REVIEW: Verizon ZTE Salute – Return to Basics

Verizon Salute Open Close

Verizon Salute Open Close

The Verizon Salute, ZTE’s first mobile phone on a major US carrier, is an acceptable alternative to the smartphone world. It reminds me of my early college years before social networking apps, 3G speeds, and FaceTime. As a dedicated iPhone 4 user it was a rough transition, but I quickly grew to appreciate the Salute’s limitations and simplicity.

Verizon Salute OpenVerizon Salute
Available now for $69.99 with a 2 year contract.

On Verizon’s website there is an additional $50 online discount bringing the price down to $19.99.

Specifications

  • Dimension: 2.05″ x 0.67″ x 4.41″
  • Weight: 4.40 ounces
  • Battery: Standard Li-Polymer (950 mAh)
  • Talk Time: up to 360 minutes
  • Stand By Time: up to 576 hours
  • Screen Display: 262K Color TFT, 320×240 pixels, 2.00″

The Good

  • Reliably make and receive phone calls (something strange for an AT&T subscriber)
  • DAYS of battery life

The Bad

  • Mediocre camera resolution (1280×960)
  • Keypad keys are too smooth

Verizon Salute BackHardware

The Salute is small and light in your hand. Sliding the phone open and closed is a pleasure. Do you remember what it feels like to really hang up on someone? These days we’re accustomed to pressing a virtual red Disconnect button. There’s no fun in that. Imagine actually manipulating hardware to hang up on someone. I haven’t felt that in years. Done with your call? Slide it shut and keep moving.

The one complaint about the hardware may sound somewhat unusual. Occasionally, on all mobile phones, one hears an echo during a phone call. Well, on the Salute, that echo is constant. You hear your voice coming through the speaker even when you aren’t on a phone call.

Take a close look at the image below. Notice anything that might have resulted from the iPhone 4 antenna debacle? “For best performance, DO NOT touch this area when using your phone.”


Software

The software on the Salute is exactly what you would expect from a feature phone. SMS, contacts, settings, a few downloadable apps like Bing, etc. It seems not much has changed since my last feature phone.

One clever, enjoyable innovation is in the mobile browser. Divs on a website are broken apart into selectable pieces. For example, press 1 for the header, 2 for the sidebar, and 3 for the main content area. After pressing 3 the content area fills the screen and you can quickly scroll through content.

Eventually, the addictive nature of Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr was forgotten. When you’re away from the computer, you focus on life and your surroundings. Of course this is not specific to the Salute, but a general statement about disconnecting.

Perhaps phones like the Salute solve a greater problem created by iOS and Android. Our phones have become too fun and distracting.


Should I switch?

If the Salute were stronger and sleeker, I would definitely consider leaving the 3G app world and returning to a simpler time of making and receiving phone calls. No more push notifications. No more photo uploads. No more app updates. Are you listening manufacturers? Make me something sexy and K.I.S.S. Remember the Nokia 7110 in The Matrix? I would LOVE to see it become available again.

For now, however, I’ll leave the Salute for those who are only interested in something cheap and disposable.

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