Review: ZTE Avid 4G for MetroPCS
The Avid includes a basic music player application, as well as the Google Play Music app. The first works as a simple playback app, while the second has a richer feature set in addition to its ties to the Google Play Music Store. It lets you stream music that you've stored on Google's servers. I found the music streaming service didn't work at all when under CDMA-only coverage, but did under 4G LTE coverage. The Avid also ships with the Rhapsody music service on board, which lets you stream music to the device for a monthly fee.
As for video playback, it includes the stock YouTube app, basic video player, and the Google Play Music & TV app.
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The Avid uses the stock Android 4 camera app. It's simple, direct, and quick. Though there's no physical camera button, there's a shortcut from the lock screen. It launches quickly.
The camera viewfinder presents a stark user interface. There's a simple toggle control on the left for switching between different flash modes. The remainder of the tools and controls are on the right, which include a giant shutter button and access to the settings. It also includes touch-to-focus. The camera takes a second or so to focus, and then another to shoot and store the image. The process could be a little faster.
The settings can be used to adjust some of the basics, including location data, brightness, and white balance. There are only three shooting modes: camera, video, and panorama. Most people won't bother with the settings, but at least the bare minimum can be tweaked.
The Avid has a 5-megapixel camera with autofocus and flash. In general, I was pleased with the results. They're not astounding, but they are certainly serviceable. The images were mostly in focus, and had accurate white balance and exposure. I did see more grain than I wanted to, however.
The highest video quality that the Avid can capture is 720p HD. It did a good job at capturing clean, in-focus, and correctly-exposed video. The results aren't going to bowl anyone over, but they will be worthy of sharing on YouTube.
The gallery is the stock Android 4.0 application, which will connect with various online photo accounts and let you access them all from the device's various albums.
When viewing individual photos, on-screen controls make deleting, sharing, or editing them a snap. Editing features include crop, rotate, straighten, flip, sharpen, and reduce red-eye. There are also a number of effects that can be applied to the images. It connects with most social networks.
The Avid ships with the Google Chrome browser, as well as some MetroPCS-branded web tools (MetroWeb, etc.). Chrome works well on MetroPCS's LTE 4G network. Browsing speeds were good, but not as fast as what's available from Metro's competitors. In general, I found that I wasn't tapping my toe waiting pages to render. When they did, aside from looking blue, they rendered well. Plenty of alternative browsers are available in the Google Play Store if you don't like Chrome.
The Avid comes with an annoying array of MetroPCS applications. Some include: M Studio, Metro411, MetroWeb, MyMetro, MyXtras, Metro Block-It, and the Metro-branded App Store. Some of these can be deleted; some cannot. There's still enough space left on the Avid for you to download your own applications.
The Avid supports mono and stereo Bluetooth headsets. I had no trouble pairing with either. Sound quality through mono headphones was acceptable, but the volume trouble made the exercise a futile one. In order to hear calls in my car, I had to crank the volume all the way up, and that really only boosted the amount of interference and noise coming through the speakers. Music pushed to stereo Bluetooth headphones sounded good, though.
The Avid offers the standard Android clock on the lock screen, which is visible when the device is first woken from sleep. It's a nice, large digital clock that's easily visible everywhere except under direct sunlight. It can't be customized, though.
The Avid includes Google Maps, but not MetroNavigation. Google Maps is a powerful set of tools when it comes to routing directions and discovering nearby points of interest. The Avid's GPS radio performed very well, and was able to quickly pinpoint my location to within 15-25 feet most of the time.
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