Huawei launched their gen-next Android smartphones in India today under the Ideos brand – the Huawei Ideos U8800 X5, which will succeed its predecessor, Huawei Ideos X6 U8150. We had a chance to play with Ideos X5 and here is a quick review of the same.
Ideos X5 is a mid-range Android smartphone promoted as “the Video Specialist” due to its 720p HD video recording capabilities. X5 is powered by 800MHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and 512MB of RAM. It comes with 3.8-inch HVGA capacitive display at 480×800 resolution. The 5 megapixel camera comes with flash and captures 720p HD video. Just like the Ideos X6, the Ideos X5 comes with a built in microSD card of 2GB which can be extended upto 32GB. There’s a second microphone in the back of the phone for noise cancellation, as well as SRS for audio enhancement and an FM radio. The major negative is that, X5 is powered by Android 2.2 Froyo, though the company promises the Gingerbread 2.3 upgrade very soon.
Ideos X5 – Design & Looks
At 4.7 inches tall by 2.4 inches wide by 0.4 inch thick, Ideos X5 is a slim-feeling slab of a device. A soft-touch plastic finish on the back cover makes the phone comfortable to hold and grip, but at 4.8-ounce, X5 might seem bulkier than some other phones in the segment. On first look, the phone looks really elegant and feels solidly built, but the camera protrudes out a lot which isn’t a good thing for some people. Huawei has added a metallic (steel) rim that frames the phone’s black face and it surely adds on to the beauty (as well as weight).
The display is crisp and bright, and thanks to 16M colors support, watching videos on the TFT screen is a pleasure. The capacity touchscreen is top-notch, but lags a bit when lot of apps are open. Blame that 512MB RAM for that!
Ideos X5 – Software & Performance
Android 2.2 Froyo is a major turn-off, but the company insists that the 2.3 upgrade is in the pipeline and will be made available soon. Huawei Ideos X5 was actually announced during CES 2011, back in February 2011. When asked, why the company hasn’t provided the Android 2.3 while launching, the executive shot back that “Indian consumers aren’t yet ready for Android 2.3” Errr… Really sir? Even the UK & US version comes with 2.2 only!
X5 supports Flash 10.1 and supports Swype & hotspot functionality. The device supports WiFi 802.11n/g/b and with the built-in WiFi hotspot, users will be able to connect up to 8 devices at once.
The 5 megapixel camera is impressive and that bright LED flash makes the quality of pictures stunning for a mid-range smartphone. There isn’t much to talk about the 720p HD video recording, which works as advertised. but the problem is with the lack of processor, as is the case with all the phones in this range. 800Mhz isn’t really enough and the whole experience suffers because of that.
X5 U8800 comes with 1150mAh battery which is on par with many other mid-range android phones, but we weren’t able to put it to test during our hands-on.
Huawei has introduced their own Android app-store called Hispace and it comes pre-installed with Ideos X5. Hispace has around 20,000 handpicked apps including some exclusive apps for Huawei users. Huawei sees that as an additional revenue model. Hispace is better designed and apps are easily accessible as compared to the Google android market.
Ideos X5 Price & Conclusion
In India, the IDEOS X5 is priced at Rs 14,999 while in US, it is priced at £200. The US launch and pricing aren’t still made official.
Ideos X5 can virtually do everything you expect from an Android (2.2) smartphone, be it the Wifi Hotspot, or 720p HD video recording or running Flash. But it suffers from the lack of hardware power. It competes with the likes of HTC Desire and Samsung Galaxy Ace, which too have their kinks when it comes to satisfactory Android experience. It really deserves to be considered at this price, but would do better at a couple of thousands less.