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ZTE’s newest Blade phone features dual cameras, a glass back, and face detection

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A flagship-inspired phone

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

ZTE is announcing two new additions to its mid-range Blade phone lineup today at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Both the Blade V9 and its cheaper Blade V9 Vita counterpart feature stock Android Oreo 8.1, dual cameras, rear fingerprint sensors, and displays with an 18:9 aspect ratio. Both phones also feature upgraded camera software that should be better at handling low-lighting conditions.

I didn’t get a chance to compare the V9 photos to the V8 lineup, but I did notice a significant difference between the photos taken on a V9 Vita versus the V9. The V9 Vita appeared to smooth over details and blended everything together, whereas the V9 was able to capture clear lines. You can see a difference, although I wouldn’t necessarily say the V9 Vita photos were bad. They just weren’t great and certainly won’t satisfy smartphone photographers: the quality is about what you’d expect from a $200 phone.

You can see the V9 Vita on the left below and the V9 on the right.

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Other than the cameras, the Blade V9 takes additional design and feature cues from newer flagship devices. It includes face detection, so users can unlock their phone with their face, although looking down at the screen won’t wake it up. It also features minimal bezels and a glass back. ZTE tells me its higher-end Axon line will eventually see a complete reduction of bezels and maybe even a notch, which will probably trickle down to the Blade line at some point.

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Here are the full specs for each device:

Blade V9

  • 5.7-inch Full HD display
  • 3GB of RAM with 32GB of storage, up to 256GB external storage
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 processor
  • Dual, rear-facing camera system with one 16-megapixel sensor and a 5-megapixel sensor
  • 13-megapixel front-facing camera
  • 3,200mAh battery
  • Micro USB charging and headphone jack
  • Under $300 (exact pricing not provided)

Blade V9 Vita

  • 5.45-inch HD display
  • 2GB of RAM with 16GB of storage
  • Qualcomm MSM8940 processor
  • Dual, rear-facing camera system with one 13-megapixel sensor and a 2-megapixel sensor
  • 8-megapixel front-facing camera
  • 3,200mAh battery
  • Micro USB charging and headphone jack
  • Around $200 (exact pricing not provided)

Both phones look and feel significantly better than last year’s Blade devices, particularly considering the V9’s glass back. I’m just ready for a fully bezel-less phone at a low cost.