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ZTE Blade III - Interface and Usability, Calling and Browser

Niall Magennis

By Niall Magennis



  • Recommended by TR
XTE Blade III 8


Our Score:


ZTE Blade III - Interface and Usability

Predictably for a budget smartphone the ZTE Blade III is not exactly lightning fast in terms of performance. The Blade III is built around a 1Ghz single core Snapdragon processor that's fed via 512MB of Ram and has Adreno 200 graphics. By way of comparison, most mid-range handsets now have dual or quad-core processors running at 1.4Ghz and higher and most also have 1GB of Ram.

As a result the Blade III can be relatively slow to perform some tasks. For example, when you're using search it can take several seconds for suggestions to pop up beneath the search box, whereas on higher-spec mobiles they appear instantly as you type. Apps also take a while to start up and its general responsiveness is some way off the pace compared to other mid-range handsets currently on the market.


The Blade III's lack of grunt was borne out in our Benchmark tests too, scoring 962 in Browsermark V2.0 and 2679.9ms in Sunspider. By way of a comparison Huawei's dual-core G330 scored 1150 (higher is better) and 2038.7ms (lower is better) respectively in these tests. However, these figures do need to be put in perspective, because the Blade III's performance is still very impressive given that it costs just £80.

Unfortunately, ZTE hasn’t loaded the phone with the Jellybean version of Android (v4.1), but has instead opted for Ice Cream Sandwich (v4.0) instead. Jellybean is much smoother than ICS due to the 'Project Butter' tweaks Google implemented to speed up the user interface. Nevertheless, a lot of this phone's competitors come with the even older Gingerbread (v2.3) version of Android, so we can’t complain too much about this.

Thankfully ZTE hasn’t mucked around with the vanilla Android interface too much. It has added a few tweaks, but they're relatively minor. For example, there are quick switches in the pull down notification menu for turning off and on Wi-Fi and mobile data, and there are also buttons for locking the auto-rotate setting and muting the handset's audio.

ZTE Blade III 3

Pressing and holding on a homescreen calls up a customisation menu where you can alter things like the animation that's used to transition from one homescreen to another. ZTE has also tweaked the lock screen. Sliding across the unlock button in the centre of the screen calls up an unlock menu that gives you the option of unlocking the phone directly to stuff like the cameras, SMS and mail apps. To unlock the phone normally you need to press and hold the central button until a spiral of sparkles circles it. This is much slower than the normal swipe to unlock gesture and is actually quite annoying to use, especially as there seems to be no way to turn it off short of using a completely different launcher.

ZTE Blade III - Calling

The ZTE Blade III's calling and contacts features are pretty standard. It'll import your contacts from the likes of Gmail complete with photos if they're available to make it easier to find the folks you want to call. In the contacts book you can also set up your own favourites, or place contacts into groups such as family, friends and co-workers.

ZTE Blade III 4

When you're on a call the ear piece sounds nice and loud and the mic also delivers pretty clear audio for the people that you're speaking too. It seemed to be pretty similar to most other Android phones we've used in terms of signal quality and we didn't experience any unusual drop outs during our time with the phone either.

ZTE Blade III - Browser

As we've already seen from its Sunspider and Browsermark scores, the Blade III isn’t the fastest around when it comes to rendering webpages, however it's still speedier in this department than the majority of sub-£100 handsets we've laid our hand on. Also, its relatively high-resolution screen means it delivers a much better overall browsing experience than budget rivals. It uses the standard ICS web browser, so you get the usual benefits such as support for tabbed browsing and features like Find on Page.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut


March 14, 2013, 1:14 pm

>> The ZTE Blade uses a 16000mAH battery

Wow!, should easy be able to make a full week of constant use with that size battery :)


April 24, 2013, 12:51 pm

keith you plank its 1600mAH


June 28, 2013, 10:03 pm

Considering I got mine brand new at a Virgin store for £57:99 in June 2013, not such a bargain.

Elsi Qi

August 25, 2013, 2:08 pm

This was the worst cell phone I ever have had! No flash. Hardly couldn't see anything on screen outdoors. Difficult to use (I'm used to Nokia and Samsung).
The screen easily broke. Now I'll get me a Samsung!


September 3, 2013, 6:29 pm

This was the best phone I have ever had, I love it! Really worth getting.


September 17, 2013, 11:58 am

"The ZTE Blade uses a 16000mAH battery" Keith is no plank


September 17, 2013, 11:58 am

my samsung screen broke, easily!


September 20, 2013, 8:02 pm

1650mAH battery


September 23, 2013, 1:59 pm

I was quoting from the review mate, it has been edited now!

Vlad Bazarab

September 27, 2013, 9:52 pm

Huawei Y300 is £69 in carphone warehouse, unlocked, IPS screen virtually the same spec + JellyBean. All it needs is to have either Go launcher or Apex launcher installed to get rid of Huawei's interface.

Glad I bought the Y300.

Slightly Confused

November 11, 2013, 3:14 pm

According to Trusted Reviews, the camera on the Huawei Y300 is 'rubbish', yet it gets the same camera score (6) as this one, which they seem to to say is good.

How does that work?

Slightly Confused

November 11, 2013, 3:21 pm

My bad - they actually give the camera on this one 7, but the sample images don't look any better tbh.

Karma O'malley

July 29, 2014, 10:50 am

My ZTE Blade iii lasted 2 days then was returned faulty.Buggy mp3 eq dropout,terrible sound quality with o/s 'noise' ,and completely disfunctional wifi.Waiting for an xperia.

gosarkunal9 .

July 29, 2014, 2:24 pm

This is my second phone from ZTE and it has been horrible. The phone's battery indicator does not work, it jumps between 90%+ battery to 5% randomly. The phone regularly crashes and restarts itself. Applications seldom work as they also force the phone to crash. Overall, the phone is horrible and it is not worth the low price.

Similarly the ZTE Dublin was a horrible phone. Its internal memory could not support applications and transferring them to SD cards did not work.

Don't trust ZTE phones.

Damir Salopek

April 24, 2015, 12:50 pm

Have same problems with Blade III. I even tried to install new Android OS and it was done by person who knows how to do it. Now he hates me. Couldn't do nothing. Doesn't know if the problem is with phone's ROM or with local operator.


July 2, 2015, 8:15 pm

This is by far the worst smartphone I've ever had. It's so bad, that it's extremely hard to find things that actually work. While it was "quite acceptable" for the first days, it quickly started to get worse and worse. Apps are constantly crashing and opening one (just one!) app is the shit! It's extremely slow (for instance, booting takes about 5 minutes, unlocking takes about 30 seconds, opening an app, like WhatsApp... well, better wait for Christmas... or the fucking apocalypse).
There's only one thing you can do with it. As it gets hot in a blink (clicking anywhere on the display is enough), it's actually a good pocket heater.


March 4, 2017, 3:52 pm

The plug adapter doesn't work properly. A weird sound from the wall socket and it takes too long to charge the battery. I put the adapter in the recycle bin.


March 4, 2017, 3:56 pm

The plug adapter doesn't work properly. A weird sound from the wall socket and it takes too long to charge the battery. I put the adapter in the recycle bin. BAd phone quality.

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