What does ZTE's latest phone have in common with the Honor 6x and Asus ZenFone 3 Zoom?

Besides being unveiled at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, they each sport dual cameras, allowing you to capture photos with a a "bokeh" depth-of-field effect. The iPhone 7 Plus made headlines last autumn when it launched with a similar capability, but unlike that premium phone, the ZTE Blade V8 Pro is ultra affordable. For $230, you get two 13-megapixel rear cameras, plus an 8-megapixel front camera.

We recently played with the phone and found that it delivered detail pictures, but if you want that shallow, blurred background, the Blade let's you apply bokeh and adjust the intensity of the effect by dragging an aperture slider up or down. Doing so doesn't physical widen or close the physical lens, but it does apply software magic made possible by a monochrome sensor, ZTE told us during a brief demo.

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The Blade V8 Pro's second camera actually has a monochrome mode that shows your shot in black and white before you even capture it. It can also take 4K videos as well as crisp selfies. If you're on a tight budget but want a phone that can adequately capture your life in stunning detail and accurate colours, this is the phone for you. It even has a 5.5-inch full-HD display and 32GB of internal storage that's expandable via microSD.

Another standout feature is the physical home button with an embedded fingerprint sensor, as that's something hard to find on budget phones. The Blade V8 Pro has metal finish on the front, with a rubbery, textured plate on the back. Inside there is a 3140mAh battery that ZTE says will last longer than the batter found on its flagship Axon 7. However, the phone is decidedly mid-ranger when it comes to power.

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First Impressions

It has an octa-core Snapdragon 625 processor and 3GB of RAM, which during our demo, seemed adequate. The camera app could speedily load and take shots with minimal lag. We'd have to play with it for an extended time though to fully give a review on not only its processing power but also camera capabilities, so stay tuned. 

Keep in mind there will be a regular Blade V8 as well. Unlike the Pro, it has a smooth aluminium finish on the back with horizontally placed shooters (one 13-megapixel camera and one 2-megapixel camera). It also has a 13-megapixel camera on the front with a flash, a 5.2-inch Full HD screen, Snapdragon 435 chip, 2GB or 3GB of RAM, 16GB or 32GB of storage, and a 2,730mAh. No details yet on pricing.

These are the first ZTE Blade smartphones to come to the US. The line has been available in Europe, Asia, and Latin America, with more than 50 million Blade phones worldwide. The Blade V8 Pro is available to pre-order now and will begin shipping 11 January.