Telstra Smart-Touch 2 Android phone

Telstra's Smart-Touch is back for round two, but the user experience remains frustratingly sluggish

  • Review
  • Specs
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  • User Reviews (2)
  • Buy Now 3
Telstra Smart-Touch 2
  • Telstra Smart-Touch 2
  • Telstra Smart-Touch 2
  • Telstra Smart-Touch 2
  • Expert Rating

    2.50 / 5
  • User Rating

    2.50 / 5 (of 2 Reviews)

Pros

  • Extremely low price
  • Android functions and features
  • XT9 Trace text input

Cons

  • Slow and sluggish
  • Terrible camera
  • Issues with video playback

Bottom Line

Telstra has obviously taken the criticism of its original Smart-Touch on board as the Smart-Touch 2 clearly aims to address most of its predecessors issues. However, the chief complaint about the first Smart-Touch hasn't been resolved on the Smart-Touch 2 — the user experience remains frustratingly sluggish.

Would you buy this?

  • Buy now (Selling at 3 stores)

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Telstra's original Smart-Touch was the first Android smartphone to break the $100 price barrier in Australia, but its tiny, resistive display made for an extremely poor user experience. The company has gone back to the drawing board with the Smart-Touch 2 but the same $99 price tag remains. The larger screen and newer software make the Smart-Touch 2 a better proposition than its predecessor, but the user experience remains frustratingly sluggish.

Looks cheap, feels cheap

It's tough to be critical of a fully fledged Android phone that sells for less than $100, even if it's not a great product. The Telstra Smart-Touch 2 falls squarely into that category. There's nothing essentially wrong with its basic, candybar form factor but the plain black casing really doesn't inspire any confidence in ZTE's build quality. The rear battery cover feels hollow and visibly depresses when force is applied, the glossy front is a fingerprint magnet and the overall feeling you're left with is that this is a very cheap phone. Yes, the Smart-Touch 2 is a cheap phone, but we would have appreciated a simple silver edge to spice up a bland look, for example, as well as a slightly sturdier build.

Despite its plain looks there are a few things we like about the Telstra Smart-Touch 2. Its relatively lightweight and its rounded edges and curved corners means the phone comfortably fits into the palm of your hand. The plastic casing on the back feels a little like rubber, too, which means the device is easy to grip and therefore shouldn't be easily dropped.

The rear battery cover feels hollow and visibly depresses when force is applied.The rear battery cover feels hollow and visibly depresses when force is applied.

The three buttons below the Smart-Touch 2's display are also a positive. The menu, home and back keys are raised, physical buttons rather than the capacitive, touch-sensitive keys usually found on these types of Android phones. Although they make an annoying clicking sound when pressed, they're responsive and effective during general use.

The biggest improvement of the Telstra Smart-Touch 2 over the original model is the addition of a larger screen that uses capacitive rather than resistive touchscreen technology. The 3.5in display (up from 2.8in) makes for a much roomier experience, while capacitive touch technology means the screen is far more responsive than its predecessor.

We like the physical shortcut buttons for menu, home and back.We like the physical shortcut buttons for menu, home and back.

With that being said, the display is still the weakest aspect of the Telstra Smart-Touch 2. Despite a capacitive touch panel, we often needed to press two or three times on the screen for it to respond. Sometimes, basic finger swipes through home screens didn't register and needed to be performed again. There's no consistency in this regard, either. Sometimes we'd use the phone for a good couple of minutes with no problems, but other times we'd have to swipe or touch multiple times for the screen to register our input. Further, the low 320x480 resolution combined with mediocre viewing angles and poor sunlight legibility means the Smart-Touch 2 can often be tough to see. We found the brightness needed turned up relatively high, even when indoors.

The Telstra Smart-Touch 2 is a thick smartphone.The Telstra Smart-Touch 2 is a thick smartphone.

A largely vanilla Android, but sluggish

The Telstra Smart-Touch 2 runs the 2.3 "Gingerbread" version of Google's Android platform, an upgrade from the 2.2 Froyo version on the original Smart-Touch. If you've used the first Smart-Touch, you'll definitely notice a general boost in speed when it comes to navigating the Smart-Touch 2. It's far from a fast smartphone to say the least, but its a little snappier than its predecessor. Given its entry level market position, we don't expect the Smart-Touch 2 to get an upgrade to 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or 4.1 Jelly Bean. However, this isn't a real disadvantage given the $99 asking price.

None

You should certainly keep that asking price in mind when evaluating what the Smart-Touch 2 can do. Like most Android phones, it provides full access to the Google Play Store for third party apps, has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, provides a full mobile Web browser, can share a mobile Internet connection via tethering and allows you to access a wealth of Google services straight out of the box including Gmail, Maps, Google+, Google Maps Navigation and Google Talk. While the low screen resolution doesn't make for the best user experience, most of these apps work perfectly well on the Smart-Touch 2.

The main issue with the Smart-Touch 2 is that while it is certainly capable of accessing all of these features, it does so slowly. The phone is very sluggish when performing multiple tasks, for example when you're updating apps from the Google Play Store and simply trying to read a text message. Basic tasks are also slow, like swiping through the five available home screens, unlocking the lock screen and opening and closing apps. The Smart-Touch 2 will do all the things it promises, but it does them slowly. That's the catch with such a low asking price.

The default Google on-screen keyboard. As you can see, it's a little cramped.The default Google on-screen keyboard. As you can see, it's a little cramped.

ZTE has bundled a few extra apps on the Telstra Smart-Touch 2 including Docs To Go, a file manager, an FM Radio, a sound recorder and a video player. The low resolution screen isn't the best for video playback but we had trouble playing video files that work perfectly well on other smartphones. The Smart-Touch 2 didn't play any of .mov test files, and even refused to most of our regular MP4 files, simply telling us that that "this video is not supported". Oddly, on all these occasions the phone happily belted out audio but did not display any video.

Thankfully Telstra has kept its apps to a minimum on the Smart-Touch 2. There's the TelstraOne app in the app drawer along with a range of widgets to go with it. The only other app is the Garmin Navigator, which offers a seven day free trial before users need to pay $9.95 per month to use the full service.

Rounded edges and curved corners means the Smart-Touch 2 comfortably fits into the palm of your hand.Rounded edges and curved corners means the Smart-Touch 2 comfortably fits into the palm of your hand.

Mediocre camera, below average battery life

ZTE has improved most of the features of the Smart-Touch 2, but the only odd downgrade appears to be the camera, which is 2-megapixels compared to the original Smart-Touch's 3.15 megapixel snapper. We're not sure ZTE has gone down this road given that most other features have been upgraded. The camera still doubles as a VGA video recorder but the quality of both photos and videos are best described as dreadful.

The Telstra Smart-Touch 2 only has around 27MB of internal memory available to store photos and other files. Thankfully, a 2GB microSD card is included in the sales package.

The Telstra Smart-Touch 2 takes abysmal photos.The Telstra Smart-Touch 2 takes abysmal photos.

We found battery life to be below average. With such a low resolution screen we expected the Smart-Touch 2 to at last at least a full day, but in our tests it often fell short. Battery life is tough to measure, though, so if you're a light user we suspect you may be able to push out a full day.

The Telstra Smart-Touch 2 is available now exclusively through Telstra and comes in black or pink colour variants. It is also sold through Dick Smith retail stores.

Related content

Telstra revamps $99 Smart-Touch Android phone
Telstra Smart-Touch review
Telstra to release $99 prepaid Android smartphone

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RON COLLINS

1

AFTER BUYING THE ZTE FROM TELSTRA I SWEAR I WILL NEVE PURCHASE ANOTHER ZTE DEVICE AGAIN< OR ANYTHING FROM TELSTRA AS WELL>
THE UNIT IS SHODDY WORKS POORLY AND WOULD EXCELL AS A FISHING SINKER

NONI

2

where on earth do I find any instructions for this phone. I bitterly regret having bought the telstra smart-touch 2: I only got it to replace one that came out of the ark but it is far than this one from telstra. WHERE ARE THE INSTRUCTIONS?

Riny

3

Pink one looks better!!!!

Lynette Spiers

4

NONI go to ZTE web page and download the users manual

Jay Dafone

5

Well I spent the big 99 bucks, which will probably drop to 49 over 12 months and I got exactly what I wanted - a WI-FI hotspot modem for my laptop and it works well for this and the hotspot was easy to configure, to use and to turn off again. Show me any other phone for under a hundred bucks that will do this. Everything else is just cream. The reviewer didn't even mention it, pretty thorough investigation.

lesley

6

does anyone know how to take the back off? help will be much appreciated

Carol

7

Can you use the GPS on this phone and if so how?

Andrew M

8

The back of the phone is held on at multiple anchor points. You've got to ease it off on one corner then work around. I used a butter knife to do this. Yes there are no instructions for this.
Good luck!!

diane

9

I downloaded a manual for this phone on google.

Tamara

10

I bought this phone to replace my 4 year old flip phone that died of natural causes. I have resisted the push to upgrade over the years, not needing any of the rubbish they crowd the phones with now that are not necessary for me. I don't use my phone to access the internet or to play games or for any other purpose than phone calls, messages and my morning alarm! So in the 24 hours I have had this phone, I have been pleasantly surprised at the ease of messaging, (including photos which I never did before) and the service range seems to be better than my old one, so I'm happy. It was $99 people! What more do you want??? Every company should offer a phone with easy to use basics, instead of making us pay for apps and widgets and gadgets and stuff we don't want or need in a phone. :) I thought this review was obviously by a younger tech oriented person, and therefore biased totally as they can't function without an app to get them through every aspect of their day!!! Reviews would be fairer if they chose one person from each demographic. I would definitely recommend this phone for someone who wants a phone to be a phone and not a pc. :)

Mitch

11

This is the best phone i've ever had!!! It's small, lightweight and durable. Perfect for everyday life

Mick

12

I have an original Smart Touch, and, for the price, it's been a fantastic little phone, with great customer service from the maker. Unfortunately, I recently dropped it and broke the screen. While looking for a replacement, I spotted the Smart Touch 2 in the local K-Mart. It seems to me to be the perfect replacement. The only real issue I had with the ST1 was the small screen, which has been fixed. The iffy camera isn't an issue as I use my digital camera for most situations apart from random snaps, for which 2MP is fine..

Gerry

13

On the smart touch 2 when I go into contacts & then press on a name the name comes up with a very small telephone number below the word mobile. Does anyone know how the numbers could be made bigger

Edward matt

14

I got my smartphone 2 this week .want to connect to bluetooth where are the INSTRUCTSIONS FOR CAR RADIO

Cheryle

15

Bought a Smart Touch 2 yesterday and am having a terrible time trying to pair it with other devices using Bluetooth. I never had trouble with other mobiles, even $49 ones.

peter

16

go contacts and edit contacts type in numbers in large fonts.

Jamie

17

How do you screenshot if you can on these?

kgoold

18

i got one they are really gd but i have a pink one and my sister has a black one the only thing different is the back

TelstraPhonesAreCrap

19

What?! I bought an lg optimus l3 for $99 and it is fast and gets the job done!

God

20

Get the huawei y300 for $129 from Jb hifi
Best budget android phone!

Motherfucker

21

Bitches huawei y300

leo

22

one of the most misleading reviews ever. Almost give up to buy it after read this review yesterday. But cannot resist the tempt of AUD30.00. Just bought one today as a back up mobile. Then a big surprise to it's performance. Everything is almost the same to my Samsung galaxy Ace. But that one at the price of well over AUD120.00.
Will never use PCworld's reviews again. Totally useless

Lorraine Pearce

23

Lorraine

great phone for price, purchased at Target for $14.95,surprised at the quality of the phone,almost same as Samsung galaxy ace.Performs well and couldn't get better phoneeven twice the price.
Download instructions on the net.

girra flower

24

Does this support candy crush saga... please let me know asap?

Gers

25

I agree with Edwardmatt. Car accessories are gradual increased. Audio systems are now so developed. Some peoples are also used camera in their car for a getting the details at the time of their absence. A8 the small camera car DVR now available in market. It is good because it occupy small space and easy to carry and handle. I want to know more about it. It will be better if a new blog contain details will published in this site.

Catherine

26

Help how can I use this phone as a hotspot for
Wifi for another device ????

Kaycee

27

It is a bad phone I've taken it back to he Telstra shop so they could fix it 2 times and it still isn't working so I'm not using it anymore because it doesn't work I can't go on the Internet or anything so to anyone who hasn't brought it and is wanting t get it don't

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millicent

1.0

1

Pros
nothing!
Cons
everything!
• • •

piece of shit. dropped it from like 30cm onto carpet (by accident) and the screen shattered! also it wont let my buy/download/bluetooth music!!!

BUBUBUBUB

3.5

2

Pros
LOVE IT
Cons
?????
• • •

AMAZING FIRST PHONE. I wouldn't recommend it to the people that would use it everyday all day just fro emergencies.

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