Orange Monte Carlo review
Android 2.3, 4.3in 480x800 display
The Orange Monte Carlo joins the San Francisco in Orange's own-brand range - like the San Francisco, it's a rebranded ZTE handset. With a 4.3in screen and Android 2.3, however, it's a far more advanced phone, and also comes with a 5-megapixel camera backed up by an LED flash. Despite these advanced features, it's still relatively inexpensive, and can be picked up for only £150 on prepay.
While the large screen hints at a premium handset, once you pick it up you realise some corners have been cut. For a start, it's quite a thick phone, but at the same time it's surprisingly light. Reading the specifications more closely, you see where corners have been cut: the Wi-Fi doesn't support the faster 802.11n standard, there's only 512MB of internal storage, and the single-core processor runs at 800MHz, rather than the more common 1GHz.
Despite this, it feels snappy to use; the screen is bright and colourful, and the touchscreen interface feels responsive. The 480x800 resolution is great for browsing web pages, although more expensive phones with screens this size are more likely to use a qHD (540x960) resolution. The glossy black plastic design is fairly attractive, and the phone's 120g weight offsets its bulk. We were glad to find hardware buttons for the Home, Menu and Back functions, although sadly you can't use these to wake the screen up.
The Monte Carlo comes with an Orange colour scheme and branded apps, many of which duplicate the functions of standard Android apps. For example, there's a contacts backup app, but Android's own contacts app synchronises your contacts with Google's servers automatically. There's also Orange Maps, which we found unstable and is nowhere near as good as the built-in Google Maps. Orange Photo also refused to let us register, but thankfully we already have all our photos on Google's own Picasa service, available from the Gallery.