CHINESE HARDWARE MAKER Huawei has announced its latest budget Android smartphone, the Huawei Ascend G330, which it hopes will tempt first time smartphone buyers and those after a ‘high-performance' smartphone on a budget.
We managed to get our mitts on the handset, which succeeds the Huawei Ascend G300 that we had boldly called the best £100 Android phone yet. However, on first impressions, the G330 could be about to steal that title.
With the Ascend G330, Huawei has swapped out the metal back found on its predecessor and replaced it with a rubberised plastic shell. This is by no means a bad thing, as the Ascend G330 feels quite comfortable when held in the hand, and feels as though it could withstand a bit of a battering.
Most importantly, the device looks great too, offering a much more ‘high-end' appearance than the majority of budget Android phones available today.
It's also a nicely compact device. At 123x63x11.2mm it's by no means as skinny as the Iphone 5, but it's small enough to squeeze into a skinny jean pocket.
Inside this casing there's a 4in 480x800 LCD touchscreen, but this is not very amazing on paper, given the fierce competition available on the market. However, considering the phone's £100 price tag, this screen is plenty bright enough and responsive, thanks to the dual-core 1GHz Qualcomm processor under the bonnet.
There are three capacitive keys underneath the screen - Back, Home and Menu - which have proven responsive thus far.
In terms of software, the Ascend G330 comes running Google's Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) mobile operating system, but Huawei was unable to say whether it will be upgraded to Android 4.x Jelly Bean. However with ICS on board the phone looks up-to-date and has all of the usual Android features.
Huawei has skinned the phone in a light custom interface, which is much less obtrusive than HTC and Samsung's Sense and Touchwiz UIs, respectively. This custom UI gives the phone a reworked lockscreen, fancy gestures when scrolling through apps and a number of apps added to the home screen.
Huawei has furnished the phone with some pre-loaded apps too, the most notable being BBC Iplayer. According to the Chinese firm, most Android phones of this calibre are unable to run apps such as BBC Iplayer, so it is using this as one of the main selling points of the Ascend G330. We gave the app a quick spin and it does work smoothly on the Huawei handset, even if the picture is a little bit blurry.
Huawei has also inked a deal with EA to bring a bundle of free games to the Ascend G330, which include SIMs Freeplay, Dead Space and Plants vs Zombies. We had a go on the SIMs, which fired up within seconds and looked good on the 480x800 screen.
The Huawei Ascend G330 also arrives touting a 5MP rear-facing camera with LED flash, a VGA front-facing camera, HSDPA and WiFi internet connectivity, and a 1,500mAh battery. We're yet to put these features to the test, but check back soon for our full Huawei Ascend G330 review.
On first impressions, the Huawei Ascend G330 is a great handset considering it's cheap as chips £100 price. It might not have the lengthy specifications sheet that accompanies the HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy S3, but it offers all of the features you need from a budget priced Android smartphone. µ