Review: ZTE Blade A54

If you’re on the hunt for an affordable smartphone that doesn’t compromise on features and performance, the ZTE Blade A54 could be a strong contender.

This device made its debut in Malaysia back in November 2023 and boldly declared itself the top smartphone under the RM400 price bracket. But as we approach 2024, is it still a worthwhile investment? In this review, we’ll delve into the details to determine its current value and performance.

Specification table

ProcessorUnisoc SC9863A (Octa-core, 4×1.6 GHz + 4×1.2 GHz)
Internal Storage128GB (expandable via microSD card)
Battery5000mAh (10W charging, USB-C port)
Display6.6-inch IPS LCD, 720 x 1612 pixels, 90Hz refresh rate
CameraRear: 13MP main + 0.08MP auxiliary, Front: 2MP (interpolated to 5MP)
ConnectivityDual SIM (4G LTE), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.2, GPS, NFC (market dependent)
Security FeaturesFingerprint scanner (side-mounted)
Operating System and UpdatesAndroid 13 with MyOS 13 skin
Additional Features3.5mm audio jack

Performance: Smooth enough for daily tasks

Under the hood, the ZTE Blade A54 is equipped with the Unisoc SC9863A chipset, an entry-level processor that first saw the light of day in 2018. While it’s not the mightiest or the freshest chip on the market, it manages to tackle everyday tasks like web browsing, social media, messaging, and casual gaming without significant lag or hiccups.

Backed by 4GB of RAM, it offers sufficient multitasking capability, and its 128GB of storage is quite generous for a budget smartphone. Should you require more space, fret not, as you have the option to expand storage using a microSD card.

display zte blade a54 malaysia
display zte blade a54 malaysia

Operating on Android 13 with the MyOS 13 interface overlay, the phone boasts a user-friendly interface. However, it does come with some pre-installed apps and advertisements, which might irk certain users. What sets it apart in the budget phone category is the inclusion of NFC, though availability may vary by market. This rarity opens up possibilities for contactless payments and device pairing.

For security, the phone features a side-mounted fingerprint scanner that delivers speedy and reliable performance. Additionally, it offers face unlock, though its security and accuracy may not be top-notch. On a positive note, the phone retains a 3.5mm audio jack, catering to those who still prefer wired headphones.

Camera: Basic but functional

The ZTE Blade A54 comes equipped with a dual-camera setup at the back, featuring a 13MP primary camera and a 0.08MP auxiliary lens. In favorable lighting conditions, the primary camera captures decent photos with reasonable detail and color reproduction.

However, it faces challenges in low-light environments, resulting in noisy and blurry pictures. The auxiliary lens serves for depth sensing, enabling portrait mode or a bokeh effect. While portrait mode generally performs adequately, it occasionally struggles with edge detection and excessive background blurring.

For selfies, the phone sports a 2MP sensor, which is interpolated to 5MP. Selfies taken with this camera are passable for sharing on social media platforms, but expectations should be kept in check. Often, these selfies appear soft and grainy, particularly in low-light settings.

When it comes to video recording, both the front and back cameras support up to 1080p resolution at 30fps. However, the video quality is, at best, average, lacking stabilization and autofocus. The audio quality also falls into the mediocre category, with low volume and limited clarity.

Battery: Long-lasting and fast-charging

One standout feature of the ZTE Blade A54 is its exceptional battery life. With its hefty 5000mAh battery, this phone effortlessly powers through an entire day or more with moderate usage.

Whether you’re streaming videos, gaming, surfing the web, or making calls, you can do so without the constant concern of running out of battery.

Additionally, the phone supports 10W fast charging through its USB-C port, enabling a full charge from zero in approximately two hours.

Durability: Solid build quality

The ZTE Blade A54 boasts a robust and durable build quality that inspires confidence. Its body is crafted from plastic, featuring a matte finish that effectively repels fingerprints and resists scratches. Additionally, the phone benefits from a water-repellent coating, guarding against splashes and spills. However, it’s essential to note that while it provides some protection, the phone isn’t fully waterproof or dustproof, so a degree of care is still advisable.

On the front, the phone boasts a generously sized 6.6-inch display that dominates the panel. This display features a teardrop notch at the top, accommodating the selfie camera.

It sports an HD+ resolution and a swift 90Hz refresh rate, ensuring smooth and responsive performance. While the display offers commendable brightness and contrast, it falls short in terms of color accuracy and vibrancy. Additionally, the presence of thick bezels around the screen may give the phone a slightly dated appearance.

Pricelist: Affordable and competitive

color zte blade a54 malaysia
color zte blade a54 malaysia

In Malaysia, you can grab the ZTE Blade A54 for an attractive price of RM369, and this particular variant comes with 4GB of RAM and a spacious 128GB of storage. This pricing positions it as one of the most wallet-friendly smartphones available, especially when you consider its impressive set of features and performance.

When compared to its competitors in the budget smartphone segment, such as the FreeYond F9S, vivo Y02t, and Redmi A2+, which are similarly or slightly higher priced, the ZTE Blade A54 stands out. It offers more storage, a larger battery capacity, a faster display, and the added convenience of NFC support. This makes it a compelling choice for those seeking excellent value for their money.

Conclusion: A good choice for budget-conscious buyers

For budget-conscious shoppers seeking a smartphone that can handle their daily tasks without straining their wallets, the ZTE Blade A54 emerges as a solid choice. Priced at less than RM400, it packs in several appealing features, including decent performance, extended battery life, fast charging capability, NFC support, and a spacious display.

The phone’s robust build quality and the added convenience of a fingerprint scanner enhance its appeal as a reliable daily driver. However, it’s important to acknowledge a few shortcomings, such as the phone’s outdated processor, modest camera performance, lower-resolution display, and software laden with unnecessary applications. Additionally, it lacks some features commonly found in other budget phones, such as a wide-angle, ultra-wide, or macro camera.

If you’re not overly particular about these aspects and prioritize a smartphone that simply gets the job done for your basic requirements, then the ZTE Blade A54 may well be your top choice among smartphones under RM400.

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