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ZTE Blade V8 Pro review: Big battery for cheap

This handset lasts a long time and you won't have to break the bank to buy it.

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Lynn La
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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.

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4 min read

If the ZTE Blade V8 Pro didn't have such a cheap price and a long-lasting battery, I guarantee you I would not remember this phone. Outside those two features, there wouldn't be much reason to buy it -- especially given its heavy design and slightly buggy performance.

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7.4

ZTE Blade V8 Pro

The Good

The ZTE Blade V8 Pro has a long battery life, a fun camera with neat tricks and is cheap compared to other mid-range phones like this.

The Bad

The phone is heavy, the fingerprint sensor needs more polish and the camera app has a tendency to quit out unexpectedly.

The Bottom Line

The ZTE's Blade V8 Pro has long battery life and a budget price, but the Asus ZenFone 3 is simply better.

So it's a good thing, then, that the phone is inexpensive enough at $230 unlocked (roughly converting to £190 and AU$300), and lasts long enough to make up for its forgettable presence. And its dual-camera setup, while not essential, has some nice editing tools that lets you have fun with your photos.

I like it much better than the LeEco Le S3 (which costs $20 more) because the Blade retains a headphone jack and NFC. It's also a worthy competitor to the Motorola Moto G4 Plus, save for the fact that the Moto has a water-friendly design and the Blade doesn't.

ZTE's Blade V8 Pro boasts a long-lasting battery

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But the handset cannot outperform the Asus ZenFone 3, which costs the same, is more stylish, has an even longer-lasting battery and is the superior device overall.

Nice display but heavy to hold

The Blade V8 Pro has a solid, sturdy build, and its metal trimmings is a nice added detail.

What I liked most about its design is its display. It has a 1,080-pixel resolution that is sharp and responsive. When I watched videos and swiped through my photos, images were bright and clear.

The handset isn't the slimmest phone around, however. At 6.5 ounces, it's heavy in the hand and you can definitely feel its weight in your pocket.

Its soft matte back cover also collects a lot of fingerprints and smudges that are difficult to wipe off, so don't handle the device after you've eaten chicken wings or something, lest you feel disgusted about your oily self.

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While solidly built, the phone is also notably heavy.

Josh Miller/CNET

The phone runs Android Marshmallow 6.0, which isn't the most recent version of the OS (that would go to Android Nougat). Also, there were times when I noticed the Blade V8 Pro was a bit buggy. For example, the camera would quit suddenly, the fingerprint sensor wouldn't be able to read my fingerprint right away during setup or there'd be a little screen glitch when flipping the device from portrait to landscape. None of these incidents were particularly frustrating (except the fingerprint setup) at the time, but over time I imagine they'd get annoying.

Two camera, fun tricks

The handset's cameras (more on that later) worked quickly and took sharp photos. I was impressed by how it handled low-light environments too; when I took an image of an evening lake scene, the photo was relatively clear without too much graininess or digital artifacts. For more on image quality, check out the photos below. And be sure to click on each picture to see them at their full resolution.

The phone has two 13-megapixel cameras (one of which is a monochrome camera) that let's you do a bunch of artsy effects to your photos. One setting gives your images a bokeh effect, similar to the one on the Apple iPhone 7 Plus. It doesn't work as smoothly or quickly, but it lets you blur the background or foreground (and the level of blurriness) after you take an image for a dramatic look.

You can take fancy black and white shots too, or pictures with just one pop of color. I don't recommend taking your next vacation photos using all these effects, but they're fun to tinker around with (especially the black and white sketch effect, which turns everything into A-ha's "Take On Me.") There's a Live Photo option (again, we've seen this on iPhone) as well, where you can take short, GIF-like photos that have movement. Keep in mind though, that these pictures take about twice as much memory as a regular photo.

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In this sunny outdoor scene, you can see the glass panes and chairs look clear and sharp.

Lynn La/CNET
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This evening shot didn't have a lot of light, but the camera managed well enough.

Lynn La/CNET
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In this indoor image, you can see a blue tint on the white hues in the table and soda machine.

Lynn La/CNET
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A bokeh image taken with the camera.

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Battery life and performance

The phone's Snapdragon 625 processor (a common processor in mid-range phones) keeps the device ticking along smoothly in terms of speed. Though some tasks weren't executed as spontaneously as with higher-end handsets (firing up the camera took a slight beat, for example), there wasn't any significant lag with other common commands like swiping through home page screens, scrolling down websites and launching apps.

On paper, the handset performed comparably to its alternatives and beat out the Moto G4 Plus by a wide margin in 3DMark's Ice Storm Unlimited test. However, since both the Le S3 and ZenFone 3 outpaced the Blade V8 Pro on the same test, it's clear that the Blade V8 Pro isn't any sort of speed behemoth.

ZTE Blade V8 Pro benchmark scores

ZTE Blade V8 Pro 831 3102 13814Asus ZenFone 3 917 5043 14002Motorola Moto G4 Plus N/A N/A 9866LeEco Le S3 1452 2921 18311
  • Geekbench 4 Single-Core
  • Geekbench 4 Multi-Core
  • 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

Where the phone does make an impression, though, is battery life. During our lab tests for continuous local video playback on Airplane Mode, the device clocked in an average of 14 hours, beating out its competitors save for the ZenFone 3 (that had a time of 16 and a half hours). Still though, 14 hours is an excellent time and it can easily last through a workday without a charge. Also, the handset has fast charging capabilities. It took about 30 minutes to replete itself to 50 percent as well as an hour and 25 minutes to get fully juiced (which is on par with other phones that have Quick Charge technology).

ZTE Blade V8 Pro spec comparison

ZTE Blade V8 ProAsus ZenFone 3Motorola Moto G4 PlusLeEco Le S3
Display size, resolution 5.5-inch; 1,920x1,080 pixels5.5-inch; 1,920x1,080 pixels5.5-inch; 1,920x1,080 pixels5.5-inch; 1,920x1,080 pixels
Pixel density 401 ppi401ppi401ppi403 ppi
Dimensions (Inches) 6.14x3.03x0.36 inches6.01x3.05x0.3 inches6x3x0.39 inches5.95x2.92x0.30 inches
Dimensions (Millimeters) 156x77x9.14 mm152.6x77.4x7.7mm153x76.6x9.8 mm151.1x74.2x7.5 mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 6.53 oz; 185g5.47 oz; 155g5.47 oz; 155g5.4 oz; 153g
Mobile software Android 6.0 MarshmallowAndroid 6.0.1 MarshmallowAndroid 6.0 MarshmallowAndroid 6.0 Marshmallow
Camera Two 13-megapixel cameras16-megapixel16-megapixel16-megapixel
Front-facing camera 8-megapixel8-megapixel5-megapixel8-megapixel
Video capture 4K8-megapixel1,080p HD4K
Processor 2.0 octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 6252Ghz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 6251.5GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 617Qualcomm Snapdragon 652
Storage 32GB32/64GB32GB32GB
RAM 3GB3/4GB4GB3GB
Expandable storage Up to 128GBUp to 256GBUp to 128GBNone
Battery 3,140mAh (nonremovable)3,000mAh (nonremovable)3,000mAh (removable)3,000mAh (nonremovable)
Fingerprint sensor Home ButtonBack coverBelow screenBack cover
Connector USB-CUSB-CMicro-USBUSB-C
Special features One monochrome camera; Dolby Audio supportLaser/phase detection autofocus, OIS (4-axis), fingerprint doubles as shutter buttonWater-resistantAccess to LeEco's streaming platform with Live button
Price off-contract (USD) $230$249$249$250
Price (GBP) Roughly converts to £190Converts to converts to £170£229Converts to £200
Price (AUD) Roughly converts to AU$300Converts to AU$35016GB: AU$399; 32GB: AU$449Converts to AU$340
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7.4

ZTE Blade V8 Pro

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Performance 7Camera 7Battery 9
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