Another budget feature is the limited system storage, the Monte makes do with just 512MB, yet out of the box, only 130MB is free. This makes me rue the 20-odd megabytes taken up by rubbish like Orange Maps, Orange Mail, Orange Photo, the Orange App Store and half a dozen crummy games.
Main menu and gestures options
The final cut corner is its Wi-Fi is 802.11b/g rather than 802.11n. Alas, it’s a pretty poor iteration at that, with wireless signal reception sometimes showing as somewhat marginal in places where my HTC Desire HD indicated a full or near-full signal.
Benchmarking with Quadrant Standard, the Monte Carlo notches up a score of 955. For comparison, the Desire HD scores 1430. Yet despite less than impressive results, superficially, the Monte Carlo feels almost as slick as the Desire HD. It’s certainly a good deal faster than the San Fran, and if ZTE’s aim was to deliver user interface experience akin to a Snapdragon phone but at a knock down price, then it has succeeded.
For a budget handset the Monte packs in a couple of interesting features. Borrowed from the CyanogenMod7 playbook is Gestures, which lets you fire up an app by tracing a pattern on a home page though not on the lock screen as per CM7.
The Monte Carlo also comes with Orange’s HD Voice and Signal Boost technology. HD Voice is Orange’s name for the Adaptive Multi-Rate Wideband speech codec. It improves voice call quality across the board – imagine everything sounding like Skype – but it only works when calling other HD Voice users.
Signal Boost, on the other hand, uses the phone’s Wi-Fi connection to hook up to Orange’s cellular network in areas of poor or no reception – it’s UMA or Unlicensed Mobile Access by another name.
Next page: Root causes
Please tell me
Orange have not borked yet another ohone by making their crapware non-removeable - EVEN THE SODDING GAMES TRIALS!!!
i just don't get these guys.
Anyone from Orange care to comment?
Admittedly I've never seen it on a faster phone but Angry Birds runs fine on my Blade so I would have thought the Skate would be more than adequate. Maybe the ROM is to blame.
Yup, you got it... Did you not hear about the Nokia Beachy Head?
from the author
@ Mike Flex
Mike, I take your point but I had to judge the MC as a handset costing well under half the price of my own 800 x 480 4.3" Android handset, the Desire HD.
As a video and games machine the Monte is poor, but for everything else it's fine.
The large screen makes working in Google Docs or Docs to Go a joy, ditto web browsing as long as you are prepared to forgo Flash. Similarly, for reading/writing e-mail, looking at Facebook, using your Google Calender or reading eBooks - which I do a lot on my phone - the large screen is an absolute boon.
Is it worth an extra £50 over the San Fran? In my book yes because I really don't like working on a phone with a screen any smaller than 4 inches and frankly the larger the better.
I would have liked a good GPU, at least 1GB of system storage, a better camera and a glass screen - just as I have on my own phone - but at the moment you are not going to get that for £150.
Yes the Monte C. is flawed, but it's a still a lot of phone for the money, hence my rating.
@Xperia Mini Screen Size
The old X10 is 320x240; the new Mini (confusingly identified by the lack of X10 in its name...) is 320x480 which is still admittedly small (as I said), but is actually big enough to be usable.