So what’s this ZTE all about you may ask, but don’t be surprised when we tell you that ZTE is the fourth largest phone manufacturer on the planet. In fact, in the US, all the major phone carriers have had a phone or two made by ZTE. The reason for their relative lack of fame is the fact that their phones have previously carried the carriers name like the AT&T Avail and the Verizon Salute.  However, ZTE is trying to get some of the limelight by producing phones with their own name on it, like the ZTE Fury that we have in our hands. It may be an entry-level phone, but it will definitely have an impact on how ZTE phones are judged by the market. So let’s see if the phone performs well in its weight class.

The ZTE Fury measures in at 4.65 x 2.46 x 0.47 inches and is slightly bigger than the likes of LG Optimus S but is very much comparable in terms of looks. It’s no wonder that when we first looked at this phone it reminded us of the LG Optimus S straight away. The LG Optimus S was also an entry level smartphone, and it was well constructed as well as proved to be a good performer as well. So to know that the ZTE Fury feels the same way in our hands brings a lot of promise. The phone has high-quality soft touch paint, so holding it in your hands gave a really reassuring feeling. Something you hope for with many smartphones and are just left hoping.

The phone is almost all black if not for the chrome trim ring. The volume rocker can be found on the left side of the phone together with the microUSB port. Meanwhile on the right side of the phone you will find the dedicated camera button. On the top of the phone, you have the power key sitting next to the standard audio jack. We could reach all the buttons easily with just one hand, so that felt good. Another interesting design feature was the screen which was just made to set a little back in the housing. So that means you can put the phone facing downwards on the table and not see a million scratches on it afterwards.  The screen is a 3.5 inch one at a resolution of 320 x 480 pixels. At the bottom of the phone, you find it to be quite thick, which gives it a really solid feeling as it feels like a casing by itself. Although the phone goes for a really cheap price on contract, it is really glad to note that ZTE did not go cheap on the materials or the design as it’s really well made.

It may be a phone that is going to be sitting in the same category as other low end smartphones,  but guess what, the CPU that powers the ZTE Fury is actually as good as some of the mid range smartphones in the market. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S2 processor which clocks in at 1GHz is the one in charge of running the show while it’s assisted by the 512MB RAM module. The ZTE Fury was capable of doing all the tasks thrown at it smoothly, so we had no complaints. However, if you are a person who believes in numbers a lot, then we should inform you that the Quadrant Benchmark test returned a score of 1600. You also get 4GB of ROM thrown in to spice things up.

This device runs on Sprint, so it also gets SprintID out of the box. This means you get a huge amount of customization options. With SprintID, you can go online get download themes that will come with a complete set of wallpapers, widgets, ringtones and even apps that set your phone to the theme that you have chosen. Say you are into Lady Gaga, then you can just go out there and download a theme based on her and you will get wallpaper that’s got her in it and also a ringtone of one of her songs. Ok we have no idea if there’s a theme based on her, so those who got excited back there, please calm down. 

The OS running on the ZTE Fury is the Anrdoid v2.3.6 Gingerbread. Since it’s a low end smartphone, we are fine with that and also do not expect it to be upgraded to a higher version anytime soon. When it comes to media content, ZTE leaves it to Android’s own apps to deal with the content. Although it was capable of handling many different formats, it wasn’t able to play DivX files. However, if you are looking to play all kinds of stuff on your ZTE Fury, then you should look at Play Store to get another video or music player.

After making all the comparisons with Optimus S earlier in terms of design, we are compelled to tell you that the ZTE Fury went one step higher with its 3.5 inch screen as it’s slightly bigger than its counterpart. You will have a tough time if you are planning to use it under direct sunlight. However, other than that you will find the screen to be in good shape and responding well to your commands.

The ZTE Fury is another smartphone that proves out point on how numbers don’t mean anything when it comes to cameras. This phone sports a 5MP camera, but produced results that were nowhere as good as they can be. We are reminded however that this is a low end smartphone and that somehow makes us want to go easy on this phone. It was lacking in details and colors were quite dark. We found pictures to be grainy in medium light conditions. A camcorder recording videos at VGA resolutions speaks for itself so we are not even going down that road.

Connectivity options on this phone are what you would come to expect from any phone these days. It has GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. For internet, it uses Sprint’s 3G EVDO Rev which is a network that provides high speed date. Internet browsing is done using the stock Android browser, so we had no issues there.

A low end smartphone should come with a decent call quality but sadly the ZTE Fury fails in this department. Our friends on the other end did not like what they were hearing as it was apparently very hollow and fuzzy. However, we didn’t have such problems on our end. A 1500mAh battery is only get us that far, so we tried it and were not surprised that it got us a little more than a day seeing it’s a low end phone that doesn’t suck the juice out of the battery.

Pros and Cons
The ZTE Fury looks like it has been built to last and that’s something to love. We also liked the peppy performance given to us. The ultra affordable price is just perfect.

Call quality was bad on the other end. The screen was completely useless outdoors under the sun.

Looking for a budget phone that can give you the basic smartphone functionalities? Then at $19.99 on contract, the ZTE Fury will be a very good phone to pick out of the bunch of phones out there.

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