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

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The ZTE Open C is a cheap, entry-level smartphone running a relatively new operating system that's still in its infancy. It handles the basics reasonably well, but there are some major deficiencies in the hardware and the platform that are tough to overlook.

We liked

The low price tag is pretty impressive and you do get quite a lot for your money. Extras like the earphones and the charger are good to have.

The web browsing experience is solid, call quality is good, and the basic apps for messaging and email are efficient and easy to use. It's always nice to have the microSD card expansion option.

The community-based open source ideals of Firefox OS are attractive and it is very accessible and straight to the point.

We disliked

The camera is genuinely horrible. Not only is it missing auto-focus and a flash, but there are zero options in the app.

Firefox OS doesn't have lots of big name apps and some of the apps it does have are obviously inferior to their counterparts on other platforms. The web-based apps require an internet connection. Navigation is laggy and the touch screen is not very responsive.

The proximity sensor doesn't seem to work properly and I also encountered a number of other bugs and glitches while using the ZTE Open C.

The smart collections refused to load and the sound just completely stopped working at one point. I had to restart the phone each time to get things working again and there was no indication what had gone wrong.


The ZTE Open C is very cheap and as a first smartphone it could certainly do a job. It represents a definite step up from the realm of feature phones.

The trouble is you can get a number of smartphones that are a lot better for just a smidgen more cash. The Moto E and the Lumia 520 are superior in terms of specs, performance, and platform and they're not a lot more.

The Vodafone Smart 4 Mini is almost identical in terms of hardware specs, but it delivers everything the mature Android platform has to offer and manages to come in at £10 less than the Open C.

You can feel where this is headed. If I was buying a phone for a family member and I had a small budget then I would not buy the ZTE Open C. It's as simple as that.

When the next version of Firefox OS rolls out, we should see a much-needed improvement, but there's a long way to go to catch Android now.

First reviewed: June 2014