Sprint Vital Review
Though not a household name, we have found Chinese manufacturer ZTE to have some solid value offerings on Sprint through carrier branded devices like the Flash, Force and Fury. The Sprint Vital breaks with the f naming convention, offering a minor refresh to their previous flagship, the Flash. While much of the internals remain the same, the Vital bumps to a 5” display and Jelly Bean. In a crowded and competitive Sprint lineup can the $100 Vital prove worthy? Read on to find out.
Viewed from the front, the Vital is your cookie-cutter black slab smartphone, but don’t confuse boring with unattractive. The dark chrome trim ring adds a nice, but familiar touch. ZTE foregoes the standard on-screen navigation keys of the Flash for capacitive ones, and also swaps the app switcher button for menu. The grey plastic middle housing has your standard buttons and ports, and includes a physical shutter button. All of the buttons are generously raised off the housing and offer fantastic feedback.
The Vital finally shows a bit of personality when you flip it over and you find the blue, soft touch backing. Like the Flash there is a large camera hump, although less pronounced this time around. Save the tiny speaker the back is void of any other design, including branding.
The Sprint Vital finally shows a bit of personality when you flip it over and you find the blue, soft touch backing
The phone is large and relatively thick by today’s standards, but not wholly uncomfortable to hold and use. It is not as svelte as the S4, but won’t be too obtrusive in a guy’s pocket by itself. At $100 it passes the design test, showing the build quality of a Samsung device though not on par with HTC or LG’s top offerings.
The largest bullet point on the Vital’s spec sheet is the 5” display, which makes the phone considerably bigger than the outgoing Flash. While the IPS display is bright, vibrant and generally pleasant to use, unfortunately ZTE kept the same 720x1280 resolution as the 4.5” Flash, thus dropping the density from a respectable 326ppi to an average 294ppi. Still, for a budget-conscious phone the display is very good and handles all lighting conditions perfectly.
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1. g2a5b0e (Posts: 1389; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)
Brian, what you call personality, I call ugly. I don't think I've ever seen a phone with an uglier back in my life. The color is so-so, but that hump is just nasty.
4. TheRequiem (Posts: 54; Member since: 23 Mar 2012)
Nonsense, what is wrong with the back? it's go a high end camera lense mechanism... google Nokia EOS
5. g2a5b0e (Posts: 1389; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)
You don't have to agree. It's called an opinion. I think it's ugly. Deal with it.
8. jaustin (Posts: 2; Member since: 21 Aug 2013)
g2a5b0e, if it's just a purely personal opinion -- vs. an objective comment -- what's the point of SHARING it?! In case you haven't noticed, this isn't a site where people can mull over what to buy YOU for Christmas!
3. TheRequiem (Posts: 54; Member since: 23 Mar 2012)
This is actually a great phone for the price.
6. Doakie (Posts: 594; Member since: 06 May 2009)
I just stopped by Sprint specifically to check out this phone and I'm amazed... I was holding my HTC One in my left had and a ZTE Vital in my right had and I really liked the Vital A LOT! I'm kind of ashamed with how much I like it. I noticed the signal quality was a little better than my One. My One hovered around -98 dB while the Vital sat around -90 dB. That could make a big difference in spotty coverage areas. If I could find a used Vital for $200 and I could sell my One for $400 I'd totally pocket the $200 and rock a Vital. But it's not worth the step down in screen resolution and processor power for less than $200.....
7. Doakie (Posts: 594; Member since: 06 May 2009)
I realize I'm replying to myself but... "with support for all of Sprint’s networks and bands, including the 800MHz band that will be deployed with the iDEN network shutdown." Wow. That really makes this phone stand out above the previous gen of high end phones like the EVO 4G LTE because once Sprint rolls out LTE at 800 MHz they'll finally have really good building penetration vs the current 1900 MHz. Sort of want!
9. jaustin (Posts: 2; Member since: 21 Aug 2013)
Really, though, just how much of a "step down" is the Vital in screen resolution and processor power?