The Motorola RAZR flip phone is BACK and renamed the Binatone Blade

THE tech firm Binatone is preparing to release a new version of the iconic RAZR flip phone called the Blade – and we’ve managed to get our hands on a leaked prototype.

News of the Blade’s existence was first revealed last week when tech journalist and mobile phone entrepreneur Simon Rockman claimed to have bought an early version of the gadget from eBay.

 An official press shot of the BinaTone blade, which will be released in November

Binatone

An official press shot of the BinaTone blade, which will be released in November

He gave The Sun Online exclusive photos of his Blade as well as his thoughts on the retro-styled phone, which you can read later on in this article.

This morning, Binatone confirmed the existence of the Blade and described it as being inspired by phones we “loved nearly 20 years ago”.

The stripped back new phone is designed to be the antidote to gadgets like the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S8.

Recent studies have suggested teens are beginning to get fed up with social media and are turning to brick phones to cut the cord and disconnect themselves from Facebook, Instagram and other all-pervasive networks.

 This image shows a prototype of the Blade on top of the old RAZR, Rockman claims

Simon Rockman

This image shows a prototype of the Blade on top of the old RAZR, Rockman claims
 You can see the new phone is thinner than the old one which inspired it
You can see the new phone is thinner than the old one which inspired it
 The RAZR flip phone was one of the most iconic handsets that's ever been released

Simon Rockman

The RAZR flip phone was one of the most iconic handsets that’s ever been released

The phone is actually made by a British company called Binatone which licenced the design from Motorola.

Simon Rockman claimed he was able to buy a prototype from eBay for just £22.95 – half the eventual street price of £49.99.

He believes it was put up for sale by a company or individual who was sent the prototype for testing.

Rockman worked at Motorola when the original was released in 2003, selling for more than £800.

It was built by a crack team of Motorola engineers who worked overtime in evenings and weekends in a top-secret facility and without managers knowing what they were up to, Rockman said.

Motorola teases new Android version of Razr handset
 The new Blade is aimed at people who want a simple phone without the bells and whistles of modern gadgets

Simon Rockman

The new Blade is aimed at people who want a simple phone without the bells and whistles of modern gadgets
 It's believed that some teenagers and young people are getting fed up of social media, so are turning to old-fashioned phones which make it more difficult to access Facebook or other services

Simon Rockman

It’s believed that some teenagers and young people are getting fed up of social media, so are turning to old-fashioned phones which make it more difficult to access Facebook or other services
 The Blade will come in three colours: red, black and rose gold

Simon Rockman

The Blade will come in three colours: red, black and rose gold

Various versions of the RAZR went on to sell over 100 million with everyone from Jeremy Clarkson to David Beckham being spotted with one.

Here’s what Rockman, who now runs a telecoms firm called Fuss Free Phones, had to say about the Binatone Blade: “With the basic look of the RAZR, the Blade is more of a tribute act than a faithful follow-up.

“It’s bargain priced and this means it hasn’t got the quality feel of the original.

“The new phone is plastic where the original was metal. It doesn’t shut with the same satisfying snap.

The smartphone shortcuts that will change the way you use your Apple device

STRIPPED BACK: The retro features of the Binatone Blade

  • Backlit keypad
  • Phonebook for 100 contacts
  • Bluetooth
  • Alarm function
  • Different Ringtones / Vibration
  • LED Torch
  • Battery Li-ion > 600 mAh
  • Micro USB charger input
  • USB Headset Connection
  • FM radio
  • Vibration

“Where the 2003 phone had a difficult-to-make laser etched keypad the Binatone Blade has standard keys printed in a 1970s typeface.

“The new phone is a lot lighter at 67g to the Razr’s 96g, which makes it feel cheap.

“The Blade does capture the thinness of the phone, which was designed by Chris Arnholt, who was once described by the RAZR project leader as a ‘quiet, humble genius’.

“The new phone doesn’t have the front screen which was added to later models of the RAZR.

“But what you get instead is a phone which is a tenth of the price of the original, has a music player, two SIM cards so that you can have two phone numbers and much better software.”


PHONE FEARS Excessive smartphone use can have a catastrophic effect on teens’ mental health


The announcement of the Blade comes after Nokia released a rebooted version of the 3310,cheap and cheerful version of the much-loved classic gadget which costs just £49.99.

Dino Lalvani, Binatone’s chairman said: “It’s a fact of life that most of us now carry two mobile phones.

“Whether it’s a work/home split, a second phone for holidays and festivals or just a temporary device to give to the kids for sleepovers, we just don’t have a single mobile anymore.

“We developed the Blade with this in mind, making sure it was a small, slim and light as possible, without compromising on battery life.

“Our designers really went to town and those of us old enough to remember will definitely see a resemblance to some of the iconic phones we loved nearly 20 years ago, which in consumer electronics is a lifetime.”

Razer Blade Pro (2017, Nvidia 1060) Release Date, Price and Specs

razer-blade-pro-4k-and-full-hd

The 4K and full HD versions of the Razer Blade Pro. 


Razer

Razer’s big 17-inch Blade Pro is one of the slimmest big-screen gaming laptops you can buy, but it’s also one of the most expensive, starting at $3,999 in the US (or £3,799 and AU$5,899).

Now Razer has a new version of the system, with a more budget-friendly graphics card and screen and a lower price. The new Razer Blade Pro drops from a very high-end Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU (the current gold standard for gaming laptops) to a more mainstream Nvidia GeForce 1060. The display goes from a 4K-resolution version to a 120Hz IPS 1,920×1,080 full HD panel.

Because of these tweaks, the updated version of the Razer Blade Pro now starts at $2,299 in the US and £2,099 in the UK, which works out to AU$2,899. 

tsu-0143tsu-0143

The 17-inch version of the Razer Rogue backpack. 


Razer

The switch to a full HD display is probably a good thing. The Nvidia 1060 GPU is fine for rendering at 1,920×1,080, but you might have to dial down quality settings to drive a 4K screen. More importantly, in our CNET Labs tests, 4K displays always drain laptop batteries much faster than similar systems with HD screens. When faced with a choice, we generally take 1080p over 4K in laptop screens. 

And while it’s a few notches down from the top of the line, the Nvidia 1060 GPU can easily drive high-end virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. In the systems we’ve tested it in, the 1060 is the best balance of value and performance for a laptop GPU right now. 

The processor in the 6.8-pound (3.07kg) entry-level configuration is an Intel core i7-7700HQ, which is paired with 16GB of RAM and a storage combo of a 256GB SSD and 2TB HDD. 

To go along with this revamped 17-inch laptop, Razer also has a new 17-inch laptop backpack. The Razer Rogue is made of ballistic nylon and has a built-in rain cover. There’s no price for the new backpack yet, but the existing 15-inch model is $99 in the US. 

The new Blade Pro is expected to be available on Razer’s  website in September, and from other retailers in the fourth quarter of 2017. 

ZTE Blade Spark coming to AT&T Prepaid for $100, has a fingerprint sensor

)–ZTE USA, the fourth largest smartphone supplier in the U.S. and second largest in the no-annual contract market*, today announced that it has expanded its award-winning Blade smartphone series with the ZTE Blade Spark. Integrating high-end features such as a fingerprint sensor and a 1.4GHz Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ Mobile Platform the ZTE Blade Spark is available today online and in select stores through 

 for only $99.99 MSRP.

“The ZTE Blade Spark is a great addition to the Blade series which continues to demonstrate how the company continues to bring innovation and affordability to our smartphone line up, while bringing a little something that will delightfully surprise customers in what they can get with AT&T PREPAID,” said Lixin Cheng, CEO of ZTE Mobile Devices. “This value-packed smartphone delivers the promise that ZTE will lead in bringing high-end features for consumers of all needs.”

For less than $100, the ZTE Blade Spark provides great value overall by offering:

  • Large Screen for Entertainment: The ZTE Blade Spark provides a vivid 5.5’’ HD display so reading, watching and playing are viewed in crisp detail, and with Dolby Audio your content never sounded so good.
  • Latest and Greatest Android Operating System: The ZTE Blade Spark ships with Android Nougat 7.1.1 so you can have the latest and greatest Android OS right out of the box.
  • High-Quality Photos from all Angles: With a “selfie” button located on the side of the phone, you can take quick, spontaneous photos of you and your friends even when the phone is locked. And with a 13MP rear and 5MP front-facing camera, your photos will turn out great no matter where you are.
  • Security at Your Fingertips: The ZTE Blade Spark also has a fingerprint sensor for added security and convenience, and allows you to save up to five different fingerprints to instantly access any application.

For full list of phone specifications and features visit http://www.att.com/bladespark.

*Strategy Analytics, Q1 2017

About ZTE USA

ZTE USA (www.zteusa.com), headquartered in Richardson, Texas, is a subsidiary of ZTE Corporation, a global provider of mobile devices, telecommunication systems, and enterprise solutions. Operating since 1998, ZTE USA is dedicated to making cost-efficient, quality communication technology accessible to all. ZTE is ranked by independent industry analysts as the fourth-largest supplier of mobile devices in the U.S. overall, and second-largest supplier of prepaid devices.

Visit ZTE USA at www.zteusa.com on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ZTEUSA, Twitter https://twitter.com/ZTE_USA, and on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/ZTEUSAInc.

Qualcomm and Snapdragon are trademarks of Qualcomm Incorporated, registered in the United States and other countries.

Qualcomm Snapdragon is a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

ZTE’s Blade V8 Mini Shows Up At The FCC

ZTE’s Blade V8 Mini has shown up at the FCC which could signify that it’s getting ready to launch the device. The FCC filing shows a number of test report documents along with a set of external and internal photos of the phone, showing off the phone from the outside as well as what the inside components look like when the device is taken apart. Along with the external and internal photos and the test reports, the FCC filing also includes the official User Manual for the ZTE Blade V8 Mini that users can expect to receive if they buy this device.

In the images you can see the phone’s design as well as other characteristics like the dual rear-facing cameras, but there isn’t really anything new here when it comes to information about the phone as ZTE showed off the Blade V8 Mini back during Mobile World Congress and had it on display at their official booth, along with various other versions of the Blade V8 such as the Blade V8 Lite and the standard Blade V8. With the Blade V8 Mini passing through the FCC though it’s likely that the phone launch is close as the phone has already been officially announced, so there isn’t much left or ZTE to do in the scheme of things for this device release now that FCC certification has been received.

ZTE has of course not been forthcoming about the launch date for this phone nor has it mentioned anything about the actual launch regions or what it will cost, so those looking to get their hands on one will have to keep waiting until ZTE shares this information with the public. That being said, one of the internal photos from the FCC documents shows a picture of the label for the phone, and it shows the name Mexico Telcel under the series of barcodes and numbers, which suggests that Mexico will be at least one of the regions where this phone is launching. ZTE’s Blade V8 Mini comes with a 5-inch display with a 720p resolution, and it has 2GB of RAM as well as 16GB of internal storage space, along with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 processor and a 2,800mAh battery. As for the cameras, the phone has a 13-megapixel and a 2-megapixel sensor on the back of the device while the front is featuring a 5-megapixel camera sensor for selfies and video chat. It’s also running on Android 7.0 Nougat which means the software is mostly up to date.

ZTE announces the $150 Blade X Max with a 6-inch screen and Android 7.1.1

You may not be aware, but ZTE is one of the largest smartphone makers in the US market. That’s due in large part to devices like the newly announced Blade X Max; it’s cheap and has reasonable specs for the price. This 6-inch phone drops tomorrow on Cricket for a mere $150.

The Blade X Max won’t blow you away in the spec department, but it’s not bad. Here’s what you get.

The Blade X Max will definitely be a big phone with a 6-inch display, but the bezels don’t look too chunky. It will be rather heavy at 196g (6.93 oz); the Nexus 6 was only 184g. The combination of 1080p and a 3,400mAh battery should mean solid battery life, though. It’s also nice to see 32GB of storage when most cheap phones still default to 16GB.

Props to ZTE for shipping this phone with Android 7.1.1. Even Samsung and LG can’t seem to get that figured out. Cricket will start selling this phone tomorrow (May 12th) for $150, but new customers who port in a number can pick up the Blade X Max for $99.

Richardson, Texas – May 11, 2017 – ZTE USA, the fourth largest smartphone supplier in the U.S. and second largest in the no-contract market,* today announced that it has brought its wildly successful Blade smartphone line to Cricket Wireless with the introduction of the new ZTE Blade X Max. Packed with in-demand features like a large 6-inch Full HD screen and a big 3,400mAh battery with Qualcomm® Quick Charge™ 2.0, the ZTE Blade X Max is available in stores and online at Cricket Wireless starting tomorrow, May 12th, for only $149.99 MSRP.

“The Blade series has been very successful overseas for the past eight years and we are excited to bring it to Cricket Wireless customers here in the US through the ZTE Blade X Max,” said Lixin Cheng, Executive Vice President, ZTE Corporation, CEO of ZTE Mobile Devices and Chairman of ZTE USA, Inc. “Exemplifying what our affordable premium product strategy is, the ZTE Blade X Max pushes the envelope in terms of price and features without ever sacrificing quality.”

For less than $150, the ZTE Blade X Max ups the ante on what an affordable device can provide by offering:

 

  • The Latest and Greatest Operating System: The Blade X Max ships with Android Nougat 7.1.1 so you can have the latest and greatest Android OS in the palm of your hand.
  • Superior Entertainment: With a large 6-inch Full HD screen, Dolby Audio and FM radio support, the Blade X Max can stream or play almost any type of content so you can watch your favorite shows on a big-screen, experience enhanced video streaming with optional DirecTV Now service, or listen to your favorite band no matter where you are.
  • More Ways to Capture Life’s Moments: Take amazing panoramic photos in both landscape and portrait mode using the Blade X Max’s 13MP rear-facing camera, and brighten up those selfies by using the Camera Screen Flash functionality for clearer and brighter pictures.

 

  • Security with Quick Access to What Matters Most: Incorporating a rear fingerprint sensor, the Blade X Max secures your important data while providing the ability to save up to five fingerprints to access different applications instantly at a touch.
  • Performance and Battery-Life that Keeps Up with You: A 1.4GHz octa-core Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ Mobile Platform with 2GB RAM and 32GB ROM, expandable up to 128GB via a microSD card, is designed to provide the power and performance that can keep up with you. And a 3,400mAh battery with Qualcomm’s Quick Charge™2.0 helps you charge faster to keep you on the move.

New trailer for Blade Runner 2049 is pretty dang alluring

I wasn’t prepared to be so impressed by this trailer, but it’s undeniably great.

At last, we’ve gotten a good look at the cast and plot of Blade Runner 2049, the sequel we never knew we wanted to Ridley Scott’s iconic cyberpunk thriller. In this trailer, we can see that director Denis Villeneuve (Arrival) is developing his own style and expanding the universe of the first film far beyond its original boundaries.

The original Blade Runner from 1982 is deliberately claustrophic, keeping our point of view tightly encased in the rainy, polluted urban landscape of Los Angeles. We only see broad vistas when we ascend the gleaming pyramid occupied by Tyrell Corporation founder Eldon Tyrell.

Immediately, the trailer for Blade Runner 2049 gives us a much different view of the world. Yes, there are the cityscapes with holographic ladies, as well as a giant Atari logo that looks like it’s about to eat the universe. But there are also dramatic deserts, perhaps signs of profound climate change. We even see Officer K (Ryan Gosling) uncovering a date inscribed on a buried tree branch, and later he’s in some kind of forest gunfight (though that forest might be a hologram). Director Villeneuve made excellent use of landscape in Arrival, so it’s great to see that he’s doing that here, too.

We also get a clear signal that Blade Runner 2049 is going to take up an issue that ultimately fell by the wayside in the first film: the political horror that is replicant slavery. Though this is a big issue in Blade Runner, the film wound up focusing more on philosophical issues of what it means to be human. But Blade Runner 2049 puts slavery front and center, at least in this trailer.

“Every civilization was built off the back of a disposable workforce,” says Wallace (Jared Leto) in the trailer’s opening. We’re not entirely sure who he is, but he has strange (biotech?) eyes and is clearly making a new replicant. He also says that he can’t make very many replicants, which hints at either a collapsing slave economy or major resource depletion. The replicant-making scene also reminds us that these creatures are fully biological, not cyborgs.

So what else do we learn from this trailer? Well, Mackenzie Davis (the best thing about Halt and Catch Fire) is there, looking very Pris-like. Officer K seems to have come to former blade runner Deckard (Harrison Ford) with some bad guys hot on his trail, based on the explosions that follow him. K is trying to unbury something about the past, possibly with help from the goopy replicant that Wallace made, Joi (Ana de Armas). Villeneuve has already let slip that part of the plot will deal with whether Deckard is a replicant.

The trailer makes the new film look like it will have a visual language all its own. It also appears to have a plot that will take us in a new direction, expanding on the world of the original. Obviously, trailers can be deceiving, but this one gave me hope.

Blade Runner 2049 hits theaters in the US on October 6.

Listing image by Warner Bros.

ZTE Blade Max 3 Is Now Official, Available At US Cellular

The ZTE Blade Max 3 is ZTE’s newest smartphone for the US market. This smartphone is now available for purchase through US cellular, and it is a successor to the ZTE Imperial Max, kind of, which was announced about a year ago. Now, the ZTE Blade Max 3 is a mid-range smartphone which comes with a huge 6-inch display, and a somewhat affordable price point. The ZTE Blade Max 3 will set you back $199.99, after a $100 online discount. Now, if you’d like to sign a contract with US Cellular, the phone’s pricing drops, of course, you can get the phone for $12.5 per month if you sign up for a 2-year contract.

Now, as far as the device itself is concerned, it comes with a metallic frame, and all of its physical keys are placed on the right-hand side of its body. The device features three capacitive buttons below the display, and its fingerprint scanner is placed on the back. This smartphone also comes with a dual camera setup on the back, and next to it you’ll notice a dual-LED flash. The phone comes with a 6-inch fullHD (1920 x 1080) display, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of expandable storage. The device is fueled by the Snapdragon 625 64-bit octa-core processor, and a 4,000mAh battery is also a part of this package. This battery is capable of getting you through up to 40 hours of talk time, says ZTE. There are two 13-megapixel snappers on the back of the ZTE Blade Max 3, and a 5-megapixel shooter can be found on the front side of this smartphone. A Type-C USB port is placed on the bottom of this phablet, and a dedicated DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter) is also included in this package, and it should up your audio game.

Android 6.0 Marshmallow comes pre-installed on this smartphone, which is somewhat disappointing considering that Android 7.0 Nougat has been around for quite some time now. In any case, the ZTE Blade Max 3 is the newest budget offering by US Cellular, and if you’re looking to get such an affordable device in the US, and you’re a US Cellular consumer, this might be something worth considering. If you’d like to get more info about the device, follow the source link down below.

How To Get The Genji Blade : Games : Gamenguide

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Games

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By Allan , Updated Mar 31, 2017 07:14 PM EDT
Final Fantasy 15 Episode Gladiolus: Gilgamesh Boss Fight (1080p)

A guide for “Final Fantasy 15” players how to get the Genji Blade in the game.
(Photo: Boss Fight Database /YouTube Screenshot)

“Final Fantasy 15” first DLC has finally arrived and it’s an episode all about Gladiolus and unlocking the Genji Blade. And before Gladiolus can do that, he will have to defeat Gilgamesh which is not an easy boss to finish. This DLC takes about an hour to finish and knowing exactly where to go and what to do will make it easier to complete. So this article is a guide how to finish the story and unlock the Genji blade.

How to Defeat Gilgamesh and Unlock the Genji Blade

In “Final Fantasy 15”, Gilgamesh is the final boss in the new DLC that Gladiolus needs to defeat according to VG247. It’s not really an easy task especially when Gilgamesh is glowing in red where his attacks cannot be blocked. The best way to defeat him is to dodge his attacks and hit him whenever possible. As soon as he is defeated, the Genji Blade will be unlocked.

After the Fight with Gilgamesh

After defeating the final boss and as the credits roll, players must stay in the game and wait for the teaser trailer of the next “Final Fantasy” DLC according to Gamerant. This time, it will be an episode all about Prompto and along with the trailer is the rewards of finishing the game. Now all the player needs to do is load the main story of the game after the fight with Gladiolus and there will be the Genji Blade. It is equipped with 426 attack power and gives a great HP boost to the player’s health.

The good news is Noctis can also use the sword and its all up to the player who uses it in the game. The Gladiolus DLC arrived months after the release of the main story so many players are very excited for its arrival. And it looks like many are happy with the “Final Fantasy 15” DLC especially with the many rewards that come with the Genji Blade.




© 2017 Game & Guide All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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1886′ and ‘Shadow Blade Reload’ Expected With ‘Drawn to Death’

PlayStation Plus subscribers are already looking forward to the list of free games for April 2017. However, with the full list still under wraps, fans have had to rely on predictions.

REUTERS/Kevork DjansezianSony is expected to announce the PlayStation Plus April 2017 list of free games next week.

According to PlayStation Universe, there is only one game so far that has already been confirmed for April 2017. That is none other than The Bartlet Jones Supernatural Detective Agency’s “Drawn to Death.” The studio, belonging to video game designer David Jaffe, is set to release the brawler arena multiplayer and third-person shooter as a PlayStation exclusive on April 4.

The publication predicts other titles like “The Order: 1886,” “Steins;Gate 0,” “Kill All Zombies” and “Shadow Blade Reload” being released for free as well. However, it remains to be seen if any of these predictions will end up being true, since Sony is not poised to make the official announcement until next week. PSU posits that the PlayStation Plus April 2017 list will be revealed at 10 to 11 a.m. EDT on March 29. That translates to 3 to 4 p.m. GMT and 7 to 8 a.m. PDT.

Right now, subscribers can still play March titles like “Tearaway Unfolded” and “Earth Defense Force 2025.”

Ahead of its list announcement and update, though, Sony has decided to treat its subscribers to a free bonus by releasing a free booster pack for “Let It Die.” The offer will only last until April 18, though, so fans should grab a hold of it while they still can. Those who are interested can download the Direct Hell Booster Pack for free.

Unfortunately, all these features are only available to PlayStation Plus subscribers. Players who want to test out the program can sign up for a free trial first to give them a feel of what Sony has to offer.

Since nothing has been confirmed so far, readers are advised to take this news with a grain of salt. The PlayStation store update is expected on April 4, 2017.

ZTE Blade V8 Pro review

ZTE probably isn’t the first name you think of when looking for a quality Android device. Sure, the high-end ZTE Axon 7 could be considered great by most standards, but the company is mostly known for their low-end devices used to entice buyers into no-contract carrier plans. Nothing you’d want to write home about and definitely not something to be held in high regard. This year ZTE could be changing that.

We’ve reached a point where the lines between mid-range, high-end, and premium devices are being blurred more each day. You no longer have to spend an arm and a leg to get a quality smartphone, something Honor tried to prove with the Honor 6X. The problem with the 6X is that it came with some pretty big trade-offs — namely, lack of NFC and 5GHz WiFi — something that may not sit well with everyone.

With the ZTE Blade V8 Pro, ZTE is out to prove that they can not only out price the Honor 6X, but build a phone without any of the hardware compromises. Can they pull it off? Looking at the spec sheet, it certainly looks that way:

ZTE Blade V8 Pro specs

  • 5.5-inch 1080p LCD display (401 ppi) / 2.5D Gorilla Glass 3
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor / Adreno 506 GPU
  • 32GB storage / 3GB RAM
  • Micro SD card slot (up to 128GB)
  • 13MP + 13MP dual rear cameras PDAF, 8MP front facing
  • 3,140mAh battery / Quick Charge 2.0
  • Dual SIM (GSM)
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Fingerprint sensor (physical button)
  • USB Type C port
  • NFC
  • Dual-band WiFi
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • Dimensions: 156 x 77 x 9.1mm
  • Weight: 185g

Judging by the spec sheet alone, the ZTE Blade V8 Pro could very well be the least compromising Android device we’ve ever seen at this price point. But hardware specs alone do not a good phone make. We’ve been using the Blade V8 Pro extensively for the better part of a month now and wanted to share with you some of our thoughts in a bite-sized, easy to digest lightning review. Let’s get to it.

Build quality

The ZTE Blade V8 Pro certainly isn’t the most elegant looking Android device around. Aesthetically, it’s more a mishmash of other Android devices. You get a “premium” metal frame that wraps around the sides of the device, with a soft, textured back coated in silicone for extra grip. More of a refined OnePlus 2 than the all-metal unibodies everyone is releasing these days but in a way, it’s sort of refreshing.

The phone doesn’t taper off along the sides, giving your hands plenty of surface area to hold onto and the rubbery back means it wont slide off your lap or give you get scratched up when laying the phone down on hard surfaces. The premium 2.5D glass feels great when sliding your finger over the edges and the 1080p display itself is crisp and vibrant — even at 5.5-inches — with a refresh rate that appears better than even phones double its price.

It’s solid construction all around and the phone doesn’t feel “cheap” in any way. In fact, we were damn near shocked at the level of quality when taking it out of the box. It’s just hard to believe that such a well-built smartphone could cost only $230. Its size is a bit hefty — around the same size as an iPhone 7 Plus — but it never felt overly large or bulky. We’ll admit, the Blade V8 Pro’s design is forgettable and somewhat generic, but don’t let that deter you from the device. After all, you’re buying phone — not a conversation piece.

Software

Overall, there’s very little we didn’t like about the Blade V8 Pro. The software interface is clean and has a nice Material Design look throughout. It’s not exactly “stock” Android, but it’s a lot closer than you’ll get from competing devices. While we don’t agree with ZTE’s overly aggressive RAM management, which shuts down apps every time you turn off the display, at least they provided a way to turn this “feature” off in the settings app. The biggest issue we ran into was a bug affecting music apps (they shut down after 15 minutes of playback), but ZTE says an update will be rolling out soon to address this. Whether this will be an update to Android 7.0 Nougat remains to be seen, but the Blade V8 Pro comes out of the box running Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow which is nearly a year old at this point.

Performance

 

Performance is easily in line with phone’s of yesteryear, something that shouldn’t come as a surprise considering it’s being powered by a Snapdragon 625. Those “upgrading” an older device to the Blade V8 Pro shouldn’t have any complaints when it comes to speed, but you may notice a slight dip in performance if you’re coming from a more recent 2016 flagship. Even then, it’s nothing too dramatic, the phone actually keeps up quite well after tweaking the settings a little bit.

Camera

This surprisingly energetic speed also applies to the camera which is quick to fire off snap shots and takes great quality photos providing you stick to the phone’s HDR mode. Although I don’t much care for dual-camera setups (which, quite frankly, I find a bit gimmicky), utilizing both cameras to simulate a wide aperture worked reasonably well and is almost crazy this feature made it into a $230 smartphone. I’ve talked about the Blade V8 Pro’s camera at length during my comparison with the Honor 6X, so if you’re looking for something a little more in depth, I’d suggest you head over there.

Battery life

Battery life with the Blade V8 Pro is fantastic, thanks in part to the Snapdragon 625 barely sipping juice from the 3,140mAh battery. The phone’s software doesn’t provide you with actual stats for screen-on-time, but I can tell you I had a hard time getting the phone anywhere below 50% before going to bed. The phone also charges up relatively quick thanks to Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 which may not be the most advanced version of the technology, but it’s certainly better than nothing and the fact that ZTE had the foresight to go with a USB Type C port instead of micro USB was welcomed.

Miscellaneous

Audio quality was also particularly nice thanks to Dolby Audio running the show, pumping out lively and upbeat audio through wired headphones. The speaker itself is a little on the quiet side, but the quality was nice enough to comfortably watch videos without hurting your ears. It’s possible to fine tune the EQ settings which universally work across the OS, something I particularly loved as a frequent YouTube watcher.

Conclusion

I generally consider myself a pretty frugal and conscientious buyer. Whenever shopping around for a new piece of tech, I like to do my research and find the best possible item for the least amount of money. We all know there are some trade-offs to be made, but sometimes the savings can be more than worth it and there’s no better feeling than knowing you scored a great deal on an even better product. For me, I see nothing wrong with buying generic — but only as long as the quality is there.

For smartphones, there’s generally been this sort of sliding scale, one that sees many high-end features being sacrificed as the price drops lower and lower. I don’t know how ZTE did it, but they’ve managed to give consumers the full smartphone experience (big display, great camera, long battery life, fingerprint sensor), at the lowest possible price.

Typically when shopping for smartphones, there is very little I am willing to compromise on (a big reason why I always gravitate to high-end flagships). I simply refuse to use a smartphone with low quality display, small battery, terrible camera, slow performance, low storage space — these are just a few of the areas where the Blade V8 Pro doesn’t fall short where most other budget devices have.

With everyone’s eyes locked to the premium smartphone market, the battle has certainly been heating up in the affordable category. As a self-proclaimed smartphone snob, I never thought I could go a full month — hell, even a week — with a $230 smartphone and still be satisfied, but somehow this is exactly how I felt using the ZTE Blade V8 Pro. It was actually a pleasurable experience and I give the V8 Pro two enthusiastic thumbs up.

Is it worth it?

Shopping for a new smartphone around the 250 dollar mark, you generally have to make quite a few sacrifices. For the Honor 6X it meant missing out on NFC and the 5GHz WiFi band as a necessary trade-off. Even with the V8 Pro’s shortcomings (don’t expect proactive software support for anything outside of critical bugs, let alone major Android releases), as-is, the Blade V8 Pro is up there with some of Android’s greatest and very well could be one of the best affordable devices we’ve seen since the Moto G. If you’ve been looking for a new Android device to replace your aging HTC One M7 or Galaxy S5 — this could be your most compelling reason yet to upgrade, especially for those on a tight budget.

Buy on Amazon

The Good

  • Solid build quality, nice grippy back
  • Awesome battery life
  • Fast camera (no shutter lag)
  • Dual 13MP cameras work well to create wide aperture effect
  • Live photos built-into camera/gallery
  • 4K video recording
  • Fast and accurate fingerprint button
  • USB Type C + Quick Charge 2.0
  • 32GB internal storage + micro SD slot
  • NFC and dual-band WiFi (sorry, Honor 6X)
  • Headphone jack + Dolby Audio
  • Affordable pricing

The Bad

  • Overly aggressive RAM management sucks (can be fixed in the settings)
  • Software bug affecting music apps bug (fix is coming soon)
  • HDR capture is necessary to produce great looking photos
  • Touch screen lag when scrolling through the UI
  • Still running year-old Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • No adoptable storage option for SD cards
  • No RCS support
  • No wireless charging despite non-metal back

The Bottom Line

The ZTE Blade V8 Pro is by far the most well-rounded smartphone in its price category, offering up a complete smartphone experience with little-to-no compromises. In a world full of $650+ smartphones, it’s one of the first budget devices I found myself actually getting excited about. I wholeheartedly recommend the ZTE Blade V8 Pro to anyone looking for a quality Android phone for the least amount of money possible.