ZTE Racer review

ZTE Racer review

T3 3
  • The ZTE Racer teams up with 3 Mobile to create the most affordable Android phone yet. T3 takes it for a spin

    While HTC and Samsung continue to churn out the Android powerhouses, manufacturers like ZTE are here to show that Android can be for everyone.

    The Racer is ZTEs first UK Android release, and comes in at a wallet friendly price of £99 SIM free on Three Mobile, which is might impressive for a handset boasting the 2.1 Eclair operating system. The Chinese manufacturer is continuing its partnership with Three mobile, which also means cheap monthly contracts, and free Skype-to-Skype calls.

    The ZTE Racer has some stiff competitions in the budget battle, with decent handsets like the HTC Wildfire,Motorola FlipOut and T-Mobile Pulse Mini offering the joys of Android 2.1, but any manufacturer can now slap the Google OS in a handset, so how does the hardware perform?

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    More on Three Mobile:

    iPhone 4: Three Mobile confirms best value UK tariff yet

    Three Mobile announces new 'one touch MiFi device

    T3 Gadget Awards 2010   Vote for 3 Mobile MiFi

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Racer takes on a very similar candybar format of its Android rivals, with a 2.8-inch QVGA resistive (not multitouch sadly) touchscreen and a relatively lightweight 100g body. The handset is top heavy, sloping towards a slimmer bottom end, so it fits better in the hand.

    Below the touchscreen are touch sensitive Home, Menu and Back buttons, above the metallic make call and end call bar. The lock screen and power button rests at the top of the handset, but it’s small and tricky to access. It charges via micro-USB and boasts a trusty 3.5mm jack.

    ZTE Racer Android: Interface and keyboard

    How about that OS? Has ZTE been able to apply a HTC Sense-like skin to its first UK Android phone? Well, no. This is Android 2.1 in its most organic form.

    There are three home-screens to whizz between, although whizzing isn’t really the right word here. The touchscreen isn’t that responsive, and you really have to apply a decent bit of force to enforce your will over the handset. The 600Mhz Qualcomm processor and 256MB of RAM does make the experience quite swift though.

    But aside from a couple of Three mobile icons, there’s nothing to distinguish this from vanilla Android. We’d have liked to see a little more inventiveness, but on its own Android has more than enough to offer. Google Maps Navigation is on board, meaning a fully functioning sat-nav, as well as decent Facebook and Twitter live applications for all of your social networking means.

    The ZTE Racer has the excellent Android keyboard and the predictive text is good thanks to the Android dictionary, but having to prod the screen with all your might really slows down the process of messaging and email, making it a laborious experience. The Android webkit browser is (despite the lack of Flash) support, still one of the most usable out there, and with Three’s great 7.2Mbps HSDPA mobile broadband performance and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g on board, surfing the web practically anywhere is a-go.

    ZTE Racer Android: Multimedia

    As a multimedia player, the speakers aren’t that bad and nowhere near as tinny as most phones of a similar pricepoint. It struggles on the go, as every time the accelerometer kicks in, the music and video jumps and the screen fails badly in bright sunlight. Aside from that, video playback is decent, but you can’t really ask for that much from a 2.8-inch screen.

    There’s a 3.2-megapixel camera on board, with a strange on-screen brightness setting as well as the standard white balance, colour mode settings we’ve come to expect from Android phones. The results are really nothing to shout about, and the shutter speed is snail-paced.

    The battery will comfortable get you through the day, but with extensive use, you’ll need to charge at night-time.

    ZTE Racer Android: Cost and conclusion

    Buy the Zte Racer on PAYG and you’ll get 150Mb data for every £5 you top up valid for 90 days, spend another £5 and you get a whopping 1GB data. Alternatively on contract it's £15 a month for 500Mb data.

    If you’re on a very limited budget and can live with the drawbacks then you won’t regret buying the ZTE racer, but if you’re willing to spend a few more pounds, the HTC Wildfire is the much better option.

    The ZTE Racer is out now on Three

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Specifications
    OS: Android 2.1
    Processor: 600MHz
    Storage: 256MB, 2GB MicroSD
    Screen: 2.8-inch QVGA resistive touchscreen touchscreen
    Connectivity HSDPA 7.2MBps, Wi-Fi (b/g), aGPS, 3.5mm jack, Bluetooth 2.0,
    Camera: 3.2MP with autofocus
    Talk time: 3.5 hours, standby of 200 hours
    Dimensions: 102 x 55 x 14.5 mm
    Weight: 100g (without battery)
    Battery: Li-Ion 1100mAh

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    • Video
      Ice Cream Sandwich: Top 10 Features

      See what's in store for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, including face unlock, panorama camera pictures and more intuitive swiping.

      01:43
    • Video
      Netflix VS LoveFilm video

      The new ondemand offering takes on the LoveFilm stalwart

      01:39
    • Video
      Ice Cream Sandwich: Top 10 Features

      See what's in store for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, including face unlock, panorama camera pictures and more intuitive swiping.

      01:43
    • Video
      eBay Christmas shopping video

      Online hits the high street with some QR-action

      01:47
    • Video
      Android Jellybean 4.1 news

      Ice Cream Sandwich is so last year, we're hungry for some jellybeans on our smartphones

      01:19

Comments

Be the first to comment…

Back to top
Close
T3 Newsletter
Sign up to recieve the T3 newsletters by entering your details below

Your Details

As you're registering with us. we'd like to think that you'd enjoy receiving the following emails; if you'd rather not receive them, please untick the boxes:

I would like to receive other emails from T3, Future Publishing Limited and it's group companies containing news, special offers and product information
I agree to the terms of use and privacy policy and confirm that I am over 16 years of age *
Close
Log in or Join

By clicking below you agree to our terms and conditions and our privacy policy

Log in to T3.com with your preferred social network

Log in with your T3.com account

CloseJoinPlease complete these additional details

Join T3.com with your preferred social network

OR

Join T3.com

Please tick this box to confirm you are 16 years old or over

Just so we know you're human

Newsletters

I would like to receive T3 email newsletters, packed full of the latest tech news, competitions and exclusive offers.

I would like to receive other emails from T3, Future Publishing Limited and its group companies containing news, special offers and product information.

I would like to receive offers from carefully selected third Parties. We will not share your data with the third party.

Close Edit your profile

Change your password

Newsletters

I would like to receive T3 email newsletters, packed full of the latest tech news, competitions and exclusive offers.

I would like to receive other emails from T3, Future Publishing Limited and its group companies containing news, special offers and product information.

I would like to receive offers from carefully selected third Parties. We will not share your data with the third party.

Social networks

You have authorised these social networks to interact with your T3.com account.

Please ensure you deactivate or revoke access to this website from within your social networks settings to ensure all permissions are removed.

Close Forgotten your password

Forgotten your password?

Please enter the email address that you used to sign up and we'll send you a new password

Close
Forgotten password
Don't have a T3 Account? Join now