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ZTE Fury (Sprint) review: ZTE Fury (Sprint)

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MSRP: $219.99

The Good The ZTE Fury comes with a decent camera and a snappy internal processor, and it isn't plagued with bloatware. Also, the quality design makes it seem more expensive than you'd expect from its bargain price tag.

The Bad Despite taking passable pictures, the Fury records disappointing video, and call quality is mediocre. It's also equipped with the unpleasant customization feature Sprint ID.

The Bottom Line The ZTE Fury is a great entry-level 3G phone. It comes with all the bare-bones smartphone specs you expect and it performs well. And at just 20 bucks, you can't go wrong.

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7.0 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 7
  • Performance 7

When I first heard word of the ZTE Fury from Sprint, I wasn't too excited about its name. Maybe Sprint was trying to convey intense excitement with "Fury," but I thought it sounded more like the carrier needed anger management. I was also skeptical of its low $19.99 price (after you send in a $50 mail-in rebate and sign a two-year service agreement), since 20 bucks usually doesn't get you very far.

Surprisingly, however, the device features a lot of goodies, including a Snapdragon CPU, Wi-Fi hot-spot functionality, and a decent 5-megapixel camera--all from something that costs the same price as half a tank of gas.

While almost anyone can use it, the Fury's inexpensive price makes the phone perfect for children. If the handset gets lost or damaged for example (curse those meddling kids!), at least it won't infuriate your wallet.

At 4.65 inches long, 2.46 inches wide, and 0.47 inch thick the ZTE Fury is petite. Still, although it weighs only 4.23 ounces, it feels pretty heavy in the hand at first. It fit comfortably in my jean pocket, though, and when I held it against my cheek or pinned it between my head and shoulder to talk, the weight of the device didn't bother me.

Aside from a thin chrome strip that runs along the edges and top, the phone is made from a gray, soft-coated plastic. I'm a fan of this material because it gives the handset a more luxurious feel than just plain plastic. Also, it doesn't trap fingerprints like other glossy surfaces.

On the bottom left side of the Fury is a Micro-USB port and above that is a volume rocker. Up top and dead center is a 3.5mm headphone jack. Next to that is the sleep/power button. On the right side of the device is a shortcut camera button. When you hold it down for a few seconds while the display is on and unlocked, the camera application will open.

The back of the phone is patterned with a concentric circle design made out of tiny polka dots. You can slightly feel these circles if you run your fingers across the back, but I wouldn't exactly call the phone "textured" since it feels very subtle.

The back has a polka dot pattern that you can faintly feel.

At the top left corner of the back are an LED flash, a camera lens, and a tiny reflective square for vanity shots. Two small grid openings for the output speaker are located on the back down below. A small indent in the bottom center of the handset allows you to pop off the backing easily. Once it's removed, you can access the microSD card, which is expandable up to 32GB, and the 1,500mAh lithium ion battery. The Fury's 3.5-inch capacitive touch screen has a resolution of 320x480 pixels, and is made out of Corning Gorilla Glass. Above the display is a small metal accent for the in-ear speaker. An LED light is located below that. You can choose to have it blink on and off for notifications. Below the display are the four usual home, menu, back, and search buttons, which unfortunately do not light up when you touch them.

The screen was responsive and snappy. I didn't notice any lag when transitioning between apps, going back to the home screen, or texting with Swype (which the device is equipped with). However, sometimes the resolution wasn't so hot. I didn't really notice the problem until I opened the camera app and saw that menu items like "share, delete, and more" were fuzzy. In addition to that, default wallpaper images were grainy.

Fortunately, when I fussed with other apps, text looked better. Even words in Android Play, which features both sans-serif and notoriously hard-to-display serif fonts, did not look as blurry. YouTube videos played in HQ appeared pretty smooth, and graphics in Fruit Ninja, although a bit pixelated, looked even for the most part. Colors were bright and vibrant, as well.

The ZTE Fury runs on Sprint's 3G network and is powered by a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor.

Since it operates on Android 2.3 Gingerbread, it's stocked with your standard number of Google apps: Google Books, Search, Plus, Latitude, Music, Maps with Navigation, Places, Talk, and YouTube. There are also two Sprint-specific apps. One is SprintZone, for checking your account online and staying updated with carrier promotions.

The other carrier app is Sprint ID, a customization feature that I don't love. You can tailor the phone's five home screens with certain preselected apps, widgets, ringtones, and other items depending on which ID profile you install. There are 42 available packs so far, and they cater to a number of interests like music (CMT and MTV have a Sprint ID pack), sports (ESPN, Fantasy Football), and even colleges like University of Notre Dame and UC Davis (go Aggies!)

Aside from the fact that the packs are just sort of ugly, deleting an ID package won't uninstall the apps that you've downloaded. Instead, you'll have to manually remove the apps. Also, you can't remove the Sprint ID app from the home screen's dashboard, so you'll just have to ignore it.

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