Hands On with the ZTE Blade V8 Pro
ZTE Blade V8 Pro
The V8 Pro is ZTE's latest attempt to bring U.S. consumers more bang for their buck. This model is the first Blade-series phone to come to U.S. shores. It's one step below the Axon 7, with more mid-range features and a price to match. But with fingerprint reader, NFC, dual-camera, and 3 GB of RAM, it's no slouch, either. Read on for our hands-on impressions.
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The Blade V8 Pro starts with a now-standard 5.5-inch screen, and puts a fingerprint reader below it. I personally prefer rear fingerprint readers, but some people enjoy being able to unlock the phone wile its sits on a desk, etc.
Around back are the dual 13 megapixel cameras. The second camera enables features such as portrait mode (blurred background.) There's also a Snapdragon 625 processor, USB-C port, fast charging, and memory card slot.
So far, we're within what you might expect from an affordable Android phone this year. What you don't expect in a $230 phone are features like NFC, dual-band Wi-Fi (802.11a), and 3 GB of RAM. That's a pretty great value.
Speaking of value, the physical design is much higher-end than you might expect for $230. The frame is solid metal and feels great. The front glass has nice rounded edges. The back sports a soft-touch finish (grippy plastic that feels almost like rubber) with a unique texture. It's the rare molded plastic back that actually feels high-quality. It's definitely a phone that looks and feels higher-quality in person than it does in photos.
The side buttons work well. The home button doubles as a fingerprint reader. There are also two mostly-hidden capacitive keys next to the home button. Very dim backlit dots light up briefly to indicate where these are. These could be a bit easier to find and figure out, but these are buttons you'll use by muscle memory by day two.
The software is fairly standard Android, with a skin that changes the appearance slightly and offers themes, but should be familiar for most Android users. A special shortcut grid screen when you launch Settings is the most obvious change to Android.
The camera app looks slick, but isn't very well-designed. Swiping to "Dual" mode throws up a menu with the expected Bokeh option, but also Monochrome and Mono-color options. This isn't very intuitive. Besides requiring an extra step to reach Bokeh mode, I don't know why the average consumer would expect to find "Monochome" under something that says "Dual". Worse, important modes like Panorama and Manual are practically hidden behind a tiny three-dots icon that's easy to miss and difficult to tap.
Still, once you figure it out, the camera has a good list of features. We look forward to reviewing it and letting you know how well it works.
In sum, this is an extremely impressive phone for just $230. The unlocked market is heating up!
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