Welcome to the 2013 Telstra DAVE (T83) mobile phone review. Released in October 2013 this model is the first ruggedized touch screen smart phone offered by Telstra. Prior rugged phones have been designed based on the push button and candy bar style. Admittedly this old fashioned design does work better for those using the phone outdoors since it’s easier to use with dirty or wet hands than a touch screen. However the outdoor types these days want more features which the traditional candy bar format just can’t offer hence the new touch screen!

The Telstra DAVE is available on a plan and can be purchased outright for around $390(recommended retail). Note that the biggest problem with the Dave is that it has limited phone network and 3G/4G frequencies meaning that it is really on useful on the Telstra network in Australia and not if you want to use it overseas. Note the ZTE have a similar if not exactly the same model called the ZTE G601U.  Also before you buy make sure you check its competitors.

The Telstra Dave is not an Easytouch 4G or Frontier in a different body, since the DAVE has different CPU and slots. However whether these are the only changes is debateable unless you break open the case and compare. Furthermore it is based on Andriod OS and there’s not much to differentiate the Telstra Dave from any other Telstra branded ZTE based smart phone. The name ‘DAVE’ is an interesting choice being based on a guys name in many parts of the world. It would be pity if you know a ‘Dave’ that you don’t particularly like…

In terms of construction and hardware the Telstra Dave has a reasonably fast CPU and graphics with all the usual sensors. The screen resolution is average likewise the camera and other ‘entertainment’ hardware. The resolution is Ok despite being 480×800 so it wasn’t blurry or anything like the cheaper Android phones. Considering that the Dave is currently only available on a plan we expected and you should demand higher specifications. Regardless the body of  Telstar DAVE is the coolest part of the phone. Clearly it is made from toughened plastic with some metal screws on the back to highlight its toughness. We think the screws are only for show since the SIM card, power and expansion slots only have tabbed plastic covers. The Telstra Dave is easy enough to hold and feels solid with no creaks but the feel of the plastic is a little on the toy side of things especially with some sharper edges. It honestly looks like a phone with a rugged 3rd party case like the Otterbox… However overall not too bad but not as good as say the Casio G Z’one.  Check out the Nokia 625 for an example on how plastics should feel!.

In terms of software the Telstra Dave is pretty good, being sold with the latest Android OS. The OS does not depart from standard Andriod OS very much with a few customised widgets and mostly smooth in operation. We didn’t encounter and serious pauses. There’s not much point going on about it since you can install the thousands of Apps for the Google Play store to fill in the missing functionality gaps.

Overall the Telstra Dave 4G T83 is a decent mid range-ish smartphone wrapped up in a cool new case.  There are other ‘rugged’  mobile phones with better specifications out there and the one that comes to mind is the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active which is noticeably better than the Dave but quite expensive. Since both phones can be bought on mobile phone plans for the same amount of monthly payments the obvious choice is not the Telstra Dave but the Samsung…

Update: Check out the very similar Aspera R5 if you are after this style of smartphone.


  • Telstra DAVE 4G T83 Review
  • Network
    Dual-band GSM 900/1800 Mhz
    Tri-band 3G 850/2100 Mhz
    4G or LTE 1800 / 2600 Mhz
  • Design
    Touch screen
  • L128.4 x W66.1 x D12.1 mm
  • Weight 160 grams
  • Display/s
    3.5 inch 480 x 800 pixel
  • Camera
    Video Camera
    640x 720 pixels @ 30fps
  • Connectivity
    Bluetooth V3
  • CPU
    1.2 Ghz Dual core Snapdragon
    Separate Adreno 305 Graphic CPU
  • Memory
    Up to 2.5 Gig for user
    Up to 32Gig micro-SD expansion
  • Ring tones
    MIDI, MP3, Video, vibration and others
  • Features
    AndroidApp store
    FM Radio
    Accelerometer, Proximity, Compass and Ambient Light
    Music and Media player
    MS-Word, Excel and Powerpoint, PDF, ZIP compatible
    SMS, MMS, IM, Email
    Speaker Phone/Hands free
    Li-Po 2500 mAh battery
    Up to 375 hours Standby
    Up to 8 hours Talk Time
  • Price history
    Approx $N/A AUD October 2013 (Plan Only)
    Approx $390 November 2013 (Outright)


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