ZTE Blade 11 Prime review: wireless charging for under $200

The ZTE Blade 11 Prime offers one great feature in the field of nearly similar sub-$200 phones: wireless charging. In the smart phone trickle economy, wireless charging is basically guaranteed on all flagship level phones, but it’s still a hit and run during mid-range phones and not in the budget class. You are much more likely to find a really big battery on a phone for under $200 than wireless charging. Besides these features, the $192 Blade 11 Prime’s specs are pretty much the same as competing models like the Galaxy A12 and Moto G Play. Like this model, it offers a 6.5-inch 720p LCD, but has slightly more RAM (4GB vs. 3GB) and slightly less battery capacity (4,000mAh vs. 5,000mAh). Verge Score 5.5 out of 10 Good Wireless Charging on Low-budget Phones Good Battery Life Good Price Bad for Day-to-day Tasks Poor Performance of a Low-Quality Screen Camera May Be Better If you choose a phone priced under $500, you’ll be prioritized. Be sure to choose carefully, and that’s even more true for a $200 phone. If wireless charging is your priority, then there is good news. The ZTE Blade 11 Prime is an affordable phone. If that’s not your main priority and if it’s a good item to have more, you might want to look elsewhere. You can’t do better for individual features like a better screen or camera, but you can do a little better. Blade 11 Prime supports Qi wireless charging standard at 5W. ZTE Blade 11 Prime screen, battery and performance The Blade 11 Prime is on the bigger side with a 6.5-inch display. The 720p resolution is stretched slightly thinner here, and if you look closely you will see that certain images appear slightly pixelated. The screen is nice and bright, but the auto brightness setting lowered the level too dark for my liking. There are also faintly repeating vertical lines in the dark areas of the screen, indicating a low-quality panel. It’s not a big distraction, but it stands out. It doesn’t have the largest battery in its class, but the Blade 11’s battery performance is generally good anyway. It glowed for about two days using mostly Wi-Fi on one charge. Using LTE all day will drain the battery faster, but most people can expect to experience excessive use at least all day before recharging. Wireless charging, the Marquee feature of Blade 11 Prime, works well if it’s a bit slow. Wireless charging, the Marquee feature of Blade 11 Prime, works well if it’s a bit slow. The phone supports Qi charging at 5W. It took almost exactly 2 hours from 50% to full charge and the phone warmed up in the meantime, but I didn’t have to worry about it. Unless you’re expecting incredible speed, wireless charging is a convenient option for the Blade 11 Prime. This is especially true for the type of person who charges the phone overnight. You don’t expect dazzling processing speeds on a $200 phone, but the ZTE Blade 11 Prime is a bit lacking even considering its price. It uses the MediaTek MT6762 Helio P22 chipset with a relatively healthy 4GB of RAM, but this combination also suffers from lighter tasks like Instagram or Twitter scrolling. Just navigating the usual social media timeline has had quite a bit of stuttering and hesitation. The app opens fast enough, but navigating the usual social media timeline or scrolling through the home screen app drawer has had quite a bit of stuttering and hesitation. It’s expected to be a bit slower at this price point, but I haven’t seen consistent stuttering with the Motorola Moto G Play recently. The ZTE Blade 11 Prime comes with Android 11. This feature is great. Some of the slightly less recent competitors are still waiting for an update. ZTE says it has no plans to offer additional Android OS upgrades and will provide security patches as needed. Not surprisingly, given the phone’s price point. The Blade 11 Prime has not been built for use in the past two years. There is also 64GB of built-in storage, but not much. You can use it if you don’t download too many apps or store too many photos on your device. Otherwise, we recommend adding a microSD card for additional storage space at the time of purchase. The camera hardware is modest. On the rear panel there are 16 megapixel main and 8 megapixel ultra wide cameras. ZTE Blade 11 Prime Camera Blade 11 Prime’s rear camera system includes a 16 megapixel main camera and an 8 megapixel ultra wide and 2 megapixel depth sensor. This is the default setting and works well in good lighting conditions. It’s a bit more prone to clipping very bright parts of a photo than other systems I’ve used recently, but overall it’s great with the exposure of a high contrast scene. In normal room lighting, there is some noise reduction that softens the details, and low-light photos appear smeared even at the reduced image size used for social sharing. Grid View other cameras are fine. Ultra Wide doesn’t handle high-contrast scenes as well as the main camera, and some noticeable noise appears in the shadows. Also, when using the main camera, there is a brief delay after pressing the shutter button before taking another picture that does not exist. The selfie camera will thankfully avoid excessive faces and your photos will look good if there is enough light available. If you’re not yet a wireless charging enthusiast, it’s best to look elsewhere in the budget phone class. If your budget is tight and wireless charging is a must, the ZTE Blade 11 Prime is the phone for you. However, if you can do without wireless charging, you might want to look elsewhere. Iffy’s ability to do some basic tasks will be more inconvenient in the long run than plugging in the phone every night for charging. This year’s Motorola Moto G Power would be a worthy alternative if you could spend a little more money. You’ll get a faster processor and better battery life, but you should definitely plan to buy a microSD card to complement the lesser 32GB of storage. G Play is a good alternative, even with a slightly slower processor than the G Power. Photo of Allison Johnson / The Verge

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