In this test we take a look at the low-cost ZTE V5 Max. Could this budget phone be the best buy of 2015? Lets find out in the ZTE V5 Max review.
From appearances the ZTE V5 Max is a low-cost,and cut down version of the flagship Nubia Z7 Max smartphone, this budget ZTE even manages to inherit the same Nubia ROM too which includes some nice features.
Pricing for the ZTE V5 Max ranges from around $168.99 through Amazon to $175 through reseller websites.
ZTE V5 Max Review: Design
If you like the design of the Nubia range of phones then you are going to feel right at home with the ZTE V5 Max. The phone retains the classic Nubia lines measuring in at 153.5 x 77.2 x 9.7mm. At a weight of 180g you could hardly say that the ZTE V5 Max is a lightweight phone, but that heft gives it a reassuring feel, and does include a removable 3100mAh battery.
A simple design leaves the left hand side of the phone clean, with the physical volume rocker and power button located on the right. This is the same layout as found on Xiaomi phones, making the switch to the ZTE V5 Max smooth and comfortable for me.
The headphone jack is a standard 3.5mm item and is located in the top, while a USB plug in found near the right-hand corner of the base of the phone.
Flip the phone over and we have a large lens, behind which sits a 13 mega-pixel sensor. A single LED flash is a rare sight even on mid range phones these days but the V5 still has one. There is also a ZTE logo and dual speaker grills.
Again like the Nubia range of phones, ZTE have made the rear panel of the V5 Max removable. This allows you to get at the 3100mAh battery, dual SIM card locations and micro SD card memory expansion bay.
Up front a 5.5-ich display takes up most of the phone with sensors above and soft touch buttons below. In this case we have a home button with two dots either side for back and menu options.
We’ve been spoiled with the number of alloy phones recently, but there really is nothing wrong with a well made plastic phone. The plastic striation of the ZTE V5 Max is well made, free of imperfections and feels solid in your hand. Even giving the chassis a firm squeeze, the phone won’t let out even the slightest of creeks.
It’s interesting to see the ZTE went for blue rather than black for the chassis colour. It’s a neat touch that brings a few blue highlight so the phone noticeable around the camera and the USB.
Although 5.5-inch might be physically too large for some of you, the ZTE V5 Max was comfy to hold through out our review. The physical buttons are in the perfect location as are the button on the chin.
ZTE V5 Max Review: Display
The display on the ZTE V5 Max is a large 5.5-inch unit, but it isn’t a 1080 FHD model that we might see on some phones. ZTE have used an IPS panel with a resolution of 1280 x 720, the same size and resolution as the Xiaomi Redmi Note.
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Even though this isn’t a FHD display the viewing experience is still very good. Images are sharper than you might expect, the overall brightness is good and colours are reproduced well.
We like the fact that the Nubia ROM offers settings to change the saturation and brightness of the display, meaning the user can set the screen warmth just as they like it.
Other notes worth mentioning are the screen is responsive, it has good viewing angles and it is easy to read even in direct sunlight.
ZTE V5 Max Review: ROM
The ZTE V5 Max doesn’t belong to the Nubia range of phones, but ZTE have loaded their Nubia UI on the device, bringing with it all the features that flagship Nubia users take for granted.
At the time of reviewing the ZTE V5 Max, the phone was running Nubia UI 2.6.0 which is based on Android 4.4.4.
With a 5.5-inch, even on a phone as comfortable to use as the V5 Max, it is good to see that Nubia UI has a one-handed feature. With this setting enabled you can use a shrunk down version of your phone’s screen and set it to either the left or right.
With 2GB RAM on tap the Nubia UI ROM runs fluidly without issue. Overall stability is good, and the ROM maintains it’s snappy feel even with a lot of applications running in the background.
Below are a few screenshots taken from the Nubia UI ROM.
ZTE V5 Max Review: Performance and benchmark
The V5 Max has a well optimised ROM, 2GB RAM and a quad-core Snapdragon 410 chipset running at 1.2Ghz. These are perfectly acceptable specifications for a mid-range phone, and offer perfectly adequate benchmarks.
If you were to use the ZTE V5 Max everyday with the general applications that everyone uses from day-to-day, you are not going to have an issue with performance. Even with lower benchmarks than those of a Mediatek MT6732 phone the ZTE performs well.
ZTE V5 Max benchmarks:
- Antutu: 21,340
- Quadrant: 11,885
- Nenamark: 54.9fps
- 3D Mark: 2597
- Vellamo Browser: 2046
Gaming on the ZTE V5 Max is fine also. Running Real Racing 3 on the Adreno 306 GPU is smooth and fast, but you do miss out on some of the richer visuals found on more powerful phones.
ZTE V5 Max Review: Connectivity and audio
The ZTE V5 Max boosts dual SIM, LTE, WIFI, Bluetooth, GPS etc. For my test I ran the phone on Vodafone and TIM (in Italy) and found reception and signal strength to be trouble-free. LTE, where available, also remained fast and reliable.
This being a Qualcomm powered phone we didn’t expect to run in to any issues with the GPS, and can happily report that GPS lock on time is fast and when navigating city streets is accurate.
The audio on the ZTE V5 Max is clear and loud through either the dual speakers or headphones. We’re not talking about rich bass here, but simple clear quality. There are certainly phones with better audio on the market, but there are also plenty which are worse.
ZTE V5 Max Review: Cameras
A 13 mega-pixel main camera is pretty standard these days, even low-end phones receive them. The 13 mega-pixel shooter on the ZTE has an F2.2 aperture and single LED flash. In normal daylight conditions the camera performs well, surprisingly so for macro and close up photos.
Image quality is impressive, partly down to the feature packed Nubia UI camera application. The camera app offers a lot of settings from basic manual to a ‘Pro mode’ allowing you to fine tune every aspect of your photos.
F2.2 isn’t the best size of aperture on the market and as the light disappears, noise in your images begins to appear. The V5 still manages useable photos in low-light and night photos. Compared to phones which are on sale for a similar price the ZTE V5 Max is superior to most in the camera quality department.
ZTE V5 Max Review: Battery
We have seen lots of smartphone makers concentrate on battery size, and for ZTE to offer a 3100mAh battery is a huge boost for this mid-range LTE phone.
Battery life will vary for user to user but in our test the device managed 13 hours and 30 minutes with both SIM cards active, and around 14 hours with just a single SIM.
Nubia UI also allows you to use power saving features from the settings. So you can choose to run the phone for maximum performance or maximum battery life.
ZTE V5 Max Review: Conclusion
At the start of the review we asked if the ZTE V5 Max could be the best budget phone of 2015? Well it is certainly one of the best that’s for sure. Rather than thinking of this as a rival to the Xiaomi Redmi Note, it is better to think of the ZTE V5 Max as a slimmed down and more affordable Nubia Z5. With the feature packed Nubia UI, solid performance and excellent battery life I am happily impressed with the phone.
This review was translated from the original review over on GizChina.it.