ZTE has a long history of being a major player in the networking arena in India. They have now entered the mobile phone market in India with the Blade A2 Plus. We spent quite some time with the device. Here is our review of this budget phone with a big battery.
ZTE Blade A2 Plus Specifications
Network Support: 3G HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 MHz, 4G mobile which supports networks like GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz, and LTE 900 / 1200 MHz bands for 4G connectivity
Processor: MediaTek MT6750T (Octa core 1.5GHz)
OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Display: 5.5″ IPS LCD (1920 x 1080 pixels), pixel density 404PPI
Cameras: Rear Camera 13MP AF | Front Camera: 8MP FF
Battery: 5000mAh with Fast charging
RAM: 4 GB
Memory: Internal – 32 GB | External – Expandable up to 128 GB (microSD)
Features: Fingerprint with SPEEDY KEY, VoLTE, Accelerometer, Proximity, Ambient Light, Compass FM Radio, Hall sensor, GPS, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, BT 4.0
The front of the smartphone houses the 5.5-inch display with IPS LCD panel. The bottom end has a circular icon to signify the capacitive home button with the back button on the left and multi-tasking button to the right. The orientation of the buttons can be changed from the settings menu. The circular hone button also has a pulsing notification light that can be configured to give you customized notifications. The top of the front houses the front camera, speaker grill and proximity sensor. The power button is located on the right side of the device a little towards the top from the middle with the volume rocker towards the top.
The SIM tray is at the top on the left side of the smartphone. The phone comes with a metal back that can’t be removed and there are plastic portions towards the top and bottom of the metal back. The battery is rated at 5000 mAH and is claimed to last for a full two days on a single charge even under heavy use.
Under the hood, the device is powered by an octa-core MediaTek MT6750T processor clocked at a speed of 1.5GHz. It comes equipped with 4GB RAM and Mali T860 GPU for the graphics. With VoLTE integrated, Blade A2 Plus will support higher quality calls and will connect calls much faster than a traditional GSM or CDMA call and is fully compatible with the Jio network here in India. It has a built-in 32GB internal memory storage, which can be expanded via the hybrid microSD card slot that also doubles up as the second SIM slot.
The Blade A2 Plus sports a 13-megapixel main camera sensor, which will produce high quality photos and it can capture 1080p high definition video. Its 8-megapixel front camera is there for your selfies. The device runs on the Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system out of the box. The OS skin is called Mi-Favor OS.
Coming to the look and feel department, the build and design look like most devices that are available today and there is nothing that stands out. But then, we would say that given the price and the specifications, we do not have major issues with that. The feel in the hand is pretty premium. The device is a tad bit on the heavier side but that does not create any discomfort while holding it in the hand. The gentle curve in the back that is now a permanent fixture in phones makes holding the device very easy and there is no slippery feel or any rough edges there. All in all, feels good to hold and serves the purpose.
The fingerprint scanner is very usefully customizable, the usual options of clicking selfies and navigation through the gallery are there. But the USP of the scanner is that it acts as a Swift Key that can be pressed, double pressed and in turn used to snap screenshots and do many other things. This is very useful and we felt that it was very productive as a time saver.
Coming to the performance, the device gave us no issues when we tried multiple apps at the same time. The games that we tried on it also gave us no reason to complain. There were no noticeable stutters or lags during the four weeks that we used the device as our primary driver. Video loops played satisfactorily.
The USP of the device is the 5000 mAH battery and it serves the phone very well. On single charge, we were able to use the device for better part of two working days. During this time we used WiFi indoors very heavily and were on 4G network while outdoors peppered with two of the most battery intensive apps – Facebook and Facebook messenger. So we have to say that the battery serves its purpose and lives up to the 5000 mAH rating. This is something that a lot of buyers are looking for in this segment. The battery also supports fast charging.
Coming to the camera. The rear camera does a decent job of capturing pictures. There are no overblown colors or spills in the images and the sensor serves its purpose. The low-light imagery is a tad bit on the ordinary side, but then that is common in every camera that we have seen recently except for one or two. The front camera gives you decent selfies and is coupled with a screen flash to help you in dark environments or night selfies.
There is a unique Family mode in the UI. This switches the device into a very minimal and intuitive mode which makes it easy for seniors and first time smartphone users to get used to the device. This will help if one is buying the device for parents who are switching from feature phones to their first smartphone. There’s also a Private Space option to secure sensitive pictures, files and contacts that is very handy in real life situations when you need to hand the device to other folks for a short time.
Call quality and music were pretty decent and there were no issues. The processor and the 4GB RAM work well under most situations to give you good performance. We were not very impressed with Mi-Favor OS though. We are hoping that there will be future updates via OTA that will make it leaner and remove stuff like Clean Master that really does not make sense for today’s versions of Android OS.
ZTE has said “Hello Again India” with the Blade A2 Plus. They have boldly taken on a ton of competition with a device in a crowded segment and for most part succeeded. At Rs 11,999/- this is a good budget phone with a great battery life and practical performance. It will be interesting to see how they do against the tight competition in this segment.