Google IO 2017 Coverage

ZTE Blade V8 Pro review: Lots of smartphone for little price

ZTE might not be a smartphone maker on your radar, but it should be. The smartphone manufacturer has put it tons of great phones, bringing you all of the latest and greatest hardware for little price. And that’s essentially the same story for the Blade V8 Pro. Only, it’s designed as a budget phone, but you’re still getting decent hardware for pretty cheap. If you don’t mind going against the grain, skipping your carrier upgrade, and instead, buying something unlocked like the Blade V8 Pro, it might just be a great choice for a phone upgrade this time around.

Follow along below and we’ll show you what the Blade V8 Pro is all about.

Design

As far as design goes, you really have your classic smartphone here. Around the front, you have a front-facing camera, the display (obviously), and below that, a physical home button (which also works as a fingerprint scanner) that sits in-between a capacative Back and Recent Apps button. On the ZTE, things are actually reversed — the Recent Apps button sits on the right side of the home button while the back is on the right side — it’s usually the exact opposite on many mainstream smartphones.

Coming to the right side of the device, you have your standard volume rocker and power button. On the left, you have your SIM card tray. At the bottom, you have a USB Type-C port and your speaker setup.

Finally, getting to the back, you have a dual-camera setup with LED flash. The back isn’t removable, but has a nice carbon fiber texture to it. It makes it feel nice in the hand and gives you a better grip on the phone.

Hardware

 ZTE Blade V8 Pro
AnnouncedJanuary 2017
ReleaseWinter 2017
Display5.5-inch (1920x1080) IPS LCD w/ Corning Gorilla Glass 3
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 625
RAM3GB
Storage32GB w/ microSD card slot
Rear Camera13MP + 13MP with phase detection autofocus, two-tone LED flash
Front Camera8MP
Battery3140mAh (non-removable)
ChargingUSB-C w/ Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0
SoundBottom-facing speakers
SoftwareAndroid 6.0.1 Marshmallow
ConnectivityBluetooth 4.2, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, NFC, GPS
SensorsAmbient, proximity, accelerometer, gyro, compass, barometer, fingerprint
Measurements156 x 77 x 9.1mm
Weight185g
ColorsBlack

Performance

With the ZTE Blade V8 Pro, you get a larger 5.5-inch 1920 x 1080 IPS LCD display. It’s equipped with Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3 for some extra resilience against foreign objects, drops and the like. The display itself is alright — it’s certainly no Galaxy S8, but does provide a high-quality image. Viewing angles are good, but it certainly doesn’t perform well in direct sunlight. Text is sharp and media looks great.

Powering the handset is a Snapdragon 625 and 3GB of RAM. This processing package keeps things moving quick and responsively. On the storage side of things, you get 32GB, but can expand that by way of a microSD card.

There’s plenty of extra you get, too — Bluetooth 4.2, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, NFC, GPS. It’s equipped with plenty of sensors, including an ambient and proximity sensor, an accelerometer, the gyroscope, compass, barometer and a fingerprint scanner.

Battery

The ZTE Blade V8 Pro actually has a fairly impressive battery — it’s a 3,140mAh unit. It’s, obviously, a non-removable battery, but you can get a good amount of use out of it. In my day-to-day experience with the phone, I could get a full day’s use out of it and then plenty well into the evening. Of course, I’m not necessarily considered a power user, so your mileage may vary.

Given that you have USB Type-C port, charging happens relatively fast. It has Quick Charge 2.0 as well, so after just a few minutes on the wire, you can get a couple hours of use out of that charge.

Software

ZTE is running it’s own custom skin with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow onboard; however, what you’re getting is still pretty close to stock. There are a couple differences, such as colors, but again, it’s pretty close to stock. The software is smooth and responsive as well — there’s little to no lag, which is something you’d come to expect with something so close to stock.

Pull down the notification pane and you have a ton of shortcuts to different tools and apps — your hotspot, mobile data, the flashlight, NFC, dual-SIM settings and more.

There is some bloatware to be had, but very little. The lack of bloatware is nice, as that’s less hogging up system resources as well as storage space.

In Settings, there are plenty of Power Management options, but it was hard to tell if using much of it actually reserved any sort of battery life. Ultra power-save mode definitely saved battery life, but basically limits usage to calling and texting.

Camera

The Blade V8 Pro has a dual 13-megapixel camera setup (13MP on both sensors), and is actually one of the better aspects of the phone. It’s got phase-detection autofocus and two-tone LED flash as well. The dual-camera setup does really well at capturing detailed photos. Quality — for the money you’re paying for the Blade V8 Pro — really isn’t that bad, but once again, it’s not the Galaxy S8 (or even the Galaxy S7) or Google Pixel. The phone struggles the most with low-light shots, but if you can get a well-lit environment going, photos really aren’t too bad.

The Camera app is full of features, too. You get your regular features — HDR, a timer, flash options, video, geo-tags, watermarks and more. But, with the dual-camera setup, you get a few more choices — it can take a Bokeh effect, as well as monocolor and monochrome. Of course, you have a variety of filter options as well as a Live photo option.

Around the front is an 8-megapixel, which is actually pretty decent for selfie shots and the like. All in all, the Blade V8 Pro is equipped with a pretty decent camera setup, for the money.

Closing

When it comes down to it, the ZTE Blade V8 Pro isn’t a bad phone. There’s not too much that makes it stand out from the rest of the crowd, except for the price. On Amazon, you can get all of this for a meager $230 — that’s easily the most impressive part of the phone. For the hardware you’re getting, you really can’t find something similar at that price point, possibly less depending on what other retailers are charging, specials going on or any discounts that might be happening.

The Blade V8 Pro might be advertised as a budget phone, but make no mistake, it can carry its own and more pretty easily. ZTE has done an impressive job here — there’s no doubt about it.

Buy it now: Amazon, Newegg


About the Author: Brad Ward

Brad is a tech enthusiast, writing and tinkering with all things technology since 2011. He currently bounces between the LG G3 and his beloved Moto X! His interests include reading, entrepreneurship, the gym, and of course, queso.