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Orange Monte Carlo budget Android smartphone

That Riviera touch

Root causes

While Orange has given with one hand technically, it has taken with the other aesthetically. The launcher design is awful. First order of businesses for any owner must be to switch to something like Launcher Pro, though this means saying goodbye to the gestures feature.

Orange Monte Carlo

All in all, a respectable budget offering

The auto-focus 5Mp camera comes with an LED lamp but is very ordinary and seemed to sometimes take a blind guess at exposure necessary settings. To put it another way, it’s exactly what I expected for 15 Charles Darwins, not a jot more. That said, the 5Mp snapper fitted to the Samsung Galaxy Fit is much the better camera. Video can be recorded at a maximum resolution of 640 x 480. At the price I can’t bring myself to criticise the absence of a forward facing camera.

Where the Monte beats the Desire HD is on battery life. Indeed, the HTC is admittedly shockingly bad on this front. I was able to get a good 36 hours out of a charge, 50 per cent more than I manage from my HD under the same heavy usage regime.

On a final note, the boys in the backroom have already rooted the Skate – worth doing just to remove the Orange bloat – and I imagine custom Roms including CyanogenMod7 will be available in the very near future. Of course, Rom swapping may put the kibosh on Signal Boost and HD Voice.

Verdict

The Orange Monte Carlo is not a phone for playing games or watching video, trick call technology, slick UI and decent battery life it is worth every penny of its asking price. Yes I’d like more system storage, a glass screen and a Cortex CPU but that would make it a £350 phone not a £150 one. Less bloat from Orange would also be very welcome. ®

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Orange Monte Carlo

Orange Monte Carlo budget Android smartphone

Budget, big screen PAYG Android smartphone.
Price: £149 + £10 Airtime RRP