Mobile World Congress 2012: ZTE Era hands-on [Video]

ZTE took a bold step at Mobile World Congress by introducing a handful of Android and Windows Phone handsets. We got some hands-on time with the Era, ZTE’s flagship Android phone. The Era has specs that rival the HTC One X and breaks ZTE away from its reputation as a low-end manufacturer.

The Era is a slim phone (7.8mm thick) which is the first thing you notice when you hold the phone in your hand. It has an aluminum backing with rubberized edges at the top and bottom which gives the phone a surprisingly solid feel. It’s a light phone, but not so light that it feels overly cheap.

On the back of the phone, there’s an 8-megapixel shooter with LED flash that’ll snap decent photos in most situations. The front of the phone is dominated by a 4.3-inch, 960×540 display and a set of capacitive  buttons. The screen is nice, but not as nice as the high-resolution screens (720 x 1280) we’ve seen on the One X and Ascend D Quad.

At the top front, you’ll notice a VGA-quality, front-facing camera for video chat and a speaker. The sides of the phone are standard fare and include a volume rocker, microUSB charging port, 3.5 mm headphone jack and power button. There’s also an MHL port that’ll let you connect your phone to your HDTV.

Internally, the Era has fast 1.5 GHz quad-core Tegra 3 processor and 1 GB of RAM that handles Android 4.0 with ease. Performance was smooth and overall snappy. The phone has 8GB of internal storage and HSPA+ connectivity. Sadly, there will be no LTE in this model.

Overall, the ZTE Era is a great phone from the Chinese handset maker. It’s not as sweet as the HTC One X, but it’s a step up from the ZTE Blade, Amigo and Skate the handset maker introduced last year at MWC.

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