Product Type: Orange Smartphone
Newest Review: ... up. The phone had become almost completely useless and I had no come back with Orange to get it fixed or replaced. Worst still, I was s... more
Orange San Francisco - You'll feel like you stole it.
Orange San Francisco Smartphone
Member Name: adam_d
Orange San Francisco Smartphone
Date: 30/06/11, updated on 29/10/11 (42 review reads)
Advantages: Great value for money, massive community behind it.
Disadvantages: Not the best build quality, poor camera.
This phone has got to be one of the biggest technological bargains going. Known here as the Orange San Francisco, and everywhere else as the ZTE Blade, it has specifications that are much higher than the price suggests. These include a 600mhz processor, a 3.5 inch capacitive touchscreen, 3.2 megapixel camera and 512mb of RAM. As standard, it ships with Android 2.1.
I got my San Francisco shortly after launch, so I have one of the early OLED screen models. The standard software that comes with the phone is a lightly modified Android 2.1 with some added Orange apps. It runs very well due to it not being overly bloated, and still relatively close to a stock Android 2.1 system. The phone itself feels fairly speedy, battery life is good, and comparable with other smartphones in this category. Build quality is good, but not up to the standard of the likes of HTC.
The two major problems with it are the camera, and the WiFi. The camera at 3.2 megapixels is not bad, but not great. In bad light, it's not up to much, but isn't too bad in good light. At taking images that is. Video is not good at all. Low resolution, low framerate, and bad sound quality. This can be improved slightly with the use of other camera apps, but it is the most major downfall.
Another slight issue is the WiFi. The WiFi powers down when the phone goes to sleep, unlike other phones, so tethering/large downloads can be a problem. It also sometimes suffers problems reconnecting when the phone wakes up.
However, the thing that sold this phone to me, and I'm sure most other people, is the community of independent developers behind it. With relative ease, the phone can be upgraded to Android 2.2 or 2.3, which make the phone feel even faster, and increase battery life. Progress is also being made in fixing the problem with the WiFi, and the phone becomes much more of a bargain when you factor this in.
In real world use, the phone copes with almost everything brilliantly. It can play most games flawlessly, web browsing is quick, audio quality is good through headphones or external speaker. It also always manages to find a signal, wherever I have been.
In short, if you want to enter into the smart phone market, or want to upgrade an older smart phone, without spending a lot of money, the San Francisco is hard to beat.
UPDATE: As I have said in my comments, development on the custom ROMs for this phone has come a long way, and can now be upgraded to the latest version of Gingerbread, 2.3.7, with ease. This makes the phone much faster, and really gives it a new lease of life.
Summary: A bargain phone that can keep up with the bigger players in the market.
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