The Orange San Francisco is one of the cheapest Android phones on the market, yet it's one of our favourites with its high-end features
Editor's Review of the San Francisco
For a budget handset, we were pretty stunned when we got our hands on the Orange San Francisco. It comes equipped with a neat touchscreen, plenty of widgets, and some pretty jaw-dropping features for a budget smartphone.
The Orange San Francisco is one of the best-looking budget handsets I've had the pleasure of using, coming equipped with a 3.5 inch touchscreen display, accompanied by three touch sensitive buttons underneath. It still remains compact too, measuring in at just 116 x 56.5 x 11.8mm.
OS and Interface
The Orange San Francisco comes with Android 2.1 on-board, and alongside pre-installed Google widgets, you're also treated to some Orange extras including: Orange Wednesdays, Music Store and Maps. Unlike some budget handsets, the interface is fully customizable, allowing you to rearrange widgets, change the layout and personalize the homescreen until your heart's content.
The 3.5 inch OLED capacitive touchscreen is not the most impressive display we've ever seen, but for just £99.00 that's not what we were expecting. Still, you are provided with a bright and clear image, which proves at its best when displaying video, making it a great affordable handset for those of you who like to watch movies on the go. The touch screen is surprisingly responsive too, and apps load as quick as on a high-end smartphone.
Multimedia & Storage
The Orange San Francisco comes equipped with a fairly standard 3 megapixel camera, which despite its low resolution, still manages to muster up some pretty impressive shots. Its built in music and video players are fairly standard too, but they're easy to use, and certainly do the job.
What I found most impressive about this phone is the fact that it can support memory cards up to 32GB, and you're provided with a 2GB card in the box - lovely.
The handset comes equipped with web access via both 3G and WiFi connectivity, and when coupled with its 600MHz processor, this allows for some speedy browsing. Social networking sites are easily accessible, and widgets can be placed straight on your home screen for instant access.
The Orange San Francisco has quite frankly blown our socks off - as we've never seen such impressive features on an affordable smartphone. It makes the Vodafone 845 look like an amateur, and I'd certainly recommend this handset to first time Android users, and those of you who just want a cracking cheap phone.
i cannot recommend this phone enough, as for £89 it its unbeatable! the lcd screen is much better than the wildfire that i had before, and because its got android its got all the same features and even more from orange! my only criticism would be the handsets battery life as i have to charge it every day, but i do use it alot.
Brilliant phone for the money. Unlocked for free, lots of community support over at MoDaCo including 2.2 (Froyo) ROMs. We bought a second one after being impressed with the first. And before anyone asks, yes, it does run Angry Birds...
Wow what a piece of kit for the money couldnt beleive it as i expected to pay at least £300 quid. The downside is I bought it for the wife for christmas
An excellent phone with a amazing display. This is a really cheap way to get into the world of smart phones with the apps without spending hundreds on an iphones etc. Lovely touch screen as good as the iphone, and the screen is very high res and a nice size. Can easily be unlocked to other networks and has a good community around it. The camera is okay and does the job but has no flash. The phone is stylish if a little boring. All in all Orange have done wonders to fit so much tech in for the price of £100.
Representing superb value for money, the ZTE manufactured Orange San Francisco is a £100 Pay as You Go full-specification Android 2.1 handset. Nothing is missed out.
It has a solid build quality, with a nice weight and feel. Everything is in the right place, and with no gimmicks. The standard Android physical buttons exist, there is a mini-USB port and a power switch. The 3.5" OLED screen is capacitive and very accurate and clear. Included, also, is a 3.2 megapixel camera.
In use, the San Francisco is as capable and practical as any Android, and would put many more expensive handsets to shame.
I quite like the screen on this thing, add to that a great speaker and a usable camera for stills and you would imagine this device would be asking £250 . Coming in at £99 it surpasses the Wildfire and X10 Mini in the rankings of budget devices, with relative ease!
The main downside being the video camera, I think many people can forgive and simply avoid this, leaving the slight lag or jerkiness being the only downside, but even then, this is quite minimal. Don't get me wrong, I doubt you'll make any Desire owners jealous, but at the same time, you wont be embarrassed showing people an app or your photo albums.
ZTE are the makers of this device, although they've been around for 25 years in China, we don't really know the name over here in Europe. This device is maybe their first step into the spot light and I'll be interested to see if they produce some higher spec phones in the future.
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Orange San Francisco News
As a Christmas treat for its pay as you go customers, Orange has announced that it’ll offer free £60 headphones with any new handset bought. The offer – which begins today until December 24 -Â treats new and upgrading prepay customers who spend at least £30 on a new handset to a pair of free Angle [...]
With over 2 million sales under its belt, the Orange San Francisco is one of the best-selling cheap Android phones yet. It looks like Orange hopes to continue that success by bringing out a sequel, which will launch as theÂ imaginativelyÂ titled Orange San Francisco II. Spied by the folks at Unwired View, the handset – otherwise [...]
The ZTE Blade – otherwise known as the Orange San Francisco – has sold 2 million units worldwide, making it one of the best-selling Android handsets to date. The ZTE Blade landed in Blighty in the Q3 2011 under Orange‘s city-themed San Francisco guise, where it’s been offered for as little as £79.99 on pay [...]
It looks like the Xperia X10 isn’t the only lucky handset, as the Orange San Francisco will soon be getting upgraded to Android 2.2 (Froyo) OS. That’s according to Frandroid, which quotes ZTE – the handset’s manufacturer – as saying that “an update in 2.2 is planned and will be available soon, in S26 (the [...]
Orange San Francisco Specifications
116mm x 56.5mm x 11.8mm
Full capacitive touch screen
Type: TFT LCD
Size: 3.5 inches
Resolution: 480 x 800
External: microSD up to 32GB
A-GPS with maps
Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 b/g
Audio: 3.5mm stereo jack
Data: Standard USB
GSM 900 / 1800 / 1900
A2DP for wireless stereo headsets
3.15 megapixel camera
Talk Time: 240 minutes
Standby Time: 216 hours
Radio: FM with RDS
Audio supported formats
Playback: MP3, WAV, WMA, eAAC+
Video supported formats
Playback: MP4, Xvid, WMV, H.264, H.263