Orange San Diego Review
At first glance, the Orange San Diego looks like just another mid-range Orange-branded handset, but it's actually a landmark device. It's the first Android phone with an Intel processor. The Atom processor runs at up to 1.6GHz, making it as fast as anything out there. And although it's a single-core processor, it's hyper-threaded, so it can behave like a dual-core processor when it needs to, and can even vary the clock rate to conserve battery life when it's not being used to its full.
The phone runs Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) instead of the latest version, but it runs fast. PcPro have tested it and it runs faster than the iPhone 4S and nearly as fast as the Samsung S3, which is astonishing for such a low-cost product. But there's a "but" coming. A small number of apps - mostly games - won't work on the San Diego, as they use machine-level code that won't run on the Intel processor. We're not talking about stuff like Angry Birds, which runs without any problems, but certain graphics-intensive 3D titles. Be aware of this if you're into mobile gaming in a serious way.
Apart from that, the San Diego works like any other Android smartphone, except that it over-delivers in nearly every respect. Before continuing with the review, let's just remind ourselves that we're talking about a mid-range phone that costs less than £200 and is free on contract at £15 per month. For that much money we have no right to expect high-end specs. And yet the San Diego delivers some surprises.
On the outside, it's just another Android phone with a squarish shape and lots of plastic. Yet the 4 inch display is bigger than most in this price range. It's just an LCD display (not AMOLED), so it isn't always perfectly readable in sunshine, but dude, count those pixels! With a resolution of 600 x 1024 it's almost HD!
The camera sounds great, with an 8 megapixel rear-facing camera capable of HD video recording plus a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera that can be used for video calls. There's a dedicated camera button too, which is welcome. There are plenty of options, and you can capture up to 10 photos in a second. In practice though, don't expect too much quality from the pictures.
GPS works well, as usual on Android devices, and with 4 inches of screen available, map browsing is very friendly indeed.
The web browser is fast, thanks to the Intel processor. Data access is also rapid, with 3G HSPA and Wi-Fi options for internet access. In fact connectivity is excellent across the board. You'll find Bluetooth, USB and HDMI, as well as NFC tucked away.
As with all Orange-branded devices, the software has been tinkered with, which is always dangerous. You'll get Orange apps with the phone, and a few tweaks of Android too. Frankly we worry about this, but we can't point to anything that Orange have actually broken. An Ice Cream Sandwich update is expected later in 2012.
Onboard memory is plentiful at 16GB, although only 11GB is available to the user. RAM is very generous at 1GB, so there's little chance of apps crashing or slowing. There's no memory card slot however, and incidentally the battery is non-removable too.
Which brings us on to battery life, which is supposed to be a key selling point of the Intel hardware. Curiously, the quoted battery life figures don't sound very impressive, but that just shows how meaningless they are, as the San Diego definitely outperforms most similar phones, giving 2-3 days between charges in normal use. Remember that any phone with a 4 inch screen is going to struggle when compared to an old-school Nokia.
So, we've got to ask: Intel, what on earth took you so long to get here? If this is a taste of things to come, we say bring it on! Very fast performance and good battery life sounds like the holy grail of the smartphone world to us. And we're sure that developers will very quickly get the hang of any compatibility issues that may be lurking in the small percentage of apps that won't run properly on the Atom processor.
Yes, the camera isn't the best; yes, it's only an LCD display, not Super AMOLED; and yes, there's no microSD memory card slot. But the San Diego over-delivers in so many other respects that we're willing to forgive it a few glitches. We'd say that the San Diego compares very favourably with similar-priced competitors such as the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2, HTC One V and Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini.
Features of the Orange San Diego include:
Orange San Diego User Reviews
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Average rating from 7 reviews:
Reviewed by Sang3eta from UK on 12th May 2013
Reviewed by abdolreza from uk on 31st Mar 2013
Reviewed by reza from uk on 1st Feb 2013
Reviewed by Simon from UK on 7th Oct 2012
Reply by reza from uk on 31st Mar
Reviewed by Simon J from England on 13th Aug 2012
Reviewed by Peter G from UK on 5th Aug 2012
Reviewed by Katya Ness from Noskiv on 19th Jul
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