Smartphones such as the Apple iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy S II dominate the high-end market, but there is plenty to play for when it comes to mid-tier devices, and ZTE is an emerging Chinese manufacturer looking to make a name for itself.
The ZTE Skate, also known as the Orange Monte Carlo, is a mid-range smartphone aimed at buyers on a budget. The device retails SIM-free at the £200 mark or is available from Orange for free starting at £20.50 per month. We found that the Skate comes with more than reasonable specifications to entice those who want a well rounded handset.
Big but lightweight
The Skate is by no means ugly, but the design is rather uninspiring. The black plastic case looks and feels cheap compared to the high-grade coating on the Samsung Galaxy S II. The glossy nature of the back also makes it quite slippery to hold, so those with butter fingers had better be careful.
The Skate is noticeably larger than other mid-tier devices with its 126x 68x10mm chassis, but it weighs just 120g, an impressive feat.
The 4.3in display is in your face and will be the feature that is most likely to attract potential buyers. It's a behemoth and the quality is not too bad either. Of course, it is never going to compete with the Retina display on the iPhone 4S or the Super Amoled on the Galaxy S II, but the 480x800 resolution on the Skate is more than decent.
The poor brightness lets the Skate down and we're not too keen on the three hard buttons just below the screen. These come in the form of 'home', 'menu' and 'back' and we're not convinced of their durability.