ZTE Agent - black (MetroPCS) review: ZTE Agent - black (MetroPCS)

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CNET Editors' Rating

2.5 stars OK
  • Overall: 5.3
  • Design: 5.0
  • Features: 6.0
  • Performance: 5.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The ZTE Agent has a proportionally large screen, a music player, and a 16GB expandable memory slot.

The Bad The ZTE Agent is hindered by poor call quality, a microSD slot behind the back cover, and an uncomfortable navigation toggle.

The Bottom Line Saddled with poor call quality, there's very little to recommend the entry-level ZTE Agent.

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We haven't seen a ZTE cell phone for MetroPCS for some time, and the last phone that the Chinese manufacturer produced was the Salute, a vertical slider for Verizon. The ZTE Agent (also known as the ZTE-C E520) returns ZTE to its U.S. roots, making entry-level cell phones meant for talking, with a few additional features. As a prepaid phone, the Agent is fairly priced at $69; however, the design, features, and call quality all leave much to be desired. There are better basic cell phones in MetroPCS' lineup that we would recommend first for the same ballpark price, like the Samsung Freeform II or LG Helix.

Design
Tall and very narrow, the ZTE Agent measures 4.3 inches high by 1.9 inches wide by 0.6 inch thick. It's predominantly black, with a bright silver bezel that will keep the existence of this Agent not so secret. You'll have no problem slipping it into pockets and bags; apart from its slimness, the Agent has an unremarkable physique. Thanks to a finger-friendly, soft-touch back cover, it feels good in the hand, and we had no complaints when holding it up to our ear.


Tall and slim with a soft-touch finish, the ZTE Agent is comfortable to hold.

To ZTE's credit, the 2.4-inch display makes up about half the phone's real estate. The colors are fairly sharp and bright, though the otherwise attractive menu design makes resolution appear duller on some screens. Soft keys control the menu and camcorder. Press the central Select button to cycle through MetroPCS' typical list of preloaded apps--but more on those later.

Below the screen are those two aforementioned soft keys, a dedicated music player button, and a Back button. The Talk and End keys rise above the phone's surface in tall, narrow strips on either side of the navigation array. At the center is a circular direction toggle with a central Select button. We steered around just fine, but found the toggle a tad too small to be comfortable--it's more petite than the pad of our relatively small thumb.

Despite the Agent's rather constricted navigation buttons, the backlit dialpad is spacious enough, with keys that are separated like scales so that you can easily dial by feel. A camera shutter button and a Micro-USB charging port live on the right spine; the left is home to the volume rocker. A 3.5-millimeter headset jack resides up top, and a 1.3-megapixel camera lens is on the back. Below the back cover is the unmarked microSD card slot. This one, like many found on entry-level phones, accepts storage cards of up to 16GB.

Features
For contacts, there's room for multiple phone numbers, an e-mail address, a group number, and a note in the Agent's 500-entry address book. While you can customize a contact with one of 22 polyphonic ringtones (or turn the phone to vibrate), you can't attach a photo for caller ID, not even after snapping a picture.

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Where to Buy

ZTE Agent - black (MetroPCS)

Part Number: E520ME0710

MSRP: $69.00

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Talk Time Up to 360 min
  • Technology CDMA2000 1X
  • Combined with With digital camera / digital player
  • Service Provider MetroPCS
  • Weight 3.53 oz
  • Diagonal Size 2.4 in
  • Sensor Resolution 1.3 pixels