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Huawei U8510 IDEOS X3 Blaze review

Another remarkably inexpensive smartphone from a manufacturer keen to make its name in the Android market, but is the Huawei Blaze as cheerful as it is cheap? Julian Prokaza goes hands-on to find out.

The less said about the front-facing VGA camera, the better its images look like the lens is made from frosted glass.Call quality is also a little disappointing, but not because of any reception issues the Blaze's speaker is just too quiet, even at full volume.

The lack of volume isn't a serious problem when making calls in quiet environments, but the noise of a busy office, or a road with lots of traffic, makes callers difficult to hear. The same is true of the loudspeaker on the rear of the smartphone and, unfortunately, audio via headphones plugged into the 3.5mm headphone socket. Ringtones and alerts, thankfully, are loud enough.

Huawei has evidently shaved off some costs with the Blaze's 3.15-megapixel camera and picture quality is decidedly lacking. Colours are a little off and images are noisy with poor definition; shutter lag of a second or so makes snapping moving subjects difficult, too. The less said about the front-facing VGA camera, the better its images look like the lens is made from frosted glass.

It's difficult to get too worked up about these shortcomings, though. They might be deal breakers for an Android smartphone that costs a few hundred pounds without a contract, but the Blaze costs 60. Its sound quality issues are less easily overlooked this is a phone, after all but for anyone more interested in internet access, messaging (Android Gingerbread supports Exchange security policies, calendar sync and remote wipe) and apps, the Blaze is a good entry-level option that's even cheap enough to keep as a spare emergency smartphone.

Huawei U8510 IDEOS X3 BlazeHuawei U8510 IDEOS X3 Blaze

Verdict

The U8510 Blaze is remarkably cheap, but it’s also surprisingly cheerful and Huawei has done a good job of delivering a relatively capable Android smartphone for very little money. It’s probably only suited as a main smartphone for undemanding users, but the very low price still makes it ideal for a host of other purposes.

Operating system: Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread Processor: Qualcomm MSM 7227 ARM11 (600MHz) Storage: 512MB ROM; 256MB RAM; microSDHC card slot (2GB supplied) Screen: 3.2” (320 x 480) capacitive multi-touch Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP, DLNA, microUSB; 3.5mm headphone socket Other: Accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, digital compass, AGPS, FM tuner Bands: Quad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900Mhz); dual-band HSDPA (900/2100MHz) Camera: 3.15MP rear with autofocus, VGA front Battery: 1200mAh (up to 300 hours standby time; up to 4 hours talk time) Size: 110 x 56.5 x 11.2mm Weight: 104g

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