Review: ZTE Force for Sprint
The ZTE Force rocks some old-school specs when it comes to the display. It measures 4 inches across the diagonal, and offers 800 x 480 pixels. Displays are often one of the most costly components of a smartphone, so it is no wonder that the Force rocks 2010-era screen specs. That said, it looks really, really good for a $49 phone. Keeping the physical size small helps the pixel density a lot. Images and icons look sharp, the display is bright, and colors look spot on. Viewing angles are good, but not great. It is hard to read outdoors.
The Force picked up signal fairly well for a Sprint device in the metro NYC area. I've noticed many devices struggle to find Sprint's network in and around NJ and Manhattan, but the Force found it with no trouble. Further, it always remained connected and didn't miss/drop any calls. Granted, this was all on Sprint's 3G network. Data was miserably slow over 3G, whether it was downloading apps or surfing the web. Sprint's LTE network can't come to the NY metro area soon enough!
I was quite impressed with the Force's voice quality. Calls were clear and free of distortion. Earpiece volume was quite good. Set to half way up, I had no problem hearing phone calls in a busy Starbucks. If turned up all the way, the earpiece was painfully loud. The speakerphone was not impressive, not in terms of quality nor volume. Calls were choppy, and sounded tinny. Volume was not good enough to be heard over the din in the same Starbucks. Ringers and alerts are plenty loud enough, and the vibrate alert is strong.
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The Force does well enough when it comes to battery life that most users should expect to get a full day out of it. I used the device intensely for three days (downloading more than 100MB of data each day, making calls, checking email, filing social networking updates) and it managed to make it from 8AM to Midnight with no problem each day. Over the course of five total days testing, the Force consistently performed well. The only caveat I'll note here is that this was mostly in areas with just 3G coverage and not 4G LTE.
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