Orange Santa Clara pairs Intel Medfield and Android in an affordable package

Orange has announced its newest own-brand handset - and it's one that's sure to make waves. Codenamed the Orange Santa Clara, it's a high-end Android handset running on Intel's Medfield platform.

"The aim is to be able to complete in terms of specs and performance with the high-end smartphones," Patrick Remy, vice-president of devices at Orange, told Pocket-lint. "This is why we've worked with Intel on this product because that's what the Intel chip brings to the mix."

If the handset looks familiar, that's because it's almost the same design as the Smartphone Reference Design that Intel was showing at CES 2012. The manufacturer is currently unknown, although we believe it to be one of the big Taiwanese companies.

But that's beside the point. As an own-brand handset, Remy tells us it will be priced aggressively for those on contracts who can't quite stretch to one of the top-tier handsets like the HTC One X, just announced.

It doesn't feel like a budget device in the hand. It may not have been through microarc oxidation in manufacturing, but it feels sturdy enough. More importantly, from our preliminary playtime with the phone, it was snappy, smooth and offered a great-quality display.

In terms of the actual tech specs, the Orange Santa Clara uses the Intel Atom 1.6GHz Z2460 processor. It features a 4-inch display with a 1024 x 600 resolution, giving you a pixel density of 294.

In terms of physical connectivity, you get mini HDMI and Micro-USB and on the wireless front it's well connected too, giving you HSDPA, Bluetooth 2.1, AGPS, Wi-Fi b/g/n and NFC. Being an Orange handset, it also gives you HD Voice.

Surprisingly for an own-brand handset you get an 8-megapixel camera on the back with 1080p video capture and a 1.3-megapixel camera on the front. It also features burst photo capture at 10fps for all those action moments.

There is plenty of internal storage at 16GB and one of Intel's claims for its smartphone chipset is that it will give you good battery performance - 14 days standby. Of course, how this turns into real-world usage we've yet to see. The phone measures 123 x 63 x 9.99mm and weighs 117g.

As this is an Orange handset, as Remy told us "it offers an Orange experience". That means you'll get Orange gestures and its run of service apps preinstalled - for example, Orange Wednesdays.

But outside that, the Orange Santa Clara will be launching on Android 2.3.7 Gingerbread, with Remy telling us: "Ice Cream Sandwich will be available soon after launch."

It's worth noting that the name Santa Clara is only a codename. The commercial name will be announced at the moment of launch in the summer, along with the pricing. However, previous information leaked from an Orange customer survey suggests the phone will be the Orange London.

Unfortunately at our first meeting with the phone we weren't able to take any pictures, but we'll get you a full gallery of hands-on photos as soon as we have the chance.