5G was the leading factor making phones more expensive over the last year or two, but now that the new standard is starting to mature and becoming more widely available, 5G phones are finally getting cheaper. The TCL 10 5G UW is an example, packing a Snapdragon 765G processor and mmWave support for just $400, but now ZTE has undercut its competitor with an even more affordable 765G phone: The Blade X1 5G, costing just $384.

The X1 and the TCL 10 are actually incredibly similar if you compare them side-by-side. There's the Snapdragon 765G coupled with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of expandable storage on both handsets. Both also ship with Android 10, which is borderline unacceptable when you consider that Android 11 has been out for a few months now.

But ZTE had to cut some more corners to make the Blade X1 just a tad bit cheaper than the TCL 10. It has a 4,000mAh battery, 500mAh less than found on the competing phone. There also isn't any IP certification. Most significantly, the Blade doesn't have a mmWave antenna, so you can't connect to Verizon's ultra-fast Ultra Wideband network. You'll have to make do with Verizon's rapidly growing "Nationwide 5G," its slower but more broadly available next-gen network.


Display 6.5-inch FHD+, hole-punch camera
2340 x 1080 pixels
19.5:9 aspect ratio
60Hz refresh rate
Battery 4000 mAh, non-removable
Qualcomm® Quick Charge 3.0
Memory 6GB RAM, 128GB ROM
Expandable up to 2TB via microSD card
Camera 48MP+8MP+2MP+2MP AI quad rear camera
16MP front camera
Operating System Android 10
Platform Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
Sensors Fingerprint, accelerometer, gyro, light + proximity, NFC for Google Pay
IMS Services VoLTE + HD Voice, Wi-Fi Calling
Connectivity Wi-Fi b/g/n/ac, dual-band 2.4GHz/5GHz, Bluetooth 5.0, USB-C
Bands/Modes CAT 16
NR: n2/5/66
LTE: B2/4/5/12/13/66
Dimensions 164 x 76 x 9.2 mm, 190g approx.
Backing Plastic
Color Midnight
Price $384

You'll find a fingerprint scanner on the plastic back of the Blade, alongside the quad photography and videography array, consisting of a 48MP, an 8MP, a 2MP, and another 2MP camera. On the front, the Blade has a 6.5-inch full HD+ display with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio, interrupted by a 16MP hole-punch selfie camera in the top left corner.

The Blade X1 5G is available on Visible starting today and will cost you $384. Coupled with Visible's unlimited $40 plan, it might be the most affordable way to get started with Verizon's 5G network, next to the TCL 10.