The ZTE Open is a budget smartphone running Firefox OS. The OS itself is solid for the most part, and the specs sheet of the Open isn’t bad at all for a device that costs about N15,000. Have a quick look:
- 1.0 GHz Cortex-A5
- 256 MB RAM
- 3.5-inch display
- 320 x 480 pixels
- Wi-Fi hotspot
- microUSB port
- GPRS. EDGE. HSDPA, 7.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps
- 150 MB internal storage
- microSD card support
- Stereo FM radio
- Firefox browser
- 1200 mAh battery
All is looking good; isn’t it? Surely, I was being dramatic about not being able to review the device. No; I wasn’t. A few minutes right after the Open got into my hands, I needed to enter a word of text. Just a word. It took me almost five minutes. I have since then attempted to type some more on the device, and every single time was a nightmare. Every stroke on the 3.5-inch capacitive touchscreen came off the mark and produced the wrong letter. Tap a “T” and you get a “Y”. When Muyosan handed me the phone, he warned me not to get too excited. He told me that he had to put the phone on the shelf after getting frustrated. But you know, I had to be a hero. Surely, it could not be that bad.
I explored the Firefox OS Marketplace a bit. Typing “Twitter” into the search box was another nightmare, but I got it done and found the Twitter app which I got to download. I also downloaded the popular game, Candy Crush, for the first time. My intention was to see how the phone handles games. The game plays good. BUT….I have had to develop a new skill to be able to play it. When I need to tap and move an item on the display, I have to aim off the mark a bit or I might end up hitting a different object. This is more pronounced towards the right section of the display than the left. It is a horrible way to use a phone. It is an example of what a horrible display is.
Let Down By A Poorly Calibrated Display
The ZTE Open is the worst mobile device that I have ever attempted to review – and it is the first that I am unable to. After over 150 review gadgets, I have a new record: Un-reviewable. The display of a touchscreen device is where the user interaction takes place. If the display sucks, everything sucks. If typing a simple word like “Twitter” gave me so much trouble, how do I begin to set up my email, social media accounts, and attempt to manage those on this device?
After a few more pitiful attempts at entering text, I gave up. Life is too short. There are more exciting and properly functioning devices begging for my attention. I am unable to review the ZTE Open for this reason. Shame. I had been looking forward to some exciting time with Firefox OS. How does email management work? What would the social media experiences be like? Hopefully, I can get my hands on better hardware running Firefox OS soon. But this one: fail.
The camera works fine. Copying files to the phone via USB and Bluetooth was a breeze. Music playback is fine for its class, and the Firefox browser seems to be capable. I couldn’t test much more features, as they required text input. How do I sign in to Twitter, for example, with such a bad typing experience? How many tries would get me the right password? I didn’t bother finding out. God knows I’m done playing hero. I will not shed my blood (or the blood of others) in order to be able to review a smartphone.
Mo Rating: 1/10
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.