The market for prepaid cell phones continues to rise as more of us look for ways to reduce expenses in everyday life but no one wants to be stuck with a run of the mill phone because of it, right? Well lucky for us we have seen some more powerful Android handsets arriving in the pre-paid market, so you can now slash the price tag without giving up a whole lot when it comes to the device.
ZTE has recently released the Warp, a Gingerbread powered device with a 4.3-inch display that carries a rather affordable price tag of only $199 with no contract needed. Could a device at this price point hold up in comparison to others that have released recently? Let’s hit the break and break it all down.
The ZTE Warp offers a great combination of nearly the most current OS (no ICS) along with a nice large display without breaking the bank.
ZTE's record in Android has yet to be established here in the United States -- with U.S. carriers, so we are unsure what to expect as far as updates.
If money is a determining factor in your next cell phone purchase, but you don't want it to allow you to completely limit your purchase the ZTE Warp is a great device to consider. Keeping up with most of the specs of a high-end device, or an entry level price allows it to be ultra competitive in the market.
When you first take a look at the ZTE Warp you will notice something -- it looks just like most other candy-bar styled Android devices, but that form factor is comforting for most so it’s not necessarily something bad. For showcasing a 4.3-inch display the device is definitely on the light side, weighing in at only 4.9 ounces. Though it is made of plastic, and it is light, the build quality doesn’t feel to be lacking, and I wouldn’t worry about the device holding up to everyday usage.
Touring the rest of the hardware you have the power button on the left hand side and a 3.5mm headphone jack in the center.
On the left size of the device you have the volume rocker at the top and the rest of the bezel is smooth, and on the right towards the top is the micro-USB port and below that is the camera button.
The bottom features a nice slanted bezel which houses the microphone, and the rest is just smooth.
The back is covered by a single piece battery door that spans from the top to bottom and features a rippled type feeling. In the top left sits the 5MP camera along with the flash directly below it in addition to the speaker on the bottom left corner.
Overall the hardware offers a nice combination of size and weight without sacrificing build quality. The device feels well built and not cheap and plastic-like, which is a good thing to see in a cheaper price point device. While the 4-inch size will be a bit big for many, after a little bit of time you can easily get used to the larger display.
Unlike many other manufacturers, ZTE has gone the more vanilla stock Android route with this device instead of adding a custom skin over top. Powered by Android 2.3.5, Gingerbread, the device transitions along quite smoothly, partially thanks to the 1GHz processor inside as well.
Out of the box the device features five home screens that come preloaded with tons of fun widgets and icons placed throughout. In addition to just the stock set of home screens various ID packs are available for downloading which give you even more options of home screen set ups.
One interesting thing to note is that on various screens are little informative widgets that teach you some things, such as how to swipe between screens, setting up the ID packs, etc which is definitely a big help for those who are trying to learn Android for the first time.
Unfortunately you will see bloatware, and a bunch of it between the ID packs along with some Boost Mobile applications, but it isn’t over the top. Pre-loaded on the device you will find things like Docs to Go, Mobile ID, Note pad along with all the other stock apps we are used to seeing.
Also included is BoostZone, and this application is a great resource for Boost Mobile customers. This is basically a one stop shop that allows you to view account information, re-Boost your account (add money) as well as get help, see some tips and tricks, and gain some insight on suggested applications to download.
While it would have been nice to see some tweaks that really make this device stand out in terms of software, it is equally as comforting to see Android in a pure form without a skin laid over it.
For having a 4.3-inch display the battery life on the ZTE Warp holds up rather well in comparison to some other devices I have used. The device is a 3G only device, and running on a CDMA network you can expect the battery life to vary dependent on coverage, but I had no issues with making it through a full day of usage.
My average usage consists of a bit of web browsing, under 30 minutes of phone time, email, text and Twitter. As expected if you are spending a lot of time browsing the web or streaming media you can expect to see quicker drain, but if you have access to a charger at any point during the day you will be all set.
We are getting pretty lucky with the cameras that we see on our cellular devices lately, most of them in the 5MP to 8MP range, and the ZTE Warp doesn’t fall short in comparison either. Featuring a 5MP camera the Warp captures a some rather nice images, and impressed me with the macro abilities. Unlike many other devices the camera app launched pretty quickly, which is great for trying to capture an in the moment picture, but once the app is launched the camera is slow to focus, giving a bit of delay on the shots.
With so many Android phones on the market it is hard to say which the perfect device for you is, but if you are looking for a full loaded pre-paid device the ZTE Warp should certainly remain on your radar. Sure, it isn’t 4G enabled, but it packs a 4.3-inch display, good battery life, Android 2.3 and hopefully one day will be upgraded to Ice Cream Sandwich. The device offers a comfortable mix of solid build quality along with a light-weight, perfect fit in the hand, and is sure to please many people. With the ZTE Warp you will be able to kick your cell phone contract to the curb without sacrificing phone quality as well.
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