ZTE Open C review

Firefox OS touting bargain phone that falls short

ZTE Open C review
The Open C - touting Firefox OS and a low price tag

TechRadar Verdict

Budget hardware from ZTE and a fledgling OS from Firefox do not make for a great partnership. The price is right for this entry-level smartphone, but the camera is bad, general performance feels sluggish, and the platform lacks apps.


  • +

    Very cheap

  • +

    MicroSD slot

  • +

    Straightforward Firefox OS


  • -

    Awful camera

  • -

    Sluggish performance

  • -

    Lack of apps

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The ZTE Open C is an entry-level smartphone running Firefox OS. It's for people on a tight budget. At £60 (AU$120, US$100) for a SIM-free handset it doesn't have a huge amount of competition.

That said an extra £30 will score you a Moto E while the Nokia Lumia 520 is pretty much the same price as the Open C now.

The specs are about as basic as it gets nowadays. There's a 1.2GHz dual-core processor backed up by 512MB of RAM. The screen is 4 inches with a 480 x 800 resolution, delivering a pixel density of 233ppi.

Its success rests heavily on the Firefox OS. This open source platform is the new kid on the mobile block and its immaturity shows. Put together with ZTE's budget hardware, we have the awkward, socially-inept, spotty teenager of the smartphone world. The Open C is hard to love.


Rewind four years and the ZTE Open C would have slotted effortlessly into the early Android line-up. On unboxing and first handling it felt like a cheaper, plastic knock-off of my old HTC Desire.

The ZTE Open C is a very rounded phone, which makes it comfortable to hold. Every edge has been bevelled to within an inch of its life.

ZTE Open C review

My review unit was matte black, but you can pick it up in a kind of metallic orange or blue as well.

The front of the phone has a 4-inch display with a single capacitive touch button for home at the bottom. The bezels are distinctly chunky. Apart from that there's a small cut away at the top where the speaker is and a pinhole for the microphone at the bottom left.

ZTE Open C review

The right spine is home to a metallic-looking volume rocker. The left spine has nothing but a silver highlight strip. Up top we have the power button and the 3.5mm headphone jack, while the microUSB port is to be found on the bottom edge.

The back of the ZTE Open C has the camera lens (no flash), a small ZTE logo, and the legend "Firefox OS."

ZTE Open C review

It's a chubby little fella, weighing in at 125g. It's also taller than it really needs to be at 126mm because of those big bezels.

It measures 64.7mm across and those bevelled edges front and back, which taper into the slimming silver highlight strip, are trying to conceal a depth of 10.8mm.

ZTE Open C review

It takes a bit of effort to pop the back off and gain access to the battery, microSD card slot and SIM card slot, but nothing out of the ordinary. The Open C can support cards up to 32GB in size which is handy.

You will probably need a microSD card quite soon because there's only 4GB of internal storage. On my review unit it seemed to be partitioned into 908MB for media storage and 989MB for applications. I guess the other 2GB was eaten up by the Firefox OS and pre-installed apps.