We’ve written about how we yearn for smartphones that truly suit emerging markets like ours. The ZTE Open might just be the answer to that The ZTE

ZTE Open (Firefox OS device): Unboxing & first impressions

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We’ve written about how we yearn for smartphones that truly suit emerging markets like ours. The ZTE Open might just be the answer to that

The ZTE Open is the world’s first Firefox OS powered device. This baby was first launched in Spain, Venezuela and Colombia in July this year. Just about a month later – last Friday the 17th to be precise – it was officially released for purchase exclusively on eBay- in the US for $79.99 (about N 13,000) and in the UK for £59.99 (about N15,000). In less than a week of release on the US & UK stores, it has already sold out. Trust the enterprising individuals to start reselling their purchased units at exorbitant prices already.

We at Mobility never lag behind. We got ours early and we want to show you 🙂 Meet the ZTE Open:

Unboxing Photos

The box itself is quite the beauty. I stared at it for hours on end before venturing to unbox it.

Slide open
Slides open
ZTE Open 2
I stared some more at this point
The phone is first to greet you


Charger, USB cord, earpiece and some paperwork we never read

The Specs

The ZTE Open wasn’t made with the intention of obliterating the competition (at least not yet). No, the idea is to showcase that smartphones can be very cheap and still kick some high-end ass (pardon the Spanish). whilst staying very open. So don’t cringe at the specs just yet.

The specs worthy of note are:

Data & Connectivity

Display Size and Type

  • 320 x 480 pixels, 3.5 inches – Ideal smartphone anyone? I’m smiling here
  • Oh, and.. TFT capacitive touchscreen


  • 512MB internal, 2GB 4GB external included in an envelope! Who puts a tiny memory card in a giant envelope?
  • 256MB RAM – because kick-ass OSes do not need more RAM


  • 1.0 GHz Cortex-A5 processor
  • 1200 mAh Li-Ion battery – Seems really poor but we won’t be too quick to judge it’s performance


  • 3.15 megapixel camera with geo-tagging available
  • Can record video but there’s no front-facing camera


  • Firefox OS, obviously

First Impressions

It’s barely been a day since the unboxing so we cannot really jump into conclusions about the performance. A couple of things are almost instantly noticeable though:

  • Firefox OS looks (and feels) like a finer reincarnation of old Android. I’m talking back in the Android Cupcake, Donut and Eclair days
  • Though there’s is no noticeable lag, the capacitive touchscreen is not very responsive. I suspect this has more to do with the hardware than the OS. Very specifically, the screen itself, not the RAM or processor speed. .
  • The keyboard really really sucks. Switching to landscape alleviates the suckiness a little, but it still sucks. And as far as I know, there are not alternatives in the Firefox Makerplace.
  • Firefox OS seems to be very internet-dependent – and I’m not surprised, as it relies heavily on HTML5 as the backbone – but don’t quote me yet.

That’s it for now guys, all about our first impressions of the ZTE Open. You can expect a full review from us in about a week’s time so stick around.

I’ll leave you with a few screenshots from the device:

The homescreen
Internet apps
Notifications at the top
Utility apps
Data usage notification incorporated into the design
The sucky keyboard
Mobility renders great on Firefox browser
Looks familiar?
Someone hasn’t been browsing a lot
Data usage settings

  1. // 320 x 480 pixels, 3.5 inches //

    This Is the point where my latent case of trypanosomiasis manifested.

    In this era where mega_sized screens are the norm? Even Apple is ditching that tiny size.!

    No, thanks.

    The rest of the specs looks piss_ poor, but then like we said here, a device’s performance is not all about specs ALONE.

    However, I would not.. just for the sake of adventurism splash my money on this. It certainly pales in comparison to a Tecno L3,and a host of other low budget Android devices out there.

    But then, I hope they gradually evebtualky get their acts together.

    You can’t make a bang without making a splash. And this is surely not a splashy way to jump into the piranha_infested mobile waters !

    I certainly wish them success, to keep Android and other platforms, on their innovative toes.

  2. Looks interesting on the whole but I’m not sure I will be very comfortable for a device that’s heavily internet dependent but time will tell though. I like the look of the keyboard from what I can see in the screenshot of the keyboard but looks is quite different from the actual workings of the keyboard so that’s unfortunate. I do hope third party apps will come to the rescue soon.

    The Firefox OS seems adequate in itself to really impress even without third party apps but we know that third party apps make and mar platforms these days so it needs to catch up fast too. with that low price tag devices, I believe Firefox has a very good chance of fighting for a place in the mobile scene but manufacturers need to work on the hardware especially the screen that interacts with users directly to avoid giving a first time wrong impression.

  3. Wow it’s so disheartening to see the very consumers of the target emerging market rejecting this device already, lol. It seems we have been spoilt for choice 🙂
    All I can say is that we should all wait for the full review.

    Oh… can I just add that the display is really quite sharp for 320 x 480 pixels screen?

  4. Muyo-san, I disagree. The people who post comments on a site like Mobility largely do not belong to the target market of Firefox OS. Commenters here are hardcore geeks who cannot be satisfied by anything if it doesn’t have a huge display, a quad-core processor and a bagful of apps. They are not the target of Firefox OS and the ZTE Open. The Open is targeted at the same people that Nokia’s Ash a devices are aimed at. We shall have to wait and see how well it does in the market.

  5. Fair point. Pardon my over-generalization 🙂

    “We shall have to wait and see how well it does in the market.”

    From all indications, it seems to be doing pretty well so far. I think it’s safe to assume the regular people, and not the geeks, are not the ones rushing it.

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