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TracFone Launches First US Market Android Flip Phone at Best Buy

TracFone ZTE Cymbal Android Flip Phone
The first Android flip phone to be sold in the US is here. TracFone's ZTE Cymbal is now available from Best Buy at the early adopter price of $99.99. We first covered the Cymbal when TracFone posted documentation for it on the web last month. It showed up on the Best Buy site on Sunday but it wasn't possible to actually order it until today.

Other than having a flip phone form factor, the Cymbal is a typical entry-level Android phone with a nameless quad-core processor, 3.5 inch 320 x 480px screen, 8 GB (3 GB usable) of internal memory, 1 GB of RAM and Android 5.1.1 Lollipop. There's a memory card slot, a 5 MP camera and a removable battery. The Cymbal runs on the Verizon network and there's LTE support.

The ZTE Cymbal is quite large for a flip phone at 4.72" high, 2.40" wide x 0.72" thick. Compared with the Classic Motorola RAZR V3, the Cymbal is 9/10 of an inch taller, 3/10" wider and 2/10" thicker. On the other hand, at 3.5 inches, the screen is small when compared with most current phones. That's not unusably small, the iPhone 4s screen is the same size, but the screen size is something to be aware of if you have large hands or poor vision. While there is a roomy physical keyboard, it's only used for dialing phone numbers, the smallish on screen QWERTY keyboard is used for texting and other text entry.

Incidentally, there are a couple of errors in Best Buy's specs for the Cymbal. According to Best Buy, there's no memory card slot or touchscreen. Both  are wrong, the phone's tutorial and manual have instructions for inserting a memory card and using the touch screen.

For more about the ZTE Cymbal see TracFone's interactive tutorial and User Guide.

Sources: TracFone, Best Buy

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33 comments:

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  1. Perfect phone for my dad because he doesnt text or search the internet and the screen is bigger than a normal flip phone screen

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  2. Looks like garbage. Have fun trying to type on that...

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  3. This phone made by ZTE watch backdoor on your phone.

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    Replies
    1. LOL! I welcome our ZTE overlords

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  4. Galaxy Folder is be better than Chinese garbage. What are you doing Samsung? Tracfone trowing up Chinese garbage to US :(

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  5. How to keep Chinese Garbage out of America? Simple , don't buy it. But you know what? Nobody wants to do that.. so we get overpriced higher quality Chinese "garbage" like the iphone. lmao.. made in China. Only $700 plus. lol

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    Replies
    1. Welcome to the global economy people. Are there any phones made in the US?

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    2. If they were domestic phones with the union label, they'd all be "feature phones" costing $1500, at least. Screens would fall out of half of them as you took them out of the box, and they'd ALL explode.

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    3. Tesla / Elon Musk might have some great ideas on building a reliable cheaper alternative in the US just like with the reusable rockets that are saving NASA so much money. Maybe one of his mentees can head the Tesla cell phone division, still make lots of money, and put out a top-notch cell phone. Of course the battery will have a solar charging capability built into the phone cover and screen :) .

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  6. Dennis..Is this only usable on Tracphone? Or other Verizon mvnos also?

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    Replies
    1. Probably. Most TracFone Android phone work on non-TracFone MVNOs like Selectel or Boom. We won't know for sure until someone tries it.

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  7. "Maybe one of his mentees can head the Tesla cell phone division"

    Which would then harass journalists with frivolous lawsuits and threats when they accurately report about bad battery life of their defective products.

    As happened with their cars...

    http://www.autonews.com/article/20130227/BLOG06/130229907/is-teslas-fight-with-the-new-york-times-over%3F

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  8. This makes as much sense as a VHS edition of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" or downloading Amazon Kindle books by having them sent to you over fax.

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    1. Will be interesting to hear the buy rationale from those who do buy this phone.

      Im

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    2. Any rationale I can think of is killed by the phone having touchtone pad instead of full Qwerty. THAT would be great.

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    3. It has a QWERTY keyboard on the screen according to the user's guide :) .....

      https://s3.amazonaws.com/tpassets.devicebits.com/development/8bd589e9409a493d9f6536093cc48cf0/manuals/08_08_2016_Z353VL_UM_EN_Approved.pdf

      Don't know how practical that is on a postage stamp size screen ;) .

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  9. QWERTY keyboard is showing in the Cymbal phone image at the top of this page.

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    Replies
    1. I meant an actual keyboard, not the sloppy on-screen compromise.

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    2. I suppose they could have made the bottom half of the phone a touch screen too. Then they could display a QWERTY keyboard or just number pad for dialing, depending on what was being currently done with the phone.

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  10. "I suppose they could have made the bottom half of the phone a touch screen too."

    And there you would have pure genius. An actual innovative design, to appeal to those who want the convenience of the UI not wiping out the precious screen real estate all the time... and at the same time to appeal to those who watch their Matlock VHS tapes every night and drive a Chevy Vega with an 8-track in it.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks :) . I should file a patent.

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    2. There is actually a notebook like this.

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  11. Someone spotted one in their local Best Buy and took a picture of the box:

    http://www.howardforums.com/showthread.php/1887677-TracFone-Android-for-Flip-Phone-Fan-atics?p=16735788#post16735788

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  12. I'm trying to figure out how to use the upper screen without looking silly. I'm guessing it would be great to have the cloud sync for contacts if nothing else at all from Android gets used.

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    Replies
    1. You can't. It will always look silly. It's a mistake, they should have made a slider preferably a horizontal slider with a decent keyboard.

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  13. This phone is perfect for customers who want a small-screen phone that is thicker and heavier than large-screen phones. All dozen of them will love it.

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    Replies
    1. Having an unnecessary immense slab the size of the useful part of the phone it is hinged to... So appealing!

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  14. There is a market for small-screen smartphones because they are compact and lightweight. But this small-screen smartphone is a bloated heavy pig. I see no market for it.

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    Replies
    1. I see a market for it. The market will be bargain hunters when Best Buy desperately gets rid of it at $10 each a few months from now.

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  15. What a delightful device! Just prop it open a bit with a wad of kleenex, and it makes a wonderful door stop!

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    1. One unhappy Cymbal owner is returning their door stop after less than a day of ownership:

      http://www.howardforums.com/showthread.php/1887677-TracFone-Android-for-Flip-Phone-Fan-atics?p=16738157#post16738157

      Looks like we have a loser flip phone here.

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  16. Best Buy Price dropped to $70 already....

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/tracfone-zte-cymbal-t-lte-4g-lte-with-3gb-memory-prepaid-cell-phone-silver-gray/5581014.p

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