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ZTE Blade Q Mini review

Michael Sawh

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ZTE Blade Q Mini
  • ZTE Blade Q Mini
  • ZTE Blade Q Mini
  • ZTE Blade Q Mini
  • ZTE Blade Q Mini
  • ZTE Blade Q Mini
  • ZTE Blade Q Mini
  • ZTE Blade Q Mini
  • ZTE Blade Q Mini
  • ZTE Blade Q Mini
  • ZTE Blade Q Mini
  • ZTE Blade Q Mini
  • ZTE Blade Q Mini
  • ZTE Blade Q Mini
  • Blade Q Mini 12
  • ZTE Blade Q Mini 7
  • ZTE Blade Q Mini 4
  • ZTE Blade Q Mini 5
  • ZTE Blade Q Mini 6
  • ZTE Blade Q Mini
  • ZTE Blade Q Mini 1
  • ZTE Blade Q Mini 2
  • ZTE Blade Q Mini 3

Summary

Our Score:

7

Pros

  • Solid, good quality camera
  • Strong battery life
  • Decent speaker performance

Cons

  • Poor outdoor screen visibility
  • Struggles to handle more intensive tasks

Key Features

  • 4-inch 480 x 800 IPS LCD display (233ppi)
  • microSD support
  • 4GB Storage
  • 1GB RAM
  • 5-megapixel camera
  • Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
  • Mediatek MT6572 Dual-core 1.3GHz Cortex-A7
  • 1,500mAh battery
  • Manufacturer: ZTE Corporation
  • Review Price: £49.99

What is the ZTE Blade Q Mini?

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.

SEE ALSO: Best Cheap Mobile Phones

ZTE Blade Q Mini: Design and Features

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.

SEE ALSO: Best Android Phones

ZTE Blade Q Mini: Screen

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.

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Loganberry

October 2, 2014, 3:25 pm

One small correction: the camera actually goes up to ISO 800; you just have to scroll down beneath the ISO 400 setting to reveal it. (I guess this could have been from an update, but I'm pretty sure it had ISO 800 when I bought mine.)

Otherwise, as an owner of one of these phones for a couple of months now, I think this is a very fair review. It's nice to see a tech site treating low-end phones like this seriously. As I said, I have a Blade Q Mini myself, now unlocked, and I'm very happy with it for the price. (It was briefly £40 at Sainsbury's recently.) Sure it has its limitations, notably internal storage, but who's going to play big 3D games on this anyway? The 1GB memory does at least mean it doesn't run out of steam with more casual stuff. And though the screen isn't incredible, it *is* IPS, which was a big reason I bought it against the largely TFT competition at this price.

Kudos to you also for not following many other sites/blogs and telling people they really ought to get a Moto G instead, which always annoys me. If I had Moto G money, I wouldn't be bothering looking at £50 phones, would I? You *do* push the Moto E a little, which is more understandable but still mildly annoying, as £80 is 60% more than £50 and in this marketplace the difference isn't just throwaway change to many people. In my case, I ruled out the E for two reasons apart from price: the very poor fixed-focus, no-flash camera (the ZTE's, while not amazing, is certainly better) and having soft buttons eating into screen space. I actively dislike that.

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