Review: ZTE Vital for Sprint
Sprint has been really great about shipping devices with near-to-stock Android. The Vital ships with Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean. The user interface itself is fairly clean, but it is packed with far more Sprint-branded apps/services than I'd care to see,
That said, the basics of the Vital's operating system fall in line with what we all expect from Jelly Bean. The lock screen isn't customizable, but it offers shortcuts to the camera and the phone. The notification shade has all of the same actionable items as on other Jelly Bean devices. The Vital has five home screens out of the box for customization, and the main app menu and settings menu each function in identical fashion to stock Android devices.
Sprint iD is on board, which is Sprint's customization tool. Sprint iDs are essentially app/theme/widget packs that can be installed onto most Sprint Android devices. Each iD pack has its own collection of content based on the theme. There are several dozen from which to choose. The only bummer is most iDs also download stuff you might not want, such as extraneous wallpapers or games.
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In terms of performance, the Vital is a bit lacking. The processor isn't always up to the task of running things smoothly. The Vital often ran slow, or felt bogged down. Screen transitions lagged here and there and - worse - the Vital was prone to a lot of random reboots.
The phone and contact apps on the Vital function similarly to just about every other Android Jelly Bean smartphone. In-call options run the norm, and include speakerphone, mute, send to Bluetooth, and add a line. There are Android's usual home screen widgets for direct access to contacts of your choice, as well as the a nice unified widget for a collection of your favorites. The bigger widget lets you access your top nine contacts and gives you a cool UI for interacting with them on the home screen.
As far as messaging goes, the Vital has the stock Android tools on board and nothing else. The SMS app offers nice, threaded conversations; the Gmail/email apps are great ways to manage your inbox. The Google+ and Google+ Messenger apps are good for keeping up with your G+ activity. The Hangsouts app (formerly Google Talk) is as powerful as ever for IM and video chats.
Neither Facebook nor Twitter is pre-installed, so you'll have to download them from the Play Store yourself.
Hands-On: ZTE Vital for Sprint
The Vital is an inexpensive phone that's big on features. Phone Scoop spent some time with the device and these are our first impressions.
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