ZTE Blade V9 and V9 Vita are here, we go hands-on

ZTE released the Blade V8 about a year ago, bringing dual-cameras and an octa-core processor to its mid-range line of devices. While these phones won’t have customers rushing to pre-order, they provide quite a bit of value for the price.

This year, ZTE is looking to up the quality of this line even further, producing what it thinks is the best Blade device yet. The new Blade V9 has a similar general shape to last year’s model, but the quality of the build has improved substantially. ZTE is employing a new shimmering material they call “Aurora Glass” to give the V9 a premium look and feel. The Vita doesn’t get this same treatment, but its unibody shell feels similar to the OnePlus 5, which is not at all a bad thing.

Both devices are getting much better screen-to-body ratios this year. The Blade V9 screen takes up 84 percent of the phone and the Vita’s takes up 81 percent. These screens are fairly decent for devices in this price range. Both are Full HD quality, which isn’t incredibly high for a smartphone, but also looks perfectly fine. We wouldn’t discount them just because they didn’t have 1,440p displays.

The Blade V9 and V9 Vita's software feels like the software on the Google Pixel

Both devices run Android Oreo, with a new skin ZTE is calling “Stock Plus.” This name is quite fitting. It feels essentially like stock Android on a Google Pixel. You can always throw your launcher of choice on this device to get a specific feel, but these devices honestly felt just fine with the stock launcher, which is rare with midrange devices.

The Blade V9’s 3-4 GB of RAM and 32-64 GB of storage, but the Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 is the spec that unveils this is really a budget device. This won’t hold up well compared to newer Snapdragon chips on the market today, but for someone that cares more about design and uses their device for simple tasks, the Blade V9 should hold up just fine.

The V9 Vita is more obviously mid-ranged. It’s sporting 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage along with a Snapdragon 435 Mobile Processor, showing it was obviously made for the ultra-budget users in mind. This phone will more than likely make its way to Cricket Wireless or a similar carrier under a different name, so it makes sense have have more basic specs inside.

Both devices have a 13 MP dual camera, 3,100 mAh battery, microSD compatibility, a 3.5 mm headphone jack and charging via microUSB, so there really isn’t a whole lot to differentiate these devices on the outside. Internal power and build quality is what really sets the Blade V9 and V9 Vita apart, along with their respective price points.

The face unlock feature seemed fairly reliable in our hands-on time, but we always worry about the security of these things.

Both phones are getting a new face-unlock feature as well. In our hands-on time with the device this seemed fairly reliable, but we always worry about the security of these things. We would likely recommend using the included fingerprint reader instead, but face unlock is always nice to have either way.

The Blade V9 features an 8 MP front-facing camera (up to 13 MP interpolated), while the V9 Vita sports a 5 MP front-facing camera (up to 8 MP interpolated).

ZTE has not announced pricing or availability for the Blade V9 or V9 Vita, but we’ll be sure to update you when we know more.

Do either of these phones sound appealing to you? ZTE has definitely stepped up their build-quality since the last Blade, so it’s good to see consistent improvement.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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