ZTE Fury Review

Introduction and Design

ZTE probably isn’t a company most people have heard of, but they are actually the fourth largest phone manufacturer in the world and have a presence on all of the major US carriers. Much like HTC back in the early 2000s, ZTE devices are typically carrier branded such as the AT&T Avail and the Verizon Salute, but in an effort to gain traction in the US market, we are beginning to see more ZTE branded devices. One such device is the Android-powered ZTE Fury, available through Sprint. The Fury is an entry-level device, featuring a 1GHz processor, 5-megapixel camera and a 3.5” IPS display. Included in the box you’ll find a 1500mAh battery, microUSB cable with AC adapter and a 2GB microSD card.


When we first unpacked the ZTE Fury we couldn’t help but be reminded of the LG Optimus S. The Optimus S wowed us by being an entry level phone with solid performance and good construction, and the ZTE Fury feels almost exactly the same in your hand. It is coated with high-quality soft touch paint so it immediately has a very reassuring feel in your hand. 

You can compare the ZTE Fury with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

The spartan design features only a chrome trim ring to offset the otherwise black Fury. The volume rocker, power and camera buttons all have a good travel to them and the 3.5mm headset jack is conveniently located at the top. The display is actually set just slightly back in the housing, which is nice because you can lay the phone on its face without the display touching the surface. With a significant wrap-around on the bottom of the device it almost appears as if the ZTE Fury is wearing a case.

Like the LG Optimus S, the ZTE Fury really impresses us with its design. It may be simple, but it is executed very well. When you hold the phone you don’t get the feeling that ZTE cut corners with cheap materials or shoddy build quality. Instead the soft-touch soothingly glides across your hand and you quickly forget that the Fury is merely $19.99 on contract.


At 3.5”, the HVGA (320x480) IPS display is slightly larger than the Optimus S’s. Unfortunately it isn't very easy to read in direct light, but otherwise the display is responsive and performs well.

ZTE Fury 360-degrees View:


As with many Android devices on Sprint, the ZTE Fury is a SprintID device allowing the user to easily customize the device to their liking. As a quick refresh, SprintID lets you download theme packs that will add a cohesive set of wallpapers, widgets, apps and ringtones to your device all built around a central theme, such as fantasy football, fashion, health and fitness or entertainment. For a more detailed look at SprintID check out our Samsung Transform review. The Fury is running Android 2.3.6, but we wouldn’t hold our breath for an Android 4.0 upgrade.

Processor and Memory:

Under the Fury’s hood is a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S2 processor with 4GB of ROM and 512MB of RAM. The phone scored around 1600 in Quadrant Benchmark testing, significantly lower than the 2100 we achieved with the similarly-spec’d Samsung Transform Ultra. Benchmarks are only numbers though, and in real world performance the Fury performed smoothly without lag and felt pretty much as quick as the Transform Ultra.


The ZTE Fury utilizes Sprint’s 3G EVDO Rev. A network for high-speed data. It also supports GPS, Wi-Fi b/g and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR with HSP 1.1, HFP 1.5, OPP, PBA, A2DP 1.2, AVRC and MAP profile support. Stock Android browser performance was fluid and we didn’t have any problems loading web pages or playing Flash content.


ZTE utilized a 5MP sensor in the camera, but results were underwhelming. For a $20 device we can’t complain too much, but colors were a bit soft and dark and detail was lacking. Images stated to get grainy even in medium light situations, and the video camera only records at VGA.


With a fairly vanilla build of Android the ZTE Fury relies on the stock Android apps to handle media content. It was unable to play any DivX files, but didn’t have a problem with Xvid, H.264 and MPEG-4 videos up to 720p. Music playback was as expected with the standard Android media player. There are several other video and music players available in the Play Store if these stock offerings don’t suit or if you’re looking for expanded codec support.

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Callers were not impressed with the Fury, claiming that we sounded very hollow and fuzzy around the edges, as if we were talking through a piece of wax paper. They said it was one of the poorer devices we tested, and rated us 7.5/10. On our end things were quite different, with the caller sounding very close and warm, as if they were on a landline. The battery is rated for 8 hours of talk time, and in our moderate usage we were able to go a day without having to recharge.


At $19.99 on contract ZTE is obviously going at the budget market with the Fury. Still, the phone manages to impress with its excellent build quality and snappy performance, proving again that you don’t need to spend the big dollars to get a very usable phone. While the call quality suffers a bit, ZTE has made a positive first impression with Sprint and we look forward to higher-end devices down the road.

Software version: N850V1.0.0B11
Android version: 2.3.6

ZTE Fury Review:


  • Good build quality
  • Snappy performance
  • Budget pricing


  • Callers complained of poor quality
  • Display washes out in direct light

PhoneArena Rating:


User Rating:

5 Reviews

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