We have the new ZTE D90 mobile phone in the office for a test drive, courtesy of Telus and ZTE. I’ve mentioned in this space that at its launch, it gave the impression of a heavy texter’s dream. So how’s the performance?

To review: The D90 has a Fastap keypads, meaning alpha characters are squeezed in between the number keys. You don’t have to press number keys multiple times to change letters, which is a pain in the back of the front in text-centric situations like entering e-mail addies and contact information and, well, text messaging. I’ve hated previous iterations for their clutter, but the D90 is a different animal.

The alpha characters are backlit separately, and disappear entirely into the background when they’re irrelevant. They’re slightly raised and, though small, easy to type on (once you get that QWERTY fixation out of your head). They’re well-defined from the number keys, too, so you’re not likely to miskey.

Aside from the text applications mentioned above, the letter keys can be used when dialing phone numbers, so you don’t have to convert 1-800-MENS-DRS to numerals. Not that I have to anyway. I’m just saying.

Access to submenus is better than most phones I’ve used, and there’s been some consideration given to the little things that make a phone user-friendly: for example, a menu item that allows you to add 1- to the front of a contact’s number for long distance dialing, very accessible new contact/alarm/meeting/message entries, a top-mounted slot for a micro SD card (rather than under the battery, like many phones), a music remote that plugs in between the USB port and the proprietary headphones,

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
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Dave Webb
Dave Webb is a freelance editor and writer. A veteran journalist of more than 20 years' experience (15 of them in technology), he has held senior editorial positions with a number of technology publications. He was honoured with an Andersen Consulting Award for Excellence in Business Journalism in 2000, and several Canadian Online Publishing Awards as part of the ComputerWorld Canada team.