- Analysis by KJ David
The 2017 ZTE Blade A3, initially released to the Chinese budget-class smartphone market, features a couple of nifty pros on the selfie and stamina departments, but it does not sound as sharp in other aspects. For instance, it lacks NFC (Near Field Communication) support , which was among the most commonplace connectivity specs around the time of this data-driven review. It also fails to impress us when it comes to display, sporting a run-of-the-mill 5.5-inch 1280 x 720 HD screen with the low-class TFT architecture (Some higher-tier phablets rock classier AMOLED and OLED interfaces).
As for its positive facets, the Blade A3 is home to a dual-lens front-facing camera , which is made up of 5- and 2-megapixel lenses. Granted, neither of its two front cams boast a resolution worth calling home about , but considering that it comes with a front-firing soft LED flash and that not many budget-class Androids rocked dual front cameras when it came out, it winds up as a pro nevertheless. At the back, it comes with a tolerable 13-megapixel primary camera , under which sits a circular fingerprint scanner claiming a 0.1-second device unlocking time -- way faster versus the scanners of most other models in this class, which score unlocking times of around 0.3 seconds.
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Apart from the pros and cons mentioned above, the Blade A3 also boasts a generous 4000mAh battery , consequently putting it closer to the models in our list of big-battery smartphones than most other Androids in the low-budget market. Regrettably, the hardware that its battery works hand-in-hand with leaves a bittersweet taste, seeing that its hefty 3GB RAM feels wasted on its meager 1.45GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6737T processor -- we expected it to hop on the octa-core bandwagon.
In conjunction with its aforementioned fingerprint recognition system, this Blade model also supports user authentication through facial recognition , consequently giving it a solid one-two punch on the security front. For storage, it is loaded with 32GB of inbuilt memory that can be expanded by a maximum of 128GB -- just about right for a 2017 smartphone of its caliber. Topping off its pros and cons are two nano SIM card slots and the Android 7.0 Nougat OS overlaid with ZTE's proprietary MiFavor4.2 user interface.
Offered in Obsidian Black and two shades of Blue (Glacier and Quite Blue), the ZTE Blade A3 is cut out to be a fitting mobile companion for selfie-obsessed and power-cautious shoppers who don't want a full-fledged flagship smartphone just yet.
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