About the ZTE Unico
The ZTE Unico is the first affordable LTE phone from Straight Talk. Expect to pay $199.99 for a new one from either Straighttalk.com or Walmart. The ZTE Unico device is of the GSM variety which means Straight Talk would activate this with either AT&T or TMobile.
The main attraction on this particular ZTE phone is basically the fast LTE internet connectivity at an affordable price. If you are not that familiar with what this means exactly, it boils down to the internet on this phone will be 5-10 times faster than the typical 3G phone (Most other Straight Talk models). For this convenience, you will pay about $20 more over similar Straight Talk models with similar specs and no LTE.
Be aware that LTE will not improve call quality, dropped calls, etc, LTE will only speed up your internet connection. Other than LTE, there are no new features to be found on this phone that are not offered on lower cost Straight Talk devices. I would say the ZTE Unico is on par with the ZTE Solar since both are GSM devices.
Other than the LTE connectivity, specs are fairly robust to average. In other words, this is not going to have super high end specs. For starters, we find a 1.2ghz processor which is about average for devices these days, though still plenty fast for just about all apps and games you can download. One nice thing is that the phone comes with a 4gb SD card already preinstalled for you.
Screen size is 4.5″ so I would put this in the medium category. It’s not super huge but it isn’t exactly tiny either. I personally like the 4.5″ screen because it’s plenty large for watching movies yet not obnoxious in size so that it doesn’t fit in your pocket. Despite the fairly large screen, the phone still remains relatively compact measuring just 5.25″ high by 2.6″ in width. While I’m on the screen, I will mention that this phone has a very nice and crisp resolution. The user interface looks super clean and smooth, videos also look great. Another worthy mention is the excellent audio quality on this phone. The speaker is on the back but it sounds great.
About the only weak spec here for an LTE phone is the camera as it only has 5mp of resolution. At this point, I would expect better from a phone of this caliber. I say that because you can find 5mp cameras on other Straight Talk ZTEs that are much cheaper than this. Another item worth mentioning with the camera is that it is a bit slow to take pictures. It takes a few seconds for it to focus and finally snap the shot. I wouldn’t call it a deal breaker, just something to keep in mind. Now on the plus side it has a front facing camera and built in LED flash on the back. The LED flash works really well to turn out decent images when shooting in low light rooms and such. Below are some low light shots taken with the phone to demonstrate. Overall, the image quality on pictures is good.
Design & Look Feel
As is often the case with these Straight Talk ZTEs, the design is somewhat pedestrian. The phone is all black plastic construction and while it does not have much of a “bling” factor, it does have a nice silver decorative trim that runs the perimeter of the phone. While it is not metal, it looks pretty good and does a decent job simulating it. Moving onto the back, we find a rubberized battery cover with the camera and flash top center. Both the camera and flash look to have a thin metal trim around them.
The layout on this one is pretty much the same as it is on other ZTE models. Just below the screen we find a 3 button capacitive touch layout which is common to all other ZTE Phones currently on the Straight Talk page. The phone has a light sensor at the top which controls the backlight on these buttons. That is, they light up in dim light and not in bright. This is another common feature on many ZTEs. The remaining items are laid out in a fairly typical manner with the 3.5mm head phone jack top left, power/lock top right, volume upper left and charge port lower right.
The interfaces on this phone are all very user friendly making them a breeze to use. The screen responds nicely to touches. There is no lag or hesitation when performing touches. As with all Androids, this phone supports both vertical and horizontal orientations.
Like most standard Androids, the ZTE Unico comes with 5 homescreens. One cool thing about this one is that you can add more homescreens if you wish so you can organize your icons.At the bottom of the homescreen, you find a place for 4 customizable icons and the center main menu icon. The stock icons consist of the phone dialer, messaging, browser and camera. You can remove and add different icons rather easily.
As far as the texting, browsing and phone interfaces go, all perform great. They are laid out well and are all easy to use. The phone keypad for example is nice and bright with fairly large squares for the numbers. The texting screen is also easy to use with everything you need on the main screen. The phone comes with the standard Android keyboard. Finally, is the internet browsing, this works well supporting the pinch zoom feature as well as horizontal and vertical orientations.
The Unico is an excellent offering for those who want LTE speeds without spending Samsung Galaxy S money. This feature will essentially cost you about $20 more than other similarly spec’d Straight Talk devices. Be sure that you have good GSM LTE coverage in your area, either AT&T or TMobile. If you don’t have said coverage or you simply don’t care about internet speeds, then you may be better off with either the ZTE Majesty or ZTE Solar which both have about the same specs for a bit less money.
Anyhow, back to the Unico, Specs are good though not great for an LTE device. What I really like about it, however, is the affordable price tag which under cuts the Galaxy S by more than half. That said, don’t expect the same performance but as with all things in life, this is a bit of a compromise.