The Ideos brings Android 2.2 to buyers at an affordable price point and represents good value, assuming it does actually go on sale at £99. The handset offers HSPA, Wi-Fi, GPS and a touch-screen interface, all in a compact design that will not be a burden to carry. However, potential buyers should be prepared to ask for a refund if their handset exhibits the same problems with battery life as our test model.
Android 2.2 built-in; compact design; full smartphone specifications
2.8in display can be hard to read; no multi-touch support; review unit battery ran down quickly
£99 - £129 (expected)
Android 2.2 (Froyo), 528MHz processor, 2.8in touch screen, 256MB RAM, 512MB Flash, HSPA up to 7.2Mbit/s, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, 3.2-megapixel camera, microUSB slot for up to 16GB Flash
Huawei's Ideos smartphone is among the first new devices to ship with Android 2.2 built in as standard, and also comes at an affordable price, expected to be under £100 when it goes on sale in October.
As may be expected, the device suffers from one or two compromises in order to reach a budget price, such as no multi-touch support with its display.
A potentially more serious fault is poor battery life, with our test handset lasting only for about a day between charges, but we were unable to ascertain whether this was simply a glitch in the unit we had.
However, the Ideos (which is also marked with the product code U8150-B) has a specification to match most high-end models, making it potentially attractive not just to those considering their first smartphone, but those who are reluctant to fork out £500 for one of the more prestigious handsets.
At the time of writing, Huawei had yet to announce any deals with UK networks to carry the Ideos, and also could not confirm which resellers will stock it. However, the device was listed for pre-order on Clove Technology's web site for £169.
Announced at the start of September, the Ideos is not actually the first Android phone to come in below the magic £100 mark, but it features the latest version of Google's software platform and generally exhibits better build quality than the ZTE Racer reviewed previously by V3.co.uk.
The device itself is slightly smaller than most high-end smartphones, measuring 104mm x 55mm and 13.5mm thick thanks to its 2.8in 320 x 240 capacitive touch-screen, and is light enough to be carried easily in a pocket.
Below the screen are four touch-sensitive controls for search, home, context-sensitive menus, and go back. Beneath these are the physical phone controls, consisting of a five-way navigation button and green and red call/hangup buttons for voice calls.
While it keeps the size down, the 2.8in screen makes text correspondingly smaller than the 3.5in or larger displays on other smartphones, and some users may find it a little hard to read, especially when used outdoors.
The touch screen also does not support multi-touch input, which means that you cannot pinch to zoom when web browsing, for example. Instead, you have to use on-screen zoom controls that step the magnification up or down a notch at a time.
We were able to scroll through web sites smoothly using the touch screen, for example, and the handset also switches the display swiftly when rotated from portrait to landscape orientation. We also found the on-screen keyboard reasonable for text entry, despite the smaller display format.
The smooth performance can possibly be attributed to the new version of Android, which is said to have focussed on tweaking system efficiency.