ZTE's phone at CES, the Blade V8 Pro, takes a page out of 'Take on Me' (hands-on)

A super-affordable ZTE Blade phone finally slices its way to the US.

Lynn La Senior Editor / Reviews - Phones
Lynn La covers mobile reviews and news. She previously wrote for The Sacramento Bee, Macworld and The Global Post.
Lynn La
2 min read

After hitting markets in Asia, Europe and Mexico, ZTE's Blade series of phones is finally making its US debut with the V8 Pro.

The phone, which we checked out here at CES 2017 in Las Vegas, features a 5.5-inch display with Android M and two rear cameras. it's available for preorder today in the US for $230.

For that relatively affordable price, the V8 Pro offers a lot of hardware goodies. For one thing, the two rear shooters are both 13 megapixels, one of which is a monochrome camera that can shoot in black and white. We've seen dual cameras before in other high-end phones like the LG V20, the Lenovo ​Phab 2 Pro and even ZTE's own 2015 flagship, the ZTE Axon Pro.

The ZTE Blade V8 Pro phone lands stateside

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Depending on the phone, dual cameras are used for different reasons. In the V20, the second camera is for wide-angle shots, while the Phab 2 Pro uses its camera setup for measuring depth and distances for augmented reality.

In the V8 Pro's case, the cameras can take photos with a bokeh effect, which blurs the background for an artsy, dramatic look. (The Apple iPhone 7 and the Axon Pro before, do this too.) Extra software allows you to switch up the point of focus from the background to the foreground (and the degree of blurriness). There's also a fun tool that uses the monochrome camera to turn photos into a black-and-white sketch that reminded me of the classic A-Ha "Take on Me" video.

When I checked it out, the tools worked pretty well and smoothly. The bokeh effect worked a tad faster than I had recalled with the Axon Pro, and the sketch filter rendered quickly.

The phone also has a fingerprint reader, expandable memory and dual-SIM capabilities -- the last of which is useful for anyone who travels frequently or who has two numbers.

ZTE Blade V8 Pro specs

  • 5.5-inch display with 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution
  • 6.14x3.03x0.36 inches (156x77x9.1 mm)
  • Android M
  • 2.0GHz, eight-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor
  • 3GB RAM, 32GB of internal storage, expandable memory up to 128GB
  • 8-megapixel front camera, two 13-megapixel rear cameras
  • 3,140mAh battery with Quick Charge 2.0 technology

Other similarly priced phones include the Sony Xperia XA, which has a sleek bezel-less design, but half as much built-in memory as the V8 Pro. The Motorola Moto G4 Plus is one of our more favorite budget phones of 2016. It has comparable specs to the V8 Pro at the same price. Though it doesn't have dual rear cameras or NFC, it does have a water-resistant design.

Click here for CNET's complete coverage of CES 2017.

All the cool new gadgets at CES 2017

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