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 newsletter!
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
cloudandco Smart Cane
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
Apple iPhone X
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
Toys for Boys
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
Bose SoundLink Micro
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
UBTech First Order Stormtrooper Robot
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Google Daydream View VR Headset
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
Xbox One X
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Fallout Geeki Tikis
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review: A solid winter flagship that cribs from the best
- 2 Google Pixel 2 review: not quite 'pixel perfect' but damn close
- 3 Google Home Mini review: a welcome addition to the smart speaker family.
- 4 Huawei Nova 2i review: Flagship features get smuggled into the mid-tier
- 5 Moto X4 review: This is what a world without MotoMods looks like
Latest News Articles
- Sony Commences Android 8.0 Oreo Rollout in New Zealand Starting With Flagship Xperia XZ Premium Smartphone Device
- Qualcomm adds security, battery life features to phone chips
- Cygnett’s new wireless charging range has arrived
- Belkin Introduces USB-C 3.1 Express Dock HD
- Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10 Will Come To Australia
PCW Evaluation Team
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
- PC World 2017 Editors' Choice Awards Nomineees Announced
- LG V30+ review: The videographer's smartphone arrives
- Fitbit Ionic review: Impressive but not quite iconic
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- FTMid-Level Business Analyst (Digital Transformation)NSW
- CCFront-End DeveloperNSW
- FTSenior Digital Producer/Digital Program ManagerOther
- FTField Services TechnicianACT
- FTSenior Project Coordinator, Operational ProjectsOther
- TPBusiness AnalystVIC
- FTAndroid DeveloperQLD
- FTIntegeration ArchitectOther
- FTSolution ArchitectNSW
- CCTableau DeveloperQLD
- CCProject OfficerVIC
- CCTechnical Solutions ArchitectVIC
- TPProject Manager - CRMQLD
- CCData ArchitectACT
- FTBI DeveloperWA
- FTSystems AdministratorOther
- TPHadoop DeveloperACT
- FTSystems Centre Configuration Manager Deployment TechnicianACT
- FTSenior Wintel Systems EngineerOther
- CCDigital Content Writer and LeadACT
- CCJava Developer - BrisbaneSA
- CCSystem Analyst - AxwayACT
- TPProject CoordinatorACT
- FTSenior SAP Business Analyst (Business Intelligence & Data Management)NSW
- CCChange ManagerNSW