Huawei Blaze review
We review the Huawei Blaze, a sub-£100 handset with Android 2.3 Gingerbread that's also known as Ideos X3
It's very easy to recommend handsets like the Samsung Galaxy S2, because they represent the pinnacle of mobile technology. But it's easy to forget there are plenty of people out there who can't, or don't want to get locked into expensive contracts spread over two years.
The problem is, once you decide a contract isn't for you the number of phones available becomes substantially less, especially if you are on a budget, and that's not great if you want to leave your feature phone days behind you and get with the times, to put it bluntly.
In steps Huawei's latest handset, the Blaze, Ideos X3 or the U8510, as it's also known, a budget Android handset with Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread, access to the Android Market and the highs (and lows) of a touch screen display.
At £100, you would expect the Blaze to be a little rough around the edges, but that's not actually the case. It's fairly light at 104g and although the materials are plastic, the handset has a sturdy feel to it, largely helped by the smooth back that's very comfortable to hold.
It's also not too large, thanks to the 3.2-inch capacitive touchscreen (nope, not resistive) display. Compared with pricier handsets it seems like a measly offering, but it doesn't make any tasks difficult and not everyone wants to lug around a bulky device. If anything, Huawei has been quite clever because it's less of a culture shock to upgrade from a feature phone to a mid-sized screen.
We will say the screen isn't the brighest or best with colour - it actually has a feature phone feel about it - but it's sensitive to the touch and unless you look at it from an angle it's easy to see.
As mentioned previously, you get Android 2.3.4 as the operating system, which means you have access to all the apps and games the Android Market has to offer. It also means you can import all your contacts from not just your SIM card, but also Google Mail.
Android also includes a useful widget for getting today's weather forecast and like with Sony Ericsson's Timescape software, you can add in your Facebook and Twitter accounts and see all of your status updates in one place.
Customisation is also what you would expect from a Google product. You can arrange your homescreen pretty much as you want, and swiping left or right takes you to more screens you can also customise to your heart's content.
We particularly like the handy shortcuts that allow you to turn Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and other features on or off without going into settings and a little extra shortcut section for opening messages or the Blaze's internet browser.
|UK Launch||September, 2011|
|Frequency||GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 3G / HSDPA 900 / 2100|
|Phone Style||Candy bar|
|Additional Memory||Up to 32GB via microSD card|
|High-speed Data||HSDPA, HSUPA|
|Screen Size||3.2-inch TFT capacitive touch screen (320x480 pixels)|
|Camera||3.15-megapixel with autofocus, front-facing for video calls|
|Camera Resolution||2048x1536 pixels|
|Music Player||Huawei Player|
|Song Storage||Up to 32GB via microSD|