ZTE makes a play for the mid-range with a $299 4G phone

The next battleground for smartphones might be price, not just features, as one of the makers of the phones for telcos makes a model of its own, and it really looks to compete on value.

This week, ZTE has decided to send word that its own take on what an “S6” should be is about to arrive. It’s not a Galaxy S6 per se, not like the Samsung model, but rather a “Blade S6” which is what ZTE is calling its new smartphone, which takes the familiar touchscreen slate formula we see again and again, and offers up quite a few features for a $299 price tag.

“In line with our product portfolio plan, we very much sought to push the envelope with the Blade S6, and to do so in a way that would appeal to youths, as well as those with active social lives,” said Mr. Adam Zeng Xuezhong, Executive Vice President of ZTE Corporation.


To compete with the big boys, ZTE has loaded in quite a few features to get people to the table, bringing a 5 inch display to the table, with an octa-core Snapdragon 615 processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage, a microSD slot, and Google’s Android 5.0 “Lollipop” operating system.

Two cameras are here, as expected, with a 13 megapixel rear camera and a 5 megapixel front-facing shooter, and to really throw you a curve ball, there are two SIM slots here, both of which are made for nanoSIM. WiFi is included too, offering 802.11b/g/n and 802.11ac, while the phone is 4G and offers up Category 4 LTE technology, meaning speeds as fast as 150Mbps down and 50Mbps up, network dependent, of course.


Making things a little different is ZTE’s “Smart Sense” option, which brings in gesture and motion controls to let you activate phone functionality, with a wrist flick being mapped to different things, such as opening the mirror application or switching on the torch.

Another note is that Android is pretty vanilla, making the ZTE more like a Motorola or Google Nexus style of smartphone with no real overlay offered.

“With its small package, powerful capabilities and Vanilla Android L build, the Blade S6 is the dream device for the socially active consumers and a clear demonstration of ZTE’s ability to offer a premium smartphone at an affordable price, said Xuezhong.


The pricing looks particularly good at grabbing people, with a recommended retail value of $299, and availability from JB HiFi, with the release set to now. Hopefully we’ll have a review shortly, so if you’re keen, stay tuned!