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ZTE Skate smartphone is a gentle giant

ZTE Skate smartphone is gaining more space as platforms for content consumption: Web access, photos, videos and games. And for that one large screen, large and clear, it is equally or more important when a super-powerful processor. After all, no good can play HD video if you need a magnifying glass to see the actors on a small screen of 2.8 inches. And it is the screen – 4.3 inch, to be exact – the highlight of the ZTE Skate, also known as V960.

This “giant” is modest. The processor will not beat any records of performance, but faces the tasks of day-to-day, and even some games, without complaint. The ZTE Skate camera is average, but gets the job done. The current operating system is virtually “clean”, no customization that generally more bother than help you. And most important: you do not need to sell a kidney if you want to take him home.


Hardware The ZTE Skate screen is identical in size and resolution (480 x 800 pixels), used in the Samsung S Galaxy II or LG 3D Optima’s. Technology, however, is different: while the S Galaxy II has an AMOLED screen Super Plus, ZTE has chosen a conventional LCD panel. As a result the colors are not as saturated or contrast so intense, when the unit from Samsung.

The ZTE Skate has a good viewing angle, which is important when watching movies or YouTube clips. There is nothing worse than losing a scene because the angle of the screen made the image too dark or distorted colors, which does not happen in ZTE Skate. There’s only one problem: visibility in sunlight, even with maximum brightness, is extremely poor. You can hardly distinguish what is being shown.

The ZTE Skate’s screen dictates the action of the rest of the device. There is approximately 12.6 x 6.8 x 1 cm, weighing 120 grams, close to the Galaxy S II: The biggest differences are the thickness, 2 mm higher, and 4 grams more in weight. In front are three plastic buttons with default actions on Android: Home, Menu and Back.

They work well but take a bit of “charm” of the device, which would have a more sophisticated if they are capacitive (touch) as the S Galaxy, Optimus Black, Atrix Motorola and many other devices. A curiosity: there is an LED indicator on the Back button of ZTE Skate, which flashes in different colors depending on the situation. If you are in a place with no signal, for example, it flashes red. If the unit is connected to the PC, it glows orange.

The camera on the back of the handset has a 5 MP sensor, autofocus and integrated flash. ZTE Skate has no front camera. The battery has a capacity of 1400 mAh, which seems a little screen that big. Under the back cover, next to the slot for the SIM Card is a slot for a micro SD card. ZTE Skate accepted up to 32 GB, and comes with a 2 GB card. The heart of the unit is a Qualcomm processor (MSM7227) 800 MHz, accompanied by 512 MB of RAM. Software Not much to say here. ZTE Skate uses the Android OS 2.3.4 (Gingerbread), which is essentially “clean”: there are no themes or custom interfaces (such as Sense of HTC, Samsung’s Touch Wiz Motorola or Blur), and live out some applications, a client of Windows Live and Docs to Go (for viewing MS Office files) there is virtually no pre-installed applications. Multimedia The camera of ZTE Skate takes photos medians. They are good in sunlight, but they get a look “cool” in the shade and tend to have a lot of noise at night. That is, like almost any other smartphone camera in this category.

The flash is more efficient than one meter away from the object being photographed. More than that and it does not make much difference, less than that and the image will be washed. Even at the correct distance, it has a tendency to “blue” image.

At the time of filming ZTE Skate is capable of recording at VGA resolution (640 x 480 pixles), but only 15 frames per second, which affect the movements in the image. It is enough to record a scene from day to day, but you will not want to record the christening of his daughter with him. Even there is a limit of 30 minutes per video.

As I said, the big screen is good for playing videos, but the player that comes with the unit had trouble playing the most popular formats (MOV, MKV, AVI) we tested. One solution is to convert the videos to the native resolution (480 x 800 pixels) in MP4 using a software like Bad boom (use the profile “Samsung Galaxy S”) or equivalent. Performance In synthetic benchmarks the ZTE Skate Smartphone had the lowest performance among the devices we tested recently. Total points AnTuTu 1307, our new benchmark standard, which is a score lower than that of devices with the Motorola Spice Key. But what matters is that ZTE Skate Android has enough processing power for the tasks of day-to-day: surf the web, send and receive e-mails, listening to music, share photos on social networks and viewing documents.

In hours of fun the results were mixed. I have not had many problems to run games like 2D Angry Birds River and Cut the Rope (with an occasional engasgadinha or other) or to emulate old consoles like the Mega drive using MD.EMU. But when I saw the unit has been run for Fruit Ninja, I thought the GPU was not strong enough for 3D gaming. So imagine my surprise when running Need for Speed: Shift, a game with 3D graphics much more sophisticated than Fruit Ninja, and see it work perfectly.

The only explanation I can think is that Fruit Ninja requires much more CPU to simulate the physics of all those fruits falling and being broken, rather than the GPU for the graphics and CPU is the bottleneck. Anyway ZTE Skate mobile is not a smartphone for gamers. But if you just want a casual fun, will not die of boredom in line at the bank. Battery To test the battery put the screen brightness automatically, leaving the GPS on, Bluetooth turned off and the device used in day-to-day sailed for about 1 ½ hours using a 3G connection, I watched 1 hour of video I played 30 minutes of Angry brids: Rio, I made a dozen pictures, I recorded two short videos (1 minute each), made two short calls and sent some SMS messages. In the rest of the time the ZTE Skate was on standby on the table.

In this usage profile received the first warning of low battery (to 17%) after 10 hours and 20 minutes away from the outlet, with an estimated total autonomy in about 12 hours and 30 minutes of use. The greatest villains in power consumption have been browsing over 3G (20% battery) and video playback (17%). If you use any of these resources intensively, you have to recharge the battery after 5 or 6 hours.

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