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ZTE Blade V8 Pro review: Big battery for cheap

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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.

7.4 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 7
  • Performance 7
  • Camera 7
  • Battery 9

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.

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.

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.

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.

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