Telstra Smart-Touch Android phone
Telstra Smart-Touch review: Telstra's Smart-Touch may be the first Android phone to break the $100 price barrier, but its poor quality display makes for a mediocre user experience
- Low price
- Impressive functions and features of Android
- Access to Android Market
- Small, low quality touchscreen
- Sluggish performance
- Mediocre build quality
Telstra's Smart-Touch may break the $100 price barrier, but it offers a mediocre user experience doing so. However, the Smart-Touch remains a good choice as an alternative to non-smartphones.
Price$ 99.00 (AUD)
Telstra claims its latest Android phone, the Telstra Smart-Touch, is the first to break the $100 price barrier in Australia. Though its low price will attract plenty of positive attention, the Smart-Touch provides a mediocre user experience, largely due to a small, low quality display that isn't responsive. For $99 however, we can't fault it too much — as long as you know what to expect.
The Telstra Smart-Touch looks like what you would expect from a phone in this price range. It is a compact handset that is constructed from glossy plastic. The round edges make it comfortable to hold, and its small size means it slips easily into a pocket or bag.
The glossy plastic of the Telstra Smart-Touch attracts plenty of fingerprints, the rear battery cover creaks when pressed and the bezel surrounding the display has an annoying mirror finish that reflects light — however, these are all to be expected considering the Smart-Touch's asking price. The power button is also abnormally tiny and needs a firm press to activate, while the touch sensitive home, menu and back keys aren't backlit.
Manufacturers generally make a few compromises with budget mobile phones, and in ZTE's case (the manufacturer of the Telstra Smart-Touch) it is the display that suffers most. A stylus that slides out of the back of the Smart-Touch tells you all you need to know about the quality of the touchscreen — the small, 2.8in display uses resistive rather than capacitive technology, so it's far less responsive than screens seen on higher end Android phones.
The screen will suit those who like to tap screens with their fingernails but it possesses poor viewing angles, is difficult to see in direct sunlight and lacks the responsiveness needed to intuitively use the Android operating system on a daily basis. For example, we were forced to use a fingernail, rather than a fingertip to drag down the notifications bar; a basic action that most Android users will undertake frequently. The cramped, low quality display also affects text input — keys are tiny in the standard portrait QWERTY orientation, and although an on-screen keypad with predictive text input can be selected instead, text entry remains painful.
The Telstra Smart-Touch runs the older 2.1 'Éclair' version of Google's Android platform, but it still offers most of the features and functions of far more expensive Android smartphones. The Smart-Touch comes equipped with a GPS receiver, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and also has a 3.2-megapixel camera that doubles as a video recorder, along with an MP3 player and FM radio. It provides full access to the Android Market for third-party apps, and automatic and seamless synchronisation with Google services. The Telstra Smart-Touch doesn't have enough processing power to offer full Flash support, nor does it offer multitouch (so you can't pinch the screen to zoom in and out) but both are too much to ask on a sub-$100 handset.
The Telstra Smart-Touch comes with the standard vanilla Android interface and predictably a large number of shortcuts to Telstra services. The standard vanilla Android interface it isn't an issue at all — it is functional, easy to use and fully customisable.
The Telstra Smart-Touch's small screen combined with a lack of multitouch support mean the Web browsing experience is noticeably inferior compared to Android smartphones with larger screens. Performance is also an issue — the Smart-Touch takes notably longer to achieve basic tasks, such as opening and closing apps. We suggest a little patience given that this is a $99 phone and the fact it can do these tasks at all is an achievement in its own right.
The Telstra Smart-Touch has a microSD card slot for extra storage, located behind the rear battery cover, and Telstra includes a 2GB microSD card in the sales package.
The Telstra Smart-Touch Android phone is exclusive to Telstra and sold online and through Telstra stores and dealers.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- 2 Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
- 3 Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- 4 LG G6 phone: full, in-depth review
- 5 Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Fake heads and robot probes: testing smartphones prior to launch
- Rumor suggests the Note8 will be a bigger S8+ that adds a missing feature
- Xiaomi's Mi6 has the Galaxy S7’s looks, the S8’s power, and iPhone 7’s camera for half the price
- Samsung DeX turns your Galaxy S8 into a shockingly good desktop PC
- Find My iPhone helps nab a thief at Coachella with 100 phones in his backpack
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
- Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSolution Architect - SecurityVIC
- TPSenior Business Project ManagerNSW
- FTHelpdesk AnalystNSW
- CCLead SAP SRM DeveloperACT
- CCTest Capability LeadNSW
- CCOracle CCB DesignerVIC
- FTSystem AnalystsACT
- TPMaster Portfolio SchedulerVIC
- FTCapacity ManagerACT
- CCSenior Domain ArchitectVIC
- CCIntegration ArchitectACT
- CCA/V OfficerNSW
- FTBI BA Consultant l Microstrategy, Business ObjectsNSW
- TPProject Support AnalystNSW
- CCSAP ISU Technical ConsultantVIC
- FTBusiness AnalystNSW
- FTTechnical Business AnalystACT
- FTTechnical ConsultantACT
- FTSenior .NET DeveloperVIC
- CCTechnical Requirements Architect - NV1ACT
- FTFinance Analyst with Accounting | 8 Month ContractVIC
- CCSystems AdminNSW
- FTSolution ArchitectVIC
- FTWindows Dev Ops EngineerNSW
- FTFull Stack Web Developer .NET or JAVANSW