Hands on: Huawei Ascend G730

By Pat Pilcher

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Some people say size doesn't matter. This isn't true.

Huawei have long known this, deciding that bigger is better when they launched the Ascend G730 which is a dual-SIM phone with a sizeable 5.5" screen for a pocket pleasing $299.

Given its large screen and spec, I couldn't help but wonder if corners were cut to create such a compelling sticker price?

Look and Feel
The G730 is a tidy looking device. Baring more than a passing Resemblance to a Samsung Galaxy S4 fed growth hormones, the G730's curvy case is a wonder of plastic.
The curved edges along its back made it comfy in the hand, even if it was bit of a palm stretcher. Flexing and creaking were also absent and it felt solid in use.

Specs
Packing 2 SIM card slots the G730 came into its own during a recent overseas trip. Using a local SIM I was able to make calls without being robbed blind via international roaming charges. I was also able to use my usual number to stay in touch with people back home.


One SIM slot is for a Micro SIM whilst the other fits a standard SIM.

Specs-wise The G730 sits in the mid-range smartphone camp. This is thanks to a roomy 5.5" display, 1.3 GHz quad core CPU, 1 GB RAM, 4 GB flash storage, and 5-megapixel rear camera.

There's plenty of processing oomph under the G730's hood thanks to a quad-core MediaTek MT6582 SOC that clocks in at a nippy 1.3 GHz. Gaming is helped along by a Mali 400MP2 GPU. About the only spec I found to be lacking was its meagre 1GB of RAM and 4GB of storage.

If you're a collector of apps and media, you'll find the G730's lack of storage pretty restricting. Worse still, out of the 4 GB of storage, only 2 GB is available to the user after the OS and other bits take their cut. The good news is that the G730 can also take a microSD card to expand available storage by up to 64 GB.

The G730 also runs on Android 4.2.2. Here's hoping Huawei announce an upgrade to Android 4.4 Kit Kat sooner rather than later.

Huawei have also deployed their proprietary EmotionUI interface on top of Android. It's clean and uncluttered as well as intuitive to navigate setup that doesn't get in the way of day to day smartphone use.

The G730 also supports GSM/UMTS 900, 1800, 1900, 2100 MHz. On the Wi-Fi front it supports 802.11 b/g/n, and managed to maintain a connection from the other side of my house. This is something most handsets I review usually struggle with. On the Bluetooth front both Bluetooth 4.0 is also supported which will also make it usable with a range of wearable widgets.

The G730's front camera is only 0.3 MP resolution which limits it to video chats and selfies, even though there is no beauty mode. Its rear camera is a respectable 5 MP and packs an LED flash. Testing in low light revealed pixel noise and loss of detail. In daylight shooting conditions it worked fine.

In Use
The G730's biggest selling point has to be its 5.5" IPS LCD display. Such a roomy screen at this price point is unusual and its screen uses IPS LCD technology. In non-geek-speak this translates into decent colour and good viewing-angles. About the only real downside is the G730's resolution of 960x540 which isn't full HD. This said, on screen menus, photos and videos all looked vivid and crisp.

The G730's screen begs for games and the good news here is that the G730 handles most current titles pretty well. This said, one or two titles did lag when detail settings where cranked up to full. Games such as Dead Trigger 2 and Ashphalt2 were a blast to play on the G730.

A big Li-Ion 2300 mAh battery also delivers a solid uptime. With a game running, its screen set to full brightness and Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/GPS enabled, the G730 ran for just over 4 hours. Typical use saw the G730 ticking over for a respectable 18 hours.

Verdict
Have Huawei pulled the proverbial smartphone rabbit out of their hat with the G730? Considering its reasonable $299 price and big 5.5" IPS LCD display, it definitely bats well above its price tag.

Even better still such a large display doesn't seem to put a dent in battery life and Wi-Fi performance is also solid.

Add Dual SIM slots to this and it's likely to appeal to buyers wanting features on a tight budget.

If that's the good, then what about the not-so-good? The G730's front camera isn't brilliant (its rear camera can hold its own) and a meagre 4GB of RAM makes a Micro SD card mandatory.

This said, you'll be hard pressed to find a similarly priced smartphone with this mix of features. For buyers wanting a bigger screen on a budget, the G730 is pretty hard to beat.

Tech Specs
Network (2G) 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 (3G) HSDPA 900 / 2100
SIM Dual SIM, (Dual stand-by)
Dimensions 151.5 x 78.3 x 9.6 mm
Weight 180 g
Display Type IPS LCD (540 x 960), 5.5" (200 ppi)
Memory Card slot microSD, up to 32 GB
RAM 4 GB, 1 GB RAM
WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot
Bluetooth 4.0
Camera (Rear)5 MP, 2592 ? 1944 pixels, autofocus, LED flash (Front) VGA
OS Android OS, v4.2
CPU Quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A7
Battery Li-Ion 2300 mAh battery

- NZ Herald

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