Editor's Review of the Racer
Launched in July 2010, the ZTE Racer works on any GSM 900 / 1800 / 1900 network. It is a no-nonsense smartphone that is evidenced by its minimalist looks. Its design is very conservative in elegant black. Measuring 102 mm. long, 55 mm. across and only 14.5 mm. thick, it is a very handy handset that fits in your hands or be niftily kept away in your pocket or your bag. Also at only 100 grams, the Racer is one very light smartphone.
The top of the Racer carries the power button and the 3.5 mm headphone jack. Much of its front end is taken up by a 2.8 inch resistive touch screen that can display up to 256k colours at a maximum resolution of 240 x 320 pixels.
This handset has 256 megabytes of internal memory that provides enough space for unlimited phone book contacts and call records. If you need more memory for storing your image, video, and music files, you can easily pop in a microSD card that can provide up to 8 gigabytes of extended memory.
That is a good thing too, as the Racer allows you to play back MP3, eAAC+ and WAV music files and MP4, H.263 and H.264 video files. What is more, the handset also features a 3.15 megapixel camera that can capture photos of up to 2048 by 1536 pixels. It can also capture videos and features an autofocus function.
The ZTE Racer runs on Google's Android Eclair OS, allowing the Chinese company to lower its prices. This means that you get an easy and seamless integration with Google products such as Google Search, Gmail, Google Maps, and even YouTube. The good news does not stop there, as the Racer can connect you to the Internet via any GPRS and EDGE network. High speed Internet is also available via any HSDPA network, while wireless access is provided with any Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g connection.
Further, you can connect and interact with any Bluetooth-enabled devices or connect to computers using the microUSB port.
Other features in this smart phone include threaded SMS views, Java support, stereo FM, pre-loaded games, a document viewer that can open .doc, .xls, .ppt and .pdf files, and GPS support. Battery life provides enough juice to last up to 200 hours on stand by, or give you up to 3.5 hours of talk time.
Admittedly, having a small screen may work against the ZTE Racer especially when you are viewing Web pages. Things might seem cramped and crowded in its small screen. Further, the smaller screen does not make sense as other smart phones are racing to have a 4 inch screen or even a 5 inch screen such as those found on the Dell Streak. What is more, the resistive touch screen is just not as responsive as capacitive screens, requiring you to press harder. This becomes a problem if you use the onscreen keyboard to type in a short message, where you can make a lot of mistakes from typing in even a short sentence. Swiping, however, does not seem to present a problem.
What is more, ZTE used plastic for its casing for the Racer, making it look clunky and more like a budget phone than a smart phone.
While the camera might pack in the pixels, the autofocus is not really up to par. Add this to the fact that it does not have a built-in flash, making shooting at night and in low light conditions more of a pain.
Overall, however, ZTE packs in a whole lot of features into the Racer that you simply cannot find in other similarly priced mobile phones. The wireless access, GPS and 3G connectivity is a surprise, given its price and it is certainly a lot faster than other budget handsets.
ZTE Racer Specifications
102mm x 55mm x 14.5mm
Full resistive touch screen
Type: TFT LCD
Size: 2.8 inches
Resolution: 240 x 320
External: microSD up to 8GB
A-GPS with maps
Up to 7.2 Mbps download speed
Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 b/g
Audio: 3.5mm stereo jack
Data: Standard microUSB
GSM 900 / 1800 / 1900
A2DP for wireless stereo headsets
3.15 megapixel camera
Battery Capacity: 1100 mAh
Talk Time: 210 minutes
Standby Time: 200 hours
Radio: FM with RDS
Audio supported formats
Playback: MP3, eAAC+
Video supported formats
Playback: MP4, H.264