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Orange Monte Carlo review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £150
inc VAT

A great screen belies this handset's low price - poor battery life aside, it's an impressive budget handset


Android 2.3, 4.3in 480×800 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.

Orange Monte Carlo

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.

Orange Monte Carlo left

Despite this, it feels snappy to use; the screen is bright and colourful, and the touchscreen interface feels responsive. The 480×800 resolution is great for browsing web pages, although more expensive phones with screens this size are more likely to use a qHD (540×960) 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.

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Price £150
Rating ****


Main display size 4.3in
Native resolution 480×800
Second Display No
CCD effective megapixels 5-megapixel
Flash LED
Video recording format MP4
Connectivity Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB
GPS yes
Internal memory 512MB
Memory card support microSDHC
Memory card included 0MB
Operating frequencies GSM 900/1800/1900, 3G 900/2100
Wireless data EDGE, HSPA
Size 126x68x10mm
Weight 120g


Operating system Android 2.3
Microsoft Office compatibility Word/Excel/PowerPoint/PDF viewers
Email client POP3/IMAP/Exchange
Audio format support MP3, WAV, eAAC+
Video playback formats MP4, H.263, H.264
FM Radio yes
Web Browser Webkit
Accessories charger
Talk time 5 hours
Standby time 12 days
Tested battery life (MP3 playback) 14h 53m

Buying Information

Price on contract £25-per-month, 18-month contract
Prepay price £150
SIM-free supplier N/A
Contract/prepay supplier

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