So far Microsoft`s Windows Phone operating system has been building pace nicely, albeit at the mid to high end of the mobile market because of the company`s fairly strict insistence on minimum hardware specifications.
This has left out those who might have been interested in getting a Windows Phone handset but were put off by the steep upfront costs or expensive monthly contracts with which they were paired.
The ZTE Tania is one of the first truly budget-oriented Windows Phone handset, although while its price point may be towards the cheaper end of the scale it still manages to pack in some impressive features that should appeal to a wide audience.
The first hardware asset of the phone which everyone will notice is its 4.3 inch touch screen display. This is not quite the largest screen available on a Windows Phone handset; that honour goes to the HTC Titan and its sequel. However, 4.3 inches is still a good size for a mobile display and the 800×480 resolution, which is capped by Microsoft, looks adequately crisp without quite getting into Retina Display-bothering territory.
While the screen dominates the front of the device, the rest of the ZTE Tania is simply constructed. There is a five mega pixel camera on the rear with an LED flash, but there is no front facing camera to match it. While the build quality is not going to worry manufacturers of premium phones, it does the job well enough and does not make it feel like the handset is going to fall apart after five minutes.
When it comes to processing power you get a 1GHz single core CPU and 512MB of RAM, which sticks to the requirements outlined by Microsoft. There is only 4GB of onboard storage space, which is something of a restriction if you are going to be downloading loads of apps and capturing lots of photos. Since there is no way to expand this storage, some data juggling is likely to be required.
The Windows Phone 7.5 Mango platform is one of the most user friendly mobile operating systems on the market at the moment. Although it does not allow for the same level of home screen customisation as something like Android, it does feel entirely cohesive and fluid whether you are browsing menus, using apps or surfing the internet.
Wi-Fi and GPS connectivity are built into the ZTE Tania, so you can get apps from the Marketplace, chat with friends via social networking and navigate from one point to another without much trouble. All Windows Phone users can also benefit from access to Xbox Live, which allows you to earn gamerscore and achievements while you play games from your phone. If you have an Xbox 360 you can even download the Xbox Companion to control your console using the touch screen, which is a nice feature.
While the ZTE Tania is not the most powerful or visually striking of mobile phone handsets on the market, it does act as an excellent and above all affordable introduction to Windows Phone.