  • Won't work everywhere
  • Some people may reject the brand

ZTE Blade V
Reviewed by Gadget Revue on December 11 2013
Rating: 4

ZTE Blade V specifications

Type Smartphone
Style Bar
Brand ZTE
Color Black/blue
Dimension (H X W X D) 126mm x 64mm x 10.9mm
Weight 130 grams
Operating System Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
Skin -
Network bands HSPA: 900/2100 MHz
- GSM / EDGE: 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
Processor Qualcomm MSM8225Q, 1.2 GHz quad-core processor
Graphics -
RAM 1 gigabytes (GB)
Internal storage 4 gigabytes (GB)
Expandable memory slot MicroSD, up to 32 gigabytes
Screen type 4.0 Inch Multi-Touch IPS LCD /w 16M colors
Screen resolution WVGA (800 x 480, 233 PPI)
Rear camera 5.0 megapixels, 4X digital zoom, autofocus, LED flash
Front camera 0.3 megapixels
Wireless Connectivity WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
- Bluetooth 4.0
Connectors microUSB (USB 2.0)
- 3.5 headphone earjack
Sensors Accelerometer
- Gyroscope
- Proximity sensor
- Ambient light
Navigation GPS + A-GPS
FM radio Included
Battery Lithium-Ion 1800 mAh
Special features -
- -

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