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Three to offer ZTE Android

Jonathan Morris
July 15, 2010

Chinese handset manufacturer ZTE is launching its first Android handset in the UK with operator Three, which will market the device for a prepay price of £99.99.

The co-branded ZTE Racer has a 2.8-inch touchscreen, 3.2-megapixel camera and will run the Android 2.1 operating system.

Talk time is 3.5 hours, with 200 hours standby time. For connectivity, the phone is Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-Fi enabled, as well as having the now almost obligatory 3.5mm headphone socket.

Memory wise, it has an internal capacity of 256MB, but a 2GB memory card is supplied in the box.

Three will offer the ZTE Racer from only £13 a month on a 24-month contract, as well as for under £100 pay-as-you-go.

You can get the ZTE Racer now on the Three website, and it will be available through Three’s usual high street channels, including Argos.

Three’s head of internet services David Kerrigan said: “It’s going to be a huge milestone for us delivering a genuine 3G smartphone for a £99.99 prepay price point.

“The price point means that the experience of Android, touchscreen functionality is available to an incredibly wide audience, much wider than we’ve been able to deliver it to before.

“Making an Android device affordable is a big breakthrough for us.”

ZTE UK director of mobile device operations Wu Sa said the fact the phone will operate on the Android 2.1, not 2.2, operating system is to the customer’s benefit as it enables a premium smartphone experience at an affordable price.

He said: “The key things is not necessarily to capture the latest technology but in giving an affordable premium internet user experience to the wider public.

“This is the key, rather than having the latest technology.”

What Mobile got its hands on a ZTE Racer, and can’t grumble for what you get for an Android smartphone priced under £100. At only 100g, it’s not the heaviest phone out there. It also isn’t the ugliest phone we’ve seen, but it won’t be wining any beauty contests neither.

As for the interface, we found the resistive (not capacitive) screen a little harder to use than we would have liked, particularly when attempting to scroll through the icon list. But other than that, it was pretty responsive and easy to use.

Overall, the ZTE Racer does what it says on the tin, and offers consumers a decent phone at a knock-down price.

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