By August 18, 2011

ZTE Tureis Review

ZTE Tureis ReviewNot released yet to the public of the United Kingdom, the ZTE Tureis is the first phone from the Chinese manufacturer that sports a front facing QWERTY keyboard. Running Android 2.2 with a 800 MHz Qualcomm processor, a 3.2 MP camera and a 2.6″ 320 x 240 screen makes the budget handset look appealing for anyone who misses the Blackberry form factor but likes Android.

ZTE has been famed before for making great budget handsets which sell by the millions but is the Tureis a worthy addition to the company’s line of phones? Does the form factor work well enough with Android or is it dead on arrival? Well, read on to find out!


10 Second Review:

  • Device: ZTE Tureis
  • Price: £144.00 including VAT – SIM Free
  • Summary: A budget handset with a front facing QWERTY keyboard and small screen running Android 2.2 that together doesn’t work
  • Best of: Keyboard, Battery Life,
  • Worst of: Camera, form factor
  • Buy it now from: Clove

ZTE Tureis Specification:

  • Operating System: Android 2.2 Froyo
  • Processor: 800 MHz Qualcomm MSM7227-T
  • MicroSDHC Up to 32 GB
  • RAM: 256 MB
  • ROM: 512 MB
  • Display: 2.6″ TFT-LCD Capacitive touch screen 320×240 pixels
  • GSM/GPRS: 900 / 1800 / 1900
  • 3G/HSPA: 900 / 2100
  • Bluetooth 2.1
  • WiFi: IEEE 802/11 b/g
  • 3.5 mm audio jack
  • 4 row QWERTY keyboard
  • Camera: 3.2 megapixels
  • G-Sensor
  • Proximity Sensor
  • Light Sensor
  • FM Radio
  • Battery: 1100MAh
  • Dimensions: 112 x 63.2 x 11.8 mm
  • Weight: 126 grams


On the top of the ZTE Tureis you have the power/lock button right next to the 3.5mm headphone jack, whereas the bottom is completely smooth. The left hand side of the handset houses the volume rocker, whilst the Micro-USB port is on the right hand side. The 3 MP camera, speaker grill and “with Google” logo are on the back and on the front there is the 2.6″ screen, ear speaker, Android hardware buttons, D-Pad, call and hang-up buttons and last but not least, the hardware keyboard.

ZTE Tureis Review-android



If you didn’t know any better, a quick glance at the ZTE Tureis would leave you thinking that it was simply just a Blackberry Curve or Bold. On the Taiwanese handset you have the same-looking portrait non-sliding keyboard, the same looking keys above the said keyboard and the screen is the around same size, however the ZTE Tureis is slightly larger in size than it’s Canadian counterpart and therefore it makes it more substantial in the hand. But there are some differences between these handsets: most notably the fact that the ZTE Tureis is running Android 2.2 Froyo.

But more on the software later as the beginning of our reviews always start with the hardware and for relatively low-end handset, the Tureis is remarkably well built. Almost as good as the previously mentioned Blackberry’s. The entire back panel might be made of plastic, but it is that soft-touch type which makes it extremely easy to grip and hold. Another thing to note about the back cover is that it is rather snug around the frame (as you should expect from any handset) which results in it not moving, squeaking or creaking when touched or picked up. In fact, pretty much every single thing on the ZTE Tureis is well-made.


If you flip it over to the front of the handset, you are greeted by the 2.6″ screen at the top, the hardware buttons in the middle and the hardware keyboard at the bottom of the handset. The former has a resolution of 320 x 240 (QVGA), which while not amazing when compared to the rest of the Android crop, it is rather good for the screen size.

As for the quality of what is on the screen, as in contrast, brightness and the deepness of the blacks; All three are what we call in the trade “meh”. Basically, they are alright, they do the job but they are not outstandingly good or impressive by any stretch of the imagination. But once again, this is to be expected from a budget handset. ZTE-Tureis

Directly beneath the screen you have a bar where the hardware buttons required on every Android device are found: Home, Menu, Search and Back. The former two are on the left hand-side of the D-Pad and the latter two are on the right. I should note however that the search and back buttons have swapped but I think that this is just a pre-release bug that will be fixed before it ships to the masses. The D-Pad is another way you can interact with what is on the screen other that the obvious touching mechanism. The silver surround acts as arrow keys and by pressing them, you can circumnavigate the entire OS as far as I can tell, however they are pretty thin so I did end up pressing either the Menu button or the Search/Back button by mistake occasionally. The black bit in the centre acts as the enter or select key.

Unusually for an Android handset the ZTE Tureis has Answer and Hang-Up buttons located at the far left and far right of the bar. Indicated by a thin green and red picture of a phone, these do exactly what they say on the tin but for the red Hang-Up button can also function as power button.

The model of the ZTE Tureis we received is in fact the French version because of the 4-row AZERTY style keyboard, the special symbols such as ç, é and à, and the fact that it is pre-loaded with SFR apps, which automatically suggests that this phone will be arriving at the aforementioned French carrier in France. But if this device does manage to swim across the 22 Miles to Britain, you should expect the AZERTY keyboard to change into a nice and normal 4-row QWERTY keyboard instead.

But one thing I really hope doesn’t change is the keyboard feel itself, it is very tactile giving off a nice clicky sound and good push-back, there is a nice layout and they keys are spaced wide enough apart so any user with larger than usual extremities should have no issues when typing on this keyboard.

In the centre-left of the keyboard you have the number keys that can be accessed by holding down the white button which is the furthest most left button on the third row of keys. This is to be expected from such a keyboard but there is a cool feature that is when you press these keys on any of the homescreens, you jump automatically to the dialer for quick dialing.

There are also some specialized function keys as well: there is a special symbols key, shift key, @ key, dedicated quick-launch key for the camera and a key to control whether the phone was in vibrate or not. All are located on the bottom row of the keyboard, either side of the centred spacebar.

The form factor of the ZTE Tureis is rare when it comes to Android: only 3 other phones come to mind with the a touch screen and then a hardware keyboard beneath it but that might be because the form factor in question is just not suited to Google’s mobile OS.  I feel like this is a really great form factor that has been neglected for far too long by smartphone manufacturers aside from RIM, however I do not think that it is an appropriate form factor for Android, mainly because the screen is way to small for good experience as the software is designed to be used only through touching.

As I mentioned previously, the ZTE Tureis is running Google’s mobile operating system: Android. While not the latest as it is running version 2.2 codenamed Froyo, it is a more than capable OS and it can adapt and deal with almost everything you could possibly imagine to throw at it.

On the lock screen you unlock the device (obviously) in the usual Android way by sliding the left hand icon with a black padlock on green horizontally rightwards or you can adjust the volume state of the device by sliding the right hand icon horizontally leftwards to turn it into normal, silent or vibrate modes.


Once you pass the lockscreen you are greeted by the standard five homescreens so well associated with vanilla Android. The home homescreen is in the middle and it is flanked by two others on either side and you can easily access any of them by sliding your finger across the screen or by using the D-Pad but with the latter method of navigation, you will need to press it over and over again as you do need to pass over whatever apps, widgets, shortcuts or folders you have placed on the various homescreens. There is no so-called “leap-view” as there normally would be with other handsets from manufacturers such as HTC, Samsung and Motorola, but if you do long press the little white circles in each of the bottom-hand corners that indicate which of the five homescreens you are on, very small versions of each of the five homescreens pop-up from the bottom and you can navigate to them by pressing on the one you desire.

 homescreen1 homescreen2 homescreen3 homescreen4 homescreen5leap view

As you can probably tell by the pictures above, these aren’t the normal Android homescreens: they are much more cramped, they are more centralised and the phone, app drawer and browser buttons which normally are located at the bottom are now on the right hand-side, but this is because of the fact that the ZTE Tureis’s screen is in the landscape orientation. This is the first reason why Android is just not suited to this form factor. It is not designed to be so congested as seen above but if ZTE had made some slight modifications, it might actually work.

The app drawer button is the middle and once pressed, you are greeted by every single app installed on the device and you navigate through the 2D 6 x 3 grid of app icons by scrolling up and down in the direction you want.
But aside from what I just mentioned, the Tureis operates just like any other Android phone, albeit the interface is slightly smaller than on most other handsets.

app drawer

You can decide for yourselves if this is a good thing or a bad thing but the version of Android on ZTE Tureis has remained untouched and not modified in anyway except for the cramped homescreens, the rotation of the phone, app drawer and browser icons and the addition of the carrier applications but the latter just sit there quietly doing nothing unless you want them too. It is good because normally manufactures screw over perfectly good handsets by overloading them with their own modifications that apparently “add to the users experience,” however in practice, it is just a feeble attempt to distinguish their handsets from the rest and usually hinders the users experience. But it is bad all the same because in a handset like this, I’d really like to see some slight modifications to make the abnormal orientation for an Android phone slightly more usable such as with the homescreens.



The browser on the Tureis is the standard Android browser seen on so many of it’s brothers. It is a fast, minimalistic and stable browser that does what it needs to do. You also have everything you should expect from a either mobile or desktop browser: bookmarks, downloads and Find-on-Page but nothing really fancy. But because of the small screen, the browsing experience is as good as you might expect because you have to scroll around the page to see all of the content.

browser landscape

The browser has multi-touch pinch-to-zoom like you would expect and double tap to zoom; Everything needed for an enjoyable mobile browsing experience.

Because it is Android 2.2, the ZTE Tureis does have the added ability to view Flash content with Flash 10.3 from Adobe. But because you can do it doesn’t necessarily mean you should as I have always found that viewing Flash on any device, whether it is an phone, laptop or top-of-the-line desktop, it always seems to bog down everything, make the page scroll really slow and hog battery life like there is no tomorrow. You would be wise to hear that you should only view flash on any Android phone if you absolute must.



Because of the small screen the Tureis is not one for media, especially video. But that didn’t stop anyone from including the standard YouTube client for Android. It operates in the same way as every other Android device, aside from automatically being in the landscape orientation and you have to double tap the video to see the video’s information.

youtube3 youtube1

Music follows the same suit as the player is exactly the same as the one seen on vanilla Android.



The camera on the ZTE Tureis is truthfully not great. I think the 3 MP camera was included just so there is one and not included for taking stunning photos on the go. It does the job but only in a pinch and you should probably only use the camera on the ZTE Tureis if there is not another one around.


The Camera UI is the one app I have found that has been modified for the form factor of the ZTE Tureis but aside from that it is exactly the same as the standard Android 2.2 Froyo camera interface. You have the usual white balance, zoom control, colour effects, exposure and ISO settings as you would expect but it is pretty straightforward from there on.

Check out some sample photos below:

IMG_20110817_120224 IMG_20110817_120243



Battery Life:

At 1100 mAh, the battery may seem small but I have found that the ZTE Tureis’s battery life to be about the same as any other budget Android device which is around 6- 7hours with normal use. Not fantastic but it should get you through the day and for a budget device, the battery life is actually quite good.



The ZTE Tureis looks like a great budget Android handset on paper. It has a good keyboard, a screen that you would expect from a budget handset, Android 2.2 and it is fast because of the 800 MHz processor and the OS being vanilla. However, the form factor is what brings it crashing back to earth. Android is just not suited to be used with such a small screen and that fundamental feature of the ZTE Tureis is it’s downfall.

However, I think there is a small minority that might actually like it; I am not among them but for those who haven’t used Android on a bigger screen, want a more able smartphone OS and want the form factor of yesteryear on a budget, they may find their perfect phone in the ZTE Tureis; Like I said, a small minority.


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