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Our Verdict

The Emie Power Blade is expensive for an 8000mAh power bank, but we think it’s well worth the outlay with a fantastically unique thin-and-light design, dual-output adaptive charging and high-end features such as passthrough charging. For students and workers with ringbinders, it’s highly recommended.

The Emie Power Blade is big brother to the Emie Power Note and won a Red-dot Design Award in 2013 for its outstanding product design. But how does the Emie fare as an emergency charger for your phone or tablet? We find out in our Emie Power Blade power bank review. Also see:  Best power banks 2023.

We were in awe of the Power Note’s premium aluminium alloy design, with its unique binder holes along one edge of the ultra-slim power bank used to effortlessly secure it into a ringbinder, and its handy built-in Micro-USB cable. The Power Blade features those same binder holes along its left edge, and while it lacks the built-in cable you do get a felt case for protecting it on the road. A handy front pocket lets you also carry the supplied Micro-USB cable, along with a pair of headphones or whatever you like.

The Power Note is slim at just 7mm, but Emie claims the Power Blade is the slimmest power bank in the world at just 5.2mm. It’s a little larger than the Note, given the increased capacity available, but it truly is remarkable how Emie has achieved such a thin-and-light design.

You might be wondering how Emie has managed to squeeze two USB outputs into a device so skinny, and the answer is their ingenious collapsible design. To connect a USB cable you must first push forward the top edge of the USB output to slide out the metal casing and enlarge the port.

Both USB outputs are specified at 10.5W (5V, 2.1A) for fast charging of your connected devices, and the Power Blade offers adaptive charging with one port optimised for iOS devices and the other for Android and other devices. Our Samsung Galaxy S6 was just as happy to charge from the iOS port, however. Also see:  How to improve smartphone battery life.

With 8000mAh on offer, and an average efficiency rate of 70 percent for most power banks, expect to find at least 5600mAh available for charging your phone or tablet. That would provide our Samsung Galaxy S6 (2550mAh battery) two full charges with some power to spare. Also see:  How to charge your phone or tablet faster. 

Four LEDs are activated at the press of the small power button to show you how much juice remains. When the power bank is empty the Emie can refill its own battery at 10W (5V, 2A), given a compatible charger (you can use whichever adaptor came with your phone or tablet). We found the Power Blade was able to simultaneously charge itself and a connected device. Also see: Best MiFi 2023.

In passthrough charging mode we needed to press the power button to begin charging our S6, but with the Emie not connected to the mains it was a simple case of plugging in the device and the Power Blade sprang into action. However, while there is auto-on, there is no auto-off. You’ll need to unplug your phone or tablet once charging has finished to ensure no power is wasted.

This small power button can also be held down for three seconds to put the Emie into adaptive charging mode, although we were surprised to find it wasn’t able to automatically recognise the attached device without our input.

Emie’s official outlet is Nathan Rd, where the Power Blade costs $79.99 (£51). If you’ve not heard of Nathan Rd, it specialises in bringing you the best, most unique, and passionately designed products to suit an urban lifestyle. Each stylish piece is hand-picked by the Nathan Rd team.

At £51 the Power Blade is very expensive for an 8000mAh power bank, but it absolutely oozes style. The warranty is short at just six months, but even without its protective felt case the tough aluminium alloy design feels reassuringly well built. It didn’t become even warm in use, with the metal design effectively dissipating heat.

 Also see:  Best desktop chargers 2023.

Follow Marie Brewis on  Twitter.

Specs Emie Power Blade 8000mAh: Specs

8000mAh power bank

2x 10.5W (5V, 2.1A) USB outputs with adaptive charging

1x 10W (5V, 2A) Micro-USB input


passthrough charging

four-LED status system

felt carry case

Micro-USB cable supplied



You're reading Emie Power Blade 8000Mah Power Bank Review

Ec Technology 22400Mah Power Bank Review: Charges Your Iphone 10 Times

Our Verdict

We can’t believe such a huge amount of portable power is on offer at such a low price with the EC Technology High Capacity Power Bank. While it isn’t as stylish, nor as portable, as the Lumsing 10400mAh Power Bank, at twice the price it offers more than double the available battery power. Which device you choose will likely come down to how long you’ll be away from the mains.

Of all the power banks we’ve had in for review of late, this 22400mAh portable USB charger from EC Technology has the highest capacity. It can charge an iPhone 5s 10 times away from the mains. Read our EC Technology YN-025 22400mAh High Capacity Power Bank review to find out more. Also see:  Best power banks 2023.

You might be wondering why, if an iPhone 5s battery is rated at 1570mAh, and this EC Technology power bank offers 22400mAh, you can charge your iPhone 5s ‘only’ 10 times. As with all portable USB chargers, some of the power is lost through the transfer of energy and in the heat generated. Most chargers will lose around 35 percent of their capacity; this EC Technology High Capacity Power Bank is more efficient and will lose only 30 percent. We’ll do the maths for you: that leaves 15680mAh for charging your assorted USB-powered gadgets. 

Given that this power bank has dual-USB outputs – one rated at 2.1A and designed for but not exclusive to tablets, the other at 1A for smartphones – it’s nice to see that EC Technology bundles two USB cables in the box. These come with interchangeable connectors for Apple’s 30-pin dock, Micro- and Mini-USB, plus what looks like an old Nokia charger. If your device uses a proprietary connector – such as Apple’s Lightning – you can still charge it, you’ll just need to supply your own cable. Also see: 41 best smartphones. 

With such a large amount of portable power on offer, it’s also pleasing to see the Micro-USB input rated at 2A. You can use any USB charger to top up the EC Technology Power Bank (one is not supplied), although charging will be faster using those with higher ratings, such as those sold with tablets. Using a 2A charger the power bank can be charged up in 14- to 15 hours, but it’ll take 27- to 29 hours using a 1A USB charger. Our previous experience in charging up the Veho Pebble Smartstick+, which has a 0.5A input, means we know which option we prefer. 

Despite all that talk of energy loss through the heat generated, in simultaneously charging our iPad mini 2 and Samsung Galaxy S4 the EC Technology High Capacity Power Bank never got even warm to the touch. It’s actually not a huge amount larger than the S4 either, although it’s significantly heavier: at 449g this is a gadget you carry in your bag, not in your pocket. 

It’s not as good-looking as the Lumsing 10400mAh Power Bank, but the EC Technology High Capacity Power Bank has a certain charm. Supplied to us in black with a red trim, the plastic chassis has rounded edges and corners, and feels pretty tough. It’s also available in white, blue and white, and red and orange, and costs £35.99 from Amazon. That’s twice the price of the Lumsing, but it offers more than double the portable power. 

Like that device it uses four LEDs to show you how much capacity remains. Given that each LED refers to a huge 5600mAh, you can’t get an exact reading. Unlike the Lumsing, though, it also features a torch (double-press the tiny button on the side to turn it on). You never know, if you’re taking the EC Technology High Capacity Power Bank on a camping trip it could come in useful for late-night trips to the shower block, or even just trying to find the MicroUSB connection on a flat phone or tablet. 

Also read our tips on how to improve smartphone battery life.

Specs EC Technology YN-025 22400mAh High Capacity Power Bank: Specs

22400mAh portable USB charger

1x 2.1A output

1x 1A output

2A MicroUSB input (fully charged in 14- to 15 hours)


supplied with two USB cables with interchangeable connectors for MicroUSB, MiniUSB, Apple 30-pin dock and one random (possibly an old Nokia charger)

1-year warranty



Xiaomi 10,400 Mah Mi Power Bank Unboxing, Hands On Review And Overview

Official Specifications

Input Current: 2.0 A

Output Current: 2.1 A

Size: 90.5 x 77 x 21.6 mm

Weight: 250 grams

Safety: Input OVP, OCP, Output OCP, OVP, Thermal Protection,

Xiaomi 10400 mAH Power Bank Unboxing, Review, Features, Original or Fake Check and Overview [Video] Design and Build

The Xiaomi Mi Power bank has a unibody aluminum design, and has been anodized for a better grip. The power bank is very compact and you can even carry it in your pocket, easily so in your travel gear. Xiaomi also promises that the outsides are corrosion resistant, which makes it a durable product. A random color case also comes bundled with the device for better feel


The thing that we like about Xiaomi Power bank is the fact that it can accept up to 1.5 – 2 Ampere of current and output the same if you have a phone which accepts it. This was a pleasant surprise from a battery pack which costs less than 1000 INR. When we tested our unit with charge doctor, we hot around 1.3 Ampere current while charging Mi3. The 16 cm USB cable was fine for charging devices but if you need to plug in your wall charger look for something bigger.

With a 2 Ampere charger, Xiaomi Mi Power Bank experience will become more comfortable. The power button is used to fire up the 4 LED indicators. Like some cheap power banks the light from one LED will not intersperse with others. Each LED represents 25 percent charge. There is only one USB port and thus you can charge only one device at a time. We could charge Xiaomi Mi3 twice from the battery pack.

Durability What you Must Know Before You buy One

If this is the first time that you are buying a power bank, this part is meant to help you balance your expectations. Bigger batteries means they take more time to charge. It is really irritating to charge your smartphone, which is why many get attracted to a high capacity power bank in the first place. Xiaomi Power bank takes around 12 hours to charge with a 1 A charger or around 6 hours with a 2 Ampere charger.

This is better than what most other cheap power banks are offering, but still you must balance your expectations. The high capacity will benefit you a lot, say, when you are on excursions and perhaps will be a life saver when you are lazing around at night, are running out of charge and don’t want to part with your bed or your smartphone. We would also like to see OPPO VOOC charging in these devices someday, but that’s certainly not happening at these prices.

Ideally a 10000 mAh battery power bank should charge a 2000 mAh smartphone battery 5 times, but in practical scenario, that is never the case. The 10,400 mAh battery bank can charge our Xiaomi Mi3 (3050 mAh) about twice. So this is the second thing that you should know.

What we Like

High input and output current

Large capacity

Nice Build

What we Don’t Like

No wall charger in the box

Only One charging port.


Amd Threadripper 3970X Review: 32 Cores Of Unbeatable Power

AMD is on a rampage. Its 32-core Ryzen Threadripper 3970X is the monster rising out of the sea to level Intel’s prosumer chips. This is just weeks after the company’s 16-core Ryzen 9 3950X cleaned the clock of Intel’s top consumer chips.

If you can “just get by” in the meantime with a 32-core Ryzen Threadripper 3970X that pretty much crushes all, put your seat belt on and keep reading for tech specs, benchmarks, and more. 

Gordon Mah Ung

Here’s what you get in your Threadripper box: a torque wrench, sticker, and CLC adapter for Asetek-based cooler designs.

What is Ryzen Threadripper 3970X?

Threadripper 3970X uses AMD’s phenomenal 7nm chips, but its most significant change is its topology. The original 32-core Threadripper 2990WX we reviewed was a little bit of a kludge. The chip was built with four 8-core chiplets, but only two of the chiplets had memory controllers and PCIe access. That meant the two compute-only dies had to go through the other dies to get to RAM or storage. You could think of the design as adding two more bedrooms to your two-bedroom home, but forcing those in the new bedrooms to go through the old bedrooms when leaving. You could imagine how off-kilter this could sometimes make the original 32-core Threadripper 2990WX.


The original 32-core Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX features four dies connected by Infinity Fabric. Two of those dies must access RAM and storage through an adjacent die.

With the new Threadripper 3970X, AMD has gone to a single 12nm IO Die that contains all of the access to PCIe 4.0 lanes and the memory controller. The IO Die connects to each compute die using a high-speed fabric, giving each of the CCD chips equal access.


AMD’s topology change with Threadripper 3000 chips gives each compute chip equal access to PCIe and RAM.

Same Socket, New Connections

All this probably sounds great—unless you’ve bought into the previous X399-based, Threadripper series. That’s because even though the actual physical socket is the same with the new third-gen Threadripper, they are electrically different.

That means the new chip is incompatible with existing motherboards. Instead, AMD is introducing the new TRX40 platform, which works with the 3000-series and future Threadripper CPUs. Those X399 and 2nd-gen Threadripper chips? They’re essentially being pushed overboard.

Gordon Mah Ung

The orange carrier, and the physical connections are the same between the 2000-series (bottom) and 3000-series Threadripper (top) but they wired up differently so the two are incompatible.


The PCIe lanes go from 64 lanes of PCIe 3 to 72 lanes of PCIe 4.0.

How we tested

For our test system, we loaded Windows 10 1903 on a Corsair MP600 PCIe 4.0 SSD and installed a Founder’s Edition GeForce RTX 2080 Ti GPU and 64GB of Corsair DDR/3600 CL15 RAM. We cooled the 32-core Threadripper with a Corsair H110i RGB, with its fans manually set to 100 percent and iCue disabled.

Gordon Mah Ung

It’s one big chip: Intel’s new 18-core Core i9-10980XE astride AMD’s new 32-core Threadripper 3970X.


First up is Maxon’s new Cinbench R20 benchmark. Based off of the same engine in the company’s Cinema4D renderer, Cinebench R20 has been updated to support AVX2 and AVX512 and scales pretty perfectly with core count. 


For 3D work, nothing is going to outclass the 32-core Threadripper 3970X right now

Despite being a beefy 32-core chip, the Ryzen Threadripper 3970X offers up surprisingly good single-threaded performance too. You can see that represented below, where it’s slightly ahead of the 12-core Ryzen 3900X and just about dead even with the 5GHz Core i9 chips.


The Ryzen Threadripper 3970X is a decent performer on lightly threaded tasks despite packing a ton of cores inside.

Due to time constraints we didn’t refresh our 28-core Xeon W-3175X nor our 32-core Threadripper 2990WX for all of our tests, but the previous Cinebench scores we obtained are still valid. As you can see, even the $3,000 28-core Xeon W-3175X can’t hang at stock speeds against the new 32-core Threadripper. To be fair, running that Xeon W-3175X at stock speeds is almost criminal, but clearly the newest Threadripper rules the day. And yes, the Threadripper 3970X is outperforming the previous 32-core Threadripper 2990WX to the tune of 43 percent!


The 32-core Threadripper easily blows by Intel’s 28-core Xeon W-3175X and the older 32-core Threadripper 2990WX.

Firing up the “proudly CPU based” Corona renderer, we can see the 3970X outmuscle all other CPUs again. We should note there is some good news here for the new 18-core Intel Core i9-10980XE: It actually outpaces the 16-core Ryzen 9 3950X in a multi-threaded test. The Corona Render is an unbiased renderer, which means no shortcuts are taken to render a scene.


If you’re doing 3D modelling, vote for a big, fat CPU.


POV Ray dates back to the Amiga but has been updated for modern times.

Our next test is V-Ray Next, which is a physically-based renderer that was used on such movies as Avengers: Endgame. V-Ray Next again confirms that the 32-core Threadripper is a monster CPU.


V-Ray Next was used to create Thanos in Avengers: Endgame

We ran this hybrid mode across all of the CPUs below, and also on the Founders Edition GeForce RTX 2080 Ti card. Although the Threadripper 3970X doesn’t beat the mighty GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, it comes surprisingly close.


The 32-core Threadripper almost pulls even with a GeForce RTX 2080 Ti in V-Ray Next’s GPU rendering test.

Encoding Performance

For our first test, we use a nightly build of the popular and efficient HandBrake encoder to convert a 4K video file using the HEVC codec. Our first run takes that 4K file down to 1080p. The good news for the Threadripper 3970X is it’s the overall winner. The bad news: The 16-core Ryzen 9 3950X isn’t that far behind.


The 32-core Threadripper 3970X beats the 16-core Ryzen 9, but not by much.

One thing we know with video transcoding and encoding is the codec, resolution and other video settings make a difference. In the chart below, we take the same workload but rather than select 1080p at 30 fps, we select 2160p at 60 fps. With this workload, we see the Threadripper 3960X open up a 33 percent lead over the Ryzen 9 3950X and nearly a 45 percent gap over the 18-core Core i9-10980XE.


At 2160P, the big Threadripper opens up a larger gap over the Intel and Ryzen 9 chips.

Our next video test is Cinegy’s Cinescore 10.4 benchmark. This is a test designed to let broadcast professionals gauge commercial off-the-shelf component performance. It’s designed to fit in memory so as not to be storage-bound, and it tests CUDA performance and CPU performance using various broadcast codecs and resolutions. The overall score is based on each machine’s performance across all of the tests.


Cinegy’s Cinescore is a broadcast-industry test for COTs hardware, and more cores is better.

Our last set of video tests is a little more consumer-focused. For that, we take Adobe’s popular Premiere Pro CC 13.5 and export a video project shot on a 4K Sony Alpha mirrorless camera, using the Blu-ray preset with the maximum render option checked. The winner is the Threadripper, Although it doesn’t scale as perfectly as it does in 3D rendering, we do see a nice progression in performance as we go from 12 cores to 16 cores and 32 cores.


We encode a short video shot at 4K resolution using the Blu-ray preset in Adobe Premiere Pro.

We did want to see whether more difficult tasks would result in better performance for the higher-core-count CPUs, so we take the same workload and output it using the HEVC codec instead of Blu-ray’s H.264 in Premiere. This is done with the Maximum Render option and using the High profile. The Threadripper again wins, but the margin is actually slightly less than it is at 1080p resolution and H.264.


Adobe Premiere Pro gives the edge to the Threadripper CPU


GPU-based encoding wasn’t really conclusive, except to say that the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti wins.

Zte Blade S6 Plus Review

Our Verdict

The ZTE Blade S6 Plus is a nice phablet for £200, but it doesn’t offer enough to make it worth an extra £50 on top of the standard model, which already has a large 5in screen. In comparison to that phone it’s lost some of the features we liked, and despite having a larger battery runtime still isn’t great. If you’re looking for a 5.5in phablet at £200, our money would be on the Kingzone Z1.

We were impressed with the ZTE Blade S6, but if you thought the ZTE Blade S6 Plus was merely a larger phablet version of the mobile phone you’d be wrong. Find out why in our ZTE Blade S6 Plus review. Also see:  Best phones 2023 and  best Android phones 2023. 

If the ZTE Blade S6 looks a bit like an iPhone 6, the Plus looks a bit like, well, an iPhone 6 Plus. It’s a plastic smartphone, but its clean white front, circular home button, rounded corners and curved screen edges do look a bit Apple-esque. It’s stylish for the price, just £203 from GearBest‘s EU warehouse with free shipping. 

Its 5.5in screen is an HD IPS panel. Not only does it offer a larger screen area than the 5in ZTE Blade S6, but it supports a Family Mode that is in essence an easy mode, enlarging the type font and putting only the essentials on a tile-based home screen not too far removed from the appearance of Windows Phone. You won’t find this on the Blade S6. See all  Android phone reviews. 

The larger screen makes for a slightly lower pixel density – 267ppi against the standard S6’s 294ppi – but it’s bright and clear, and adequate for watching films and playing games. 

A few cosmetic differences include the loss of a speaker grill at the top (here it’s just a slit), central positioning of the bottom-mounted charging port, a dual- rather than single-LED flash and the addition of an IR blaster. Other connectivity specs are the same, with 4G, dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and GPS. 

One useful new software feature is the ability to turn off the home button LED that glows blue when the phone is on charge or the battery is low. Also see:  Best phablets 2023. 

There are other differences between little and large, too. None of the gestures we admired in the Blade S6 are supported by this Lollipop phablet, and performance is a tad slower, despite the same hardware inside, but still acceptable for a mid-range phone. The battery is larger at 3000mAh against 2600mAh, yet battery performance still isn’t ZTE’s strong suit. 

Rather than side-accessed trays for the dual-SIM- and microSD slots the rear cover is removable, although the battery hidden below is not. In common with the mini Blade the Plus is a dual-SIM dual-standby phone, although here you’ll find one Micro and one Nano, rather than two Nano. 

ZTE Blade S6 Plus review: Price and UK availability

The ZTE Blade S6 Plus was supplied to us by GearBest, which was charging £203.33 with free shipping at the time of writing. Using the coupon code ZTES6PLUS you’ll get it for £180.66. This phone is despatched from its European warehouse, which means you won’t be liable for import duty when shipping it to the UK. Nevertheless, before you buy you should read up on our Best cheap 4G phones 2023. 

ZTE Blade S6 Plus review: Design and build

Hands up, I’m not particularly keen on phablets. And that would be small girl hands up – phones are just getting way too big these days. With its 5.5in screen and 156.6x77mm chassis the Blade S6 Plus isn’t a phone I could comfortably use in one hand without fear of dropping it. The left- and right screen bezels are reasonably slim; it’s the top and bottom bezels that make this phone feel huge – more so than the Kingzone Z1, which is actually only a few millimetres smaller. 

Admirably, though, in common with the smaller Blade it’s just 7.5mm thick (thinner than the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, for example); it’s also pretty light for a phablet at 150g. That certainly makes it easier to manage. 

Despite my reservations about large phones, they do have clear benefits. The rear-facing speaker is no longer in a position to fire sound into your palm, for example, and the larger screen is useful for playing games and watching video. Those who have eyesight problems will also enjoy the benefits of larger fonts, icons and buttons, especially when used with the aforementioned Family Mode. 

It’s a nice screen, too. The resolution is only HD (we’d rather see full-HD on a phablet), but its a good-quality IPS panel with nice colours and good viewing angles. The pixel density is much lower than that of phones such as the iPhone 6 Plus (401ppi) and Note 4 (515ppi), but at 267ppi it’s not fuzzy either. (There’s also a massive difference in price, of course, and you could buy three of these for one of those.) 

For a mid-range Android the ZTE Blade S6 Plus is nicely designed. The screen has a slippery but silky smooth feel to it when swiping, and its rounded screen edges are so well done that you realise the rear cover comes off only when you can’t find the SIM tray. 

The white front is very clean, and the buttons below it glow a cool blue. Usefully, you can now turn off these blue LEDs when the phone is charging or the battery is running low, which can be irritating at night. The silver plastic rear is more standard mid-range fare, but the way it wraps around to the front prevents it feeling flimsy or creaking in use.  

ZTE Blade S6 Plus review: Hardware and performance

At £200 performance is decent, if not mind-blowing. Given the identical hardware inside – a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 64-bit octa-core processor, Adreno 405 graphics and 2GB RAM – you might be surprised to find slightly lower performance than what you get with the £50 cheaper Blade S6. Also see:  What’s the fastest smartphone 2023. 

In our benchmarks we measured 663 points in the single-core and 2095 points in the multi-core component of Geekbench 3.0. By comparison the standard S6 recorded 658 and 2420 respectively.  

It was also faster in SunSpider, with 1088ms against this Plus’ 1309ms (lower is better in this test). That’s in Chrome, however, which we use to ensure a fair test across phones; using the preinstalled browser the Plus scored 1117ms.  

GFXBench graphics results showed less difference. The standard S6 saw an extra frame per second in T-Rex with 25fps against the Plus’ 24fps. In Manhattan both phones scored 11fps. 

We’ve recently begun using Geekbench 3.0 to also measure battery life, but for now we have few results to compare, and we have not run this test on the standard S6. However, even with its larger 3000mAh battery (the S6 has 2400mAh), the S6 Plus didn’t score particularly well. We recorded 3 hours 58 minutes, with a battery score of 1587 points. There’s no power-saving mode on this phone to extend that life; neither does it support quick charging.  

In terms of storage you get 16GB, plus a microSD slot that supports up to 32GB. After installing our benchmarking apps only 7.83GB was available, but you can uninstall some of the preinstalled apps. And this is Android, so you have all manner of cloud storage services available to you. See all  smartphone reviews.  

ZTE Blade S6 Plus review: Connectivity

Connectivity wise there’s 4G LTE on one of the two SIMs, plus dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, USB OTG support and an IR blaster. Like the S6 you also get AliveShare, which lets you share games, content and more with handsets that also support AliveShare. NFC is not supported. This phone is dual-SIM as standard, accepting one Nano and one Micro. For more details on what that means see our  best dual-SIM phones 2023. 

Check your mobile network is compatible before you buy the ZTE Blade S6 Plus, as we understand customers in North America will have issues. The Blade operates on GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz, WCDMA 900/2100MHz and FDD-LTE 800/900/1800/2600MHz. 

ZTE Blade S6 Plus review: Cameras

When we tested the ZTE Blade S6 we noted that the 13Mp Sony camera with 28mm lens and f2.0 aperture produced realistic colours and sharp detail, but that the LED flash did little to help photography in low light. ZTE has rectified this with the Blade S6 Plus, adding a second LED flash to the camera. In other respects it’s the same, which means 1080p video remains a bit jerky. 

The Camera has a Simple mode that makes taking decent pictures easy even if you don’t know what you’re doing. You can also select from a range of modes such as HDR, Panorama, Smile, Beauty, and add filters in real time. Having taken a photo swiping in from the right opens the Gallery, and you can choose to edit photos either in Google’s standard app or the preinstalled PhotoEditor, which offers options to add effects, borders, decoration and annotations, and crop, straighten or otherwise adjust your image.

The 5Mp selfie camera has Beauty and Smile modes, but you can’t adjust the effect. Whereas we used Camera360 to edit selfies on the standard S6, this app isn’t installed on the Plus. If you want it, though, it’s a free download from Google Play. Also see:  Best selfie phones 2023. 

ZTE Blade S6 Plus review: Software

The Blade S6 Plus comes with Android Lollipop 5.0 out of the box, and ZTE installs the MiFavor 3.0 UI. The biggest difference between standard Android and MiFavor is that the latter removes the Apps menu, displaying every app on the home screen, in the same way that Apple does with iOS. We don’t like this approach – it’s just too messy, and half these apps we will never use and therefore don’t need to see – but you can easily hide away unwanted items in folders by dragging one app on top of another. 

All the usual Google apps are preinstalled, as are many of ZTE’s own, which means in some cases you have two apps for one function, such as editing pictures. We don’t really mind that, although it is a waste of storage space if you have no intention of using them. Some of the third-party stuff can be deleted including WPS Ofiice and Clean Master, but not the core stuff. 

Some of ZTE’s software is useful, though. Mi-Pop, which we also saw in the standard S6, is much more useful here, placing onscreen a back button that you can position anywhere you like, making one-handed operation with the large screen easier. Hold and drag it to also see buttons for home, the multitasking menu and more options, or long-press it and you also get options to turn on and off the sound, turn off or reboot the phone, lock the screen or take a screenshot of a specific part of the screen. 

The Family Mode we mentioned earlier will be useful for beginners or those with poor eyesight, enlarging fonts and turning the home screen into a tiled interface much like Windows Phone that shows only the items you need (you can add extras if you like). 

But while the Plus has this useful Family Mode, it’s lost the gestures supported by the Blade S6. And that’s a shame. The ability to turn on the flashlight with a shake or launch the mirror app by lifting the phone and pressing the volume up button are among those we missed.

Read next: 

Follow Marie Brewis on  Twitter.

Specs ZTE Blade S6 Plus: Specs

Android Lollipop 5.0 with MiFavor 3.0 UI

5.5in (1280×720, 267ppi) IPS display

1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 64-bit octa-core processor

Adreno 405 graphics


16GB storage (plus microSD up to 32GB)

dual-SIM dual-standby (one Nano, one Micro)

GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz, WCDMA 900/2100MHz, FDD-LTE 800/900/1800/2600MHz

dual-band 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi

Bluetooth 4.0


IR blaster

13Mp Sony Exmoor IMX214 rear camera (f2.0 aperture, 28mm lens, LED flash), 1080p video

5Mp front camera (f2.2 aperture, 80-degree wide-angle lens)

FM radio

3000mAh battery



1-year warranty

Geekbench 3.0: 653 (single-core), 2095 (multi-core)

GFXBench: 24fps (T-Rex), 11fps (Manhattan)

SunSpider: 1309ms (Chrome), 1117ms (preinstalled browser)

battery life (Geekbench 3.0): 1587 (03:58)

Power Query Custom Data Types

You may already be familiar with Excel Data Types for geography and stocks, but with Power Query Custom Data types we can now create data types based on our own data.

This enables us to organise our data into a single column and then extract and reference the underlying columns/fields using formulas.

It’s a streamlined way to manage and consume your data enabling you to create interactive reports like the one below:

Note: Power Query Custom Data Types are currently in preview on the Beta channel for Microsoft 365 Windows users, however only 50% of Beta channel users will have received this new feature. I just happened to be in the lucky 50%! When the feature is generally available it may be restricted to a specific licence, but I don’t have details on that yet.

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How to Create Power Query Custom Data Types

In this example I’m going to get some data from the web for 2023 Tour de France from this URL:

Tip: before you create your data type, use the filters to remove any unwanted data, rename any columns as necessary and set the data types for each column e.g. dates, text, numbers etc.

Step 5: Give your data type a name and choose which column you want displayed

Step 6: Rename the query if required and Close & Load to a Table

Tip: the query name will be the name of your Table when it’s loaded to the Excel sheet and you’ll use this name when referencing the data, so make sure it’s something useful.

Note: the beauty of the data types is that you don’t need the columns displayed in the table to work with them (unless you want to use them in a PivotTable). With Data Types you can reference the fields in formulas:

Power Query Custom Data Types Limitations

There’s currently no support for images.


You can only build a PivotTable from fields visible in the table.


Values with a Data Type icon are not the same as text, as you can see in the image below when I compare the data in cells D2 and E2 to the rider value in A2. However, we can convert data types to text using the new VALUETOTEXT function as you can see in cell D6:

This is useful when looking up text values in data type columns. e.g.


And in the Conditional Formatting in my example file:

Another function designed to work with data types is ARRAYTOTEXT, which converts the array to a comma delimited string of values.


COUNTIF/S, SUMIF/S etc, cannot handle the array returned by Riders[Rider].Team e.g. this formula will not work because COUNTIF requires a range in the first argument:


However, this equivalent of the COUNTIF formula using SUM and Boolean logic will work because SUM can handle an array:


The point being that some functions can handle the arrays returned from data types and some can’t. You can use workarounds like the alternate SUM formula, or you can perform the calculation in two steps; 1. return the data to cells and then 2. reference those cells in your formulas. E.g. =COUNTIF(K4#,C3.Team) where K4# is the range returned by =Riders[Rider].Team as shown below:

Not so much a limitation, but you’d think with only one column of data occupying cells in the worksheet that the file size would be smaller than if all the columns were visible. However, in my experiments the file containing the data type was slightly bigger than all the data stored in a regular table without a data type. So, while data types won’t reduce your file size, they sure make your workbooks less cluttered.

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