ZTE Blade A2 Plus review

ZTE has been selling it’s mobile devices in India for sometime but never really introduced a serious product in the smartphone category. The company has finally decided to change that by bringing in the first of it’s many devices with some decent specs with the launch of ZTE Blade A2 Plus. This phone is a direct competitor to devices like RN4, Honor 6x, ZenFone 3S Max and Lenovo P2. Let us see how the device fares in our review.

ZTE Blade

The device has a solid metal body with design that resembles most of the devices now a days and feels comfortable to hold it. The device measures 9.8mm in thickness and weighs in about 189 grams making it one of the heaviest devices in this segment. On the front we have a 5.5 inch FHD IPS display protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 below which there is a capacitive circular home button that also acts as notification light and accompanied by back and options key on either side. The volume rocker and power key is to the right and the sim tray is on the left of the device. On the back we have a noise cancelling microphone, 13MP camera, dual LED flash and a physical button which also acts a finger print sensor. There is a 3.5mm audio jack at the top, speaker and microUSB port at the bottom of the device.

ZTE Blade A2 Plus features a 5.5 inch display with a full HD resolution and is pretty good. The colors are natural, text and images are crisp and clear. The outdoor visibility is also good and has nice viewing angles too. MiraVision optimization allows you to enable features like dynamic contrast and blue-light filter.

Powering the devices is MediaTeK MT6750T octa-core SoC which consists of 4 x A53 1.5GHz and 4 x A53 1.0GHz cores. There is Mali T860 dual GPU clocked up to 650MHz to take care of the graphic intensive tasks and applications. We get 4GB RAM to take care of multi-tasking and 32GB internal memory which can be expanded up to 128GB. The device was able to handle most of the tasks we threw at it without any issues. There were sometimes noticeable frame drops in very high graphical games but this is a mid-rang device which is not supposed to handle those anyway. Below you can see the benchmark results that are quite similar to other devices in this range.

The smartphone runs on Mifavor 3.5 OS which is based on Android  6.0 Marshmallow which resembles stock Android in everything except that there is no app drawer just like other Chinese phones. The toggles in the notification area is editable, there are settings to define various gestures for different tasks. There is a family mode which makes all the icons look bigger for easy accessibility and a self-service app call ZTE Cares.  The fingerprint sensor is very fast and is also a physical button that can be programmed for various apps or tasks.

There is a 13MP camera at the back and features PDAF which should mean fast focusing on paper. But in reality the camera’s focus is slow and very unstable in low-light and night conditions. The pictures taken in daylight are decent but the colors are a bit on dull side and macro shots are also difficult with the focus issues. We hope ZTE soon rolls out an update to fix the camera issues. The 8MP front camera is good for selfies in sufficient lighting and are just ok in the low light conditions.

The phone features a 5000mAh battery which will be the main selling point given the price it is offered at. We were able to get through 2 full days with the ZTE Blade A2 Plus on casual usage and more than a day with heavy usage which included browsing, gaming, music and videos as well. The phone also supports PumpCharge which is MediaTek’s technology for fast charging and we were able to get a 25% charge in about 40 minutes even though it is not as good as Qualcomm’s QuickCharge. Connectivity wise we have Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, GPS, FM radio and USB OTG. The device also supports 4G and VoLTE which is fast becoming a requirement in the country. The call quality from the ear piece was very good and the voices were loud and clear.

Overall the ZTE Blade A2 Plus is a good device with solid build, good screen, great battery and a very good price. But the device could have been even better with a camera that could take decent pictures with no focusing issues. The battery life is great at this price and the competitors who provide 5000mAh battery are certainly priced more than this device. The alternate phones like RN4, Honor 6x, ZenFone 3S Max and Lenovo P2 offer similar battery life but are also better in some of the features.