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Huawei IDEOS X1 Android phone
Huawei IDEOS X1 review: A pre-paid Android smartphone for $99. What's the catch?
- Very low price
- Android features and flexibility
- Compact size
- Cramped touchscreen
- Sluggish performance
The Huawei IDEOS X1 is a pretty impressive smartphone considering its low price. The capacitive touchscreen is reasonably responsive, and although its performance, screen size and the plastic build quality aren’t anything to crow about, the IDEOS X1 remains great value for money.
Price$ 99.00 (AUD)
Little known Chinese company Huawei has certainly made a splash at the entry point of the Australian mobile phone market by releasing many affordable smartphone handsets for price-conscious Aussie consumers. Its latest low-cost smartphone is the Huawei IDEOS X1. It sells through Optus for just $99 and is sure to attract plenty of positive attention due to its price. The overall user experience that this phone offers is far from good, but at this price it's hard to complain — as long as you know what to expect from your minimal outlay.
Huawei IDEOS X1: Design and display
The Huawei IDEOS X1 Android phone certainly won't win any design awards, but its compact size will suit users who are put off by the increasingly large size of modern day smartphones. It’s constructed almost entirely from plastic, with a chrome band around the edge attempting to add a touch of class. The curved edges make the IDEOS X1 comfortable to hold, though the rear plastic battery cover does feel a little hollow when pressed.
The position of the IDEOS X1's power button favours left handed users, but the side-mounted volume controls are well placed. The large home button works well enough, but it's positioned too close to the bottom edge of the phone for our liking. This means it requires a great stretch of your thumb to press.
At such a low price point, its always going to be the display that suffers most on a smartphone. The 2.8in touchscreen on the IDEOS X1 is a little cramped and makes text messaging, in particular, quite hard to do. However, the IDEOS X1's screen is at least a capacitive one, making it far more responsive and ultimately superior to the resistive screen of the competing Telstra Smart-Touch, which also retails for $99. The IDEOS X1's screen has poor viewing angles and is tough to see in direct sunlight, but considering the $99 asking price, its certainly passable.
Huawei IDEOS X1: Software and performance
The Huawei IDEOS X1 runs the 2.2 'Froyo' version of Google's Android platform, and it offers most of the features and functions of far more expensive Android smartphones. The IDEOS X1 has a GPS receiver, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and it also has a 3.2-megapixel camera that doubles as a VGA video recorder. It provides full access to the Android Market for third-party applications, and being an Android phone it also has automatic and seamless synchronisation with Google services including Gmail and Calendar.
Huawei has slightly tweaked the standard Android interface on the IDEOS X1. Five home screen for live widgets remain; the cube animation when swiping between screens is a nice touch (even if its not always smooth), as is the ability to see all your home screens at a glance and dive straight into any of them with one touch. Predictably, Optus preloads the IDEOS X1 with a number of shortcuts to its services, including Optus Smart Safe, Optus Zoo, MyAccount, the Optus App Store and the Optus Music Shop. Most of these are merely links to Web pages, though they annoyingly can't be removed completely from the phone.
The Huawei IDEOS X1 has a modest processor (single-core, 528MHz) and limited memory (256MB RAM), but still manages to support multi-touch zooming — meaning you can pinch the screen to zoom in and out of certain apps. The limited processing power means the IDEOS X1 does not offer full Flash support, but this is too much to ask in the first place on a sub-$100 handset with a small screen.
The Huawei IDEOS X1's small screen means the Web browsing experience is noticeably inferior compared to Android smartphones with larger screens. Performance is also an issue — the IDEOS X1 takes notably longer to achieve basic tasks, such as opening and closing apps. We suggest a little patience given that this is a $99 phone and the fact it can do these tasks at all is an achievement in itself.
The Huawei IDEOS X1 has a microSD card slot for extra storage, located behind the rear battery cover, and Optus includes a 2GB card in the sales package. Battery life is very reasonable for an Android phone: the Huawei IDEOS X1 will easily get through a full day of use, and this may even stretch up to a day and a half depending on usage patterns.
The Huawei IDEOS X1 is available exclusively through Optus stores and online for $99.
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