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Review ZTE Blade III Smartphone

Florian Wimmer (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 08/07/2013

An offer you can't resist? ZTE's Blade III is a 4 inch smartphone that is available for less than 100 Euros (~$133) on the internet. Is it worth the money or are there better offers for users looking for an entry-level smartphone?

In Review: ZTE Blade III. Courtesy of Cyberport.

For the original German review, see here.

Although ZTE is not as popular as Samsung or Sony in our regions, the Chinese company employs almost 90000 workers and sees itself among the top 5 of major cellphone manufacturers. We have reviewed the Grand X Pro and Grand X IN and were generally quite satisfied with the devices. However, the price difference to equivalent devices from better known manufacturers was not very big.

The ZTE Blade III that we are testing today is a very affordable entry-level model, which wants to compete with devices such as Sony's Xperia J or Acer's Liquid E1 Duo. We will also use Jiayu's G3, Huawei's Ascend W1, Huawei's Ascend Y300, Amoi's N828, Nokia's Lumia 520 and LG's Optimus L5 II for comparison. Find out how ZTE's Blade III fares in this community.

Case

The casing of ZTE's Blade III strongly resembles that of ZTE's Grand X IN although the latter is a bit bigger. The polycarbonate material and decent stiffness have been adopted. The phone cannot be warped and is absolutely pressure resistant. The build is also very good; the gaps are narrow and even.

The front and back of ZTE's Blade III is completely black. The encompassing, chrome-colored bezel features a small notch as an eye-catcher. Four touch-sensitive buttons are below the screen. Overall, the phone convinces more with its rigid build than its design, which is fairly plain and thus likely suitable for the masses.

Connectivity

ZTE's Blade III only includes the common interfaces. One USB 2.0 port and a 3.5 millimeter audio jack is all that is found. However, that is all that is needed. A slot for a micro-SD card with a maximum of 32 GB and the micro-SIM slot are underneath the removable back cover. The battery has to be removed before these slots can be accessed.

Right: No interfaces
Right: No interfaces
Left: Volume rocker
Left: Volume rocker
Top: 3.5 mm audio jack, standby button
Top: 3.5 mm audio jack, standby button
Bottom: USB 2.0 port
Bottom: USB 2.0 port
Unmodified: Android 4.0.4.
Unmodified: Android 4.0.4.

Software

The slightly older Android 4.0.4 is used as the operating system in our review sample. The manufacturer has not modified it much. Only the app Mi-EasyAcess is there to facilitate getting started. The user can access frequently used functions via the lock screen. ZTE now clearly points out that the phone can be unlocked by pressing the button for a longer time. This was very unclear before. The selection of preinstalled software is not vast. An office suite and file manager are the biggest add-ons.

The A-GPS module works well outdoors.
The A-GPS module works well outdoors.
The reception is soon interrupted indoors.
The reception is soon interrupted indoors.

Communication & GPS

The smartphone sends and receives in three different GSM bands so that it can be used in many cellphone-networks worldwide. ZTE's Blade II also supports all 3G technologies up to HSPA. Swift LTE is not available but that cannot be expected in an entry-level phone anyway.

The Wi-Fi module supports the 802.11 b/g/n standards. We checked whether the smartphone has enough reception power by separating the phone from the router with three walls and a distance of 10 meters. The Android display still exhibited two out of four bars. Another wireless interface is Bluetooth 2.1, which is an older version that lags behind the current standards in terms of security and speed.

A-GPS is also on-board. The module detected enough satellites to accurately determine our location outdoors. However, the reception could only be maintained for a short time indoors. Although there were still a few satellites within range, there weren't enough to perform localization.

Telephony

In line with the unmodified looks of the Android system, the phone app was not changed either. Die-hard Android users will feel at home right away, but everyone else will also quickly learn just how the intuitive app works.

The speech quality is acceptable. The called party comes across loud and clear and we were also intelligible. We did not ascertain excessive noise. However, the headset and speaker are barely suitable for calls. The headset exhibits a poor sound quality, is uncomfortable to wear and cannot completely cancel background noise. The speaker does not have a particularly high maximum volume and tends to hum.

Cameras & Multimedia

ZTE's Blade III only features one camera. There is no front-facing camera for video chats or self-portraits. The small lens on the rear has a resolution of 5 megapixels and, although autofocus is installed, it does not have an LED flash. Other phones from this price range, such as Sony's Xperia J, sport a front-facing camera even if the picture quality is usually not good enough for very much. Jiayu's G3 even has an 8 megapixel camera that shoots decent pictures in good light.

Our review sample shoots acceptable pictures that are however slightly overexposed and lack contrast in bright light. The details are still good even when zoomed. Overall, it is possible to take quite acceptable pictures with the camera. However, it should not be used in low light because of intense noise and the lack of a flash.

Apple iPhone 5 (8 megapixels): Plant
Apple iPhone 5 (8 megapixels): Plant
Apple iPhone 5 (8 megapixels): Scene
Apple iPhone 5 (8 megapixels): Scene
Apple iPhone 5 (8 megapixels): Surroundings
Apple iPhone 5 (8 megapixels): Surroundings
Google Nexus 4 (8 megapixels): Plant
Google Nexus 4 (8 megapixels): Plant
Google Nexus 4 (8 megapixels): Scene
Google Nexus 4 (8 megapixels): Scene
Google Nexus 4 (8 megapixels): Surroundings
Google Nexus 4 (8 megapixels): Surroundings
Nokia Lumia 920 (8.7 megapixels): Plant
Nokia Lumia 920 (8.7 megapixels): Plant
Nokia Lumia 920 (8.7 megapixels): Scene
Nokia Lumia 920 (8.7 megapixels): Scene
Nokia Lumia 920 (8.7 megapixels): Surroundings
Nokia Lumia 920 (8.7 megapixels): Surroundings
Sony A57 (16 megapixels): Plant
Sony A57 (16 megapixels): Plant
Sony A57 (16 megapixels): Scene
Sony A57 (16 megapixels): Scene
Sony A57 (16 megapixels): Surroundings
Sony A57 (16 megapixels): Surroundings
ZTE Blade III (5 megapixels): Plant
ZTE Blade III (5 megapixels): Plant
ZTE Blade III (5 megapixels): Scene
ZTE Blade III (5 megapixels): Scene
ZTE Blade III (5 megapixels): Surroundings
ZTE Blade III (5 megapixels): Surroundings

Accessories

Only the unusual power supply in form of a wall wart with a short cord and USB port, a USB cord and a headset are included. However, as mentioned above the latter is not of much use. ZTE does not have a webshop in Germany and there are no signs of device-specific accessories on the German website.

Warranty

A 24 month warranty is included. Warranty claims can be made over the retailer or ZTE's hotline. The latter is available on business days via a normal landline number.

Input Devices & Controls

The keyboard is dubbed "TouchPal" and offers many new features.
The keyboard is dubbed "TouchPal" and offers many new features.

The virtual keyboard shows a difference to the Android standard after all. ZTE installs a keyboard dubbed "TouchPal". We found this model in the reviews of the other two ZTE phones and were quite pleasantly surprised by its diverse input options. Voice input, swiping rather than tapping, display option for special characters, special menus for parts of internet addresses and a clipboard. In short, there are many customization options for the keyboard. It is even possible to download skins from the internet, which give the keyboard a wooden or leather look.

The touchscreen support gestures with up to five fingers. However, the finish is not as sleek as in other models. The volume rocker on the left features a good pressure point and its use conveys a high-quality, reliable feel. Only the standby button is a bit small and is difficult to find in the dark.

Display

The 4-inch screen in a 16:10 aspect ratio has a resolution of 480x800 pixels. It is based on TFT technology. Although the resolution is acceptable for a smartphone of this category, Jiayu proves that a 720p resolution is possible with its G3. But the differences would only be evident with a magnifying glass and the display of ZTE's Blade III looks throughout focused and rich in color.

Our review sample provides similar brightness rates as most contenders. An average of 333.6 cd/m² is ultimately only enough for a place in the midfield though. For example, Amoi's N828 and LG's Optimus L5 II are much brighter. The illumination of 88% is fairly even but brightness differences are quite visible in white or black areas.

315
cd/m²
337
cd/m²
316
cd/m²
323
cd/m²
352
cd/m²
327
cd/m²
338
cd/m²
360
cd/m²
331
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 360 cd/m²
Average: 333.2 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 88 %
Center on Battery: 352 cd/m²
Black: 0.42 cd/m²
Contrast: 838:1

The "mediocrity" of our review sample is continued in contrast and black value. A contrast of 838:1 and a black value of 0.42 cd/m² do not set standards although they are not really bad. As said before, the color reproduction is quite appealing. Nevertheless, black is not very saturated and looks like dark gray.

However, black is the value that deviates the least from the ideal value in the grayscale. We determined this using the colorimeter and CalMAN software. White deviates extremely from the ideal value and has a clear bluish cast. This bluish cast is noticed in the color management where blue is overemphasized. The saturation shows that red and blue are very unsaturated. Overall, the reproduction deviates extremely from the ideal sRGB color space and it is particularly the bluish cast that ruins the color representation.

CalMAN: Color Management
CalMAN: Color Management
CalMAN: Color Accuracy
CalMAN: Color Accuracy
CalMAN: Grayscale
CalMAN: Grayscale
CalMAN: Saturation
CalMAN: Saturation
Outdoors
Outdoors

ZTE's Blade III actually shows its advantages outdoors. The screen remains quite legible in bright light due to the decent brightness. However, that is very straining on the eyes. It is recommendable to look for a shady place or work indoors with the phone in the long run. The content is very legible then.

Viewing angles
Viewing angles

It is quite possible to look at the smartphone's screen from very acute viewing angles. The content remains well-legible. No brightness or contrast deviations are seen when the phone is tilted up, down, left or right.

Performance

ZTE's Blade III is based on an SoC from Qualcomm. The Snapdragon S1 MSM7227A features an ARM Cortex A5 computing core and a clock rate of 1000 MHz. Sony's Xperia J, for example, uses the same central component. ZTE installs 512 MB of working memory; current premium devices partly sport four times as much.

Despite the identical hardware, Sony's Xperia J has the lead in the synthetic benchmarks. While there are hardly any differences in the system's overall performance, a clear difference is seen in the processor's pure performance. Sony's Xperia J calculates 50% faster than ZTE's Blade III. All other compared devices are also clearly before it.

The user will generally have to accept evident stutters in navigation and when using apps. Crashes were also frequent in demanding benchmarks.

Smartbench 2012 - Productivity Index (sort by value)
ZTE Blade III
905 points ∼9%
Sony Xperia J
1054 points ∼10% +16%
Jiayu G3
1986 points ∼19% +119%
Huawei Ascend Y300
2117 points ∼20% +134%
Amoi N828
3610 points ∼35% +299%
LG E460 Optimus L5 II
1158 points ∼11% +28%
Acer Liquid E1 Duo
2203 points ∼21% +143%
Linpack for Android
Single Thread (sort by value)
ZTE Blade III
24.65 MFLOPS ∼3%
Sony Xperia J
38.884 MFLOPS ∼5% +58%
Jiayu G3
35.033 MFLOPS ∼5% +42%
Amoi N828
36.37 MFLOPS ∼5% +48%
LG E460 Optimus L5 II
31.611 MFLOPS ∼4% +28%
Acer Liquid E1 Duo
37.899 MFLOPS ∼5% +54%
Multi Thread (sort by value)
ZTE Blade III
22.432 MFLOPS ∼2%
Sony Xperia J
37.382 MFLOPS ∼3% +67%
Jiayu G3
57.605 MFLOPS ∼4% +157%
Amoi N828
88.169 MFLOPS ∼6% +293%
LG E460 Optimus L5 II
34.762 MFLOPS ∼2% +55%
Acer Liquid E1 Duo
58.504 MFLOPS ∼4% +161%
PassMark PerformanceTest Mobile V1 - System (sort by value)
ZTE Blade III
960 Points ∼15%
Acer Liquid E1 Duo
1440 Points ∼23% +50%
AnTuTu Benchmark v3 - Total Score (sort by value)
ZTE Blade III
3779 Points ∼11%
Sony Xperia J
4075 Points ∼11% +8%
Jiayu G3
5405 Points ∼15% +43%
Huawei Ascend Y300
6068 Points ∼17% +61%
Amoi N828
12855 Points ∼36% +240%
LG E460 Optimus L5 II
4812 Points ∼13% +27%
Acer Liquid E1 Duo
5911 Points ∼17% +56%
Geekbench 2 - 32 Bit - Total Score (sort by value)
ZTE Blade III
436 Points ∼4%
Sony Xperia J
465 Points ∼4% +7%
Jiayu G3
840 Points ∼7% +93%
Huawei Ascend Y300
489 Points ∼4% +12%
LG E460 Optimus L5 II
582 Points ∼5% +33%
Acer Liquid E1 Duo
811 Points ∼7% +86%
Quadrant Standard Edition 2.0 - --- (sort by value)
ZTE Blade III
1727 points ∼7%
Jiayu G3
2480 points ∼10% +44%
Acer Liquid E1 Duo
2952 points ∼12% +71%

Legend

 
ZTE Blade III Qualcomm Snapdragon S1 MSM7227A, Qualcomm Adreno 200, 4 GB Flash
 
Sony Xperia J Qualcomm Snapdragon S1 MSM7227A, Qualcomm Adreno 200, 4 GB Flash
 
Jiayu G3 MediaTek MT6577, PowerVR SGX531,
 
Huawei Ascend W1 Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus MSM8230, Qualcomm Adreno 305, 4 GB Flash
 
Huawei Ascend Y300 Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Play MSM8225, Qualcomm Adreno 203, 4 GB Flash
 
Amoi N828 Mediatek MT6589, PowerVR SGX544, 4 GB Flash
 
Nokia Lumia 520 Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus MSM8227, Qualcomm Adreno 305, 8 GB SSD
 
LG E460 Optimus L5 II MediaTek MT6575, PowerVR SGX531, 4 GB Flash
 
Acer Liquid E1 Duo MediaTek MT6577, PowerVR SGX531, 4 GB Flash

An Adreno 200 integrated in the SoC is responsible for the graphics "power". We use quotation marks for power because it is not very high. All compared phones are much faster; only Sony's Xperia J based on identical hardware is on a par. The graphics unit also produced severe graphic bugs in a few benchmarks and even in a few games so that its suitability for demanding apps is doubtful.

Antutu 3DRating
--- (sort by value)
ZTE Blade III
1753 Points ∼15%
Sony Xperia J
1826 Points ∼16% +4%
Huawei Ascend Y300
2139 Points ∼19% +22%
Amoi N828
3714 Points ∼33% +112%
LG E460 Optimus L5 II
2074 Points ∼18% +18%
Acer Liquid E1 Duo
1979 Points ∼17% +13%
1024x2048 Off-screen (sort by value)
ZTE Blade III
346 Points ∼12%
Sony Xperia J
362 Points ∼13% +5%
Jiayu G3
732 Points ∼25% +112%
Huawei Ascend Y300
1184 Points ∼41% +242%
Amoi N828
1912 Points ∼66% +453%
LG E460 Optimus L5 II
841 Points ∼29% +143%
Acer Liquid E1 Duo
852 Points ∼30% +146%
3DMark (2013)
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score (sort by value)
ZTE Blade III
928 Points ∼0%
LG E460 Optimus L5 II
663 Points ∼0% -29%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Graphics (sort by value)
ZTE Blade III
837 Points ∼0%
LG E460 Optimus L5 II
562 Points ∼0% -33%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Physics (sort by value)
ZTE Blade III
1497 Points ∼3%
LG E460 Optimus L5 II
1773 Points ∼3% +18%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7 - T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
ZTE Blade III
1.2 fps ∼2%
Huawei Ascend Y300
3.6 fps ∼6% +200%
Epic Citadel
High Performance (sort by value)
ZTE Blade III
19.1 fps ∼31%
Jiayu G3
24.1 fps ∼40% +26%
Huawei Ascend Y300
24.2 fps ∼40% +27%
LG E460 Optimus L5 II
31.5 fps ∼52% +65%
Acer Liquid E1 Duo
38.2 fps ∼63% +100%
Acer Liquid E1 Duo
38.2 fps ∼63% +100%
High Quality (sort by value)
ZTE Blade III
17.6 fps ∼29%
Jiayu G3
20.6 fps ∼34% +17%
LG E460 Optimus L5 II
25.7 fps ∼42% +46%
Acer Liquid E1 Duo
30.4 fps ∼50% +73%
NenaMark2 - --- (sort by value)
ZTE Blade III
18.8 fps ∼28%
Sony Xperia J
19.6 fps ∼29% +4%
Jiayu G3
17 fps ∼25% -10%
Huawei Ascend Y300
31 fps ∼46% +65%
Amoi N828
54 fps ∼80% +187%
LG E460 Optimus L5 II
23.4 fps ∼35% +24%
Acer Liquid E1 Duo
24.8 fps ∼37% +32%

ZTE's Blade III also clearly lags behind in the synthetic browser benchmarks. Even Sony's Xperia J has a 30% or higher lead in many benchmarks. We can confirm this result from real-life use of the smartphone. We repeatedly observed that pages load slowly and waiting times occur when scrolling.

Vellamo Mobile Benchmark 2.0
Metal (sort by value)
ZTE Blade III
311 Points ∼17%
Sony Xperia J
312 Points ∼17% 0%
Jiayu G3
359 Points ∼20% +15%
Huawei Ascend Y300
330 Points ∼18% +6%
Amoi N828
440 Points ∼25% +41%
LG E460 Optimus L5 II
380 Points ∼21% +22%
Acer Liquid E1 Duo
365 Points ∼20% +17%
HTML5 (sort by value)
ZTE Blade III
938 Points ∼30%
Sony Xperia J
939 Points ∼30% 0%
Jiayu G3
967 Points ∼31% +3%
Huawei Ascend Y300
1124 Points ∼36% +20%
Amoi N828
1489 Points ∼48% +59%
LG E460 Optimus L5 II
1197 Points ∼38% +28%
Acer Liquid E1 Duo
1368 Points ∼44% +46%
Mozilla Kraken 1.0 - Total Score (sort by value)
ZTE Blade III
171328.4 ms * ∼100%
Sony Xperia J
53591.7 ms * ∼31% +69%
Jiayu G3
49757.3 ms * ∼29% +71%
Huawei Ascend W1
52532.6 ms * ∼31% +69%
Huawei Ascend Y300
37936.4 ms * ∼22% +78%
Amoi N828
18885.9 ms * ∼11% +89%
Nokia Lumia 520
72771.3 ms * ∼42% +58%
Acer Liquid E1 Duo
23943.9 ms * ∼14% +86%
Peacekeeper - --- (sort by value)
ZTE Blade III
200 Points ∼3%
Sony Xperia J
287 Points ∼5% +44%
Jiayu G3
415 Points ∼7% +108%
Huawei Ascend W1
279 Points ∼5% +40%
Huawei Ascend Y300
325 Points ∼5% +63%
Amoi N828
531 Points ∼9% +166%
Nokia Lumia 520
215 Points ∼3% +8%
LG E460 Optimus L5 II
443 Points ∼7% +122%
Acer Liquid E1 Duo
504 Points ∼8% +152%
Google V8 Ver. 7 - Google V8 Ver. 7 Score (sort by value)
ZTE Blade III
520 Points ∼3%
Sony Xperia J
704 Points ∼4% +35%
Jiayu G3
988 Points ∼5% +90%
Huawei Ascend W1
617 Points ∼3% +19%
Huawei Ascend Y300
802 Points ∼4% +54%
Amoi N828
1012 Points ∼6% +95%
Nokia Lumia 520
446 Points ∼2% -14%
LG E460 Optimus L5 II
1174 Points ∼6% +126%
Acer Liquid E1 Duo
1333 Points ∼7% +156%
Acer Liquid E1 Duo
1333 Points ∼7% +156%
Acer Liquid E1 Duo
1333 Points ∼7% +156%

* ... smaller is better

Then again, the storage of ZTE's Blade III does not look quite as bad. It is located in the midfield of our comparison devices. Sony's Xperia J is much slower here and Huawei's Ascend Y300 also only accomplishes consistently lower transfer speeds. The loading times are acceptable in practical use. The user does not have as long waiting times as with other entry-level phones.

AndroBench 3
Sequential Read 256KB (sort by value)
ZTE Blade III
33.67 MB/s ∼20%
Sony Xperia J
29.64 MB/s ∼18% -12%
Jiayu G3
23.51 MB/s ∼14% -30%
Huawei Ascend Y300
12.07 MB/s ∼7% -64%
Amoi N828
41.05 MB/s ∼25% +22%
LG E460 Optimus L5 II
35.69 MB/s ∼21% +6%
Acer Liquid E1 Duo
31.38 MB/s ∼19% -7%
Sequential Write 256KB (sort by value)
ZTE Blade III
5.28 MB/s ∼9%
Sony Xperia J
5.3 MB/s ∼9% 0%
Jiayu G3
5.77 MB/s ∼10% +9%
Huawei Ascend Y300
4.26 MB/s ∼7% -19%
Amoi N828
5.53 MB/s ∼10% +5%
LG E460 Optimus L5 II
7.63 MB/s ∼13% +45%
Acer Liquid E1 Duo
5.85 MB/s ∼10% +11%
Random Read 4KB (sort by value)
ZTE Blade III
7.69 MB/s ∼37%
Sony Xperia J
6.49 MB/s ∼31% -16%
Jiayu G3
8.54 MB/s ∼41% +11%
Huawei Ascend Y300
4.68 MB/s ∼22% -39%
Amoi N828
11.02 MB/s ∼53% +43%
LG E460 Optimus L5 II
10.12 MB/s ∼48% +32%
Acer Liquid E1 Duo
8.59 MB/s ∼41% +12%
Random Write 4KB (sort by value)
ZTE Blade III
0.51 MB/s ∼17%
Sony Xperia J
0.25 MB/s ∼9% -51%
Jiayu G3
0.65 MB/s ∼22% +27%
Huawei Ascend Y300
0.19 MB/s ∼7% -63%
Amoi N828
0.27 MB/s ∼9% -47%
LG E460 Optimus L5 II
0.5 MB/s ∼17% -2%
Acer Liquid E1 Duo
0.54 MB/s ∼18% +6%

Games

The little Adreno 200 graphics unit is at most suitable for casual 2D games. Angry Birds: Star Wars runs fairly smoothly. Demanding 3D games, such as Iron Man 3, really overtax ZTE's Blade III. The game adjusts the resolution and details automatically. Although we were presented with pixelated graphics and low-resolution textures as well as a short-range view, the games stuttered to such an extent that it was actually unplayable. Even the short prelude took over a minute due to the slow frame rate.

Emissions

Temperature

Users who value a cool phone will be quite satisfied with ZTE's Blade III. We ascertained an absolute maximum temperature of 34.2 °C. The maximum idle temperature is roughly 1 °C less. Consequently, the phone can always be held in the hand comfortably and only heats up slightly. The power supply does not get excessively warm with a maximum of 37 °C either and it can always be picked up without hesitation.

Max. Load
 34.2 °C31.9 °C32.8 °C 
 34.2 °C32.2 °C34.2 °C 
 33.4 °C31.9 °C33.5 °C 
Maximum: 34.2 °C
Average: 33.1 °C
29 °C31.5 °C34 °C
30.8 °C32.6 °C33 °C
29.8 °C32.4 °C32.7 °C
Maximum: 34 °C
Average: 31.8 °C
Power Supply (max.)  37 °C | Room Temperature 22.9 °C | Voltcraft IR-350

Speakers

The rear-sided speaker is barely affected when the phone is placed on a desk. It produces a quite decent sound anyway. However, the maximum volume could be higher and we also noticed a slight humming in maximum volume. The balance of mids and trebles is good though. The sound is balanced even if there are no low-ranges whatsoever. As mentioned earlier, the included headset should not be used if possible because it only provides a very poor sound and is a bit uncomfortable.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The power consumption of our review sample consistently remains within limits although Sony's Xperia J saves a few tenths of a watt despite its processor's higher performance. Our phone is still quite wasteful with a medium idle load consumption of 1.4 watts. However, it is one of the most energy-efficient devices with a maximum full load consumption of 2.4 watts in the comparison. The power supply can provide a maximum of 3.5 watts and is consequently adequately sized.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.1 / 0.3 Watt
Idle 0.6 / 1.4 / 1.6 Watt
Load 1.9 / 2.4 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Runtime

Users who are looking for a smartphone with long battery runtimes would prefer Sony's Xperia J. Our review sample only lasted for about one third of the runtime in the practical Wi-Fi test due to its higher power consumption and the slightly smaller battery. The notification that the battery is almost drained and should be connected to the mains appeared after only almost 10 hours when the phone was only loaded slightly. All other compared phones also feature much longer runtimes.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
9h 56min
WiFi Surfing
4h 24min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 59min

Verdict

Like many entry-level phones, ZTE's Blade III does not stick out from the masses. The budget was probably simply too tight to give the device something like "character". However, this also means that the cellphone barely sticks out unfavorably. Its discreet looks will not awe anyone but it won't scare anyone off either. The performance is on a level that can be expected for the 100 to 200 Euros (~$133 to ~$266) price range. Waiting times and stutters have to be accepted but graphic bugs and program crashes are unnecessary.

The build is decent, the speech quality is also acceptable and the 5 megapixel camera even shoots quite satisfactory pictures. The image presentation is also subjectively appealing although the screen's bluish cast is a flaw. Large software or accessories bundles cannot be expected either.

However, there are very likely some buyers who are looking for just this: A smartphone that is unobtrusive in a meeting or in everyday use and simply just works. This is usually the case with ZTE's Blade III and users who do not play any games with their smartphone and barely draw on other options from the app world will be satisfied. We would recommend Sony's Xperia J for those who do want a bit more. There is even an update to Android 4.1 in prospect and the phone makes an overall slightly more complete impression.

In review: ZTE Blade III
In review: ZTE Blade III
Review sample courtesy of ...

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In Review: ZTE Blade III. Review sample courtesy of:
In Review: ZTE Blade III. Review sample courtesy of:

Specifications

ZTE Blade III

:: Processor
:: Memory
512 MB
:: Graphics adapter
:: Display
4 inch 16:10, 800x480 pixel, capacitive touchscreen, TFT, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
4 GB Flash, 4 GB , 2 GB free
:: Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm audio jack, Card Reader: micro-SD max. 32 GB, Sensors: motion sensor, position sensor, A-GPS,
:: Networking
802.11 b/g/n (b g n ), 2.1 Bluetooth, HSPA (max. 7.2 MBit/s in downstream), UMTS, EDGE, GPRS, GSM tri-band (900/1800/1900 MHz)
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 10 x 123 x 63.50
:: Weight
0.13 kg Power Supply: 0.047 kg
:: Battery
6.39 Wh Lithium-Ion, 1600 mAh
:: Price
199 Euro
:: Operating System
Android 4.0
:: Additional features
Webcam: 5 MP (2560 x 1920), Autofocus, Speakers: rear-facing speaker, Keyboard: virtual keyboard, headset, power supply unit, USB cord, X-Office, Mi-Easy Access, 24 Months Warranty

 

[+] compare
According to ZTE, it is one of the main cellphone manufacturers worldwide.
According to ZTE, it is one of the main cellphone manufacturers worldwide.
However, the Chinese manufacturer still has to establish itself in Western markets.
However, the Chinese manufacturer still has to establish itself in Western markets.
One step toward that is the very affordable entry-level phone: The Blade III.
One step toward that is the very affordable entry-level phone: The Blade III.
The casing is convincingly unobtrusive.
The casing is convincingly unobtrusive.
Black plastic, chrome-colored trimming.
Black plastic, chrome-colored trimming.
However, the build quality is good.
However, the build quality is good.
The phone is also absolutely pressure resistant.
The phone is also absolutely pressure resistant.
It features standard interfaces.
It features standard interfaces.
The 5 megapixel camera that shoots decent pictures is a small highlight.
The 5 megapixel camera that shoots decent pictures is a small highlight.
However, the phone only sports a rear-facing camera.
However, the phone only sports a rear-facing camera.
The speaker is not bad either but too quiet.
The speaker is not bad either but too quiet.
The back cover can be completely removed.
The back cover can be completely removed.
Like almost everything about the smarphone's exterior, it is polycarbonate.
Like almost everything about the smarphone's exterior, it is polycarbonate.
The micro-SD slot, SIM slot and battery are found underneath it.
The micro-SD slot, SIM slot and battery are found underneath it.
The battery manages 1600 mAh or 6.39 watt hours.
The battery manages 1600 mAh or 6.39 watt hours.
Overall, the possible runtimes are not exceptional.
Overall, the possible runtimes are not exceptional.
The accessories are also unremarkable.
The accessories are also unremarkable.
The power supply has an unusual shape.
The power supply has an unusual shape.
The keyboard supports diverse input modes.
The keyboard supports diverse input modes.
Android 4.0.4 is not an up to date version anymore.
Android 4.0.4 is not an up to date version anymore.
ZTE barely modifies anything in the operating system.
ZTE barely modifies anything in the operating system.
The start is made a bit easier with "Mi-EasyAccess".
The start is made a bit easier with "Mi-EasyAccess".
The phone app has not been modified either.
The phone app has not been modified either.
A phone stuffed with highlights cannot really be expected for this price.
A phone stuffed with highlights cannot really be expected for this price.
But a stable-running phone should be possible.
But a stable-running phone should be possible.
Generally, the Blade III is a decent smartphone. However, users who demand too much from it will quickly be faced with crashes and graphic bugs.
Generally, the Blade III is a decent smartphone. However, users who demand too much from it will quickly be faced with crashes and graphic bugs.

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Compare Prices

Pro

+Bright screen
+Keyboard features additional input modes
+Good GPS module
+Clear speech quality
+Camera's decent picture quality
 

Cons

-Crashes and graphic bugs
-Processor's low performance
-Unsatisfactory gaming power
-Screen's bluish cast
-Short battery runtimes

Shortcut

What we like

The rigid casing, the bright screen and the decent camera.

What we miss

Crashes and graphic bugs are really superfluous in 2013...

What surprises us

That there is a smartphone for a street price for less than 100 Euros (~$133)...

The competition

Sony Xperia J, Jiayu G3, LG Optimus L5 II, Acer Liquid E1 Duo, Amoi N828, Huawei Ascend W1, Huawei Ascend Y300, Nokia Lumia 520.

Rating

ZTE Blade III
07/31/2013 v3
Florian Wimmer

Chassis
82%
Keyboard
40%
Pointing Device
87%
Connectivity
44%
Weight
100%
Battery
91%
Display
83%
Games Performance
18%
Application Performance
28%
Temperature
95%
Noise
100%
Add Points
70%
Average
70%
84%
Smartphone *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review ZTE Blade III Smartphone
Author: Florian Wimmer, 2013-08- 7 (Update: 2013-08- 8)