One of the first Chinese companies to enter Indian market, ZTE is still trying to find a foothold here. Their latest smartphone Blade A2 Plus has all the elements such as a big battery, good looks and a big display (5.5-inch) which users expect from budget smartphones these days. It will be available in India from 6 February, 2017 through Flipkart.com at Rs 11,999 and is likely to be compared with Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (4GB+64GB) which is selling at Rs12,999.
Big and burly
The Blade A2 Plus has the same design language as the Redmi Note 4 and has a very similar unibody metal finish with closed battery. The finger print sensor also rests on the back right under the camera. What sets them apart is the extra ounce that the Blade A2 Plus carries with it.
At 189g, the Blade A2 Plus feels a bit hefty. It is also 155mm tall and 9.8mm thick. In comparison, the Xiaomi smartphone is a bit lighter (175g), more compact (151mm) and slimmer (8.4mm).
The Blade A2 Plus has a hybrid SIM tray which means you can use one nano SIM and a microSD card at a time or two nano SIMs at a time. The Xiaomi smartphone uses the same mechanism but supports both micro and nano SIM cards, which means if you are still using an old SIM card you don’t have to throw it away yet.
New Custom UI
The ZTE smartphone runs Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) with a new custom UI which looks like a typical Chinese phone interface. There is no app drawer and all apps show up on the home screen. However, the customisation options are very limited and the overall interface in itself looks a bit unpolished in comparison to Xiaomi’s MIUI 8. The Redmi Note 4 runs Android 6.0 and is expected to get Android 7.0 (Nougat) update soon.
ZTE has used 1.5GHz MediaTek MT6750 octa-core processor to power the Blade A2 Plus and has paired it with 4GB RAM. This is a mid-range chip and has been used in many dependable budget smartphones such as Oppo F1s (Rs 17,289) and Meizu M2 (Rs6,999).
The Redmi Note 4 runs on a more powerful 2.0GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 octa-core chip with 4GB RAM. We have seen it in mid-range phones like the Moto Z Play (Rs 25,999).
The other advantage of the Redmi Note 4 is that it offers 64GB of storage, which is twice of what you would get on the Blade A2 Plus.
The Blade A 2 Plus appears a bit heftier and thicker than the Redmi Note 4 because it packs in a bigger 4,900mAh battery. The Redmi Note 4 is powered by a 4,100mAh battery. On paper, the former has an edge, but having a bigger battery doesn’t always guarantee more battery backup.