O2 may have the iPhone all to itself in the UK, but that hasn't stopped the company from continuing with its own Xda range of smart phones. The is the latest addition to the clan but, instead of being targeted at business types, this time O2 is aiming the handset at pay as you go users. As such, the handset is available for the relatively low price of around £250, without the need to take out a hefty contract.
The first thing you notice when you start up the Zest is that, although it uses Windows Mobile 6.1, the menu system looks completely different. This is because O2 has loaded the Zest with its own touch interface (a reworked version of Spb's Mobile Shell), providing you with a 3D grid interface with large, chunky buttons that you can press with your finger. It's easy to use, responsive (thanks, no doubt, to the handset's speedy 624MHz Marvell processor) and does a good job of hiding away most of the traditional, wonky Windows Mobile menus.
The phone's screen may be small, but it's still impressive. Thanks to its 480x640-pixel resolution, photos and Web pages look sharp, and, because it's bright, the screen's easy to read even in direct sunlight. With both Wi-Fi and HSDPA support, it's no surprise that Web pages load very quickly. O2 has also sensibly pre-loaded the Opera Mobile browser on the phone, which is much more useable than the usual Internet Explorer Mobile.
The handset also has built-in GPS and comes with a trial version of the Co-Pilot Live 7 navigation software. This works for two weeks before asking you to shell out £50 to activate the full version.