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on April 10, 2014
after my old flip phone from tracfone stopped working after 7 years or so, I saw that tracfone had begun introducing smartphones and after considering, I eventually chose the zte valet, this is my first experience with any smartphone.
**WARNING: do not format reset this thing unless told to do so. I had to jump through so many damn hoops after that, I thought it was a goner. Let me say that I was not born yesterday when it comes to electronics, as a matter of fact I love them and the more buttons the better. But when I had some issue I can't remember, I thought a reset would do the trick. I don't really read manuals and figure I would just learn by experience as usual. I thought it would be like resetting any device. But after that I tried calling but no success. It wouldn't send or receive calls, which was not a problem beforehand. If you have already done a format reset, well blessings to you and keep trying if you have the patience. I must have called them over two dozen times.

I'm not sure exactly when or how long this was (beginning of January and at least over a week) but it was the most awful customer service experience ever. Some of the people seemed to have an attitude as soon as I called, while most seemed pretty unfamiliar with my problem. When I first began calling, I thought I totally messed up since everyone acted like I couldn't be helped because I "wasn't in the service area," which seemed like bollocks because according to the website when I put in my zip I was covered--turned out my specific address missed the coverage by just a tad, I checked coverage myself on Verizon the site and they agreed themselves after they actually checked it. I also searched through various forums to see if I was the only one, and according to my research it seems that a lot of android phones have this issue. But I didn't know that at the time.

I followed all their directions, every single one I was given, even when it didn't make sense, even when I had already done them, over and over again. It was the most infuriating process. Half of the calls were long (over 50 minutes) and so many didn't want to listen to me. Online I saw some people had same the same mistake I did and said after trying so long they eventually updated it or something. Anyway that gave me hope, so I kept trying. Since I missed the coverage mark by a hair, however, they just didn't even want to consider doing the update, so after talking to one lady who suggested I drive somewhere with coverage, that's what I did. Then I call again to talk to some other flunk who yet again sounded so rude and ticked off just knowing she was going to get a caller. This messed continued for another 45 minutes until she asked me was I in the same zip code I activated the phone on. I said no--everyone that I spoke to said it didn't matter where, just be in the service area, and since I had to go to that town anyway, I chose that spot. SO after saying curse word that came to mind, I drove back to my own street, but an area that had coverage, and FINALLY after the same stuff (activation codes, turning it on and off, taking out the battery) she finally moved on and tried something else. Even she tried to get me to reset it again and I was like, lady no--I just did that with another rep, it's not going to do anything. She was the first and only one to say ok and move on. I know people need to follow a certain criteria with these things, but after its been done 50,000 times, 50,001 will not work.

To wrap up this mess (didn't realize how much I typed but people need to know this,) she got me back on track. Don't know what she was doing but she was obviously talking to someone else and following their instructions. I started dialing local numbers to see if they would go through, and eventually they did. It was miraculous. Then she got me to have someone call me (check if I could receive calls) and it was legit. Finally it was over. This experience represents why I hate customer and technical support.

I like the phone very much, although I do miss real buttons. Sometimes it does freeze up a bit but not much. The camera takes the best pictures when it has good lighting, The flash doesn't do much.
There are some things I don't have much of an opinion on, like the gps, camera, etc, because I already have my own. I do like that it came with an sd card, and the wifi for me has done just fine, however I only use that in the house. Whenever I go out I just switch to data. Its nice to have something with internet on it, though I wouldn't recommend it for prolonged surfing. Switching my number and minutes was easy. It does what a phone is suppose to, making calls and such.
I did notice some eye strain. Don't know what kind of screen it has but I've heard complaints of LED screens causing eye strain, and not after long use, maybe 20-30 minutes tops. Now I make it a point to blink more often and turn away sometimes when I'm playing game apps.

Again I'm a first timer and I think it's fine. Just be aware if you NEED to reset it. It was worth the $75 then spend on it. Of course there's better phones, but this is tracfone...I say its a big step up.
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on September 16, 2015
I don't know that I've ever left a one star review before, but this phone really has earned it. To put it simply, it's SLOW. Before even putting any additional apps on it, it was slow right out of the box. Opening up the dialer screen takes several seconds to do, and several more seconds to get the call to connect, a few more seconds to see it happening on the screen. I see this as a safety issue.

There is a lag in everything it does. It's not an internet issue, but an issue with the processor of the phone. We switched to this one from a Centura, which was quick, but after over a year of use had a bad battery. This phone has NOT met our expectations, sadly. We'll be switching to another Smartphone Tracfone.
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on April 28, 2014
Breaking the "contract" phone cycle I put my 2 sons on these based upon usage, one for $99 per year, the other at $199 per year at a huge savings. I traded in my Samsung TracFone for one and I'm sad I lived so long without a smart phone. (and sad TracFone didn't offer one.) At $49 for the phone and as low as $99 for a year of service, If you are a low minute/text user this is for you. For my wife, not so much. The phone plays games, the web, music, movies, TV (actually more than my Kindle Fire can do except for the small screen) and is super affordable.
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on December 23, 2014
For what I paid (about $35 shipped) it seems to work pretty well considering the limitations of the slow, outdated hardware.

Pros: Inexpensive, works reliably so far, competently executes basic functions with some smartphone features I can use if I absolutely need addresses, directions, urgent emails, etc. Seems to hold a charge well at idle -- brand new, just charged phone lasted eight hours overnight from 99% down to 97% with most extra stuff (wifi, etc) off. 4gb micro sd card is included. CDMA-V coverage, which is pretty good, though not quite Verizon's best (Coverage map, maybe a bit dated: http://www.prepaidphonenews.com/2011/09/coverage-maps-for-all-prepaid-carriers.html).

Cons: Slower, older hardware - I wouldn't expect this to effectively run anything more than the most basic apps, which still won't set any speed records. Angry Birds was a bit stuttery at times for me, but calls/messages and a few widgets seem to work just fine. Wifi reception is weak. Screen is fairly low-res and unremarkable. Carrier is Tracfone, which is fine so long as you don't need to use their customer service, which is the WORST in my experience.

At the original MSRP of $99, I would have given this thing two stars for basic functionality only. But at $35, I can't really complain about the rather basic nature of the equipment. I don't THINK the screen is gorilla glass, so a screen protector might be in order to be safe. I upgraded from a Tracfone flip phone and use my cell as an emergency/occasional use phone without needing a regular contract, so this is perfect for my needs at this price point. If you live and die by your phone, I think you might want pick up a upper-tier iPhone/android/Windows/whatever phone and service plan instead of this. But if occasional, casual use is more your need, this might be fine. I'll modify my review if extended use turns up flaws.
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on April 4, 2014
As a Mac computer owner, I was pleasantly surprised that this Android phone does everything I wanted regarding listening to music, reading books, viewing videos, taking pics and yes, making calls.

Pros: 1) It has many many pre installed apps that work GREAT, 2) It even plays my MP4 videos beautifully (I download them to the phone from a website called Dropbox - I use as a cloud), 2) It plays my MP3 music (again I download from any dropbox/cloud site. 3) It opens ebooks/epub/ereader which are EASY to read (although I had to download an e-reader app from Google Play 4) Easy to add phone contacts, make calls, 5) Has a voice dialer so you speak the contact name and it makes the call for you, 6) Great web browsing via Google/Chrome apps which also uses voice recognition, 7) Tracfone has great customer service (not like years ago). I had a problem (my fault) and they fixed it. 8) Screen size is good, very crisp and bright, 9) Easy to attach ear phones, and ac/dc.

P.S. Just to clarrify, the reason I had to set up and use a dropbox type website for my music mp3, epub books, and MP4 videos was that was the only way I found to successfully and easily download to the Android phone from my Mac computer. I originally had tried directly attaching the Android to the Mac via Android software transfer but it didn't work.
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on July 15, 2016
I did not purchase this as a phone. I purchased it to use it as a music and audio book player. It is much cheaper than any MP3 player and using WIFI you can download apps and music.

The audio quality isn't great, but it is plenty good enough. Using headphones, there really isn't much difference in quality. I mainly use it with Smart AudioBook Player to listen to Audiobooks. It works very well for that purpose!!

The only real problem I had with this device is the Bluetooth. The Bluetooth is HORRIBLE!! I connected it to my car's Bluetooth to listen through the speakers. It skipped and jumped and lost connection constantly. I tried pairing it with my Bluetooth headset and had the same problem. After trying to connect it with several Bluetooth products, I determined the phone's Bluetooth is defective. Without the Bluetooth, music and books played very well with no skipping and no other problems.

If you have any plans for using Bluetooth, I would NOT recommend this product. If you are going to use it with wired headphones or even through the products speaker, it is a great makeshift MP3 player.
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on December 27, 2013
I am quite pleased with Tracfone's newest addition of this Android phone. It definitely exceeded my expectations! Having had a previous old Tracfone I hardly picked it up. Now with the ZTE Valet phone, the opposite has occurred. I find it hard to put this phone down. I'm buying more for other family members....
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on November 26, 2014
Do not buy this, it is too slow for most smartphone functions. Very laggy, gets bogged down trying to view most websites. Likes to randomly restart also.
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on December 27, 2013
This is the first Smart Phone I have ever purchased. I have had it for 2 months now and have no complaints at all. I am still learning all what this phone can do, I mostly text and talk, but do get online at times. I've had no problem with the Wi-Fi or calls dropped or anything. I also love the size of this phone, not too small but not to big to carry in front pocket or in belt case. I know there are better phones out there but this phone is all I need. (TracFone pay as you go, triple minutes for life. I buy 200 minutes card : get 600 minutes talk, 600 minutes text, 600 Mb of Data good for 90 days)
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on June 11, 2015
The ZTE was and is my first smart phone. Of the prepaid services out there, I found Tracfone to be the cheapest for my circumstances, and of their Android phones, this looked like the best value for the buck. It's on the lower end of the performance scale, but seeing as it's my first smart phone, it's a huge upgrade. It won't run a lot of the newer games, but I've never been a big fan of mobile gaming anyway. There's a slight delay between input and action which is common on lower end devices. If you're planning on using cpu intensive applications like GPS often, I'd recommend something a little beefier. For me, it's a cost effective way to get work done that just wasn't possible on my previous device.
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