Good idea? If so, please leave yours... here's mine!
ZTE Skate / Orange Monte Carlo OPR
At £150 it's reasonable to expect that the Orange Monte Carlo will have to cut some corners and let's say it from the start - the CPU and internal storage are lacking. The device packs an unquestionably old school ARMv6 MSM7227T processor running at 800MHz which means no Adobe Flash support and average at best performance in power hungry apps. An internal data partition of only 162MB means space for apps is tight (A2SD is a must here). The total available RAM of 431MB is acceptable. So that's the bad, what about the good? There's no question that the screen - while not up there with the AMOLED panels of this world - is pretty decent, especially when cranked up to the higher brightness levels. The 4.3" size is excellent at the price point and makes web browsing a far more pleasant experience than on it's San Francisco predecessor. In use the device feels fairly fluid, especially when you lose the Orange home screen and revert to the stock Gingerbread launcher. A host of other Orange bloat is included, but with the simple to install root process it's easily removed or disabled. The device features UMA (Orange Signal Boost) capacity for WiFi enabled low signal areas and HD voice as rare treats for Orange customers. The 5 Megapixel camera with flash uses the standard Gingerbread UI and is not bad, althought it does have some oddities such as no 'auto' mode for flash (it's only on or off) as well as video capture being limited to VGA (a side effect of the slow CPU no doubt). With root and clockworkmod recovery already available for the Skate it's likely to become a hackers favourite at the price, so it hopefully has a decent future ahead for tweaking and improving. Hardware wise the shiny, fingerprint prone device feels good in the handy, pretty solid and with positive, clicky buttons. All in all, if you can live with the slow CPU (and that's a big IF), it's a bargain. The device ships SIM locked as you would expect, it's early days and as yet there is no SIM unlock solution (but it's only a matter of time)!