ZTE Blade Q Mini: Software
The Blade Q Mini runs on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, which is an older version of Google’s mobile operating system with a very lightly skinned custom interface on top. There’s very few familiar Android traits that have been amended here. The lock screen requires an annoying long press action instead of a simple swipe up and the settings in the notification are slightly redesigned. Aside from that, this is plain old Android and for first time users that can only be a good thing.
There’s very little bloatware to ruin the experience with just a couple of Virgin Media-centric apps. One is to manage accounts and Smartcall can be used to make calls on the same home phone talk plan at home and abroad. Google’s baseline apps like its suite of Google Play apps and the likes of Google Maps and Hangouts are already in place so there’s plenty there to get a good feel of how an Android phone should work.
ZTE Blade Q Mini: Performance
Where the Q Mini does begin to feel low-cost is when you put it to the test for the more demanding tasks top end phones handle with ease. There’s a dual-core Mediatek MT6572 CPU clocked at 1.3 GHz and 1GB of RAM, which struggles to deliver the zip you get on £100-£150 phones let alone £500 handsets. Swiping through homescreens is slightly laggy, launching apps can be slow, but it’s worse trying to run multiple apps at the same time.
There’s a Mali 400 GPU to help gaming and while you can download more demanding games like Real Racing 3, playing them is not particularly enjoyable. There’s some serious lag and drop in framerates making it pretty tough to play. Stick to the simple games is the key here.
Running the benchmarks, it scores a 524 multi-core score, which is actually better than the 421 score the £180 LG L7 2 managed running the same test. If you don’t overload it, you shouldn’t find it frustrating to use.