ZTE (or used to be known as Zhongxing Telecommunication Equipment Corporation) is not a newcomer in the mobile or telco industry, though to some the name is as foreign as a new kid in the neigbourhood. Anyhow, I was lucky enough to receive 1 unit of their recently launched entry-level (or mid-range to some) smartphone, known as Acqua V880E for review. Having spent a few days testing the phone, I shall cover the essentials sans the “traditional” unboxing video. This review covers four parts, namely The Hardware & Software, The Design and Build, The Multimedia Experience, and The Battery Life.
The Hardware and Software
ZTE Acqua is equipped with single-core Qualcomm 1Ghz processor and 512MB RAM. When I first saw the specs, I have doubts over its performance, considering it is running on Android 4.0.4 (Ice-cream Sandwich). However, I was proven otherwise. Despite having a relatively smaller RAM as compared to other smartphones within its range, Acqua works well with multiple apps running. In terms of storage, the internal memory is 4GB with expandable external memory (microSD) up to 32GB. The screen looks good although it’s only a 4? TFT display that supports 480 x 800 pixels resolution. With its entry-level pricing, it also comes with the essential connectivity, namely high-speed HSPA/HSUPA, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS capabilities.
ZTE Acqua comes pre-loaded with some handy ZTE widgets and almost “untouched” ICS user-interface. Surprisingly, ICS works really well on Acqua with minimal glitches here and there. No extra apps given though, so you’re getting a pretty much standardised no-frills version of ICS.
The Design and Build
The design of ZTE Acqua might remind you of HTC phones, as they do look rather similar in terms of look and feel. The plastic back-cover which resembles a “leather-like” mesh design add some professional taste to the design. I personally enjoy the grip, but it feels a little bit bulky. My friends called the design as “cheap” and I responded by saying, “It is cheap!”. If you pay more than RM1k for it, you would probably lament your decision, but if you’re getting it at almost half of the price, what more can you ask for! 🙂
The Multimedia Experience
ZTE Acqua’s multimedia experience is conquered by its sound capability. I was amazed that the built-in speaker can out-perform my regular CD player. The quality is good and soothingly loud. The camera, however, may left you slightly frustrated especially under low-light condition. The 3.2-MP camera can do enough for your social media sharing but if you want to make yourself satisfy with high-quality snaps during events, you might want to bring along your digital camera.
The gaming performance is sufficiently satisfying. You should have no issues playing the usual 2D games. But if you are ambitious of running 3D games, then you will experience the “hanging” period rather often with the uneasy heat surrounding your palm. It gets rather hot over a short while. Despite that, you can still enjoy the addictive games like Angry Birds or Cut The Ropes without any problems.
The Battery Life
The 1600mAh capacity battery in ZTE Acqua can let you enjoy at least 4 to 5 hours of usage under heavy activities e.g. gaming or surfing over 3G, with GPS turned on. I played several games non-stop just to try it out, and it went flat right when it reached the 4-hour mark. Not bad at all. The standby battery life is about 240 hours. I tried by turning off 3G network and only use it for Internet surfing over WiFi, texting and calling, and it lasted for about 4 days. That’s a good span, considering most smartphones can even last for more than 1 day.
Priced at RM699, this phone is definitely a value for money. It covers the fundamentals of a smartphone without hurting your pocket. It is straightforward in its internal and external design, giving you what you need. As compared to other entry-level smartphones, ZTE Acqua can be proud to stand out of the crowd for its fluid and frills-free concept.
For more info on the phone, visit ZTE Malaysia’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ztemalaysia. I have also done a short video on the phone below. Enjoy! 🙂
My Short Video on ZTE Acqua