Huawei Ascend G300 On Vodafone

6/29/2012 9:42:21 AM

Has Vodafone found the perfect entry-level Android phone?

Android phones are great, but most people aren't prepared to front the $56 a month deals to get an expensive one on contract. That's why the Orange San Francisco was so popular, as it offers most of the Android experience for those with about $160 to spend.

Vodafone have just launched the Huawei Ascend G300, a more sophisticated device than the San Francisco for about the same money, so how does it stack up?

On first impressions, pretty well. This isn't a pitifully small device with a tiny screen, instead you get a bright and vibrant 4" 480x800 pixel LCD, a flash for the camera and a 1GHz Qualcomm MSM7227A processor. On-board memory is a healthy 2.5GB, with the option for 32GB MicroSD for those that want more. And, although all phones now come with these things, it has wi-fi, Bluetooth and a GPS.

What it doesn't deliver is Android 4.0, instead it's a neatly packaged version of Android 2.3 Gingerbread, which mean that Huawei has decided to stick with the dedicated button line under the display that defined that Android release. There are three buttons; menu, home and back, search being omitted in this instance.

Huawei has promised that the G300 will get Ice Cream Sandwich later this year, but for the moment Gingerbread works well enough, and it's a very stable platform

What fascinated me more about this design, though, was that it felt like an expensive Gingerbread device from only 18 months ago, having a solidity of construction I just wasn't anticipating. It might not be milled from solid aluminium, but the Ascend G300 did feel like it could handle the odd spill without disintegrating.

Description:  The left hand side of the Ascend G300 houses the volume rocker.

 The left hand side of the Ascend G300 houses the volume rocker.

Where it wasn't as impressive was in the Huawei minimalist interface, which made Android seem positively sparse. Perhaps I've been indulged by HTC Sense, or other platform overlays, but the selection of Widgets and default desktop layout is a positive contribution to the cure for insomnia. On the upside, Vodafone hasn't pushed excessive bloatware into the build, and it comes with all the stock applications you'd expect, including access to Google Play.

Some of the other Huawei tweaks also weren't that successful. For example; the default keyboard isn't great, and lock-screen options are missing in action, along with some other controls. A quick trip to Google Play can fix some of these issues, but it shouldn't really be necessary.

The first impression this gives is that Huawei wanted the least trouble possible with its Android blend, and so paired the feature set down accordingly. It also doesn't support USB OTG (On-The-Go) or provide HDMI output with an MHL cable, but I guess they've got to keep some features for the high-end devices.

What it also misses is the performance punch that dual-and quad-cored phones have, although the 1GHz CPU has enough go in it to support Flash and play Angry Birds.

As cheaper Android phones go this is an impressive one that offers plenty of features that were exclusively high end not long ago. My only concern is that it might be eclipsed by the imminent HTC One V, when it appears very soon.



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Gingerbread 2.3

Website com/start

Android Version

Windows XP or later, Mac OS X 10.6 or higher. Android 2.2 or higher, iPhone or iPad with iOS 3.0 or better, Linux support to come soon

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