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ZTE Racer - Performance, Storage and Camera

Niall Magennis

By Niall Magennis



Our Score:


User Score:

We have to admit that we weren’t expecting much from the phone in terms of performance given its rock bottom price tag, but it’s actually snappier than we though it would be. Its 600MHz Qualcomm processor certainly isn’t the fastest you’ll find on an Android phone, but it does make the handset very responsive to use. Menus are zippy, applications are quick to open and the browser is very responsive. Even with a few apps open in the background things keep rollicking along at a decent pace.

Naturally, with just 256MB of ROM, there isn’t much in the way of built-in memory for storing files, so Three has sensibly included a 2GB microSD card in the box and the card slot will accept cards up to 8GB.

The phone can’t be faulted on the connectivity front either. Unlike many cheaper handsets, it’s not left reliant on the slower 2G network for data access on the go. Instead, it has full support for faster HSDPA speeds. There’s also Wi-Fi on board and naturally GPS too. The latter is actually quite fast to get a lock on your position and performed well with the Google Maps application, which now also includes the beta version of Google Navigation with turn-by-turn sat-nav instructions.

And despite the Racer's tiny power pack, the phone’s battery life isn’t actually too bad. In fact, it performs pretty much on a par with other, more expensive Android handsets we’ve tested, as we got just under two days from it before it needed a recharge.

For music playback, the phone has a standard headphone jack on the top and although the supplied headphones are a bit below par, the audio quality from the jack is surprisingly rich and deep when you use it with a decent set of cans.

The phone’s camera isn’t too bad either considering the handset’s low price. It’s got a fairly standard 3.2-megapixel resolution and also has autofocus to help you avoid talking blurry shots. It’s not the best at capturing fine detail, though colours are fairly accurate when you’re working outdoors. As with most of these budget camera sensors, however, it really struggles indoors under low light with the result that images tend to look very grainy and dark.


The Racer is obviously not in the same league as the likes of the HTC Legend and Samsung Galaxy S, but given its rock bottom price tag it’s fairer to judge it against feature phones like the Samsung Genio Touch and LG GM360. And while the screen isn’t as good as the ones on those phones, it beats them hands down in every other department. It’s faster, has more features and benefits from both the easy to use Android interface and access to thousands of apps via the Android Market. For this price, we think it’s a bit of steal.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut


August 25, 2010, 3:52 pm

I think perhaps if you buy this Pay As You Go in person from a Three store you get a better deal. I got it including the £10 for £100 from Oxford Circus Three store.

The downsides to this phone are definitely the resistive screen, its size and the camera.

However, I have to say, for a phone that costs half the price of an HTC Wildfire, and has Android 2.1, I am extremely pleased for this £100 price. The phone does so much for literally, so little! Definitely glad I bought it.

The Wildfire is a classy phone, but having said that, with all the factors included, I think this is the ultimate budget smartphone.

Don't think its too ugly though. :P


August 26, 2010, 12:41 am


It's good to see TR review more and more budget products make it on to TR. Not sure I agree with your definition of a smartphone though, jsg. Surely at that point everything bar handsets for the elderly become smartphones. Don't we have to start restricting the label for things like the Droid and the Evo. Then again, I refrained from including the original 2G iPhone in that category.


August 26, 2010, 3:43 am


Yeah, I agree that the term "smartphone" is getting more diluted as time goes on. But compared to my last phone, (Sony Ericsson W800i) this is! :) Although I'm sure there will come a point where we'll be calling things like the upcoming HTC HD Ace smartphones and remove the label for things like the Wildfire.


October 18, 2010, 3:04 am

WOW just WOW / The biggest bang i have seen for my buck.

I have not yet seen a phone with soo many features at this price.

Phone feel it bit cheap and 'plasticky' but looks great and u can over come the feel when u start using it, as u will be so involved in using it u wont know what it feels like :P

but of course there is a down side to all these features which is battery life. It is decent but it could be better, having said that I do use the phone almost 5 to 6 hours continuously on skype or web browsing. But keep an eye on killing apps u r not using using the app killer on androids and also turing off Sync, GPS, Wifi, Bluetooth, and not having it on full bright indoors, etc.

Also one down side was that you can not download skype using the official skype website. you must use 3 (if in UK). And because of this you can not use skype on Wifi only on the 3g network u can. (i think this is because 3 only want u to use them for skype when on their phones)

But the phone is excellent, i don't think u can get a better phone then this unless u spend a little bit more and get the HTC WildFire.

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