X
CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

Aio's chunky, entry-level ZTE Sonata 4G (Hands-on)

The Sonata 4G is aimed at first timers who don't mind a thicker, smaller HSPA+ device.

jessica-dolcourt-6462
jessica-dolcourt-6462
Jessica Dolcourt Senior Director, Commerce & Content Operations
Jessica Dolcourt is a passionate content strategist and veteran leader of CNET coverage. As Senior Director of Commerce & Content Operations, she leads a number of teams, including Commerce, How-To and Performance Optimization. Her CNET career began in 2006, testing desktop and mobile software for Download.com and CNET, including the first iPhone and Android apps and operating systems. She continued to review, report on and write a wide range of commentary and analysis on all things phones, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds. Jessica began leading CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
Expertise Content strategy, team leadership, audience engagement, iPhone, Samsung, Android, iOS, tips and FAQs.
Jessica Dolcourt
2 min read

LAS VEGAS -- You sure don't see a lot of 4-inch smartphones these days, and you certainly don't see them as thick-waisted as the ZTE Sonata 4G, a forthcoming Android smartphone for Aio Wireless, AT&T's prepaid arm.

Yet here it is: a white HSPA+ 4G device with a silver-colored trim that could never be called anything other than entry-level. It runs Android 4.1, for a start, a version of the operating system that has for the most part been completely abandoned, replaced by newer versions. You'll still be able to access a large amount of Google's OS, but things will run a little slower and you may not have access to all of the tinier, baked-in features.

Shop for ZTE Sonata 4G (Aio Wireless)

See all prices

Because of the 4-inch screen size, you'll get quite a sharp and pixel-rich experience with the 720p HD screen, 367 pixels per inch. There's a 5-megapixel camera onboard that can capture 720p HD video, but no front-facing camera (that's not a knock, just how it is).

Internally, the Sonata runs on a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon 400 chipset, and has a 1,780mAh battery. There are only 4GB of internal storage, but if you can pry off the stiff back cover and dig below the battery, your efforts will be rewarded with a 32GB microSD card slot .

Back to the future with ZTE's stubby Sonata 4G (pictures)

See all photos

If you spend a lot of time with devices of the higher-end sort, the Sonata 4G won't seem like much, but for the right price (which we don't yet know) and the right person, this could be an option.

Check out more of CNET's CES 2014 coverage.