Juha Saarinen is a tech blogger for nzherald.co.nz.

Review: Huawei's budget Android hits the spot

Photo / Juha Saarinen
Photo / Juha Saarinen

High-end phones hog all the limelight but what if you don't want to drop a cool grand or more on the latest and greatest device? A sensible option is the Huawei Ascend G300.

Huawei? Yes, the massive Chinese telco conglomerate makes phones too, which shouldn't surprise anyone.

What's more, for an eminently sensible $300 you get a snappy 1GHz single-core 3G and Wi-Fi device with a big and sharp 4" screen that has 480 by 800 pixel resolution.

The phone is built well, reasonably stylish and does just about everything you can expect from an Android phone. Also, it easily lasts a day with a 1,500mAh battery.

In fact, the biggest gripe I have with the G300 is that it comes with the now long in the tooth Android 2.3 operating system. With the newer 4.0 having been out since early this year, and Google recently announcing its successor, 4.1 or "Jelly Bean", Huawei really shouldn't ship new devices with hoary old Android versions like this.

Huawei has promised a 4.0 upgrade for the G300, and here's hoping it will deliver unlike some other well-known vendors I could mention. That said, you can live with Android 2.3, but already, there is software that won't run on that older operating system.

A spokesperson for Huawei says the company is testing the Android upgrade currently, and it will be available end of July.

While on the list of things less than impressive, the 5Mpixel camera with LED flash works but the image quality is mediocre to say the least.

Huawei Ascend G300 buyers should also try to get a MicroSD memory card as part of the deal, because the 4GB of internal memory, just over half of which is available to users, won't go far.

Other than that, the Ascend G300 is excellent value for money and well worth checking out for budget buyers.

What's good
• An awful lot of Android phone for $300
• Good performance and a nice, big, hi-res screen
• Decent battery life

So so
• Camera rather mediocre
• Not much internal storage

Oh no
• Android 2.3? Upgrade needed.

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