Tuesday, April 4, 2017

ZTE Overture 2 smart phone review

The saying "You get what you pay for" isn't always true.  But there is at least one purchase where you will get exactly what you pay for.  When you buy the ZTE Overture 2 for $20 (at least from Cricket; price may vary elsewhere) you are getting a $20 Android smart phone.  Nothing more, nothing less.

The Overture 2 will place and receive phone calls, send and receive texts, and browse the web.  If you ask it to do much more than that, you won't like its response.  (My Overture 2 has failed to receive several phone calls and many texts, but I think that's an issue with the service -- Cricket -- rather than the phone itself.)

The phone only comes with 8GB of internal storage, much of which isn't usable, so you don't have a lot of room to install apps.  The phone can run games and play videos well enough, though it often takes a couple of seconds to launch an app, and it's not always very responsive.  Its 1GB of RAM feels non-existent when you try to make or receive a call; it takes at least a couple of seconds for the phone to start dialing or to answer an incoming call.

The phone is slow in other ways, as well.  When you are in a phone call and you remove the phone from your ear, the Overture 2 is sluggish in responding to its proximity sensors and turning the screen back on.  Sometimes turning the phone on when it's been idle for a while can take a few tries.

The Overture 2's non-removable battery is low-quality.  With a daily usage of one or two phone calls, 10-20 texts, and the occasional Twitter binge, the phone needs to be charged almost every day.  When I had Avast installed, it drained the battery over 50% just idling and updating overnight.  Even after uninstalling Avast, the phone lost 14% of its battery life in 3 hours of overnight idling.  On the plus side, the battery does charge back up quickly.

The rear-facing 5MP camera is one of the worst I've seen on a smart phone.  It does not focus well, and anything that's not immediately in front of you will be hard to see.  It also has a front-facing, 0.3MP camera.

The phone sometimes seems to have a mind of its own.  It won't always save the volume setting, especially when in vibrate mode, which can lead to a loud notification while you're at work.  Other times the alarm will go off but without any sound, even when sound is enabled.  Occasionally the phone will disable data transmission on its own.  Using Bluetooth on the Overture 2 often takes several tries to pair with another device.

The ZTE Overture 2 isn't all bad.  The glass is sturdy, resistant to damage, and easy to clean.  The phone itself is lightweight and stays cool even during heavy use.

iPhone users or high-end (even mid-range) Android users will not be happy with this phone.  If you're on a budget, the ZTE Overture 2 will probably fulfill your basic call/text/web needs.  As long as you don't expect more than that out of it, you might not be disappointed.

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