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First Look: The ZTE Anthem 4G marches to an older Android beat

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First Look: The ZTE Anthem 4G marches to an older Android beat

2:13 /

Looking for an Android smartphone on Metro PCS with 4G? The $199 ZTE Anthem 4G could be what you seek, that is if you don't mind its Gingerbread software and slow processor.

Hi, this is Brian Bennett for cnet.com. And today, we're taking a first look at the ZTE Anthem 4G for MetroPCS. Though will now, this handset costs $199 and is available for purchase without having to sign a stifling wireless service contract. Now, MetroPCS says the ZTE Anthem 4G provides Android 4G LTE and enough speed and power to blaze a fiery trail across the internet. Well perhaps, the [unk] put it like that exactly, but it does come close to this language on its website. It's a nice thought, but I have a feeling that its weak 1.2 gigahertz dual core Snapdragon processor and 512 megabytes of RAM will cool the Anthem 4G down a bit. I assume it's weak since both MetroPCS and ZTE suspiciously avoid mentioning the exact class of CPU the handset uses. I suspect though that it's an older Snapdragon S3 or some sort of variance. Another feature that leaves me cold is the old Android 2.3 Gingerbread software the phone runs. Hey, it's over 2 years old and not getting any fresher. On front of the Anthem 4G is a small 4.3-inch LCD screen with a low 800 x 480-pixel resolution. Above it is a VGA front-facing camera. Below are 4 old style Android mini buttons, which are capacitive and backlit. The left edge holds a volume rocker and micro HDMI port while on the right are the power button and micro USB port. Up top is a 3.5-mm headphone jack and on back is the phone's 5-megapixel camera and LED flash. Unfortunately, the camera app is very basic and has no frills or fancy features. This soft touch stripe surface here looks pretty wild though, almost gaudy. The Anthem also features Dolby audio technology, which makes viewing movies more engaging. Even better, the phone comes with the full Kung Fu Panda II movie stored on a micro SD card tucked into its slot underneath the battery door. I'm Brian Bennett and this has been a first look at the ZTE Anthem 4G. Check back soon at cnet.com for a full review.

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