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

It also means the phone can take on a very simplistic design, and the Easy Touch 4G does exactly that. There are no markings, and the front merely displays a 4.3 inch screen siting inside a black frame, with a camera up top on the front and a blinking notification light whenever something happens.

This screen is of a decent quality, even if the resolution is stuck back on 960×540, the high resolution seen on 2011’s flagship phones. Still, it has reasonable angles, usable from practically any direction, though it is very reflective and can’t be used at all under bright sunlight.

The back of the handset is reasonably simple too, with a gunmetal grey plastic covering the rear of the phone, slightly textured so the phone is harder to drop.

With a price fetching $456, we’re not expecting the performance to be a Galaxy S3 beater, but it doesn’t do too badly, either. Performance on our model jumped ahead from what we saw when we previewed the handset back in November, and we now have benchmarks showing this dual-core handset to be almost as fast as HTC’s quad-core One X smartphone.

While speed benchmarks aren’t always comparable to a real-life situation, we had no problems switching between apps and using the device in our tests, suggesting that the speed on offer here will be useful for many customers.

Download speeds are top notch in this handset, unsurprising given that Telstra has made sure this accesses the 4G network operated by Telstra. Using Sydney’s CBD and suburbs as our testing environment, we managed top speeds of up to 44Mbps down and up to 25Mbps up, with the lowest speed down just over 15Mbps.

Sure, there are devices we’ve reviewed that have performed better in the 4G spectrum, but given the sub-$500 price, that’s an excellent performance.

Battery life isn’t too shabby, either, managing a day and a half of use with us doing our regular thing, including checking emails, social networking, making and receiving calls, texting, playing the odd game, and surfing the web. Do a little less than we did and you might even manage two days out of this.

For the most part, it’s clear that Telstra has built a value-laden smartphone, but it does have a few flaws.

Plug in a pair of iPhone-ready headphones with the remote and microphone, and you’ll find one of these problems. Do that, and you’ll find that the volume is severely low. We’re not quite sure what on this handset makes it happen, but it appears to be a bug that comes from the remotes on headphone cables not being supported by the hardware, and with the volume only normalising when the pause button is pressed.

You also don’t get any features outside of 4G that might be considered premium. There’s no Gorilla Glass or strengthened display – so drop it and this phone will likely break – and there aren’t any extra software features, either. It’s pretty much Android the way Google envisioned it, although you do get an extra keyboard – TouchPal – though it’s not very good in comparison to the stock Google one.

And while the back is textured, the Easy Touch 4G can still be a fairly slippery phone, so be careful with it because, as we said, there’s no glass strengthening here.

Conclusion

It’s not the most stylish phone out there, but the amount of value Telstra and ZTE have packed in here is pretty staggering.

Here is a 4G phone with download speeds comparable to top tier handsets, and while it won’t win any design awards, it does come with plenty of speed and connectivity for people across this big nation of ours.

If a high speed handset is all you want, and you don’t need any of that premium hardware design, or you need a smartphone that actually helps you out with easy to use shortcuts to things, we’d certainly consider picking up this handset.

Overall
Features
Value for money
Performance
Ease of Use
Design
Reader Rating0 Votes
Well performing phone for the price; Fantastic 4G speeds; Comes with simple widgets to let you access parts of the phone quickly;
Kind of chunky; Despite the textured back, it's still fairly slippery; Headphone jack has problems with some headphones;
3.6