The ZTE Blade Mini Q is a 4-inch Android smartphone that’s truly a cheap phone. To put it into perspective, you can buy almost three for the same price as a new Moto G. It's only available on pay as you go through Virgin and its nearest competitors are the Doro EasyPhone 508 and Nokia's Asha phone range.
It runs on almost pure Android, comes with a solid camera and all day battery life, making the Q Mini a nice back up phone and ideal for first time smartphone users. Inevitably you do have to make some compromises with some features and performance, but if you plan on mostly making calls, browsing the web and sending texts, it's worth checking out.
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If you are buying a £50 phone hoping it's going to be feel like the metal One M8 or the iPhone 6 then you are going to be disappointed.The Q Mini is all about the plastic. It’s every bit a budget Android phone from the glossy piano black screen bezel, capacitive buttons and what is on the whole a very plain, uninspiring handset to look at.
Build quality is good though and it feels like a robust enough handset equipped to withstand the usual daily bumps and knocks in your pocket or in your bag. The nicely curved corners and a soft matte plastic back actually gives it a nice, reassuring feel and weighing just 120g, it’s by no means a heavy handset to hold.
It’s just 9mm thick as well so it’s no chunky thing and you’ll have no problem using this in one hand. The on/off button and volume rocker are all within reach near the top of the phone’s body with the micro USB charging port over on the left edge completing the simple layout. Like the ZTE Blade V, there’s also a notification light up top that changes colour depending on the type of notification.
At the back you’ll find the camera sensor along with a dinky little speaker down the bottom. The removable battery and micro SD card slot lie behind the back plate that effortlessly detaches away from the phone body. With just 4GB of onboard storage, that additional storage is going to come in handy if you intend to horde a great deal of video, photos or games.
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The Blade Mini Q features a 4-inch 480x800 IPS display and keeping in mind the price that’s the same screen as last year’s Sony Xperia M and the one on the ZTE Blade V. It squeezes in the same 233 ppi pixel density so overall quality is decent but not fantastic or anywhere near top end smartphones.
You have to spend almost double the amount to get something better for watching video and reading though. It’s nice and bright at least and fine for general tasks but there’s some noticeable fuzziness to contend with on the homescreen and while browsing. Colours are good if lacking in vibrancy and contrast is a little underwhelming. Watching films on this is not a very pleasant experience.
One positive is that ZTE uses an IPS display so despite the screen quality not being top notch, the viewing angles are good although it still suffers from the same reflectivity issues as older ZTE phones making it troublesome to use in the bright outdoors.