ZTE Racer review

Is an Android phone for under £100 value for money?

The definitive ZTE Racer review
The definitive ZTE Racer review

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With a 2.8-inch screen, the Racer was always going to struggle as a browsing device. Add into the mix a resistive touchscreen that's hopeless to type on, with no multi-touch or pinch-to-zoom, and usability is going to be a problem.

While this is true, we have to remind ourselves that this is a £100 handset, and what we've come to expect and enjoy about Android phones to date isn't going to be forthcoming. It's about reassessing our expectations.

The WebKit Android browser is built into the device, which enables us to make the best of the situation with its easy navigation and simplistic design.

ZTE racer

Despite the screen size, text is reformatted to fit the display very well and continues to do so when you use the on-screen zoom controls. Web pages, thankfully, load at a reasonable text size and ask you to navigate from there, rather than offering a full- page view.

The bookmarks bar next to the URL also offers easy access to your favourites, most visited pages and browsing history in easy to navigate menus.

ZTE racer

We'd really like to have opportunity to copy and paste text from web pages into emails, but it's easy to copy and share URLs by pressing and holding within the bar. Naturally, there's no Flash support, so web video doesn't really stretch beyond the YouTube widget.

If you fancy a landscape view, the accelerometer is like Theo Walcott on route to the bathroom with a serious case of the squits. Quite fast, essentially.

WebKit isn't the only player on Android these days though. The Opera Mini browser is making headway and serves up a great alternative.

Using the Mobile View option transcodes the data through Opera's servers, filtering out the non-essential information for much quicker page loads.

The thumbnail bookmarks presented on the home page are also a really neat addition.

ZTE racer

This handset also boasts the advantage of Three Mobile's UK best-performing 3G mobile broadband performance at 7.2Mbps to compensate with some seriously fast browsing.

802.11 Wi-Fi is also on-board, and as with all Android devices, it'll remember your favourite networks and shut down the 3G when you enter the wireless zone to save your data and speed up your progress.

Chris Smith

A technology journalist, writer and videographer of many magazines and websites including T3, Gadget Magazine and TechRadar.com. He specializes in applications for smartphones, tablets and handheld devices, with bylines also at The Guardian, WIRED, Trusted Reviews and Wareable. Chris is also the podcast host for The Liverpool Way. As well as tech and football, Chris is a pop-punk fan and enjoys the art of wrasslin'.