The Orange-branded San Diego is the UK's first Intel Atom smartphone, which comes paired with a 4.03-inch 1024 x 600 resolution touchscreen
Editor's Review of the San Diego
Orange have a not-so-bad track record when it comes to releasing their own network-branded phones. Their last handset, the Orange Monte Carlo, was a good mid-range offering, and featured some surprisingly handy Orange apps that put some of the software manufacturers plonk on their phones to shame.
The San Diego is in some ways more ambitious, with its USP being that it's the first phone on these shores with an Intel Atom processor inside it. How will it hold up against the Tegras and Snapdragons of this world? Let's find out.
Design & Build
The no-nonsense black-and-silver look of the phone is fine, if not particularly imaginative. The rubberised back of the chassis is all the trend these days, making it feel sturdy in your hands, although the glass display may evoke harrowing visions of cracked iPhone 4S displays for some. This phone certainly isn't indestructible.
The San Diego is endowed with a 4" 1024 x 600px display that packs in a surprisingly dense 297ppi. For a phone in this price range, this is about as fine a display as you can get. The brightness is bright, and colours are vivid, with viewing angles also impressing for a phone with a non-AMOLED screen.
OS & Performance
The San Diego comes pre-packed with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), which - I reiterate in every review I write - is always disappointing. Perhaps Orange were playing it safe considering they're working with a hitherto untested Intel Atom processor, but one feels they could've been more ambitious. Hey ho, at least an upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich is in the pipeline.
The big question with the San Diego is how does the 1.6GHz Intel processor perform? For the most part, the answer is very well. There is the occasional slip-up when messing around with pinching, zooming, and super-fast internet browsing that typifies the average user, but overall OS functionality is great.
Typing and browsing through the OS main screen is more or less flawless. Benchmarks and putting the phone through its paces with some of the more demanding games on the Play Store, such as Grand Theft Auto III, shows that Intel will handle themselves just fine in the mobile processors battlefield.
Software & Multimedia
It's hard to ignore the pervasive orange tint when you first start up your San Diego. Orange is all well and good as a company logo when it's contained within a small square, but when it dominates every home screen of a vibrant 4" display, it gets a bit sickening.
As expected, Orange have crammed the San Diego with their own apps. One of these is the now-legendary Orange Wednesdays, which gives you 2 for 1 on cinema tickets on Wednesdays. Sadly, the brilliant Signal Boost app is now gone, and Orange's own weather and SatNav apps feel like unnecessary bloatware.
The San Diego comes with an 8MP snapper, which is fundamentally the same as you find on most high-end handsets. There is also a basic front-facing camera for those rarely-made video calls.
Sadly, the quality of the camera isn't all about having 8MP, and it suffers from some graininess and unexciting colouring. It'll do the job for basic photography, but you won't have the same kind of fun here you get with an HTC One X or iPhone 4S. Of all the software features, the burst mode is the best, allowing you to take 10 quick photos in under a second.
Battery life, Connectivity & Storage
The 1,460mAh battery contained within the San Diego claims to have up to two weeks of standby time, or 8 hours of talk time. In real-life use, you should be frugal with it however, as the battery goes down quickly with high brightness, heavy internet usage etc. You can expect to get a good day's use out of it though.
WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1 and even old-school EDGE are all accounted for here, but there are also some more exciting faces onboard. The presence of NFC means that the San Diego will be ready when the wireless payment revolution kicks off, and HSPA + means that you get download speeds of up to 21MBps.
The 16GB of onboard storage featured here is a bit of a double-edged sword, as Orange clearly deemed it enough internal memory to do away with a microSD slot. Not that it's a small amount of memory, but the security of expandable storage is always welcome, and the lack of it (unless you have at least 32GB of internal storage) has to go down as a black mark against the phone.
The Orange San Diego continues the network's good track record of solid mid-range Android phones. While the Intel Atom processor isn't going to challenge the big boys of smartphone processors just yet, it outdoes itself in this handset, which bodes well for the chip-maker's future in the mobile market.
For the approximate £200 you can expect to pay for this phone, you won't find much better value, although you will certainly find a prettier home-screen than the orange nightmare that comes pre-loaded here. At least you can change it thanks to the inherent tweakability of Android, which we all recommend you do immediately should you buy this phone.
Orange San Diego News
In a little moment of name-changing, Orange have re-announced the phone previously known as the Orange Santa Clara under the new moniker, Orange San Diego. They have also revealed the phone’s pricing and features. The San Diego is the first phone in the UK that will run on an Intel processor, namely the 1.6GHz Intel [...]
Intel have made clear their intentions of making smartphone processors. The chipset manufacturer, best known for powering PCs since time immemorial, has already seen its Medfield processors used in Chinese and Indian handsets, but is yet to have made its mark on the European market. Now, Orange‘s UK website has revealed the new ‘Santa Clara’ [...]
Orange has announced that it will be launching the UK’s first Intel Atom-powered smartphone: the Orange Santa Clara. Previously leaked as the Orange London, the high-end handset is powered by the Intel Atom processor Z2460 and features a 4.03-inch 1024 x 600 resolution touchscreen within its skinny 9.99mm-thick frame. As well as the usual array of pre-installed Orange [...]
Orange could be able to bring the first Intel-powered phone to UK shores, a leaked image has revealed, which looks set to land as the Orange London. The image (right), spotted by our friends at CoolSmartphone, was reportedly spotted on a survey carried out by the network, and reveals all we need to know about [...]