The ZTE Tureis is a surprisingly cheap phone when you consider the specifications included. Android 2.3 is built-in alongside an 800 MHz processor. There is a touch screen and a full qwerty keyboard just below it. Everything you need is here and at only £144, you may be expecting a dreadful experience.
The experience you get, however, is not dreadful at all, but there are obviously some compromises to be made. At only 320 x 240 pixels, the screen does look a little blocky and is not ideal for complex apps and games. It is also landscape which means that some apps will not be compatible. This is, however, a problem that most keyboarded Android phones face. It is also still true that the vast majority of Android apps will work perfectly well on this phone with some games needing to be run at portrait orientation, thus meaning you need to turn the phone around to play them.
On the positive side the build quality is excellent and the phone feels great in the hand. It is a little wide, but this does make for a much easier to use keyboard. The keyboard itself has very flat keys, but in our tests we soon found ourselves typing away briskly. Indeed, it is one of the better Android keyboards we have used to date and is much better than many more expensive rivals. The navigation keys above the main keyboard are slightly unusual. You get a full six buttons, three either side of the main trackpad. The simplicity of the navigation pad actually works better than we expected; there are standard up, down, left, right movements and a large selection key in the middle. Whilst this may be a throwback to phones of the past, it works very well.
The overall design of the Tureis is quite subtle, but it looks quite professional from the front. Indeed, it looks very much like a Blackberry Curve. The back cover is bare apart from the camera lens and the ZTE logo and all that’s left is the power button and headphone jack on the top, and volume keys on the left side. It is simple, cute and highly usable.
This phone is also very quick and the processor seems to be able to handle basic usage. We managed to run six apps at the same time before some slowdowns became noticeable. This would be expected in most Android phones and thus we were quite impressed with the general performance here.
If we are honest, the camera could be a lot better, but for quick snaps when the moment appears, it is an adequate solution. Media could also be described as adequate, but then again few people will buy this phone to play music and video.
It is designed to let you work on a budget and we have to say that it succeeds completely in this area. The screen and keyboard are very close to each other and this enables them to work perfectly in tandem. Few keyboarded Android phones achieve this and care seems to have been taken in designing the hardware so that it is practical to use in any given situation. Voice quality is also above average and even the speakerphone surprised us with the clarity it offered.
The ZTE Tureis is a surprising phone in almost every area. It is fast, the battery will easily get you through a day’s normal use and it feels well built. The keyboard is easy to get to grips with and over time the phone just feels like a good companion. And all of this for £144. That is quite remarkable.