Score: 6.5 out of 10.
Great:Battery life is decent. Phone is lighter than you would think, having it's great battery life. The nice, wide screen makes it very easy to type. It's light on the amount of pre-installed apps which, in my opinion, is great. I love the dedicated camera buttons, as well as the other physical buttons – very tactile.
Not So Great:The viewing angle is not the greatest. I found myself having to crank the brightness up full in order to make it more pleasing to the eye. Camera lens is not flush with the back of the case (scratch magnet). Choppy web browsing. Screen is plastic, and prone to easy scratching. No front-facing cam.
Hardware – What We're Working With
Even though the screen is a little too plastic-feeling for my tastes, I appreciate plastic elsewhere on this smartphone. Why? It makes the phone weigh considerably less. The phone feels really good in my hands, not slippery where I feel a case would be a must.
On the front of the device, the Warp lacks a front-facing camera. This is really a bummer being that this phone has plenty of processing power for video chat, not to mention Android 2.3.5. Also on the front is a notification LED, which is great if you have apps that you'd like to utilize it.
Up top is a 3.5mm headset jack, next to the power button. On the left side of the phone, you'll find the Volume rocker – it's very easy to find it by feel and it's tactile. The right side is where you will find the dedicated camera button; I love it when phones still have these, as I think it's important when it seems to be my primary camera nowadays.
When I popped off the back cover, I noticed it had a 1600mAh battery. These bigger batteries obviously make a difference and it it explains the above-average battery life I witnessed over my 2-week testing period. It's also fairly important to note another bonus under the cover: You don't have to remove the battery to access the MicroSD Card. In these times where smartphones still take longer to power up than feature phones, it's nice when don't have to reboot your device.
Camera and CamcorderSince the display isn't the greatest, it's hard to monitor what you're taking a photo of when you can't see the screen (even in the slightest amount of sunlight). When I was outside and wanted to take a few test photos, I used my hand as a “shade” in order to make sure I was taking a decent photo.
The Warp has a 5 megapixel camera, which is sufficient in that higher end phones (Galaxy Nexus) have the same. When it came down to viewing the photos on the computer to see how they turned out (because I didn't trust the phone's screen), I was pleasantly surprised. The ZTE Warp took some very nice photos, especially being a prepaid device. Here are a couple outdoor snaps, along with an indoor food photo.
Battery LifeThe ZTE can easily warp through an entire day on a full battery charge. To many people, that's a big deal. I still would recommend charging it every night. If the phone is in standby for a large part of the day, I could easily get 2 full days out of it, even checking and replying to, say, a dozen emails. Overall battery life is decent.
Call QualityThe call quality was fantastic. The speaker phone, surprisingly, sounded excellent too. Actually, I think it sounds better than phones in a higher, subsidized pricing category. The phone did not crackle at all when I turned the external speaker to it's loudest setting.
Software - System and Apps
Webpages are somewhat choppy when it comes to flick scrolling. Text-rich websites were readable, even at smaller sizes, but the browsing speed was still an issue. I recommend installing a few free 3rd-party browsers to find one you like more than the stock browser.
It's great that Boost Mobile does not bog down the phone's memory with a ton of pre-installed/non-removable apps. Even though Boost is running on Sprint's network, it comes with significantly less junk installed (although a few similar apps). Instead of Sprint Zone, the Warp has Boost Zone. Boost Zone is just a simple account management app - something you'd actually use, being a prepaid customer. Another app included is Docs to Go but I usually end up sharing and editing documents through
The operating system on this phone is the same as on many Android phones: Android Gingerbread (2.3.5). I still love Android Gingerbread, especially on phones like this that really can't afford to be weighed down with bloat-ware. I liked booting up the phone and not being disgusted by a homescreen, lagged numerous widgets that we all know are unnecessary.
I think that prepaid smartphones have really started blossoming over the last couple of years, but they're still not quite ready to compete with the “heavyweights” just yet. Balance your options of whether or not a decent and low-priced no monthly contract smartphone suits you better than a faster, dazzling device that is tied to a 2-year contract with a larger monthly cost.
On a scale from 1 to 10, I give the ZTE Warp a 6.5