ZTE racer

The ZTE Racer is the first Android phone to dip beneath the hallowed £100 mark. What we expected to be a very low-end, budget handset, has surprised us in a few areas to stand tall as a decent alternative for hard-up Android lovers or first-time smartphone buyers.

It's smartly designed and doesn't feel like some of the cheap-looking handsets we've seen from the Chinese manufacturers, in recent years. Three Mobile, with its reasonably-priced pre and post-pay deals is the perfect partner for the device.

The functionality we've come to love from Google's open source operating system is present in most areas, but there's no skin to make the experience slightly more user friendly. To be honest, it would be unreasonable to expect one.

Social networkers will have their fixes taken care of, while the fast browsing experience kept us connected at all times. The ever broadening range of applications from the App Market is a real bonus.

The handset isn't without its flaws. The resistive touchscreen is very poor and typing messages and emails can be an absolute nightmare. You really have to apply a lot of pressure for your touch to be recognised and even then it's difficult to be accurate.

Cameras on Android devices have been traditionally weak, so there's no surprise that the 3.2-megapixel snapper does little to convince here either. The Music player produces some decent sounds and is a rather pleasant surprise.

All in all, however, we're impressed by the results here. If you're not a high-end Android snob and are looking for a cheap alternative, then this is the budget Android handset you definitely look at.

We liked

There's plenty to like here, including the sub-£100 price point. We enjoyed using this as a music player, while the processor seemed to handle most tasks with very little whining, stalling and complaining. The phone has a decent build and reasonable design, and Google Maps Navigation on a phone of this ilk is also a great bonus

We disiked

The touchscreen on the device did its best to resist our every whim and desire, and typing is a nightmare. Battery life can be a little dicky, while the issue with the buggy accelerometer can't be overlooked. The camera is very poor also.

The Verdict

For £100, the ZTE racer presents incredible value for first time Android users. It's better than its competitors and boasts the functionality only seen on much more expensive handsets until very recently. It's an ideal first smartphone, but be wary of that middle-ages touchscreen.