ZTE Blade Vec review: A serious budget contender
All the right ingredients
- Big and bright display
- Well priced
- Uninspired, plastic body
- Limited 1GB RAM
Price$ 249.00 (AUD)
The budget smartphone scene is dense in population. Currently more sub-$300 smartphones are on sale in the market than we can count on two hands. The Blade Vec needs to be memorable for the company to have any chance.
And parts of it are, such as the screen. It has a 1280x720 resolution spanning across 5-inches in a body marginally taller than Apple’s iPhone 6. Each inch crams 294 pixels — just as Motorola’s fantastic Moto G — except it is capable of exceptional levels of brightness. Screens of this calibre are a rarity at the Blade Vec’s price, and its inclusion enriches every facet of this smartphone’s experience.
Further separating the Blade Vec from the budget pack are its two cameras. The rear 8-megapixel and front 5 megapixel cameras are above par on the colour and clarity front, while the inclusion of a clever panorama mode and HDR make it that much easier to memorialise moments.
Neither of the cameras are perfect, with handicaps including a primitive user interface and a slow autofocus. These drawbacks are minor and don’t thwart the Blade Vec’s overall imaging.
Tucked into the left side of the Blade’s all-plastic body are trays good for two SIMs and a microSD card. The first tray is compatible with HSPA Internet speeds, and will work with the 850MHz network used by Telstra and Vodafone, along with the 900MHz of Optus’ network. The second tray is reserved for voice and text over 2G alone.
Dual-SIM smartphones can be geared to save money. A SIM attached to a cheap data plan can be used in the first tray, while another competitive on voice rates can be used in the second. The Blade Vec has software that automates which SIM is used for calls, texting and data.
The operating system is a near-vanilla version of Android 4.4 KitKat. Changes are limited to the lock screen, the appearance of icons and a small number of settings. Some third-party applications are added for flavour. Otherwise, that’s about it.
The software is clean and uncluttered. Running a near-stock version of Android is a win for the ZTE in our perspective as overlays can be inconsistent and inefficient. We only hope the company goes the extra mile by delivering timely software updates.Read more: Grab a $49 Android tablet with your grocery shopping
Sifting through the software is a 1.3GHz quad-core CPU, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. More often than not the hardware delivers a brisk experience, but from time to time you will see the seams, where the limited RAM is straining to keep everything quick, and noticing the hiccups does make this smartphone feel cheap.
Further dampening the experience is the fact the Blade Vec doesn’t support microSDXC, which means it will only work with cards 32GB in size or less.Read more: Oppo breaks into Australian retail stores
Adding insult to injury is the texture of the ZTE smartphone. Every panel save for the screen is cheap plastic; it’s liberal use makes the smartphone feel cheaper than its $249 price would have you believe. Other smartphones make use of plastic, including the Moto G and Nokia Lumia 635, but these mould the material to ergonomic and inspired shapes.
The Blade Vec is not the best nor the worst of phones. ZTE has made a solid alternative to the champions of the budget market, and the company has gone one further by undercutting Motorola and Nokia on price.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 2 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 3 Parrot Mambo Drone review
- 4 Evapolar USB air conditioner review
- 5 Hisense Series 7 ULED 4K UHD TV review
Latest News Articles
- New Samsung loyalty program hints that the Note line may not be dead after all
- Google's Pixel XL is much easier to repair than the Nexus 6P
- Google Keep adds app shortcuts, pinned messages in update
- New Windows 10 preview adds an iPhone Live Photos rival, Windows Ink improvements
- Google Phone app 5.1 adds in new gestures and interface tweaks
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: The new best Android phone
- TV buying guide: What to look for when buying a TV in 2016
- Best iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus plans: Optus vs Telstra vs Vodafone vs Virgin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTMicrosoft Dynamics AX Finance ConsultantWA
- FTDynamics CRM DeveloperSA
- CCSoftware Engineer- Linux and DevOpsNSW
- CCApplication Senior Project ManagerACT
- TPBusiness Process AnalystNSW
- CCSolution Architect - PeopleSoft HCM Global Payroll 9.1 -9.2 .VIC
- TPiOS Developer | Tech Start-UpNSW
- FTMicrosoft Dynamics AX Solution Architect (Permanent and/or Contract Option)QLD
- CCFirewall EngineerNSW
- CCGraduate Web DeveloperWA
- CCTechnology Training ManagerNSW
- FTProfessional Learning Facilitator - Information ManagementVIC
- CCNetwork DesignerVIC
- CCService Now DeveloperVIC
- CCMobile Developers (IOS and Android)QLD
- FTTechnical Services EngineerNSW
- FTAX Functional ConsultantNSW
- CCSystems AdministratorQLD
- CCSenior Project Manager - IT Solutions - GovernmentNSW
- TPBusiness Systems AnalystQLD
- CCCyber Security Analyst - TelcoVIC
- CCImplementation ManagerVIC
- CCJava Developers - Federal Government experienceNSW
- FTMicrosoft Dynamics AX Manufacturing ConsultantSA
- FTTest ManagerNSW