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A Review of the ZTE Blade S6

Last updated: December 4, 2018.

ZTE Blade S6 Review

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Budget-friendly smartphones, with price tags that are less than $300 or $200, are now a big part of the Android market, and OEMs have learned to make them without compromising on build quality or performance.

In this review, we look at a great example of a quality budget-friendly smartphone, the ZTE Blade S6 from the Chinese manufacturer ZTE.

Design

  • The dimensions of the ZTE Blade S6 are 144 x 70.7 and 7.7 mm.
  • The Blade S6 design looks similar to that of the iPhone 6.
  • The ZTE Blade S6 has a gray colored body with rounded corners and curved sides. The positioning of its camera and logo are similar to where you would find these features on an iPhone 6.

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  • The body of the Blade S6 is made up entirely of plastic coated with a smooth satin finish. While there have been quality mid-range smartphones made of plastic that manage to not look cheap, unfortunately, the Blade S6 is not one of those.
  • The ZTE Blade S6 is a thin phone with a thickness of 7.7. It has a 5-inch display and thin bezels, this, combined with its rounded corners and sides, makes it sit comfortably in one hand. Unfortunately, the plastic of this phone makes it

slippery.  But, if you can keep a grip, the Blade S6 is an easy phone to use one-handed.

 

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  • The Blade S6 uses capacitive keys up front and its home button is placed in the center. The home button has a blue ring that glows when you touch it.  It also glows to let you know when you have notifications or when the device is changing.

Display

  • The ZTE Blade S6 has a 5-inch IPS LCD display with a 720p resolution for a pixel density of 294 ppi.
  • As the display uses an IPS LCD panel, the colors are vibrant without being over saturated and the screen had great brightness and viewing angles.
  • The black levels are good, maybe some of the best seen on an LCD without light bleed.
  • The display has a glass panel with curved edges which makes swiping a smooth and seamless experience.

Performance and Hardware

  • The Blade S6 uses an octa-core 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor with clocks at 1.7 GHz. This is backed by the Adreno 405 GPU with 2 GB of RAM.
  • This is one of the best mid-range processing packages that are available now and allows for the Blade S6 to be responsive and fast.
  • The ZTE Blade S6 has 16 GG of available on-board storage.
  • The Blade S6 had a microSD which means that you can expand your phones storage capacity by an additional 32 GB.
  • The sound system of the Blade S6 consists of a single speaker in the back on the bottom right corner. While this works well, it isn’t as good as a front-facing speaker and it’s easy to cover up when holding the device, or putting it down on a flat surface resulting in muffled sound.

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  • The device has the standard suite of sensors and connectivity options: GPS, microUSB 2.0, WiFi a/b/g/n, 5GHz, NFC and Bluetooth 4.0. This includes support for 4G LTE.
  • Since the ZTE Blade S6 was designed with the Asian and European markets in mind, it doesn’t connect to US LTE networks.
  • The battery is the Blade S6 is a 2,400 mAh unit. The battery life is about average, though there are battery saving modes that can help it last a little longer.  The best amount of battery life we got was 15 hours with about 4 and a half hours of screen-on time.

Camera

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  • The ZTE Blade S6 has a 13MP camera with a f/2.0 aperture and Sony sensor in the rear. The front has a 5 MP camera.
  • There are two modes in the camera interface. Simple is an auto mode that allows you to snap photos without playing with any additional camera settings.  Expert mode allows you to control more settings to get the phone you want.  These additional controls include white balance, metering, exposure and ISO.
  • There are there are other shooting modes available, such as HDR and Panorama, but you can only access this while on Simple mode.
  • The pictures are good. Colors are sharp and vibrant.
  • The f/2.0 aperture works well for effects similar to what you can get with a DSLR camera.
  • Dynamic range doesn’t work to well and there can be a loss of detail.
  • Low light performance is also rather bad. The noise levels tend to be extremely high and much detail is lost.
  • The front camera has a wide-angle lens.
  • There are gesture controls for the camera. The rear camera can be activated by holding the volume up button and then brining the phone up horizontally.  To activate the front camera, hold the volume up button and bring the phone up vertically and towards your face.

Software

  • The ZTE Blade S5 uses Android 5.0 Lollipop.
  • There are a few additional features from ZTE including a custom launcher.
  • The custom launcher is colorful and it does away with an app drawer in favor of having all applications on the home screen. You will need to use folders to keep the clutter down.
  • You can customize the launcher. There are a with a series of built in wallpapers you can choose from.  ZTE also has an online library where you can download even more wallpaper options.  There is a built-in slider which you can use to give your chosen wallpaper a blurred look.  You can also use desktop transition effects.
  • The ZTE Blade S5 allows for access to the Google Play Store.
  • You have the option to use Gesture features. Gesture features include Air Gesture, Cover Phone Screen and Shake it.  Air Gesture let you control you music by holding the volume down button and drawing a V or O to start and stop play.  Cover Phone Screen allows you to silence incoming calls or alarms by waving a hand over the phone.  Shake It opens either the flashlight or camera when you shake the phone from lockscreen.
  • MI-POP is designed for easier one-handed operation. It makes a bubble with on-screen navigation keys appear on the homescreen.

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The ZTE Blade S6 is set to be available world-wide starting from February 10 for around $249.99.  The ZTE Blade S6 will be sold directly through Ali Express and Amazon in certain select markets.

For those in Europe or Asia, the Blade S6 is a solid and budge-friendly smartphone that is worth considering.  For those in the US is might not be that viable an option though because of the connectivity limitations.

All in all, while the design and build quality could be improved, the ZTE Blade S6 is a device that offers you a great processing package with a solid camera experience for an affordable price.

What do you think about the ZTE Blade S6?

JR

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