Straight Talk ZTE 990G GSM Prepaid Android Full Review

Straight Talk ZTE 990g
Straight Talk ZTE 990g side view

The Straight Talk ZTE 990g is an entry level Android device that will fit into anybody's budget. As with all Android phones, the ZTE 990g features access to the Android App store along with all other Android features such as Google Maps, full web browsing, the works. What's notable about the ZTE is that it's the only GSM Straight Talk Android available, so it's somewhat unique. It's not the fastest Android out there, but it's a great little phone if you want the Android experience without the contract price.


Release Date Mid 2012

Carrier: Straight Talk

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ZTE Merit 990g Specifications

Manufacturer
LG

Android OS
Gingerbread Android version 2.3.4

Processor
600 mhz
Dimensions
4.6" x 2.4" x 0.5"

Weight
4.5 oz

Form Factor
3.5" Touch Screen

Screen Size and Resolution:
3.5" 320 x 480 pixels

Technology:
3g GSM

Battery Life:
6 hrs talk time, Up to 10 days stand by

Data Signal:
3g Data

Camera resolution:
5 Megapixels

Bluetooth
v 2.0

Charge/data cable
Micro USB

Headphone Jack
3.5mm

Micro SD card
Yes

ZTE Merit 990g Features

Compact design, Android Market, Full HTML browser, Video, excellent 5mp Camera, Bluetooth, Voice commands, Micro SD card, GPS , Youtube, mp3 player, Swipe Keyboard, Netflix, Angry Birds and lots more

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First Impression

The first words that come to mind when reviewing the ZTE is compact and basic. This isn't a bad thing by any means because this is a smartphone after all, but compared to many other new Androids, this one is fairly straight forward. While the phone is quite compact for an Android, it is a little thicker than we are used to for a non QWERTY phone of this size. The body is made out mostly shiny plastic and the compact size feels comfortable in the hand.

A look around the phone reveals a standard 3.5mm jack and power button at the top, volume rocker buttons on the right, bottom front features the typical 3 button layout of the physical variety. Interestingly, the phone does not have a dedicated camera button. The left side houses the standard micro usb charge port.

Being that this is of the entry level variety, the hardware is fairly basic featuring a 600 mhz processor so don't expect monster speed. That said, performance is quite good and certainly more than adequate for most users shopping for an entry level phone like this.

Overall, it's a competent device that's as basic as they come for Androids. We like the compact nature of the phone but the lack of a dedicated camera button can be somewhat irritating since the camera must be used through the onscreen menus.

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Usability and Features

As with all Androids, you get access to the Android app market so there's quite a bit of usability there as you would expect. Despite only having a 600 mhz processor, most apps we tried worked great. Of course the number of apps you can run simultaneously will be somewhat limited by the processor.

As with all new phones, it does have the motion sensing capabilities so most apps will adjust to portrait or landscape. I will point out that the standard Android keyboard has rather small letters so you may want to download a different keyboard from the app market.

Finally, one thing we didn't like was the lack of a dedicated camera button which has become somewhat of a standard on the majority of new phones. As it is, you will need to navigate to the camera app to use it. That being said, it does have a great 5mp camera which is surprising for a lower end model. To put this in perspective, the other entry level Android offered by Straight Talk in the form of the Samsung Precedent only has a 2 mp camera.

Overall, the usability on this phone is quite good.

Conclusion

The ZTE 990g is a solid device. Keep in mind that it's of the entry level variety. Also keep in mind that pricing will really determine if the phone is worth the cash or not. If it comes in right around $100, then this phone will be well worth it. If it's in the 120-150 range, then the Samsung Precedent is a much sleeker design with similar features and Samsung reliability.

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