Huawei is a big Chinese Company with massive market share in their homeland. In Australia, they are about to take on some of the biggest phone brands in the world, initially with a cheap Google Android phone that competes head on with the HTC Legend.
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The Huawei, IDEOS U8150 is a small, sleek handset that fits easily in the palm of your hand or a handbag. At 10x5cm and weighing only 100g, this device is strictly pre-paid and is aimed at those who want all the functions of Android 2.2 but don’t want to pay Samsung Galaxy S or HTC Desire prices.
Available in multiple colour backs including turquoise, primary yellow and pink as well as black, it’s clear that Huawei is appealing to the female market as well as the male market with the classic black option with their devices.
Featuring the latest Android 2.2 OS, the phone delivers access to over 100,000 Android Market applications and includes a music widget on the home page, along with the option of unlocking or setting the phone to silent with the slide of a finger.
Apart from touch screen options are the obligatory soft touch buttons, stocking four separate buttons for different functions. There’s the obvious ‘back’ key, a ‘home’ key to flock back to the main screen at the touch of a button, along with a handy ‘search’ icon that brings up a Google menu for searching through the phone’s apps or the Internet and a ‘menu’ button. The beauty of the context-sensitive menu button is that it eliminates the need to clutter the 2.8 inch screen with navigation options, with an easy-to-open menu set for each app.
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There is one thing you need to understand when buying this sort of phone, cheap and fast rarely go together. This phone is cheap but it’s not fast due to the use of a bottom-end Qualcomm 528 MHz CPU with 256 MB of RAM. In comparison, HTC’s take on the cost-conscious phone market, the HTC Desire has a 1GB processor and 576 MB of RAM. This means that access to Facebook and Twitter could be a tad slow but it still delivers all the functions of a high priced Android phone.
Playing one of the more popular game apps, Angry Birds, faired more of a challenge than just shooting the odd bird out of a slingshot. Opening the app revealed nothing more than half a blank screen and what seemed to be the bottom half of the Angry Birds opening sequence.
Frustratingly closing and reopening (and even reinstalling) several times did nothing to help the problem, until accidently coming across locking and unlocking the phone, magically curing the game. While the game worked, it didn’t work very well, running on a considerably low frame rate and a bag of lag in tow. Then there was downloading apps from the Android Market, where the browser froze twice as five apps were queued.
It’s clear that the market Huawei is going for is the low-price, pre-paid phone market which is popular with school kids, especially as parents are often paying for the device. Another market would be people on low salaries who simply want an Android phone. If this is the case, then the Ideos is actually a bit of a bargain.
Huawei’s IDEOS is currently available on Pre-paid from $159 at Virgin Mobile and Crazy Johns or outright for $199 from Dick Smith Electronics. As from 15 December it will also be available as a Vodafone pre-paid. It’s basically a cheap, simple phone that you’d buy as your child’s first mobile or as mum’s easy changeover to using touch screens.
This one only manages to scrape in over the two star mark because of how cheap it is for a capacitive touch screen, rather than an inferior resistive touch pad like we’ve seen in a lot of low-end smartphones like older model LG mobiles. As they say, you get what you pay for (and nothing more).