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

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Telstra Corporation Smart-Touch
  • Telstra Corporation Smart-Touch
  • Telstra Corporation Smart-Touch
  • Telstra Corporation Smart-Touch

Pros

  • Low price
  • Impressive functions and features of Android
  • Access to Android Market

Cons

  • Small, low quality touchscreen
  • Sluggish performance
  • Mediocre build quality

Bottom Line

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.

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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.

Check out our roundup of the best budget Android phones, and read our reviews of other top Telstra Next G mobiles on prepaid.

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.

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unknown

1

bought the phone a month ago and everytime I enter the gallary it restarts.

Gill

2

Great phone for the price, it works flawlessly, quite impressed really as it was so cheap, I have set up all my gmail accounts. Camera isnt that gd, but video not bad.I find the qwerty keyboard easy to use, I would recommend this phone to anyone who wants to get into an Android phone cheaply. No problems at all with it. use the pen for entering text instead of finger. EASY

Vince

3

If you want a cheap phone, this is a great cheap phone and easy to use. I have had mine for 3 months and have had no problems. Cost $59 + $40 prepaid recharge and I was given a $30 bonus package. Build quality is ok and it feels solid, camers is average, so is battery life. Android os is great, I used it on my last phone. Just don't expect too much. You get what you paid for (and more).

Irra

4

this is a surprisingly good phone for its price. eats up a LOT of credit on internet hope this has helped

He who must not be named

5

Just bought this phone for my kid.His small fingers are perfect for a phone this small.

no name??

6

charges fast which is great. but it chews A LOT OF CREDIT when using telstra internet!! :D

Briee

7

I bought this phone recentlly, and it does have its faults. I'm actually going to go and get it replaced cause its not working as it should :/

kayla

8

i got this phone today and so did my mate. his phone started up great,, but when i try to get that google crap done it is saying " cant establish a reliable data connection to the server.. its so stupid cant even get into this bloody phone!!!!

andi-pandi

9

The phone's pretty good, my only problem is the credit. The internet ate up all my credit in less than a week and I didn't even directly use it. For the people who have no problems with the internet eating their credit, what type of plan do you have?? Like how much credit do you buy and what comes with it?

Anonymous

10

I got this phone the other day and it says I have to update it. How do I do that??

DJ

11

I bought this phone for $79 and yes it chewed through my internet without me even directly up loading anything, I found adding a $5 internet browser package to my plan stopped this. The phone itself has a substandard camera (take a picture wait for the stupid sound to play THEN it takes the photo - meanwhile you move and you take a picture of a motion blur) - for some reason I can then can't access you tube videos - very frustrating. And finally the FM radio, can only be accessed when you have the headset plugged in.

none of ur business

12

dj all phones or most phones you have to plug headset into to listen to the radio

di-saster

13

stupid, stupid phone! Got mine yesterday, cheap alright, cheap rubbish! Won't scroll properly, either goes flat out & won't stop where i want it to, or just won't scroll at all.Not happy Jan! Going back for my money. Yes, you get what you pay for but....sometimes you get even less!

unknown

14

how can i recieve photos though text because it comes up saying download file and i click on it and it says currently unable to send your message. it will be sent when the service becomes avalible. plz help.

Nikstar

15

I bought this phone 7 months ago and it is terrible! Battery life last about 1 day when not doing anything at all, turns itself on and off whenever it wants, when I try to send a text it won't let me type so I have to turn it off than on again and it is awfully slow open things and says that it can't open then turns itself off. It takes about 2 minutes to turn on. I am getting a new phone as soon as possible! I bought this one for $79 and now probably only worth $10.

...

16

I am getting this phone in about two days, but i was just wondering; does the internet thing only happen to people on plans, or does it happen to people on prepaid as well?

Melistos

17

I got this phone a few months ago and am now saving for a better one. It won't connect to the internet anymore, even though I have plenty of credit and good service; it turns itself off and on at random; Ive had to uninstall and reinstall some games because they stop working. And the camera is really slow to take a picture.The battery charges really fast but it also discharges really fast. And don't ever forget your unlock pattern or let anyone try to hack it, it will lock you out for a number of minutes like any phone but then it locks you out of the phone for good and you can do nothing but basically reformat it and you lose everything not saved on the sd card.

Shane Davies

18

I bought this phone about 1 month ago and now the battery goes flat in less than 6 hours and I can not access my photo's

jackson

19

the touch screen is very annoying especially when it comes to scrolling. ive also had lots of problems with it not working properly so i have to restart it then it works. i have to do this every few days

Barry in Caloundra

20

As 76 yo seniors my wife and I found this phone perfect for entry into smart phones. Hers cost $40 at KMart. Mine $50. After using them for some months it's obvious most of the critical comments above come from users who paid hundreds more for other models. Next time we'll get a larger screen, capacitative touch, and a few other upgrades, but basically this midget has been a perfect introduction for us into smart phones. Everything works. We highly recommend it.

Lucy

21

i quite like it i think its a good phone it sends texts has maps white pagesd and calls!
only thing thats annoying is pressing the on screen keyboard is hard if you have big fingers! but if u turn it horizontal the keys become bigger!:)

Lydia Kumaschow

22

Have problem with this cheap phone from day one(yesterday, bought at Post Office ) spent 1 hour on phone with Telstra yesterday, 40 minutes today and a visit to Telstra shop to get sim card activated. It worked for a few minutes but by the time I got home it was dead again. Can't get refund apparently.

Sandymac

23

I've had the phone for 12 months, having trouble with the battery going flat really quickly now, but it has done all that I wanted up till now. I only use it as a phone and don't access the internet though. Lydia, the phone has a 2 yr warranty and the battery 6 months, you should be able to get your money back. Fight for your rights

Julie

24

I've had this phone just over 12 months and its nothing but frustrating!
The battery goes flat really quickly and the phone turns itself on and on by itself. so when
I go to use it the battery has discharged itself and I haven't made one call. I am going to
buy something of better quality.

georgia

25

got locked out and I haven't done a gmail account on it now I cant get in and have to get a new phone

Juicepuppy

26

I used this while my real smartphone was repaired. It is the worst phone I have ever used. The screen is unresponsive, the keypad is very difficult to use (even with my skinny fingers) and the UI is ugly and difficult to navigate. I would prefer the Nokia I had in 2002 to this, honestly, even writing an SMS is a chore.

John

27

I've had one of these for just over two years now... and it is the most HORRIBLE thing I have ever used. About a week after buying it, I had to disable the mobile internet due to it charging me extraordinary amounts of money in the middle of the night when I was quite obviously not using it! The screen is useless and typing text messages is best avoided at all costs. If you need to re-read your text, good luck, because the typing window is about a centimetre in height and the unresponsive screen makes scrolling through the message nearly impossible. Apparently, it is supposed to sync with my Google account, however once I get it connected to my WiFi network (a difficult task in itself, and remember I had to turn 3G off!) it doesn't do anything. My contacts haven't been updated since I got it, and my calendar still has repeating events in it from two years ago.
If you're going to buy one of these, be gentle, because putting it down too forcefully on a table, or any other surface for that matter, will cause it to restart. The battery is shocking, and will last about half a day before needing a charge. The sound occasionly decides not to work, making silent mode compulsory sometimes. Please note, I haven't even gone into detail about the shitty version of the Android operating system on it - as I'm sure I'll be beheaded if I do. And, in case you're wondering: "What version is that?" Well, I don't know - is it the ice cream one or the jellybean one? Is it version 2.1 or 2.3 or 4.1 or what? Which is which anyway? (End Android rant.) So in conclusion, I can say that the only good thing about this bloody phone will be when I replace it and hook it up to 2000 volts to see what happens :)

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Alex Mancini

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