• Full Review
  • Specifications

Full Review

The ZTE Blade V7 was one of the best cheap phones of 2016, and now the company is back with the ZTE Blade V8.

It’s stylish, affordable at around £140 and has surprisingly compelling specs. In other words, it looks set to repeat the V7’s trick.

But competition has got steeper in the last year, so is the ZTE Blade V8 a cut-price champion or are you best off taking your money elsewhere?

Screen

The ZTE Blade V8 has a 5.2-inch 1080 x 1920 LCD screen with a pixel density of 424 pixels per inch. That’s the same as the ZTE Blade V7 but then it’s still competitive with similarly priced phones. In fact, in terms of resolution it’s even comparable to the likes of the iPhone 8 Plus and OnePlus 5T.

Of course, resolution isn’t all that matters and the overall display quality here isn’t as high, but it’s still great for the money. Colours are generally accurate and it’s fairly bright. It can’t match the contrast on OLED screens of pricier phones, but it’s a strong competitor to, say, the Nokia 6, or Moto G5.

Design

The design of the ZTE Blade V8 is fairly plain, but also surprisingly high-end. It has a metal shell with a gently curved back that makes it comfortable to hold.

It’s also quite slim at 7.7mm thick and while the bezels above and below the screen are quite sizeable, the ones to either side are small.

Blade v8 review

There’s no water resistance, but we wouldn’t expect that at this price, and the overall look matches or beats most other sub-£150 phones. As with the screen though it’s very similar to the ZTE Blade V7 here.

Power

The ZTE Blade V8 has a 1.4GHz octa-core Snapdragon 435 chipset, which is fairly low-end but also a recent high-quality chipset.

And importantly this is one area where the phone is an upgrade on the ZTE Blade V7, as that has a slightly slower chipset from a smaller brand (MediaTek).

Coupled with 2GB of RAM, performance should be similar to the Moto G5 and Nokia 6, both of which have 3GB of RAM but a slightly older chipset.

In real terms that means general performance should be smooth when navigating the interface, and even using apps and games will generally be speedy.

You’ll only likely notice the limitations when trying to rapidly jump between lots of apps or play especially demanding games. If you do plan to play many games beyond basic ones though you might want to consider spending a bit more.

Camera

Blade v8 Review

This is one of the biggest upgrades over the ZTE Blade V7, as while the former has a single-lens camera, the latter has a dual-lens one, specifically a 13MP and 2MP lens.

That combination allows for photos with a bokeh effect, where the background is blurred, a bit like Portrait Mode on the iPhone X. It doesn’t work as well here but to have it at all at this price is impressive. It can also combine two photos to create a 3D effect.

Features aside, the camera on the ZTE Blade V8 is more than competent, matching other phones in this price range and – once you factor in the 2nd lens – actually topping most of them.

You can also record video in 1080p and around the front there’s a 13MP snapper, which is a high-spec for a selfie camera, and further helped by a flash – which not all phones have on the front, especially budget ones.

Features

Blade v* review

The ZTE Blade V8 doesn’t have much in the way of extra features, but it does have a fingerprint scanner, giving you a secure and speedy way to unlock your phone. We’re increasingly seeing scanners on low-end handsets, so this isn’t a surprise, but it’s still a nice extra feature to have.

Battery life, memory and connectivity

There’s a 2730mAh battery in the ZTE Blade V8, which should easily last you a day of moderate use, putting it around the average for smartphone life.

It’s not going to keep you going as long as the similarly affordable Moto E4 Plus, but then not many phones will.

There’s also 16GB of storage, which isn’t a huge amount, but can be boosted by adding a microSD card of up to 256GB.

Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G and Bluetooth 4.1. Notably there’s no NFC, so even though the ZTE Blade V8 has a fingerprint scanner you won’t be able to use it to make contactless payments, which is a shame.

Verdict

The ZTE Blade V8 is a very similar phone to the ZTE Blade V7, but thanks to its dual-lens camera and faster chipset it’s noticeably better. Not enough that we’d recommend upgrading from the former to the latter, but enough that it’s one of the best budget phones of 2017, just as the V7 was one of the best of 2016.

Its impressive camera, premium build and decent screen have most similarly priced rivals matched or beat and even weaker areas such as the power and battery are still at least average for the money.

The lack of NFC is a shame and the ZTE Blade V8 won’t be up to serious gaming, but for less demanding users it’s a very strong buy.

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Specifications

Specifications

Dimensions (mm): 148.4 x 71.5 x 7.7

Weight (g): 141

Battery capacity (mAh): 2730

Colours: Rose Gold, Silver, Dark Grey, Champagne Gold

Screen size (inches): 5.2

Resolution: 1080 x 1920

Pixels per inch (PPI): 424

Processor: Octa-core 1.4GHz

Processor make: Snapdragon 435

RAM: 2GB

Internal storage: 16GB

Expandable storage up to (GB): 256

Camera: 13MP and 2MP (13MP front-facing)

Operating System: Android 7.0 Nougat

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