The ZTE Blade is sold by carriers in several countries. It is available under several names: Orange San Francisco (UK), BASE Lutea (Germany), Sapo A5 (Portugal), Tactile Internet 2 (France), Vibo 699 (Taiwan), Softbank 003Z (Japan), Dell XCD 35 (India), Globul Z3 (Bulgaria), ZTE-U V880 (China), Idea Blade (India), and Smart Netphone 701 (Philippines).
Detailed hardware specifications
- 3.5 inch TFT or (older variants) AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, resolution: 480x800
- Buttons: Power/lock (top), volume +/- (right), Home/Menu/Back (below screen)
- Qualcomm MSM7227 SoC chipset
- CPU core: ARM1136EJ-S, 600MHz (ARMv6 architecture, ARM11 family)
- GPU core: Adreno 200
- Embedded 320MHz DSP
- 400MHz modem processor
- FlashROM: 512 MB built-in NAND flash / up to 32GB MicroSD card (a 2gb card is provided with the phone)
- RAM: 512 MB some variants only have 256 MB accessible (there is a hack that can upgrade these to 512)
- Mobile Radio
- GSM Tri band
- GPRS/EGPRS Multislot Class 12
- UMTS Release 6
- 7.2 Mbps HSDPA (3G +)
- MBMS baseband
- Chip: RTR6285 Platform F with SMPS GSM PA (also supports GPS)
- WiFi: 802.11b/g (Atheros AR6002 integrated in SWB-A23 chip)
- Bluetooth: 2.0 EDR A2DP (Qualcomm BTS4025 integrated in SWB-A23 chip)
- Other sensors
- Accelerometer: LIS302DL
- Proximity/Ambient Light: Taos TSL2771
- Compass: AKM8973
- Camera: 3.2 megapixels with auto focus, MT9T112-3.0Mp-AF (variants with 5MP exist) the camera does not have a flash.
- FM Radio with RDS (SI4708 chip)
- Micro-B USB port (data connection and charging)
- 3.5mm/4pin TRRS jack (headset)
- Battery: LiIon 1250mAh 3.7V
- Battery life: about 125h (sleeping, data off)
- 2h charging time (AC charger, 700mA), about 4h charging time via USB
- Weight: 115g
- Dimensions: 116 x 56.5 x 11.8
- SAR: 1.35W/kg
More hardware details and photos: 
- To root your phone use one of the following methods, should it not work attempt a different method
Gen 1 or Gen2?
- All ZTE Blades are Gen1 or Gen2. Gen2 phones started shipping around March 2011.
- To find out whether your ZTE Blade is Gen1 or Gen2 simply install Ask Mr Pigfish and it will inform you which generation the phone is.
- The latest ROMs are generally Gen2 only. If you are interested in upgrading from gen1 to gen2 you can perform a TPT, instructions are here.
- There's also the TPT Helper app that can automate almost all updating steps. Note the images TPT Helper offers to download that contain actual ROMs are outdated. Use the CWM only images and install ROMs from ZIP using CWM. Put the ROM ZIP on the SD card before running the TPT.
- ClockworkMod Recovery is the most effective way to install custom ROMs onto your device. You need root for this to work. In order to install ClockworkMod Recovery follow the instructions below:
- 1: Download and install ROM Manager
- 2: FOR GEN1 DEVICES: Open ROM Manager and tap 'Flash ClockworkMod Recovery', it will ask you what device you have. Make sure you choose ZTE Blade, once it has flashed you MUST scroll down and tap 'All ClockworkMod Recoveries' and choose 220.127.116.11, this is due to the later versions of ClockworkMod Recovery being Gen2 ONLY.
- FOR GEN2 DEVICES: Open ROM Manager and tap 'Flash ClockworkMod Recovery', it will ask you what device you have. Make sure you choose ZTE Blade.
- 3: It is recommended to reboot your device once recovery has been flashed
- In order to boot into recovery power on with the volume down button held down
- All ZTE Blade stock ROMs can be found here
- Custom ROMs can be installed via ClockworkMod Recovery
Android 2.2 Custom Roms
Android 2.3 Custom Roms
Android 4.0 Custom Roms
Frequently Asked Questions
What different Blade versions are out there?
Apart from minor firmware differences due to localization and carrier changes, some major relevant changes have been done on the Blade that also have implications, especially when installing custom ROMs.
Gen1 and Gen2 Blades
In March 2011, Blades began shipping in some countries with Android 2.2 as stock. These use a changed bootloader configuration (Gen2). Fastboot is disabled on stock Gen2 Blades, and they use a different file format for TPT - a file called image.bin rather than the multi-image format of Gen1 TPTs. Because of the different bootloader configuration, Gen1 ROMs can only be used on Gen1 phones and vice versa. To check if your phone is Gen1 or Gen2, use kalte_kaffe's Ask Mr Pigfish app. Most new ROMs are being made for Gen2. Gen1 users can upgrade to Gen2 and back with this guide. Phones sold as Gen2 can be converted to Gen1 or have multi-image TPT and fastboot restored by following this guide.
Some newer Blades (since Feb 2011, also all GEN2 Blades) do not support booting directly to fastboot mode after reset .
OLED (old), TFT (since about December 2010). Some ancient ROMs and versions of ClockworkMod might not support TFT so be sure to use only up-to-date software.
Some firmwares (at least the Swiss one) do not support unlocking the Blade for other networks. Some firmwares do not check the hardware net lock (= all SIMs can be used with that firmware, but after flashing other firmware the lock becomes effective again).
5MP vs. 3MP camera
In some countries Blades with 5MP cameras are available. Newer ROMs should support both variants.
Does the Blade support the Flash Player?
No. The ARMv6 processor of the Blade is not supported by the Flash Player. Videos can be played using the Youtube app and there has been some success with the Skyfire browser.
What do the LED signals mean?
The back button to the lower right doubles as a status LED.
- It shows red while charging, turning (pale) green when 90% level is reached. (manual page 37)
- It shows red when the battery is drained down to 5% or less.
- Flashing red means no network signal.
- Flashing Green means A New Notification
Unfortunately, both the buttons and the LED are disabled in sleep mode. If you want notifications of missed calls, new text messages, etc., you need to install FlashNotify, Missed Call, or a similar application.
How to troubleshoot high battery drain?
High battery drain can be caused by many things.
High drain when active
When the phone is active (browsing, phone calls), the battery will last some hours at max. Very high drain in games (like 15% per 10 mins) is possible. So, high drain in active mode is pretty normal. If you think you are really seeing unusual drain, make sure no apps are hogging the CPU (look at Settings/About Phone/Battery History, but do not trust these readings completely). Reboot. If high drain persists, install CPU Spy or some similar application that lets you monitor CPU usage. If the CPU is always running with high frequencies, something is not right. If the CPU never uses low frequencies, CPU power saving does not work for some reason. Check ROM settings and make sure the ROM you are using is not broken.
High drain when sleeping
When the phone is idle (screen turned off, data/sync off, and sleeping properly, i.e., not responding to hitting for example the "Home" key), it should last several days (drain about 1% per hour).
If the latter is not the case, something is not right.
Try to find out what causes the drain in a structured manner, and take your time - just fiddling with settings randomly will not help.
- Make sure your apps are up to date. Updates that fix apps to consume less power do happen.
- Disable high-power features.
- disable Wifi. With Wifi on and active, the battery will last two hours at max.
- disabling GPS typically is not needed - it will only be active if applications use it (GPS icon blinking/steady).
- disabling sync improves battery slightly.
- This gets rid of stuck applications and removes any stale wakelocks or other nastiness that prevents the phone from sleeping.
- Let the phone idle for several (3+) hours immediately after reboot.
- Do not fiddle with the phone.
- Testing for a shorter time is useless. The battery indicator is not that accurate. See facts below.
- If the battery drain is still high after that time, either the firmware is broken (unlikely), or some application is loaded automatically at start and already causes high battery drain. Deinstall any suspicious applications (most notably any notification apps).
- Have a look at battery history (Settings/About Phone/Battery History). If you just woke up the phone you might need to wait a bit until that page gets updated.
- Per-application stats are not completely accurate and sometimes misleading.
- Note that starting with Android 2.3 there is a battery graph which you can also click on. If there is a lot of partial wake (phone active but screen off), some application causes your phone to wake a lot.
- Start using features one by one, let the phone idle for several hours in between, check drain.
- 'feature' is one of: Use any one of your applications, use wifi briefly, do a quick phone call, start and exit an application that uses GPS, etc.
Some random facts:
- measuring battery state is an imperfect science; for the Blade, just the battery voltage is measured which typically is in some relation to the battery state (charge percentage) but is also dependent on current battery load (might recover or stay stuck a bit if idle after high load), environment temperature, and so on. Statements about battery drain cannot be done on any short term basis.
- if the screen is off but the phone wakes up when pressing the "Home" button, it did not sleep properly. The phone should sleep properly about one minute after you turned off the screen using the power button.
- wiping battery stats via ClockworkMod or other tools is often mentioned in context with battery problems but this does not actually do anything.
- changing random settings (such as "UI hardware acceleration") does not fix high drain when idle.
- the Battery Monitor Widget app can keep a log with time/battery %/mA drain/voltage/temperature readings which is handy for research. Disregard drain and temperature though: Drain is guesswork, and temperature readings on the Blade are unreliable in general, especially when sleeping. Other values the app calculates (outside the history) do not help when troubleshooting.
- battery status is unreliable immediately after reboot. Rebooting may look like consuming 5-10% battery but typically the percentage will go up again or stay stuck for a long time then.
Do I have an OLED or a TFT screen?
For unmodified Orange San Franciscos:
- Open the App List on your phone.
- Select Settings.
- Select About Phone.
- Scroll down to "Build Number"
- If your Build Number is OUK_P729BV1.0.0B08 or above, you have the TFT Version.
- If your Build Number is OUK_P729BV1.0.0B05, you have the OLED Version.
Alternatively for all Blades, Dial *983*24474636# in the dialer - if "Glass" is "Samsung" then your phone has an OLED screen. "Lead" or "Truly" means you have a TFT screen.
Note: all white Blades have a TFT screen.
Does the touchscreen support more than dual touch?
No. This is a hardware limitation. There is a problem when using two fingers, same as seen on this video: Motorola Droid vs Nexus One: Multitouch Test
To reproduce, install the Multitouch Visible Test application.
How to keep data and apps when changing firmwares?
Best procedure for changing firmwares:
- Move all apps to the phone memory (do not leave anything on the SD card - see step 4).
- Use Titanium Backup to backup all user-installed apps and their data.
- Titanium is no good for backuping data managed by Android core applications: For example, when migrating from Android 2.1 to 2.2 and restoring your phone contacts via Titanium, you would give the Android 2.2 Contacts application data in the old 2.1 format which might or might not work. Especially restoring other settings such as Wifi settings will cause problems such as the Android UI crashing and reloading in a loop (which looks similar to a boot loop but happens faster).
- Use MyBackup to backup all contact/calendar/SMS data.
- This backup program uses standardized API calls instead of bulk database dump/restore for backups and, thus, does not have problems with changing database versions.
- Boot to ClockworkMod recovery, do a full ROM backup.
- Just in case something goes wrong and/or you want to go back to the old ROM. Restoring this will restore the phone to its old state completely (if you moved all apps to phone memory in step 1).
- Install the new ROM in recovery. Wipe /data and cache.
- Boot the new ROM.
- Install Titanium, then restore app data.
- Again, do not restore any core system data or settings using Titanium.
- Install MyBackup, then restore contact/calendar/SMS data.
How to fix WiFi issues?
Multiple issues have been reported regarding WiFi connections dropping and not reconnecting to hotspots, although not present on all devices according to the forum discussion.
However, this seems to be a general problem with specific WLAN chipsets, and not restricted to the San Francisco. Using a dedicated app like WiFi Fixer might help resolve the issues.
Remove the Blade's back and test the actual button - sometimes the button cover (part of the back part of the case) gets stuck. If it's really the actual button that does not work properly, remove the battery and apply some tiny amount of electronic contact maintenance spray ("CRC 05101 QD Electronic Cleaner" or "Kontakt WL") to the button. Be sure to use a spray that is not too agressive and don't spray other parts of the phone. If in doubt, apply just a drop using a toothpick. Press the button several times, remove any residue, and reassemble.
The Blade battery does not charge anymore, what is going on?
You connect the charging cable, but the charging animation does not appear or vanish quickly again, or the animation is shown, but no charging actually takes place. This occasionally happens but no definite solution is known. Some random facts:
- Symptom: Using the Blade charger, AC charging is reported, but nothing actually happens. Dis-/reconnecting the charger several times sometimes fixes the problem. - This might be due to a broken charger.
- Symptom: Charging via third-party USB charger, and the Blade does not report charging at all, or the charging animation disappears quickly after connecting the cable. - USB voltage too low (i.e., bad or broken USB charger).
- Test connecting the mobile to a PC USB port if you suspect the charger is broken. USB is powered by the PC power supply which has much better power quality than typical wall warts. Be aware normal USB charging is slower though (takes about 4 hours).
- If you have the equipment, measure the charger voltage under load (a 10 Ohms resistor does the job). If voltage is below 4.7V, the charger is broken.
- The ROM has little control over the charging process so it is unlikely (but not impossible) the problem is ROM related.
- A more reliable indication for whether the battery is charging or not is observing the battery voltage. If it stays constant (+-1mV, not more), it is not charging. Also, the battery gets slightly warm when charging.
- Some part of the charging circuity seems to reside in the battery, so it might be a broken battery.
- External battery chargers are available.
- Wiping battery stats in ClockworkMod will not achieve anything.
Is there a way to fix dropouts in Bluetooth audio when using Wifi?
In stock Android 2.1, there is no fix. In most ROMs based on Android 2.2 and up, Bluetooth and Wifi/WLAN should work fine concurrently if enabling Bluetooth first (see here).