ZTE Era quad-core smartphone pictures and hands-on

Finding a powered-up, fully-functioning ZTE Era at Mobile World Congress is about as likely as scoring some much needed bandwith on the expo's creaking press Wi-Fi connection - ie, slim to none.

After getting on first-name terms with the "booth babes" at the ZTE stand (which is no bad thing, we hasten to add) by frequenting it several times a day in the hope of seeing the Chinese company's flagship in action, we've given up. For the time being at least.

So we have no choice but to bring you a hands-on based on a couple of non-working models of the ZTE Era that we did manage to locate at the show in order to give you our first impressions of the Tegra 3 device.

And, based on the build quality and design (as that's about all we've got to go on at present) our initial thoughts are that it's a bit naff. Sure, the build quality is good enough and we're glad ZTE hasn't taken the Era down the massive shiny silver bezel path, like several of its other MWC devices (although there is a hint), but the plasticy feel and the shape don't exactly scream "2012 quad-core monster". It's more like "2009 HTC rip-off".

But our first impressions are perhaps born out of the frustration of not seeing the handset in action. After all, it's what's under the bonnet that makes the ZTE Era stand out - not the chassis that it's cased in.

And that's because it's packing a quad-core 1.3GHz Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset along with the Icera I450 modem.

Running (or not, in this case) Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, the ZTE Era has a 4.3-inch, 960x540, display. On board is 8GB of storage, expandable via microSD card, and we're told that 1080p video is available courtesy of the 8-megapixel rear-facing camera. NFC capabilities are also included through ZTE's Touch and Share app.

The ZTE Era is due to be launched in Europe and China in the "second half" of 2012. We'll keep our eye out for a working model so as we can tell you more.