Feeds
70%
Orange Barcelona Android Qwerty smartphone

Orange Barcelona Android Qwerty phone

City slicker?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

Solid rather than snazzy

With a Qualcomm MSM7225 chip running at 600MHz and 256MB of Ram, performance is brisk rather than fast but it is still a handset I could live with on a day-to-day basis. The lack of absolute grunt only shows up when playing videos or graphically intense games, but who buys a phone with a 2.6in screen to do that?

Orange Barcelona Android Qwerty smartphone UI screenshot

Apps look fine on the landscape 320 x 240 screen

Connectivity is on the money with 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1, GPS, a Micro SD card slot good for 32GB cards - at the time of writing, Argos is offering a free 8GB card in place of the standard retail pack’s 2GB - Micro USB charging and a 3.5mm audio jack.

On a smaller screen, Orange’s bespoke launcher is less of an eyesore than it is on the Monte Carlo so there is less reason to swap it out and lose the Gestures feature which lets you launch apps by drawing a pattern on the screen.

Orange Barcelona Android Qwerty smartphone UI screenshot

Gestures are useful on a small screen

The Barcelona does, however, come laden down with all the usual fixed Orange apps, including the entirely redundant Orange Maps and Mail, and a store to shill ringtones. This means you only have 130MB left in the system storage for Market apps.

Again like the Monte Carlo, but this time in a good way, the Barca comes with Orange's Signal Boost UMA system which enables cellular operation over Wi-Fi and HD Voice Adaptive Multi-Rate Wideband speech encoding. HD Voice aside the Barcelona makes a more than decent little voice phone.

Orange Barcelona Android Qwerty smartphone UI screenshot

The browser reflows text and supports pinch-to-zoom

The camera, on the other hand, is very basic, with a resolution of just 3.2Mp, no flash and no auto-focus. Snaps will suffice for mobile uploads to Facebook and Twitter but not a lot else. Video can be shot at a maximum of 352 x 288 at 20fps.

With so little screen real estate to illuminate, I expected better from the 1200mAh battery than the close to two days I actually got. It seems to be a feature of budget Chinese handsets that the batteries don’t live up to their advertised ratings.

Orange Barcelona Android Qwerty smartphone UI screenshot

The Orange launcher doesn't look too bad here

As for the competition, Samsung’s Galaxy Pro has a faster, 800MHz CPU and a bigger screen, though it costs more. Nokia’s similar-looking C3 is cheaper but the 2.4in screen and Series 40 OS count against it, so the Barcelona wins by a nose.

Verdict

Does the Barcelona make a better buy than the identically priced San Francisco? The battery life is a little better it has a more up-to-date OS, but the San Fran has the bigger and better screen so it all comes down to how you prefer your keyboard: physical or virtual? If the former I can’t see anyone being disappointed by the Barcelona at the price Orange is asking. ®

More Budget Phone Reviews

Orange
Monte
Carlo
Vodafone
Smart
HTC
Salsa
Nokia
C1-01
Motorola
Defy

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

70%
Orange Barcelona Android Qwerty smartphone

Orange Barcelona Android Qwerty phone

A competent little budget Android messenger phone that mixes the best features of Qwerty and touchscreen operation.
Price: £99 + £10 airtime RRP

More from The Register

next story
WTF happened to Pac-Man?
In his thirties and still afraid of ghosts
Reg man builds smart home rig, gains SUPREME CONTROL of DOMAIN – Pics
LightwaveRF and Arduino: Bright ideas for dim DIYers
Leaked pics show EMBIGGENED iPhone 6 screen
Fat-fingered fanbois rejoice over Chinternet snaps
Rounded corners? Pah! Amazon's '3D phone has eye-tracking tech'
Now THAT'S what we call a proper new feature
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
US mobile firms cave on kill switch, agree to install anti-theft code
Slow and kludgy rollout will protect corporate profits
Happy 25th birthday, Game Boy!
Monochrome handset ushered in modern mobile gaming era
Leaked photos may indicate slimmer next-generation iPad
Will iPad Air evolve into iPad Helium?
True optical zoom coming to HTC smartphone cameras
Time to ditch that heavy DSLR? Maybe in a year, year and a half
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.