Whenever Android and iPhone fanboys clash, “affordability” of Android phones over pricey iPhones take the center-stage more often than not. Many of the Google purists argue that Android has made smartphones affordable to people of all classes. The argument is fair enough, but does affordability comes with a major compromise? Well, that is what we figured out when reviewing Huawei Ideos U8150 android phone.
IDEOS was announced in September 2010 and made its way into the Indian markets during February 2011. When it arrived, it classified itself as the Cheapest Android Phone in the world. Considering that, it was running Android 2.2 Froyo, which never made it onto many other low-end Android phones, Ideos managed to steal some eyeballs earlier on. We considered reviewing Ideos, to formulate an opinion on the state of low-end android smartphones in the market.
Huawei Ideos U8150 – Specs & Appearance
As mentioned earlier, Ideos runs on Android 2.2 Froyo, and comes with a 2.8″ capacitive touchscreen, 528MHz Qualcomm Processor with 256MB RAM, 3.2 megapixel camera, GPS, support for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0, microUSB 2.0 etc. It also has an external memory card slot with support for upto 32GB. The one being sold in India, comes with Aircel branding and a free 2GB microSD card. When bought with an Aircel postpaid plan, you even get a free data of upto 2GB per month.
The packaging is attractive and the phone comes with a warranty card, quick start guide, charger, USB cable and 3.5 mm earphones. The first impression on looking the handset was very positive, specially for that very distinctive brightly colored backplate. The curvy edges around the 2.8″ screen adds beauty to this neatly designed phone. The overall build quality is pretty decent as you can expect from a phone priced below INR 10k. Its made from lightweight plastic and feels really small and light when you hold it in hand. The back panel comes in various colors to suit your taste.
I always believed that the real android experience comes with a phone heavy on specs. Using Huawei Ideos for a while proved that. If we decide not to consider the price of the phone to be a factor, almost everything falls apart in this device, except may be, the display. The 2.8″ display comes with capacitive touchscreen whose touch sensitivity is better than many of those mid-range Nokia and LG phones. 240 x 320 QVGA resolution is a big minus.
But the phone suffers from lack of processing speed and memory. The 528Mhz Qualcomm processor & 256MB RAM are just not enough. Many consumers buy an Android phone for it’s ability to run flash videos. But flash is disabled on Ideos as it doesn’t have the juice required to run memory intensive processes and applications. I couldn’t even run the Angry Birds app on my Ideos. No multimedia app works without the microSD card *Sigh*
The 3.5mm earphones provided with the phone is of real poor quality. That makes the FM radio experience as bad as it can get. But I need to mention that the external speakers are better than many other phones in that price range.
Huawei Ideos U8150 is one of the few low-end android phones which come with GPS functionality. But you are again left with a mediocre experience when using the GPS navigation. GPS takes sometime to lock when you start the navigation. The annoying thing is that the screen gets locked in the meantime and the navigation app goes in the background disabling the satellite connection. So you are forced to play with the screen till GPS gets locked.
Android phones are known to be battery hungry and Ideos is no different! It comes with a 1200 mAh battery which is pretty much a standard for phones in this segment. But considering the price, it does better than many other android phones. I was able to run the phone with intensive use for almost a day and a half! But the low quality plastic for the back panel makes you feel the battery heat. Yes, battery gets really heated up on constant use and I found it unbearable to use after a while.
What can you expect from a 3.2 megapixel camera? Passable quality when used in broad day light. But I felt the absence of a dedicated button for camera (as in HTC Wildfire). Another problem is that the camera app doesn’t work without the microSD card. That’s not good, right?
Unlike some other low end phones, Huawei Ideos comes with a myriad of connectivity options. There’s Wi-Fi, 3G, HSDPA, Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP support and GPS with A-GPS. EDGE and GPRS are also included, and work without a hassle.
Coming at Rs. 8499, Huawei Ideos is worth a consideration. But it is definitely not a phone for someone waiting to experience Android in its full glory. There are few other phones in this segment like Samsung’s Galaxy 5 which has much better display and build quality, but Ideos scores for its peppy looks and vibrant backpanels.
Though Android is considered as a smartphone OS, these low-end affordable phones aren’t really as smart as some of you might think. Go for it only after knowing and understanding the limitations.