ZTE's $299 4G Blade S6 reviewed
3.8Overall Score

Price (RRP): $299
Manufacturer: ZTE

Not everyone wants to spend a lot of money on a phone, and if you can’t quite see the value in a $799 or $999 phone, ZTE is looking at you with a $299 phone. Is this a bargain, or just plain cheap?

Features

You might never have heard of the brand “ZTE”, but just like Huawei, they have been doing business in smartphones for quite a while.

In fact, the comparison between the two is apt, as just like Huawei, ZTE once spent most of its time making products for telcos, building smartphones, tablets, and mobile broadband devices and releasing them with the badging of a telco rather than that of their own company.

Recently, though, ZTE has been doing what other manufacturers have been doing and making more than just another phone for another telco, branding their own gear and selling it online and in retail stores.

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The Blade S6 is an example of this, and is ZTE’s latest attempt to storm the budget-to-mid-range part of the market, offering a top-tier-like gadget without a top-tier-like price.

Starting this off is the screen, and that’s an area ZTE hopes to attract people, with as 5 inch 720p HD In-Plane Switching (IPS) touchscreen, providing a resolution of 1280×720 and delivering a pixels clarity value of 294 pixels per inch.

Under this, you’ll find the guts of the phone, with ZTE going with one of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 615 octa-core processors made from a 1.7GHz quad-core and a 1.0GHz quad-core setup paired together. This is matched with 2GB RAM and 16GB storage, and there’s even a microSD slot here if you decide to expand on this later on.

Google’s Android OS is also here, setup at Android 5.0 “Lollipop” out of the box, making it pretty much up-to-date.

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Cameras are of course offered in the ZTE Blade S6 — it’s a phone, after all, and that is par for the course — and you’ll find a 13 megapixel shooter with a flash on the back, while a 5 megapixel camera can be found on the front without a flash.

Connections are more or less par for the course as well, with 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi provided alongside Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP, GPS with A-GPS, as well as microUSB for wired, and Category 4 4G LTE providing the mobile connectivity.

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Ports for the phone are fairly standard too, and there are few of these, with a 3.5mm headset jack up top, a microUSB port at the bottom, and two pin ejectable trays on the left edge providing access to the SIM tray with two nanoSIM areas and the microSD slot for upgrading the storage.

Buttons are also relatively standard and limited, with a physical power button and volume rocker found on the right edge, with three soft buttons found below the 5 inch LCD screen.