With a quad core processor at the heart of this smartphone, you’d think the ZTE Blade V would cost a a pretty packet. But at just under £100, it’s about the quarter of the price of the Samsung Galaxy S4. But does this mean too many corners cut elsewhere?
Certainly this seems true of the case. The plastic shell is made to a price but the brushed metal effect tries to make it look slightly more upmarket. But of course, it is not long before you see the sides of the phone and realise just how cheap it is. The outer is small but substantial.
At 10.9mm thick, an iPhone 5 it ain’t. Also the bezel around the 4-inch screen is thick too so this cannot be mistaken for a snazzy end-to-end display smartphone. Despite all this, the handset is comfortable to use in operation. Rather than placing it at the bottom, the micro USB port is at the side.
It is good to report that the back of the phone can be removed and the battery replaced. Here is also where you can insert a MicroSD card as there is a slot provided. This is necessary as at 4GB, the internal storage is woeful.
We weren’t expecting much from the display of a £100 phone and at a resolution of 480 by 800, it only manages to squeeze in 233 pixels-per-inch. Again, this won’t be bothering the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S4. Despite this, the quality is good, but not groundbreaking. Colours aren’t vivid, but brightness just about makes up for this.
The phone runs Android 4.1 with a custom interface from the manufacturer; not too dissimilar to a stock Android interface.
There is access to Google Play for apps and you can swap around features of the phone at will. While you can download apps, the internal storage may become a problem for those apps that only install on an internal drive and not on an SD card.
The quad-core chip inside doesn’t necessarily translate to the phone being fast. We noticed some lags in animations on the phone. It uses a quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm MSM8225Q processor with 1GB of RAM. These are Cortex-A5 cores, which aren’t as powerful as later cores on the market. While the lag is not a deal breaker, it certainly shows you that it is a phone built to a price point.
The phone has two cameras, front and back. A 5-megapixel sensor on the rear and a front-facing VGA camera. Again, these are OK is decent lighting conditions but little else. Pulling into focus and taking repeated shots are slow, so this is not great for action shots.
Battery life is OK but nothing to write home about. The 1800mAh battery gives about a day of charge. There are no apps on the phone to make battery usage more efficient and no power saving modes.
The ZTE Blade V has a single speaker on the back. Sound output is reasonable but when turned up distorts quite badly. Call quality is fine however.
While it offers a lot for the money, there are too many areas where it is left wanting. It might suit someone that wants a basic smartphone and isn’t too worried about features.