After launching its mid-range, Nubia Z9 mini smartphone, Chinese handset maker ZTE unveiled the Blade Qlux 4G, the cheapest Android smartphone to support 4G data connectivity. With telcos such as Airtel testing 4G in a number of cities and Reliance Jio all set to begin trials, the demand for these phones are expected to rise. In fact, most new budget and mid-range phones are now coming with 4G support.
We used the Blade Qlux 4G to find out if it’s worth a buy for people who are buying their first smartphone…
Build & design
ZTE Blade Qlux 4G looks similar to the first-generation Android One phones and is a well built device. It’s not very compact at 134.5×67.4×10.3mm and weighs 154gram. It features a removable back cover that sports a nice, matte finish and minimalist branding. The phone feels good to hold and is easy to grip. The removable back cover hides two micro-sim slots, a microSD card slot and the battery compartment. The camera, LED flash and speaker grill are also placed at the back.
The power and volume rocker keys, made of plastic, are placed at the right edge and offer decent tactile feedback. The front features the 4.5-inch display and three capacitive keys. Kudos to ZTE for making the keys backlit! You can change the position of the back and menu/app switch keys as per your preference while the central button stays as the Home key. The 3.5mm headset jack is at the top while the micro-USB port is placed at the bottom edge.
The ZTE Blade Qlux 4G sports a 4.5-inch FWVGA (480x854p) IPS display. The display doesn’t look bad though there was some pixilation. Viewing angles were pretty good but sunlight legibility could have been better. The display is also a little prone to smudges. It’s still decent for a phone sold at this price point.
The Blade Qlux 4G runs Android 4.4 KitKat with some software skinning. ZTE has included a number of third party apps including ZTE’s content marketplace apps. The UI features homescreens with a separate app launcher unlike ZTE’s other phones. ZTE also offers an easy mode with bigger buttons for commonly used features.
The mode is good for first time smartphone users and the elderly since it doesn’t overwhelm with the hundreds of options, settings and apps part of the Android smartphone experience.
The phone is expected to get the Android 5.0 lollipop update in the near future.
ZTE Blade Qlux sports an 8MP rear camera with LED flash and a 5MP front-facing camera. The camera takes decent quality pictures in good lighting conditions but pictures taken in low light were not as good and missed out on detail. The 5MP front-facing camera is good foor taking casual selfies.
The phone is capable of recording HD videos and the quality of videos was average.
The dual-sim smartphone is powered by a Mediatek MTK6732M 1.3GHz quad-core processor, comes with 1GB RAM, and also offers 8GB internal storage out of which more than 5GB is available to the user. Users who want more storage space can install microSD cards of up to 32GB.
We did not notice major lag while navigating through the phone’s menu, browsing the web and multimedia playback.We were able to play games like Subway Surfers, without encountering frame drops or freezes. We were also able to play Asphalt 8 and Riptide GP 2 without encountering much lag or stutter.
Connectivity features of the phone include 2G, 3G, 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and microUSB 2.0. Only the first sim slot supports 4G and 3G data. It supports both Band 40 (2300MHz TD LTE) and Band 3 (1800MHz FDD LTE) network bands for 4G covering all present and upcoming networks.
ZTE Blade Qlux 4G offers good call quality and signal reception and we did not encounter issues while making calls even in areas where cell signal is relatively weaker. The phone was able to lock to GPS in a few seconds, without any hiccups. We were also able to use 4G LTE network in Delhi without any problems.
he phone packs a 2,200mAh battery (removable) and will last you a full working day (15-16 hours) if you put the screen brightness at the highest level and use 3G data all the time. You’ll be able to make about 1-2 hours of phone calls, play some casual games and browse the web in this time period.
Your mileage may vary with different usage patterns.
At Rs 4,999, the ZTE Blade Qlux 4G is the cheapest 4G-enabled smartphone you can buy at this point in time. It is indeed a good option for people who’re buying their first smartphone and have a limited budget. The phone offers decent performance and a good user experience. The phone is a cheaper rival to the Motorola Moto E 4G that costs Rs 7,499, CoolPad Dazen 1 priced at RS 5,999 and Xiaomi Redmi 2 at Rs 6,999.
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