Review: ZTE Warp Sync for Boost Mobile
ZTE installed a mild skin on top of Android 4.4 KitKat. The Warp Sync functions as Android phones are meant to, but the icons, graphics, and other UI elements have been altered with ZTE's design language.
The phone offers four shortcuts on the lock screen, which include the camera, phone, messages, and contact apps. These cannot be changed. The Warp Sync can be locked with a PIN, password, pattern, or your face, or left unlocked entirely. The Quick Settings panel is accessible from the lock screen, but notifications aren't.
The Warp Sync has five home screen panels active out of the box, only one of which has been preloaded with Boost carrier apps/shortcuts. You are free to adjust the home screens as you please. Perhaps my favorite feature is that ZTE installed 10 different animated transitions to pick from when you swipe through your home screens. They're pretty cool.
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The main app drawer show apps in alphabetical order. You can drop them in folders, but the Warp Sync doesn't support a list view, nor customized views. I like that you can hide unwanted apps, but I'd prefer to delete them (you can't.) ZTE dressed up the settings menu a bit with a white background and nicely colored icons and buttons. The menu is arranged in the same order as other Android phones (clumped into groups), but looks nicer.
Last, it's worth pointing out that the Warp Sync offers Sprint iD, which are app/theme packs meant to help people customize their phones. You can ignore Sprint iD, or use it to browse through the various themes and install them. The idea is good in theory, but not so good in practice because the wallpapers and themes are often accompanied by unwanted bloatware.
The Warp Sync has a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor on board, but it's an older Qualcomm S4 Plus chip. It definitely struggled on occasion. The phone was sometimes slow to register screen presses and lagged from time to time. This left me rather disappointed in the phone's performance.
ZTE installed the most recent versions of the Android phone and people apps on the Warp Sync. The default view is that of your favorites with the most recent call on top. You can easily pull up the dialer or your call history thanks to buttons that line the bottom of the app. Loading your full contacts list requires two presses from within the phone app. If you know ahead of time you need to search through your entire database before making a call, it's faster to go straight to the people app.
The contact app can pull in contacts from myriad sources, including Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft Exchange. Contact details can also be pulled from your social media accounts (Facebook/Twitter) to help flesh out contact cards. The contact app doesn't include direct dial home screen widgets, which is a shame.
The Warp Sync comes with Gmail, email, messaging, Hangouts, and Google+. Google has updated many of these apps so they are the same no matter what version of Android you're running. The latest Gmail app is great and now incorporates other email services. This negates the need for the stand-alone email app, but it there's anyway.
ZTE skinned the stock messaging app with its own design. I rather like it. The messaging app is the relatively standard SMS/MMS client, but you can switch to Hangouts if you want. As I've said in other reviews, Hangouts gets the job done but has a rather steep learning curve.
Twitter and Facebook aren't preloaded, so you'll have to download them, and any other social networks, in the Play Store.
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