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Review: ZTE Salute

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The Salute has a 2.4-inch QVGA display (240 x 320 pixels.) In 2005, that was the bees knees for the best smartphones, but now it is an average display for low-end feature phones. It has a dull, granular look to it. It is easy to make out pixels along text and graphic edges, but it is by no means terrible. Indoors, it works just fine and there are no issues with visibility. Outdoors, however, the screen completely washes out. It was forced to seek shadows to attempt to read the Salute.


The Salute uses Verizon's 1xRTT voice/data network, and not the faster EVDO 3G network. In many places, the Salute held onto just a single bar of service. During my entire testing period, it averaged perhaps two bars, and never exceeded three bars. Despite the signal strength measurements, voice calls never had any problems connecting. The Salute dropped down to zero bars in the NJ vault (local ShopRite), but was still able to make and receive calls. Data sessions are a different story altogether. Anything to do with the mobile internet was flat-out painfully slow. WAP web sites were excruciatingly stubborn to load.


Voice calls with the Salute were decent, but not stellar. I noticed occasional noises, echoes, and static. Some of it was nettlesome enough to interrupt calls, but most of the time it wasn't a call killer. Volume of the earpiece was good enough for most public places where you might find yourself, such as a mall or coffee shop. It wasn't quite loud enough for use in the car, or noisier places such as a city street. The same goes for the speakerphone. It will work fine in a home or small, closed office, but it won't be of much use as an alternative in the car or a noisy conference room.


One thing about simpler phones that I love is battery life. The Salute lasted for what felt like years (OK, perhaps that's some hyperbole). In all seriousness, I charged it once, and it last the entire review period of four days. That's not too shabby at all. Going away for the weekend and expect to only use the Salute for some calls, light texting, email, and data? I'd say you can safely leave the charger at home.


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