ZTE is not sitting on its laurels, but is ready to make the most of the booming prepaid market with the launch of the ZTE Warp. Before the list of smartphones made for the prepaid industry starts to grow exponentially, ZTE has taken the bold step of coming out with a phone under the Boost Mobile service. It may have a good grip on the low end segment of the market, but now it wants to go on and achieve bigger things. The ZTE Warp is one step higher than its previous phone and tries to offer better specs for those who would prefer the pay as you go method. Let’s see if it has what it takes to be a forerunner in this segment of the business.

If you are looking for beauty from a ZTE made phone, most would say you are crazy. Well, they are almost right given the kind of phones that have been churned out from their stables. Even the ZTE Warp isn’t going to be allowed to enter any beauty pageants. However, ZTE Warp offers something better, which is the priceless feeling of holding a phone that feels well built. This is a lot better when compared to the ZTE phones of late. Nothing else that’s impressive in its design, but it’s great to note that it is a lightweight phone that will fit in your hands comfortably regardless of your hand’s size.

The front of the ZTE Warp is home to a 4.3 inch WVGA screen, a pretty big offering in terms of size for this phone. Thanks to the relatively big screen, the smartphone measures in at 5.1 x 2.7 x 0.45 inches. Under the screen of course sit the four capacitive Android buttons. Around the phone, the buttons are all well made such that they are not flush with the chassis. Adding to that, you get a very assuring clicky response when you press them. Speaking of the buttons, the volume rocker resides on the left side of the phone while on the right you have the dedicated camera button as well as the microUSB port. Meanwhile on the top of the phone are the power button and the standard audio jack. Last but not least, on the back of the phone is a 5MP auto-focus camera that sports LED flash as well.

Pop the hood – not literally, just figuratively as we don’t want to see you breaking your phone – and you will find a Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8655 CPU that’s clocked at 1GHz. Yes it’s only a single core processor, but it still does what we want with relative ease. It didn’t just get the simple stuff done, but when put to the test with intensive power sucking tasks, it still did not falter. Maybe it was partly down to the support given by the 512MB of RAM onboard as well.

The ZTE Warp is running the Android v2.3.5 Gingerbread, and we are very certain you can stop looking forward to an OS upgrade. That’s fine really since this phone is aimed at prepaid use only. What you get on this phone in terms of the interface is basically what you ask for from Sprint’s ID pack enhancements. The enhancement packs come with lots of different personalization options that will let the phone reflect yourself rather than just being plain. Nevertheless, if you are just looking for a phone that treats you well, then just sticking to the Android stock offerings is definitely not a bad idea.

These days, smartphone makers are racing to put bigger and better screens on their smartphones to the point that we sometimes wonder how far they can go before making it look like a tab. Well, staying out of this war, the ZTE Warp offers a 4.3 inch display which in my opinion is about the right size for any phone. However the screen doesn’t impress us. The 4.3 inch TFT screen offers a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels but lacks contrast and also gives some very poor viewing angles. The colors are also very plain and nothing impressive again. To exacerbate things, the screen oozes with plastic feel and attracts scratches way too easily. The final nail in the coffin comes when you find the screen rendered useless under bright outdoor lighting.

Having a 5MP camera with auto-focus and flash can’t be bad for a prepaid phone you say? Well that turns out fairly true. The camera on the ZTE Warp actually comes up with some decent shots when taking photos outdoors or when taking macro shots. Sadly though, things take a turn for the worse when brought indoors as the LED flash does almost nothing to improve the quality of the photo taken. VGA recording for video means we are left totally unimpressed.

The internet browsing experience on the ZTE Warp wasn’t too shabby either. We liked the fact that there weren’t much lag issues to complain about when navigating through websites. It even takes on Flash without losing too much speed. Pages did take a while to load when compared to smartphones of the higher end, but well this one uses 3G, so we are ok with that. In terms of connectivity options, the usual suspects like aGPS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are all onboard. Sadly though, you do not get mobile hotspot functionality. Another thing to note is that the ZTE Warp is tied down to Sprint, so it cannot be used elsewhere.

The call quality on the ZTE Warp wasn’t too bad. It wasn’t the best out there but we didn’t have a tough time dealing with it. One small complain would be how callers sounded muffled on our end. The 1600mAh battery is pretty good if you ask us. You can get past a day and maybe even make it through a day and a half if you an average user.

Pros and Cons
The build quality of the ZTE Warp was refreshing. The smartphone’s responsive performance was also lovable. The battery life was also a pleasant surprise.

The screen on the ZTE Warp is really poor and video recording is really not up to any standards.

If you are looking for a prepaid phone, then the ZTE Warp seems like the one that could tempt you as it goes at $200 with no contract restrictions. It’s the best you can with Boost Mobile right now. With the reasonable specs it has, it will be worth your money if you ask us.

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