Introduction


In just a few more weeks, the conversation surrounding new smartphones is going to take a major turn, as it tends to do around that time every year. With the new flagships of MWC (and those that launch independently in the days that will follow), we're going to be talking about the cream of the smartphone crop, and how this batch of high-end models promises to shape the arrival of the rest of the year's hero phones.

But right now, in the wake of CES (and its lack of major new-phone announcements), the landscape is very different, and our conversations have circled more around the idea of value: really well-balanced handsets that keep prices as low as they come, while also still fighting to deliver a premium feature or two.

A couple weeks back we gave you an in-depth look at the Honor 6X, a solidly outfitted mid-ranger that was selling for the very attractive price of just $250. That's a great start, but can we go even lower, while not sacrificing a lot of quality and features?

ZTE thinks we can, and just like Honor, it's got an affordable new option that packs a fancy dual-rear-camera system, just like some much more expensive phones. Let's take a look at the ZTE Blade V8 Pro, and see if this really could be one of the new year's best values.


In the box:


Design

No major missteps, but it's still very much a phone that feels like a mid-ranger


The Blade V8 Pro is handsome and decently built, but it can't quite shake off its mid-range positioning, and comes across as a handset that falls somewhere south of premium.
Don't get us wrong: this isn't some cheap, plastic mess. The handset features a metal band around its frame with attractive beveled edges, 2.5D curved glass, and a subtly arching back panel. But the phone's rear is also crafted out of rubberized plastic, in a time when we see higher-end metal construction coming to even budget-priced hardware.

That back panel doesn't look bad-bad by any stretch, but its textured surface does have a bad habit of picking up crumbs. And compared to the metal-bodied Honor 6X, with which the Blade V8 Pro shares a 5.5-inch screen size, ZTE's handset is thicker, taller, heavier, and just generally feels bulkier – in spite of Honor's phone getting the bigger battery.

Lest you get the idea that ZTE's design is full of bad decisions, the Blade V8 Pro does enjoy an impressively flush camera (not really sticking out at all), a modern USB Type-C connector on the handsets bottom edge (where it sits next to the phone's speaker), and it manages to hold onto its headphone jack. ZTE makes the interesting choice to go with a front-mounted fingerprint scanner, integrated into the phone's home button. It works OK, but accuracy is sometimes a little iffy (requiring repeat scans), and having to physically press the button to unlock the phone feels less graceful than some other fingerprint-scanner implementations.

All things considered, the Blade V8 Pro is put together quite nicely, and looks reasonably attractive. The phone's just a little large, and doesn't go quite far enough in terms of premium-feeling materials. Then again, this is a mid-ranger, so perhaps we shouldn't be that surprised.


ZTE Blade V8 Pro

ZTE Blade V8 Pro

Dimensions

6.14 x 3.03 x 0.36 inches

156 x 77 x 9.1 mm

Weight

6.53 oz (185 g)

Honor 6x

Honor 6x

Dimensions

5.94 x 3 x 0.32 inches

150.9 x 76.2 x 8.2 mm

Weight

5.71 oz (162 g)

ZTE Axon 7 Mini

ZTE Axon 7 Mini

Dimensions

5.81 x 2.8 x 0.31 inches

147.5 x 71 x 7.8 mm

Weight

5.40 oz (153 g)

Motorola Moto G4 Plus

Motorola Moto G4 Plus

Dimensions

6.02 x 3.02 x 0.39 inches

153 x 76.6 x 9.8 mm

Weight

5.47 oz (155 g)

ZTE Blade V8 Pro

ZTE Blade V8 Pro

Dimensions

6.14 x 3.03 x 0.36 inches

156 x 77 x 9.1 mm

Weight

6.53 oz (185 g)

Honor 6x

Honor 6x

Dimensions

5.94 x 3 x 0.32 inches

150.9 x 76.2 x 8.2 mm

Weight

5.71 oz (162 g)

ZTE Axon 7 Mini

ZTE Axon 7 Mini

Dimensions

5.81 x 2.8 x 0.31 inches

147.5 x 71 x 7.8 mm

Weight

5.40 oz (153 g)

Motorola Moto G4 Plus

Motorola Moto G4 Plus

Dimensions

6.02 x 3.02 x 0.39 inches

153 x 76.6 x 9.8 mm

Weight

5.47 oz (155 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page


Display

Though not particularly impressive in any one regard, the screen is bright, sharp enough, and has reasonably accurate colors


ZTE hooks the Blade V8 Pro up with a 5.5-inch screen offering a 1080 x 1920 resolution, a combination that just about screams “mid-range display” these days; it's big enough to scratch that phablet itch that so inescapably has infiltrated phone design, while also providing a suitably sharp screen. Leave it to the flagships to endlessly debate the value of Quad-HD resolutions; phones like the Blade V8 Pro are plenty confident stopping once they hit Full-HD.

Compared to most of the smartphone screens we look at, the V8 Pro's is definitely on the brighter side, and considering all the comparisons we've been drawing to the Honor 6X, it seems worth mentioning that both models came in with near-identical screen-brightness measurements. While that 500 nits of output will fight admirably against a sunny day, we'll admit that we did find ourselves in outdoor-usage situations where we wished we could crank that brightness higher, still.

Color accuracy is slightly better than we saw on the 6X, to ZTE's credit, but it's still not perfect: maybe “inaccurate in a different way” would be an apt description. Where the Blade V8 Pro suffers, though, is in the lack of software controls to further tweak image balance: what you see is largely what you get.

FEATURED VIDEO

15 Comments

1. yalokiy

Posts: 944; Member since: Aug 01, 2016

Applause to ZTE for making a great budget phone. Even better (in most ways) than honor 6x!

2. epic_ninja420

Posts: 131; Member since: Nov 18, 2014

I'd be using it if it supported wifi calling

3. legiloca

Posts: 1676; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

We need a review for the Axon 7!

10. DAC78

Posts: 3; Member since: Jan 01, 2017

AXON 7? With Nougat update... Daydream capable.. Hi-Fi stereo sound with dual front facing speakers and a quad HD display.. 2 yr warranty free.. even better headphone sound.. it's by far the best phone I've ever had.

13. Derass

Posts: 149; Member since: Aug 06, 2015

Glad to hear this! I'm closely considering the Mini.

4. davthom123

Posts: 120; Member since: Mar 02, 2015

lenovo p2

5. libra89

Posts: 2271; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Not bad at all!

6. Furbal unregistered

Oh Damm. Fix that speaker and this is killer. Video recording cm be fixed with an update so that is promising.

7. PryvateiDz

Posts: 443; Member since: Jul 31, 2011

Wow! ZTE really improved! I heard so much bad about the Axon 7 Camera, and saw quite a few samples. This is a step in the right direction! Maybe the Axon 8 will take these improvements from the Blade V8 Pro to their Flagship line.

11. DAC78

Posts: 3; Member since: Jan 01, 2017

What you heard about the camera was wrong. The front camera is one of the best. 4k video quality is excellent. Low light is better since updates. It's not the very best but it's not a far drop either.

8. k9luvr

Posts: 122; Member since: Oct 17, 2016

It still uses the MiFavor software same as Axon 7. If you come from an LG or Samsung phone you may be disappointed in the lack of features, options and customizations.

9. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

still can't beat redmi note 3 pro :-/

12. Duncdawg26

Posts: 170; Member since: Jan 20, 2017

No R3Pro in the States... I'm waiting to see what exactly the moto g5 and g5+ turn out to be. But this phone is selling great on Swappa- 170 w/ case!

14. Mohammad.m

Posts: 2; Member since: Apr 21, 2017

you should choice mid-range phone or top-range phone, my opinion, tech will be develop faster than we think and it is not reasonable to by one of them..... in the best mid-range phone could be graceful for zte blade v8 pro due to present for you option of top phone

15. Mohammad.m

Posts: 2; Member since: Apr 21, 2017

best product of zte company
Blade V8 Pro
  • Display 5.5" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 625, Octa-core, 2000 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3140 mAh(24h talk time)

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