The ZTE Optik tablet comes into the game as an entry-level tablet device that’s looking to give a decent experience for its price range. You’ll find this tablet on the nation’s 3rd largest carrier Sprint for a fairly generous $100 sub on a 2 year contract . Even the full retail price of the device is attractive at $350. Usually with tablets priced so low, especially Android tablets, the experience and the overall quality of the device is severely compromised. Let’s see whether ZTE is breaking that stereotype with the Optik.
Decent Design and hardware package
ZTE packed quite a bit in this affordable package. You get a very respectable spec sheet with a 1.2GHz Snapdragon S3 processor, 1GB of RAM with 16GB of internal memory and a microSD slot for further expansion all running on Android 3.2 Honeycomb. When you compare it to tablets like the Kindle Fire it comes out on top by a pretty wide margin.
The ZTE Optik must have had a run in with the HTC Flyer before final production because they’re awfully similar in design. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing due to it’s price point. It’s a somewhat attractive device with two rubberized pads on the rear, plastic back, plastic key, plastic EVERYTHING. The pads on the back of the device are a great addition as it helps with gripping the device in landscape mode. It’s 7-inch display gives it an overall compact feel like most 7 inch screen tablets. The display comes in at a resolution of 1280×800 display that’s surrounded by a lot of bezel and not so great viewing angles, but at $99, it should keep a smile on your face.
Surprisingly, the Optik has front and rear facing cameras that come in at 5mp and 2mp. They both produce a lot of noise in still photos as well as low frame rate when recording video. Shutter speed for the 5mp camera took a staggering 3 sec to do any tasks. Clearly some optimization issues plaguing the device, but their more than enough for the price. The standout flaw I saw with the Optik was its proprietary charging port. I always find this “feature” a substantial reduction of mobility. If you forget to bring the charger with you, the device now becomes a paperweight once drained. Overall, great set of features for a cheap Android tablet.
Android 3.2 Honeycomb Is Good But Laggy On The Optik
This is where I found ZTE Optik to be rather disappointing. When packing internal high-end specs (1.2ghz dual-core processor, 1GB of ram, 16GB internal storage, Vanilla Android, and a MicroSD slot) you expect an almost fluid user experience in day-to-day use. Sadly, this wasn’t the case for the Optik. Using the device from the beginning was overly frustrating. The lag and responsiveness were clearly evident, and even the haptic feedback on the software keys was abysmal. Even getting shot a OTA update during use had no effect on the user experience. I have no doubt if ZTE optimized the software with the hardware just a bit, they could easily fix these issues with a firmware update. So for now, I’m not going to make that a huge deterrent from purchasing the device. The ZTE Optik is running stock Honeycomb with no OEM skins to be found anywhere. I find this a GREAT “feature” to the device as ZTE has undoubtedly done their research and found consumers don’t want any of that crap on their devices.
Sprint’s 3G is barely 2G, But Solid Battery Life
You get your standard Wi-Fi b/g. GPS and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR with the Optik. It’s runs on Sprint’s poor EVDO Rev. 3g network so don’t expect any blazing speeds when away from your Wi-Fi home network. Even the fact the ZTE Optik has a 3g module at the price of $99 is still an amazing addition. Battery life on the 4000mah battery gives you 100 hours of standby time, and based on the user, about a day of consistent use. This will vary, but the Optik does well between charges.
A Good Budget Tablet But Remember, It’s a BUDGET Tablet
ZTE has really made it difficult to find a fatal flaw for it’s cheap Android tablet offering. Coming into the market at a price range of only $99, ZTE has seemingly already mastered the craft of making cheap Android tablets worth while. The next step for ZTE is to get some marketing going as very few consumers even know about this budget device. Their too busy buying the more expensive, and less capable, Kindle Fire.When It comes to the ZTE Optik, I believe it’s a great buy for anyone looking to join the bandwagon of the tablet market.