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ZTE Blade 3 review

Mid-range features at an entry level price

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Our Verdict

The ZTE Blade 3 is a capable Android handset at a seriously low price. It's difficult to fault considering how little you'll pay for it. It's not the most attractive phone and won't win any prizes for speed, performance or screen quality, but it could be a perfect first smartphone.

For

  • Cheap
  • Sturdy
  • Decent feature set

Against

  • Slow web browsing
  • Basic camera
  • UI isn't smooth
  • No front facing camera

The ZTE Blade 3 comes with 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing you to get online pretty much anywhere.

You've got a couple of options when it comes to browsing the web on the Blade 3, with the stock Android browser and Google Chrome both pre-loaded onto the handset.

ZTE Blade 3 review

Both offer up a pretty similar experience and features, however the one advantage the Android browser has over Chrome is its ability to save pages for offline reading - perfect if you want to read something on the train home and know you'll be out of signal.

In terms of browsing speed the Blade 3 is pretty darn slow over 3G and Wi-Fi. It seems that the 1GHz single-core processor inside the handset struggles with the World Wide Web.

Over 3G the TechRadar mobile site loaded in about five seconds, where as the desktop version took 18 seconds, although we were able to start browsing the site after 10.

Turn on Wi-Fi and speeds improve by a second or so, but the ZTE Blade 3 is never going to blow you away with super slick browsing, but at £70 we can forgive it slightly.

ZTE Blade 3 review

The 480 x 800 screen means images aren't particular sharp and you'll need to zoom in a bit for text to become legible.

As you zoom the Blade 3 takes a second or so to sort itself out and properly render the page at the new level which isn't a huge issues but it does slow down your experience slightly.

Text automatically reflows on the Blade 3 which makes reading articles a lot easier as you don't have to mess around with scrolling sideways and done - it's a feature which we'd love to see on every smartphone, but sadly one that doesn't always make the cut.

Now that Android has dropped its support for Flash the web medium is no longer available on handsets, meaning you won't be able to enjoy content which relies on the technology on the Blade 3.