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Orange San Francisco 2 review

Can Orange replicate the success of its budget San Francisco?

Our Verdict

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 512 MB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 5 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 1 Week
  • Screen Resolution : 480 x 800

View full specification

For

  • Great screen
  • Pocket friendly
  • Good battery life
  • Some nice Orange widgets
  • 2GB microSD card included

Against

  • No Twitter or Facebook integration
  • Unresponsive screen
  • No Flash support
  • Poor quality earphones
  • Overall not a massive leap forward

When we reviewed the original Orange San Francisco, little did we know that the handset that wowed us for its great capabilities at a low cost would become the benchmark for other low-cost smartphones to emulate throughout 2011.

Now we're firmly in 2012 and Orange's follow up, the San Francisco 2, has popped into our hands. Its name might sound dull, but does the handset have what it takes to be a worthy follow-up?

The Orange San Francisco 2 can be yours for as little as £10.50 a month on a 24 month contract o£99.99 on Pay As You Go. (The original San Francisco is still available at £89.99).

Orange san francisco 2

This puts it among recent budget smartphones such as the HTC Wildfire S, Samsung Galaxy Y, BlackBerry Curve 9300 Huawei Blaze and Motorola Atrix 2.

The extra £10 for the updated Orange San Francisco 2 model gets you some updated specs, but to be honest, the updates might not wow you, because the original was so very good.

Orange san francisco 2 review

So, replacing the original's Android 2.1 we now have Android 2.3. The Qualcomm 600 MHz processor of the Orange San Francisco has been upped to an 800MHz option, and the camera can shoot still photos at 5 megapixles, up from 3.1MP.

Orange san francisco 2

There's 512MB of RAM, which isn't a huge amount, and the same as that of the original, although internal storage has been bumped up from 150MB to 512MB.

The screen hasn't changed size or resolution, it's still a 3.5-inch panel and it still delivers at 480 x 800 pixels. Really, we didn't expect a higher resolution in a budget smartphone, and this is another testament to how far ahead of the game the original San Francisco was rather than how behind the times the follow up is.

Orange san francisco 2 review

Of course you've got Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth and HSDPA on board, and, as we'll see later, Orange has skinned the handset within an inch of its life.

Orange san francisco 2 review

The screen size is a clue that overall this is a fairly pocket friendly phone. It measures 117 x 58.5 x 10.6mm and weighs 120g. It is a shade lighter than the 130g original San Francisco and ever so slightly different from the original's dimensions of 116 x 56.5 x 11.8mm. The real difference is in the build materials and general look.

Orange san francisco 2 review

The chassis is all plastic and makes no bones about being so. The shiny backplate is a finger-smear danger zone, and the upper and lower curved edges have a Sony Ericsson-ish look about them.

Orange san francisco 2 review

The top edge houses a tiny on/off button and headset slot, the bottom is clear apart from a tiny notch for removing the backplate. On the left there's the microUSB connector, and on the right a teeny volume slider.

Orange san francisco 2 review

Three (non-backlit) buttons beneath the screen give you Menu, Home and Back functions, and there's a front-facing VGA camera (absent from the original). The speaker adds a flash of silver to the black chassis of our review sample. Watch out for a white version of the handset too.

Orange san francisco 2 review

One of the things we really liked about the original San Francisco was its solid, impressive build - great for a budget phone. Those values are gone on the Orange San Francisco 2, which is a pity. And it's not because Orange has changed manufacturer - the San Francisco 2 is made by ZTE just as the original San Francisco was.

Orange san francisco 2 review

The upshot of all this is that the Orange San Francisco 2 doesn't immediately grab our attention as its predecessor did.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported16 GB
Built-in Memory512 MB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyHSDPA, EDGE, GPRS, HSUPA
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationNo
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilySan Francisco II
Cellular Generation3G
Cellular Network SupportedWCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100, GSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 900
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
ColourBlack
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameOrange
Battery Talk Time1 Week
Screen Size8.9 cm (3.5")
Screen Resolution480 x 800
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)120 g
Operating System VersionAndroid 2.3 Gingerbread
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
RealtoneYes
Radio Tuner TypeFM
Call FeaturesCall Log
Pixel Density267 ppi
Height117 mm
Width58.5 mm
Depth10.6 mm
Radio TunerYes
ManufacturerOrange Broadband
Product NameSan Francisco II from Orange in Black
Processor Speed800 MHz
Product LineSan Francisco II
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeDigital Compass, Proximity Sensor, Accelerometer
Manufacturer Part NumberOZTN4954
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.orange.co.uk
Marketing Information

San Francisco II from Orange in black

Take your digital life to another level with the San Francisco II, exclusively on Orange.

This stylish smartphone will keep you connected with email, high-speed internet, WiFi and GPS. Watch your favourite videos on the brilliant 3.5-inch TFT widescreen display, or shoot the action on the 5 megapixel camera - great for snapping and sharing shots on the move.