Pros: Quality chassis; A Gingerbread Android handset for less than a hundred quid
Cons: Onboard storage is only 512MB, but you can add a microSD card
Verdict: A fantastic price for PAYG. The first San Francisco won awards aplenty and the San Francisco II may well do the same. It offers high build quality and a good list of specs. You’re getting an awful lot for your 100 quid.
You might remember that the first San Francisco was released by Orange just over a year ago – the shiny, budget Android smartphone won a host of awards, unsurprisingly. Now, Orange has released its successor, the San Francisco II (SFII), at exactly the same price – £99. Has it moved on? We find out…
There’s not much to choose between the San Francisco and its successor – they’re pretty much the same size – the SFII measures 117 x 58.5 x 10.6mm and is 10g lighter at 120g. Layout-wise they’re identical – with the 3.5mm audio jack and power key at the top, microUSB on the left side and volume rocker on the right side.
Sitting below the display, which measures 3.5 inches and has a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels, is a trio of the usual Android soft keys. They have been afforded a raised surface, which makes them easier for your fingers to find. If you’re upgrading from the original San Francisco, you might find it disconcerting that the Menu and Home keys have swapped position! That screen proves responsive and very sharp, but it’s not as vibrant as the AMOLED display that came with the original San Francisco.
Beneath the chassis lurks an 800MHz chip along with 512MB of RAM. The SFII runs Android Gingerbread and offers a great selection of connectivity options, including Bluetooth, Edge, GPRS, Wi-Fi and £G (HSDPA/HSUPA).
The snapper on the back has been upgraded from 3.2 to 5 megapixels and there’s an LED flash too. We have seen better, of course but it’s pretty decent at this price point. This time around a second snapper has been put on the front of the handset for video calling.
There is no matt, rubberised finish this time – instead it has the usual Orange glossy finish (which is a real magnet for sticky fingerprints). Orange has seen fit to do away with the chrome touches too, which actually results in a sleek, black glossy handset that looks like it costs far more than it really does.
Performance-wise, Gingerbread works really well – we encountered no glitches – and there are loads of apps to download from Android Market should you wish. You’ll need to buy a microUSB card, because you've only got 512MB of onboard memory.
It’s a pity that Orange sees fit to add so much bloatware to its handsets though. They didn't really need to make so many alterations to the OS – Launcher, for instance – and while you can swap some of them for vanilla options, it does start to fill up your memory.
We have to remember that the Orange San Francisco II is a budget phone. It is not always easy to remember that because the award-winning original has been improved upon. Okay, you don’t get a dual-core processor and there’s no Retina display, but at the end of the day, you’re getting a great phone for less than £100 SIM-free. We think the San Francisco II will be following in its ancestor’s award-winning footsteps.
SIZE 117 x 58.5 x 10.6mm
DISPLAY WVGA (480x800), 3.5 inches
CAMERA 5.0 megapixels (primary)
VIDEO RECORDING Yes
VIDEO STREAMING Yes
VIDEO PLAYER MP4/H.263/H.264
INTERNET Wi-Fi, GRPS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA
BROWSER WAP, HTML
MEMORY 512MB, supports up to 16GB microSD
MUSIC PLAYER MP3/WAV/eAAC+/FM Radio with RDS
EMAIL Push Email
VIDEO CALLING Yes
GPS Yes, with A-GPS support
3.5MM AUDI JACK Yes
TALKTIME up to 4.5 hours
STANDBY up to 10 days
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