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[Review] ZTE Open (FireFox OS)

Discussion in 'Bits & Bytes' started by Biker, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. Biker

    Biker Administrator Staff Member

    Ever since I started reading about this phone, I've been curious about it. When the price was announced, along with the fact that it was an unlocked phone, I just had to get one. It arrived today.

    Packaging is definitely no-frills. Get a box that contains the phone, USB cable for charging, wall wart to plug the USB cable into, and a set of ear buds. Instructions are rather spartan as well. Just a quick tutorial on how to start the phone and the rest is pretty much left up to you to figure out on your own. For 75 bucks, I can live with that.

    First the negatives. While the phone claims to be GSM/HSPA, it's not going to work on every HSPA network unfortunately. While you should be able to find a provider that this phone will work with, it may not work on your favorite provider. Something to consider if you're thinking about snagging one.


    With many companies coming out with phones that are dang near a mini-tablet, there's no fear with getting a huge device here. The phone fits nicely in your hand and while it's not going to win any awards for outstanding resolution, it's not too shabby.

    OK, first the specs.

    CPU 1.0 GHz Cortex-A5
    Chipset Qualcomm MSM7225A Snapdragon
    GPU Adreno 200
    OS Firefox OS
    Memory 512 MB ROM, 256 MB RAM
    Support Micro SD Card, up to 32GB (No memory card included)
    Screen 3.5" TFT 320 x 480 Pixels
    TFT Capacitive Screen
    Network 3G Network: HSDPA 850/1900
    2G Network: GSM 850/900/1800/1900
    Audio 3.5MM headphone jack
    Support M4A,MP3, OGG and Other Formats (play from Core player)
    Support M4A,MP3,WAV,MIDI, OGG and Other Formats (codec in phone)

    Video Support Video Player, MP4, ASP and other formats (play from Core player)
    Support Video Player, avi, MP4, ASP and other formats (codec in phone)

    Wlan Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, dual-band
    Camera Back 3.15 MP
    Support Maximum 2048x1536 Resolution
    Picture Formats Support JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP and Other Formats
    Dimensions 114 x 62 x 12.5 mm
    Battery Li-Ion 1200 mAh battery

    Obviously, we're not going to win any awards here for processing power. However, I've been fiddling with the phone for a couple of hours now and it's still pretty snappy. I haven't tried any videos are anything like that (On a 3.5" screen? Gimme a break!), but web sites via the wifi connection were snappy. Hard to read, but still snappy. In fact, the phone handles them better than my 7" e-reader does. That's pitiful.

    No backlighting/flash with the camera. Then again I didn't buy the phone to take pictures, either. Besides, what do you expect for 75 bucks? A freakin' professional camera?

    Call quality isn't that bad. Haven't hooked my bluetooth headset to it yet (it's charging), so that hasn't been tested as of this posting.

    The few reviews I've read about the phone are from those who try to compare it to a full fledged Android device or iPhone. Seriously? We're talking about a 75 dollar phone with an unproven OS on it. Let's get real here. It's a class all its own.

    Boot time is 30 seconds. As I've never owned a smartphone until now, I don't find that earth shatteringly slow. Perhaps it is, but then again, my expectations aren't running that high, either.

    Battery life is going to be an issue I think. It's been off the charger for about 4.5 hours so far and the battery is down to 83%. Most of that has been in idle mode with wifi on. I'll do some testing over the next few days with and without wifi.

    Initial impression? I'm gonna love this thing. Not because it's a high end phone that cooks my eggs and walks the dog each day. No, I'm gonna love this thing because it really isn't that bad of a device, it's cheap, comes unlocked, and it's still a decent performer. Life is good.
    ethics likes this.
  2. Biker

    Biker Administrator Staff Member

    Did some more playing with it this evening. Bluetooth headset paired up with the phone, no issue at all. I may need to get a stylus for typing on this thing, though. In portrait mode, the virtual keyboard keys are just too danged small for quick, error free typing. That's a pain.

    I've dinked around with a few of the apps as well. Calendar is nice, and allows you to set multiple timed events for the day. A built in usage meter allows you to track call minutes as well as data usage. Very useful for plans that aren't unlimited. Clock has an alarm feature as well.

    Battery is at 70 percent as I type this. Wifi has been left off, and bluetooth was on just long enough to pair the headset to the phone.

    Yup. Definitely 75 bucks well spent. In fact, I like it so much, I pulled the trigger on the SquareTrade warranty on it. For 15 bucks, you get a 2 year warranty on top of the already generous 1 year warranty from ZTE.

    I figure if I can't get my money's worth out of it in 3 years, I'm doing something wrong. :D
  3. Allene

    Allene Registered User

    Yes, I had to buy a stylus to use with my iPhone 5, which I use only for texting. I just couldn't get my thumbs to do a good job.
    I only have WiFi turned on when I need it--otherwise it drains my battery too.
    Enjoy your phone! :)
  4. Biker

    Biker Administrator Staff Member

    Got to wondering why I wasn't receiving OS updates and started digging around on the Internet. ZTE isn't pushing OTA updates like they should, however there are updates available on their site, and then through Mozilla afterward. Just have to apply them manually, which looks to be a bit of a pain through ADB.

    But, I've never been one to take the easy way all the time. Downloading the most current update on ZTE's site, and then will compile/upgrade via Mozilla. Rumor has it this will also unlock the other HSDPA frequencies which would allow me to use better carriers than what I currently have access to.
  5. Greg

    Greg Full Member

    Your boot time at 30 seconds is a bit slow, compared to my iPhone 5 at several seconds, but I don't see boot time as a problem. When I remember to turn on my phone I'm making coffee before I even look at it. Wouldn't make any difference to me if it took 2-3 minutes.

    You should look at battery drain while you're doing nothing. Guessing, my iPhone would last a dozen hours if mostly idle, maybe a few texts and short phone calls, and still be around 70-80%. Ideally a phone should last a dozen hours of moderately heavy use -- depending on how you define "moderately heavy use."

    A great benefit, I presume Firefox means open source, meaning that I can modify my phone's code, or people who don't code can use my hacks.

    Is this phone compatible with Verizon or ATT? I don't see they could be compatible with both, due to the different bands and coding algorithms.

    I really like the idea of being able to hack the code.

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