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The Huawei Ascend G300 Android phone is going on sale later this week with Vodafone, the network announced today. With a 4-inch screen, 1GHz processor, 5MP camera and Android 2.3, it doesn’t look like much at first glance, but here’s the thing: it’s only going to cost £100. Ahead of its launch, we got hands on with the upstart smartphone: read on for our photos and impressions.

Just yesterday we covered the latest price drop on the Nokia Lumia 710 Windows Phone, but Vodafone has something just as impressive for £30 cheaper: the Huawei Ascend G300.

Now physically, it’s not the sexiest phone you’ve ever laid eyes on. It’s broad, plasticky and not particularly thin. But as the company is keen to point out however, at £100 on Pay As You Go, smartphones usually require a compromise: an awful camera, an awful screen or a sluggish processor. From our play with the Huawei Ascend G300, none were in evidence.

For a start, the 1GHz processor inside the phone absolutely flies for the price: even if we are moving away from Flash on mobile, the BBC iPlayer Android app runs like a dream. We didn’t get a chance to benchmark it, but for day to day use, it’s a noticeable step up from any other cheap Android phone.

The screen, a 4-inch 800×480 panel, is also an enormous step up. Although colour quality isn’t the best of the very best, it is responsive and sharp: you can type as quickly on it as you can a phone like the Samsung Nexus S.

Android 2.3 “Gingerbread” is a little bit out of date, but as we’ve touched on before, it’s par for the course on budget phones right now. Huawei has skinned it with its own HAP 5.1 launcher (Huawei Android Platform, zingy isn’t it?) but it’s light on frills, other than a useful lock screen which lets you add quick launch shortcuts, similar to what HTC offers on its Sense Android phones.

For the most part, it’s clear and simple, with very little in the way of extra software (Huawei has included its own music app, a little bit unnecessary given how accomplished the free Google Music is now, but a company rep told us that it isn’t “precious” about including these extras and may kill them where Google makes them redundant).

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The only issue we noticed was the inclusion of TouchPal Input as the default keyboard: as we’ve touched on before, it’s a great QWERTY for Chinese language writing, but Huawei, a Chinese company, seems to have overlooked that Vodafone will be selling the Ascend G300 in the UK. Still, you can swap it out as you see fit.

Perhaps most intriguingly, Huawei says that it will update the Ascend G300 to Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” early in the second half of the year. While we’ve seen promises like these broken time and time again, our interest is piqued here because we’re told that it’ll likely be an update released through Huawei’s website. If you want to install it, go ahead, but otherwise for those who don’t care about staying on the bleeding edge, there won’t be the sudden shock of having their phone’s whole user interface suddenly change.

The Huawei Ascend G300 will be available from Friday through Vodafone, which has a three month exclusivity window on the device. It’ll cost £100 on PAYG with a £10 top up, or £15.50 per month on contract with 250MB of data per month included. Given the success Orange has seen with its own brand budget Android phones so far, we’d expect this to go down a storm: expect a review shortly.

  • http://twitter.com/Patrick_J73 Patrick

    its been one week since the brand new Huawei G300 came out, a number of faulty G300 have been sold with what looks like a software problem, where the rear speaker only works at the correct Volume when using the FM Radio app, and at no othertime, it works very very low, so low you cannot hear it ringing when its in my top coats pocket thats close to my ears…

  • http://twitter.com/Patrick_J73 Patrick

    its been one week since the brand new Huawei G300 came out, a number of faulty G300 have been sold with what looks like a software problem, where the rear speaker only works at the correct Volume when using the FM Radio app, and at no othertime, it works very very low, so low you cannot hear it ringing when its in my top coats pocket thats close to my ears…

    • chubble10

      This has since been solved by a software update that has been pushed out to all the G300s

  • http://twitter.com/Patrick_J73 Patrick

    its been one week since the brand new Huawei G300 came out, a number of faulty G300 have been sold with what looks like a software problem, where the rear speaker only works at the correct Volume when using the FM Radio app, and at no othertime, it works very very low, so low you cannot hear it ringing when its in my top coats pocket thats close to my ears…

Hot chat, right here!


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