To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Orange San Francisco review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £99
inc VAT

It has a great screen, but we’re not keen on Orange’s extra software and there are better alternatives for the same price.


Android 2.1, 3.5in 480×800 display

The San Francisco is a handset exclusive to Orange, but it’s built by ZTE, the same company that makes the budget ZTE Racer. The San Francisco is a far better phone than the Racer, however: it has a larger screen with a massive 480×800 resolution, as well as all the usual features you’d expect to find in an Android smartphone: Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, and a 3.2-megapixel camera. Android 2.1 may be two generations old now, but it’s still very capable.

Orange San Francisco

After our experience with the Racer, we were expecting a poor screen, but we needn’t have worried: the San Francisco’s display is a vast improvement. Although it’s only 0.7in larger, it has more than twice the resolution, making images pin-sharp. Colours are vibrant and the capacitive touchscreen is responsive. The phone has a relatively slow 600MHz processor, compared to many current Android handsets’ 800MHz or 1GHz chips, but we didn’t notice any lag in the interface or when opening apps.

Orange San Francisco right side

Although it sits in the same budget category as the Racer, the San Francisco is well designed and feels fairly sturdy. The plastic case is light and has a rubberised finish which makes it easy to grip, while angular chrome-effect stripes along the sides add a touch of style. The fascia is fairly plain, with only a small strip below the screen with the Home, Menu and Back buttons. In our light usage battery test, the San Francisco managed just under 23 hours, which is fairly standard for a smartphone. If you use WiFi, GPS and 3G data regularly, you’ll most likely need to charge every night.

Orange San Francisco left side

The 3.2-megapixel camera has no flash, so it’s not suitable for low-light shots, but otherwise we found its pictures to be surprisingly good; images were far less smudgy than on other smartphones. There’s no physical shutter button, and there’s a long pause between tapping the on-screen button and the shot being taken, so it’s a pain trying to shoot moving subjects. Videos are captured at a maximum resolution of 352×288, hardly even good enough for YouTube.

Pages: 1 2


Price £99
Rating ***


Main display size 3.5in
Native resolution 480×800
Second Display No
CCD effective megapixels 3.2-megapixel
Video recording format MP4, 3GP
Connectivity Bluetooth, WiFi, USB
GPS yes
Internal memory 150MB
Memory card support microSDHC
Memory card included 2048MB
Operating frequencies GSM 900/1800/1900, 3G 1900/2100
Wireless data EDGE, HSDPA
Size 116x57x12mm
Weight 110g


Operating system Android 2.1
Microsoft Office compatibility Word/Excel/PowerPoint/PDF viewers
Email client POP3/IMAP/Exchange
Audio format support MP3, WAV, eAAC+
Video playback formats MPEG4, H.263, H.264
FM Radio yes
Web Browser Webkit
Accessories headset, data cable, charger
Talk time 5 hours
Standby time 9 days

Buying Information

Price on contract 0
Prepay price £99
SIM-free supplier N/A
Contract/prepay supplier

Read more