Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Telstra Smart-Touch Android phone
Telstra Smart-Touch review: Telstra's Smart-Touch may be the first Android phone to break the $100 price barrier, but its poor quality display makes for a mediocre user experience
- Low price
- Impressive functions and features of Android
- Access to Android Market
- Small, low quality touchscreen
- Sluggish performance
- Mediocre build quality
Telstra's Smart-Touch may break the $100 price barrier, but it offers a mediocre user experience doing so. However, the Smart-Touch remains a good choice as an alternative to non-smartphones.
Price$ 99.00 (AUD)
Telstra claims its latest Android phone, the Telstra Smart-Touch, is the first to break the $100 price barrier in Australia. Though its low price will attract plenty of positive attention, the Smart-Touch provides a mediocre user experience, largely due to a small, low quality display that isn't responsive. For $99 however, we can't fault it too much — as long as you know what to expect.
The Telstra Smart-Touch looks like what you would expect from a phone in this price range. It is a compact handset that is constructed from glossy plastic. The round edges make it comfortable to hold, and its small size means it slips easily into a pocket or bag.
The glossy plastic of the Telstra Smart-Touch attracts plenty of fingerprints, the rear battery cover creaks when pressed and the bezel surrounding the display has an annoying mirror finish that reflects light — however, these are all to be expected considering the Smart-Touch's asking price. The power button is also abnormally tiny and needs a firm press to activate, while the touch sensitive home, menu and back keys aren't backlit.
Manufacturers generally make a few compromises with budget mobile phones, and in ZTE's case (the manufacturer of the Telstra Smart-Touch) it is the display that suffers most. A stylus that slides out of the back of the Smart-Touch tells you all you need to know about the quality of the touchscreen — the small, 2.8in display uses resistive rather than capacitive technology, so it's far less responsive than screens seen on higher end Android phones.
The screen will suit those who like to tap screens with their fingernails but it possesses poor viewing angles, is difficult to see in direct sunlight and lacks the responsiveness needed to intuitively use the Android operating system on a daily basis. For example, we were forced to use a fingernail, rather than a fingertip to drag down the notifications bar; a basic action that most Android users will undertake frequently. The cramped, low quality display also affects text input — keys are tiny in the standard portrait QWERTY orientation, and although an on-screen keypad with predictive text input can be selected instead, text entry remains painful.
The Telstra Smart-Touch runs the older 2.1 'Éclair' version of Google's Android platform, but it still offers most of the features and functions of far more expensive Android smartphones. The Smart-Touch comes equipped with a GPS receiver, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and also has a 3.2-megapixel camera that doubles as a video recorder, along with an MP3 player and FM radio. It provides full access to the Android Market for third-party apps, and automatic and seamless synchronisation with Google services. The Telstra Smart-Touch doesn't have enough processing power to offer full Flash support, nor does it offer multitouch (so you can't pinch the screen to zoom in and out) but both are too much to ask on a sub-$100 handset.
The Telstra Smart-Touch comes with the standard vanilla Android interface and predictably a large number of shortcuts to Telstra services. The standard vanilla Android interface it isn't an issue at all — it is functional, easy to use and fully customisable.
The Telstra Smart-Touch's small screen combined with a lack of multitouch support mean the Web browsing experience is noticeably inferior compared to Android smartphones with larger screens. Performance is also an issue — the Smart-Touch takes notably longer to achieve basic tasks, such as opening and closing apps. We suggest a little patience given that this is a $99 phone and the fact it can do these tasks at all is an achievement in its own right.
The Telstra Smart-Touch has a microSD card slot for extra storage, located behind the rear battery cover, and Telstra includes a 2GB microSD card in the sales package.
The Telstra Smart-Touch Android phone is exclusive to Telstra and sold online and through Telstra stores and dealers.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy Watch review: Brilliant but not quite a breakthrough
- 2 HP Omen 15 (2018): Full, in-depth review
- 3 HP Envy x360 13 (Ryzen): Full, in-depth review
- 4 Dell G5 review: Easy to live with
- 5 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
Latest News Articles
- ALDI to offer 40GBs for $80 with new SpecialBuy mobile plan
- Android Q details leaked
- Oppo tease biometric and camera innovations ahead of MWC 2019
- LG V50 release date, price, specs and news rumours
- The new iPhone XS battery case works with the iPhone X, but don't expect perfection
PCW Evaluation Team
This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.
Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
- CES 2019 Round-Up:
- Razer Phone 2 review: One for the fans
- Samsung’s Galaxy S10 will launch on Feb 20
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies