ZTE Anthem 4G handson

Metro PCS' first American LTE phone may be fast when it comes to download speeds, but not so much when it comes to basic functionality. The ZTE-built Anthem arrives next week at MetroPCS providers for $249.99 ($219.99 after a mail-in rebate), and it comes with an aging OS -- Gingerbread. Yes, when we got our hands on the device this evening, the very first thing we noticed was the decidedly elderly operating system that ships with it -- so, it's not the freshest Android device on the block.

The Anthem's touch functionality didn't give a good first impression either, not responding on the first try for a handful of basic functions, and slowly dragging from pane to pane. The phone sports a 4.3-inch WVGA display that's decent enough, especially when compared with other recently introduced mid-range smartphones and runs on a dual-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon CPU (the company wouldn't specify which precisely). The phone itself is on the excessively chunky side, but given its off-contract berth and $249 pricing, that lack of design finesse is to be expected. MetroPCS reps wouldn't confirm whether an upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich is on the books for the Anthem, but if you're plunking down for this clunker, it's probably not much of a concern. Check out the gallery below for additional shots and head on past the break for a brief video tour.

ZTE Anthem 4G for MetroPCS hands-on

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Joseph Volpe contributed to this report.

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