Pros: Solid build quality; dependable performance
Cons: Stingy 4GB of storage; snaps are grainy in low light and colours lack vibrancy
Verdict: While it is easy to see where corners have been cut to keep the price down, the Tania has good build quality and a user friendly Windows Phone OS
So you haven’t heard of ZTE? Well, we’re not that surprised. It’s actually the fourth largest seller of mobile phones in the world – but this Chinese producer tends to make devices for others to rebrand (take the Orange San Francisco II, for instance). However, this has all changed with the ZTE Tania, which does a good job as a budget Windows phone.
Fire up the ZTE Tania by holding down the power key and it will take about 30 seconds to get going. You’ll see the ZTE logo crackle and flash across the display and then see the normal Windows Phone desktop appear in all its bright glory.
The Tania has a curvy, chunky body that sits nicely in the hand. It feels solid (weighing 158g) – it is weightier than the BlackBerry Porsche, which is crafted in stainless steel. It is comfy to hold though, and at least you won’t lose such a hefty device in your pocket.
The ZTE Tania has a rubberised panel on the reverse, which makes it easy to keep a hold of, even if your palms are sweaty. You can prise this off to get to the inner parts, but it will take some effort – good fingernails or a handy screwdriver is useful for this. Then you can take out the battery and pop in the SIM card. Don’t expect a memory card slot though – you’ll have to make do with 4GB of onboard storage.
The screen offers some high brightness levels, which are useful if you’re trying to see the display under harsh office lights. To avoid draining the power from the battery, we turned down the brightness settings – but we found everything looked rather faded and dull. Mind you, we were still able to email and surf the net without squinting at the screen.
The display measures 4.3 inches and is of the TFT type. It has an 800 x 480 resolution and offers sharp text and images. Even when zooming into text-heavy websites (BBC News for instance) we could still see the tiny text.
The ZTE Tania has a 1GHz single-core chip on board, along with 512MB of RAM - it’s not the powerhouse that some of the high-end phones such as the Huawei Ascend P1 S or Sony Xperia S are. Nevertheless, it runs smoothly and is better than the 800MHz processor of the San Francisco II.
Surfing the web proved pleasingly speedy – web searches returned pages of results almost instantly. Sites loaded in a couple of seconds and there was no stuttering, even when we zoomed in and out like mad. The responsive display allowed us to scroll easily with a few flicks of the finger.
We tried to overload the Tania by running a few intensive apps at the same time, but it managed to keep up really well. We had a number of background tasks running and then used Maps – it tool only 10 seconds to lock on our location. It moved to satellite mode with ease and we were able to zoom in smoothly.
We got the power
Battery power is really impressive. A fully charged battery managed to keep the ZTE Tania going for 24 hours, when we had the screen set at medium brightness. We were doing plenty of texting, web browsing, emailing, using apps, taking snaps and making a few calls. The quality of calls is excellent and signal strength was good too. There is support for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 802.11n.
Make it snappy
The lens of the five-megapixel snapper extends out of the back of the device by about 1mm. To fire up the camera there’s a dedicated hard key, which works even if the device is locked, which is perfect for taking spur-of-the-moment snaps. Tap the screen or press the shutter button again and the snapper focuses again and takes the shot in a second. Auto focus worked well – our close shots were sharp, and there are some nice settings to play with if you’re feeling creative.
Snaps taken in low light were a tad grainy however, so you’ll need the flash. We also found some outdoor shots lacked colour and appeared somewhat dull.
The ZTE Tania is a well made, user-friendly Windows Phone device. Offered on a budget contract it should do well, even with competition from phones such as the Nokia Lumia 710. But be aware that corners have been cut – witness the meagre storage and the mediocre camera.
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