Orange Monte Carlo review

Price when reviewed

Whatever speed it runs at, poor test scores are evidence enough of the Monte Carlo’s limited talents. The phone took 12 seconds to complete the SunSpider test – more than twice as long as the Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini Pro – and it scored a paltry 793 in the Quadrant test, where even other single-core phones are now routinely scoring close to double that.

As you’d expect, real-world performance isn’t stellar. The five homescreens – bundled by Orange, complete with a clock and text-messaging widget – skip and judder under the finger, and the app drawer isn’t immune to sluggish loading either. Waking the phone up from its sleep state takes a very noticeable second or two, and while the Adreno 200 GPU ran Angry Birds without a hitch, the 3D graphics of titles such as Reckless Racing induced stuttering. It should also be noted that more advanced games, such as Unity’s Angry Bots, won’t run on the Monte Carlo’s hardware and therefore don’t appear in the Android Market.

Orange Monte Carlo

While most of the blame can be laid at ZTE’s feet, Orange isn’t entirely innocent. Its own Android front-end adds little of note yet actually slows the phone. We quickly replaced it with LauncherPro, and found our interface gripes largely disappeared. Orange has also loaded the Monte Carlo with plenty of bloatware: there’s a pointless Maps tool, a redundant App Shop and a basic browser alongside a handful of game demos.

Even with all of this removed, our 24-hour battery test – in which we make a half-hour phone call, download and listen to a podcast, lock the screen on for an hour, then leave the phone synching email overnight – showed the Monte Carlo’s lack of stamina. It finished that period with only 40% left, putting it behind the 50% and 60% of most of our favourites.

Whether the Orange Monte Carlo has any appeal to you depends on that screen. Yes, the camera and battery are disappointing, and the lack of processing power may come to annoy you in the long term, but it’s an Android phone with a 4.3in screen for only £15 a month, which very few handsets can match. A bit more cash will get you a better all-rounder, but if you’re on a tight budget the Monte Carlo does have a certain flawed attraction.


Cheapest price on contract Free
Contract monthly charge £15.00
Contract period 24 months
Contract provider Orange


Dimensions 68 x 10 x 126mm (WDH)
Weight 120g
Touchscreen yes
Primary keyboard On-screen

Core Specifications

RAM capacity 512MB
Camera megapixel rating 5.0mp
Front-facing camera? no
Video capture? yes


Screen size 4.3in
Resolution 480 x 800
Landscape mode? yes

Other wireless standards

Bluetooth support yes
Integrated GPS yes


OS family Android

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