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Telstra’s sub-$500 Easy Touch 4G smartphone reviewed

By Leigh D. Stark | 4:25 pm 13/02/2013

Telstra’s “Easy Discovery” phones are a range of devices made for people who like things just as the label says: easy. Don’t need the flagship features and want a handset that is simple? Telstra has you covered.

While the previous generation of these devices was all about the “dumbphone,” the Easy Touch 4G is Telstra’s attempt to make this series of smartphone simple, with a mid-range device that offers the speed and reliability you need, but not the price you don’t.

Features

Manufactured by ZTE for Telstra, the Easy Touch 4G is a handset that brings together the best of an inexpensive mid-range device together with access to Telstra’s high-speed fourth generation mobile network.

From a hardware point of view, this is a device taking its specifications from what would be a mid-to-high-end handset from 2012, which in 2013, could still be just as good, while also being a little less heavy on the wallet.

As such, customers will find a dual-core 1.5GHz processor here, Adreno 225 graphics chip, 1GB RAM, 4GB internal memory, a microSD slot to expand that capacity considerably, and a relatively recent Android installation, with version 4.0 making itself known here.

The screen on this smartphone is a 4.3 inch display, though the panel isn’t very high end, with only a qHD resolution of 540×960.

Cameras are on every smartphone, and the Easy Touch 4G is no different, with an 8 megapixel shooter on the rear with LED flash and a video capture mode that can also shoot 1080p Full HD, while the front receives a 1.3 megapixel camera capable of recording 720p HD .

There’s your regular sort of connectivity options, including WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, but you won’t find Near-Field Communication on this handset, like you do in others.

What you will find is a 4G modem, capable of jumping on Telstra’s Long Term Evolution network, which produces speeds in excess of 20Mbps down. The handset is also Blue Tick certified, meaning it should be more reliable in Australia’s rural areas.

Take the case off and you’ll find a 1900mAh battery, just 200mAh shy of the Samsung Galaxy S3, with a regular miniSIM above this and a microSD slot.

There are no front-facing buttons on this handset, with the touchscreen doing everything here, though you will find a physical power button up top and a volume rocker to the left.

Ports are equally limited, with merely a microUSB on the right edge, while the top gets the 3.5mm headphone jack.

Performance

One of the primary reasons Telstra had the Easy Touch 4G built – aside for making money – was to make a smartphone that was easy for people to use.

For Telstra, devices with the words “easy” and “discovery” in the branding are often made for seniors, children, and anyone who doesn’t want a handset that’s hard to use.

In the Easy Touch 4G, Telstra and ZTE have tried to get around any complications of modern day tech by customising the interface ever so slightly, with the inclusion of special shortcut widgets that take you to the right parts of the phone quickly and easily. These can be moved around and even deleted, but they generally update themselves and ca be useful if Android is new to you.

Telstra's special widgets, which change when you receive new phone calls or texts.

In truth, the Easy Touch 4G has had very little interface modification here, and for the most part, this is one of Google’s recent incarnations of Android – 4.0, also known as “Ice Cream Sandwich” – with practically no changes.

As such, using it is like using pretty much any other handset, with a user replaceable shortcut dock at the bottom, several homescreens, a dropdown notification bar with events that can be slided out with one gesture, and an app menu with drawers for applications and widgets with a shortcut to the Google Play Store in the top right corner.

Keeping in the tradition of Google’s own Nexus branded devices, there are no physical buttons or soft buttons on the front, going instead with the on-screen buttons Google prefers. These can change depending on how you use your phone, and can make using apps easier.

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Price (RRP)

$456

Pros & Cons

Product Pros

Well performing phone for the price; Fantastic 4G speeds; Comes with simple widgets to let you access parts of the phone quickly;

Product Cons

Kind of chunky; Despite the textured back, it's still fairly slippery; Headphone jack has problems with some headphones;

Ratings

Overall

Features

Value for money

Performance

Ease of Use

Design

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