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ZTE Cymbal 2 Review: Basic Phone with 4G Support

Want to get a feature phone? Try looking into this ZTE Cymbal 2 review. This phone has 4G support, a compact body, and a practical external display.

ZTE Cymbal 2 Review

ZTE Cymbal 2 flip phone was released in January 2020. Adopting the clamp-shell design as flip phones released a decade ago, this product offers an alternative to today’s smartphone-filled era. It is compact but reliable.

As a communication device, ZTE Cymbal 2 supports 4G. You can make a call and do some light internet browsing with it. This phone also has a 2MP camera and a 1,600mAh battery.

As expected, the core consists of a low-end 1.1GHz CPU with 512MB RAM. Definitely a basic phone, we will expect to find plenty of limitations here.

Find out in this ZTE Cymbal 2 review about the complete specifications. Let’s dig through the features and discover what this small phone has to offer.

Key Specs

ZTE Cymbal 2 specifications:

  • Weight: 135g
  • Dimensions: 109 x 56.1 x 19.5mm
  • OS: Linux 3.18.71
  • Screen size: 2.8-inch
  • Resolution: 320 x 240
  • CPU: 1.1GHz Quad-core, Qualcomm Snapdragon 210
  • RAM: 512MB
  • Storage: 4GB
  • Battery: 1,600mAh, Removable
  • Camera: 2MP

Design

ZTE Cymbal 2
ZTE Cymbal 2

ZTE Cymbal 2 is a really small device that could easily disappear inside your palm. The compact device measures 109, 56.1, and 9.5mm in height, width, and thickness, respectively. At 135g, the phone will barely make a dent in your purse or your pocket.

The flip phone design gives a sense of nostalgia.  The clamshell design brings back to the days when people were still using blackberries. The phone also gives that satisfying snap when you close it after a call. It’s one of those things we miss from the olden days.

Although the design seems old, it’s not without some modern touch here and there. Our favorite is the external screen, which points out how this is a 2020 phone, after all. The icons resemble those of Android UI. Moreover, we also like the black matte finish of the phone’s casing.

The hinge seems sturdy enough to deal with constant opening and closing. We didn’t like the keypad, because the keys are hard to read. Although the tuts are punchy, we wish it uses brighter white fonts instead of grayish ones.

The top part contains only the screen. It’s very distraction-free up there, with only a speaker above the display. The navigation key is round instead of square. It’s trickier to navigate. With this round design, it’s easy to mistake pressing the bottom key instead when you want to press the left one, for example. We’re not really a big fan of its design.

Read also: ZTE Cymbal 2 User Manual

Display

ZTE Cymbal 2 Front Cover

This phone features a small 2.8-inch TFT display with a resolution of 320 x 240. If you are migrating from a smartphone, the small screen would feel like a drastic change. When in fact, this is the typical screen size for a flip phone.

The size is comfortable enough to use everyday apps. Icons are big enough so it’s easy to find and distinguish each of them. For texting, there is plenty of space for your texts. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for emails and websites. That’s when you start to feel the screen limitation.

The screen quality is also understandably not the best. If you look closely, the edges on the icons and texts are not smooth. You can clearly see the rough pixels around them. Colors, although they look good, they still lack the vibrancy even a cheap smartphone can offer.

ZTE Cymbal 2 has an external screen, a 1.77-inch TFT display located on the exterior. We found this external screen really helpful. It shows plenty of information, including calendars, missed calls, and alarms. It’s not just battery level or the signal strength like in many other flip phones. ZTE Cymbal 2’s external screen displays more comprehensive information.

Camera

With a flip phone, don’t expect you will get a great camera. The 2MP shooter on ZTE Cymbal 2 is the sole lens you’d get. There’s not even a front-facing camera, so video calling with this phone won’t be possible. ZTE Cymbal 2 also doesn’t provide LED flash. Before going further, we can already guess this ZTE Cymbal 2 review on camera to be less favorable.

This comes to no surprise to use. On a flip phone, cameras lie on the bottom of the priority list. The most important thing is that you can snap a picture with the phone. The manufacturer doesn’t really care about the picture quality.

As a result, the camera is more for practical purposes. Pictures taken with it are not good enough for social media. The camera is definitely not for documenting important life events. However, you can still use it to snap an interesting picture and send it through MMS.

The camera has several basic controls, like brightness, ISO, and white balance. Unfortunately, it’s missing an LED flash for night photos. In fact, the camera is basically unusable at night. Lastly, you will also get a video recording capability with the camera. It can capture 720p videos on its maximum setting.

Read also:

Storage

ZTE Cymbal 2 Side View

ZTE Cymbal 2 comes with 4GB internal storage. It’s a plentiful space if we’re talking about hundreds of contact data. Other than that, this space can also hold several pictures and videos before it’s full. Since you can’t add more apps on this phone, it’s actually easy to preserve the storage space.

If 4GB is not enough, there’s an expandable storage option with ZTE Cymbal 2. You can add up to a 32GB SD card in the slot available, which is located behind the phone’s battery.

Performance

ZTE Cymbal 2 Back Cover

ZTE Cymbal 2 relies on a 1.1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 chipset for its task processing. Alongside 0.5GB RAM, This CPU is meant to deliver 4G support to low specs devices. As a result, you can tell that performance is not the priority. The CPU is designed to be as lightweight as possible.

Hence, you shouldn’t be surprised when, for example, you can’t play games on this phone. Navigating ZTE Cymbal 2 is easy with an average launch speed. This is a non-touchscreen phone, so moving from one task to another takes more time with the keypad. Apps have slight delays upon opening. It’s actually quite normal with a feature phone.

This phone also has a very small RAM. At only 512MB, it’s a capacity that can handle one task at a time. Since there’s no multitasking feature, users won’t have the chance to go overboard anyway.

On the software side, ZTE Cymbal 2 packs the essentials only. The apps are pre-installed. Among the apps available here are Messages, Calendar, and Alarm. However, the phone is missing important apps like the Weather app. There’s no app store on ZTE Cymbal 2. You can’t add or install an app like on a smartphone.

This phone runs on a Linux-based operating system. The user interface slightly resembles Android, but simpler. It’s a typical design for a feature phone. You can change wallpapers and ringtones, but that’s all the customization you can do with ZTE Cymbal 2.

As far as accessibility goes, we see ZTE Cymbal 2 is well-equipped with the necessary features. It comes with multi-language support. This phone is also hearing aid compatible and has an emergency button. You can set up to five contact numbers on the speed dial for emergency purposes.

You can also adjust the text size, turn on the voice assistant, and use the screen reader. The spec sheet also listed text dictation. When you are too frustrated using the keypad, this feature can be a lifesaver.

Connectivity

ZTE Cymbal 2 runs on 4G LTE for cellular data, with additional support for 3G and 2G. The phone runs on HSPA+ and LTE network bands and there are options for Wi-Fi calling and VoLTE. ZTE Cymbal 2 also supports global roaming.

You can also browse the internet with Wi-Fi on ZTE Cymbal 2. As a communication device, ZTE Cymbal 2 doesn’t leave out emails. There’s an email client on this phone compatible with POP3, IMAP, and Microsoft Exchange protocols. Further, the phone allows mobile hotspots to share connections with other devices.

For wired connection to a computer, users are welcomed to use the MicroUSB port. You can utilize this port for wired tethering as well. For GPS, A-GPS is the type of geolocation technology available. There’s Bluetooth support too on this phone, although it’s the older version and doesn’t support audio codecs.

Battery

For a small phone, a 1,600mAh like ZTE Cymbal 2 owns will provide ample power to get through the day. On-paper performance looks quite impressive, with 720 minutes of talk time. On standby, the phone can reach 16 days with a single charge.

Internet use will significantly decrease battery life. It’s better to turn off wireless features when they’re not in use. For charging, it is done through the Micro USB port on the bottom. There’s no option like fast charging, but the phone has a removable battery. You can carry a spare when you travel and can’t charge.

Is the ZTE Cymbal 2 a good phone?

After our ZTE Cymbal 2 review, we consider this phone relatively average compared to competitors. In some areas, the phone is considered lackluster. It has no LED flash. The full price, at $75, could also be cheaper.

It’s a phone you can buy when there are no other options available. We like the functional external screen, and consider it as one of the phone’s strongest features. ZTE Cymbal 2 also has 4G support, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. Basically, it has all the essential communication features but missing few important ones in other areas, like display quality and camera.

ZTE Cymbal 2 Pros

  • Dual screen
  • Compact design
  • 4G support
  • Emergency button

ZTE Cymbal 2 Cons

  • Keypad design could be better
  • Poor camera
  • Basic performance