Yahoo's first self-branded phone, the ZTE Blade A3Y, is a budget handset

ZTE Blade A3Y
(Image credit: Yahoo)

Yahoo Mobile is getting its first exclusive smartphone, the ZTE Blade A3Y, a very cheap handset. For $49, the phone packs very basic specs and cameras – which seems perfect for anyone who needs a burner or device simply for texting and online browsing.

This rate is half the price that ZTE is selling the Blade A3Y directly in the US, so it seems like going through Yahoo is worthwhile regardless. 

If you don’t recall, Yahoo launched Yahoo Mobile back in March, but it seemed like a rebranded version of Visible, the hip and cheap unlimited mobile service provider using the 4G network of its parent company, Verizon, according to The Verge. Which makes sense, given Yahoo is also owned by the carrier. Yahoo Mobile’s pitch: a $39 unlimited plan that includes a subscription to Yahoo Mail Pro.

It’s no big surprise, then, that the ZTE Blade A3Y seems very suitable for the service: it only has 32GB of storage, which is partially taken up by streamlined versions of pre-installed Yahoo apps (Mail, News, Sports, Finance, Weather). Plus, those who sign up for Yahoo Mobile and don’t have a compatible phone will get the Blade A3Y for free.

You can pick up the and use it with other carriers or mobile service providers, though, and its specs are about comparable with the burner phones at the $50-ish price tier: a 5.45-inch HD display, 8MP rear camera and 5MP front-facing camera, 2GB of RAM, a 2,660mAh battery, and Android 10

ZTE Blade A3Y

(Image credit: Yahoo)

2020: a year for affordable phones

We've seen plenty of affordable phones launch in 2020, but they're at the higher end of the 'budget' scale, like the $349 Pixel 4a, the $299 Moto G Power, and the $199 Moto G Fast. The ZTE Blade A3Y is at the extreme low end of that spectrum, and while it won't impress anyone, it's perfect for a subset of users who just need a phone that will text, take photos, and browse the internet.

Better still, it's running Android 10 out of the box, which is great for budget shoppers, putting it on the software level of cheap phones that are still four or five times its cost.

David Lumb

David is now a mobile reporter at Cnet. Formerly Mobile Editor, US for TechRadar, he covered phones, tablets, and wearables. He still thinks the iPhone 4 is the best-looking smartphone ever made. He's most interested in technology, gaming and culture – and where they overlap and change our lives. His current beat explores how our on-the-go existence is affected by new gadgets, carrier coverage expansions, and corporate strategy shifts.