Feeds
75%
Orange San Diego Intel CPU Android smartphone

Orange San Diego Intel-based Android phone

First Atom-powered smart talker

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

Power talk

The San Diego has a built-in 1460mAh battery which proved good for two days of solid use so Intel’s claims that its new Atom chips perform better on this front than many ARM-based phones seem justified - it's not like an excessive CPU power-draw is being masked by an over-large battery. As a more empirical test I looped a 720p MP4 video with the screen at 50 per cent brightness and managed 4hrs 40mins from a full charge.

Orange San Diego Intel CPU Android smartphone

8Mp stills and 1080p video capture sound impressive, but the image quality is lacklustre

If you want to save power by switching your handset off completely the San Diego has you covered – from stone cold dead to fully functional takes a brisk 22 seconds.

Finding Android running on Intel shouldn’t come as that big of a surprise. Android, at the end of the day, is Linux by another name and Linux works fine on x86 chips. More to the point, Intel and Google have been huddled in a corner tweaking Android to run on x86 chips since early 2011.

When it comes to apps the 75-80 per cent of those in the Play Store – running on the Dalvik virtual machine and using the Android Framework – work out of the box. This leaves only those Dalvik VM apps that use JNI (Java Native Interface) libraries built for ARM-only or NDK (Native Development Kit) applications needing recompilation. However, Intel says its on-the-fly Binary Translator has most of these covered.

There are however some downsides to buying an Intel x86 phone with an uncommon screen resolution. I quickly stumbled across several popular games including Sprinkle, Cordy, Osmos HD, Shadowgun and Temple Run that wouldn’t instal on the San Diego and nor did the official BBC iPlayer app or the new Firefox browser. Hopefully, the developers will get re-coding and plug these gaps. A powerful CPU and high-DPI screen make the San Diego a great gaming machine but only if there is a decent selection of titles available.

Perhaps of less importance to the target audience but a big disappointment for the modding community is that the San Diego’s bootloader seems to be locked down tighter than a missile silo at DEFCON 1, so you are cut off from the joys of custom ROMs and rooting.

Verdict

RH Recommended Medal

Handsomely specified and cleverly priced, the Orange San Diego offers a lot of phone for the money. That said, it’s a bit short on style, has a so-so camera, doesn’t support a lot of popular gaming titles and at launch Ice Cream Sandwich is a promise, rather than a reality. However, the last two points are likely to be remedied in due course. The screen is a gem though, performance strong and battery life good. It also renders web pages with truly dazzling speed and can play 1080p video. With this debut handset, the future with Intel and Android is bright... and Orange. ®

More Smartphone Reviews

Samsung
Galaxy S III
Sony
Xperia P NXT
Ten... Androids
for under 200 quid
Samsung
Galaxy S Advance
Huawei
Ascend G300

High performance access to file storage

75%
Orange San Diego Intel CPU Android smartphone

Orange San Diego Intel-based Android phone

Intel’s first smartphone aims to shake up the mid-range market.
Price: £185 PAYG. £0-100 on contract RRP

More from The Register

next story
Report: Apple seeking to raise iPhone 6 price by a HUNDRED BUCKS
'Well, that 5c experiment didn't go so well – let's try the other direction'
Video games make you NASTY AND VIOLENT
Especially if you are bad at them and keep losing
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Nvidia gamers hit trifecta with driver, optimizer, and mobile upgrades
Li'l Shield moves up to Android 4.4.2 KitKat, GameStream comes to notebooks
Gimme a high S5: Samsung Galaxy S5 puts substance over style
Biometrics and kid-friendly mode in back-to-basics blockbuster
AMD unveils Godzilla's graphics card – 'the world's fastest, period'
The Radeon R9 295X2: Water-cooled, 5,632 stream processors, 11.5TFLOPS
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Sony battery recall as VAIO goes out with a bang, not a whimper
The perils of having Panasonic as a partner
NORKS' own smartmobe pegged as Chinese landfill Android
Fake kit in the hermit kingdom? That's just Kim Jong-un-believable!
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
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.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.