Welcome to the 2013 Telstra/ZTE T96 mobile phone review. In the basement end of the mobile market there are some great bargains! Less than 10 years ago phones like the T96 cost over $500 and quite desirable by everyone! However in 2013 only certain less developed markets and niche users are these types of phone in high demand. As a pre-paid phone the T96 is priced at $49 which is quite reasonable.

In terms of construction the T96 is quite good. There are no uneven gaps in the case or keypad and the button feel good to press although a little limited in keypad travel. They have used matt colored panels which  are not slippery to touch which does give it a more expensive feel than a sub-$50 phone usually has – based on past models like the T95. The keypad isn’t the best for those still with the old txting skills but it not too bad either. It comes in a variety of colors too which is a in change, The screen resolution and size is finally the industry standard or several years ago prior to the original iPhone. The screen and image quality is also very good for a cheap mobile phone.

In terms of use the T96 works great. It responds to keypress will minimal delay for any of the various functions and it does seem smoother than prior models.  Mind you the internet download speeds despite 3G capabilities is still not as fast as it should be. The screen  graphics rate a mention as being very classy despite the multi-colour number display. I think they’ve been looking at Sony-Ericssons of late for inspiration. In fact it probably presents better than the latest Nokia Asha series thanks to better graphics – easily.  However the comparable Nokia Asha 300 for example has much more munctionality. Apart from the graphics there is nothing else worth pointing out.

In the end the T96 is a basic phone but at least it doesn’t look like one which is strangely the selling point. All we need now is the ability to use one as a wireless modem for our tablets and we can dump our ‘smart phones’. The T96 is now one of the better cheap mobile phone you can buy. So if all you need is text and talking with email notifications then the T96 is good value.


  • Telstra T96
  • Network
    Single-band UMTS 850, 2100 Mhz
    Quad-band GSM 850 / 900/1800 /1900 MHz
  • Design
    L116 x W50 x D12.4 mm
    Weight 84 grams
  • Display/s
    External 2.4 inch TFT 240 x 320
  • Camera
    Dual cameras
    2MP main camera
  • Connectivity
    Bluetooth V2.1
  • Memory
    64MB internal memory
    30MB available to user
    Up to 32Gb microSD
  • Ring tones
    MP3, MMF, MIDI, Vibration
  • Features
    MyWords predictive text
    JAVA MIDP 2.0
    Speaker Phone/Hands free
    Customizable backgrounds
    Picture Viewer
    Video calling
    Voice memos
    Calender and organizer
    300 Hrs Standby,
    240 Minutes Talk Time
    1000 mAh Li-Po
  • Package contents
    XP/Vista Compatible PC suite
    Mac OSX Compatible software
    Personal hands free kit
    Travel charger
    USB cable
    User manual
  • Price history
    Approx $49 (Feb 2013 Pre-Paid)