Huawei Ascend G300 review: Huawei Ascend G300

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CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent

Average User Rating

4 stars 29 user reviews
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Good screen for the price. Solid everyday performance. Decent camera.

The Bad Would not play many of our test video files. Screen only good when viewed from front on. Pre-installed keyboard is a nightmare.

The Bottom Line Like other entry-level Huawei handsets before it, the G300 is excellent value for money. What it lacks in polish, it makes up for with its decent features and hardware.

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Design

At AU$179 (locked to Vodafone), the Huawei is a cheap phone, and it looks it. The handset is a little thicker than its more expensive competitors, and its two-tone white and silver plastic chassis isn't winning hearts in the CNET labs — especially with thick seams visible between the handset's various pieces. But then, this is like looking over a KIA car and moaning about it not having the same finish as the Ferrari on the lot next door: you get what you pay for.

The G300 is a comfortable handset to hold. For as deep as the seams are, separating the various plastic pieces of the chassis, these don't cut into your fingers when holding the phone. The plastic curves nicely around the edges so that the phone sits nicely in the hand. The power button is on the top of the phone, so it is easy to find with an index finger when using the phone with one hand.

It includes a 4-inch capacitive touchscreen, with a WVGA resolution. This isn't too shabby when you consider that the top phones of 2011, like the Samsung Galaxy S2, had 4.3-inch screens with the same 480x800 pixel resolution. Sadly, the quality of this screen doesn't match up to the Galaxy S2. The G300's screen is perfectly usable, but it doesn't look great, especially off axis. From directly front on, images look good — crisp text and decent colours, but even from subtle angles off-centre, the image begins to deteriorate. It is a fine screen for under AU$200, though.

It's ports and switches are all exactly where we'd expect them. Power on top, volume on the side. There is a 3.5mm headphone socket on top as well, and a microUSB port on the base for charging the phone. On the underside, you'll find the handset's camera lens, LED flash, external speaker and a second microphone, presumably to help cancel ambient noise during calls.

User experience and performance

As with the physical design of the phone, there is nothing particularly attractive about the Huawei Launcher software installed on the G300, but it certainly works well. Despite some visual jitters in the animated transitions throughout the system, we had no trouble using the G300 on a day-to-day basis. The combination of software and hardware creates a responsive canvas for users to swipe and scroll through. Powering on the phone from sleep is as near-to instantaneous as you can expect, and the basic system is ready to use straight away.

Huawei opts for a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor for the G300, with a single-core 1GHz processor and an Adreno 200 graphics chip, which serves this unit well. This zippy performance is also a product of Huawei using the older Gingerbread build of Android. Though this is now two-generations of Android old, it is probably the best system for a phone with this hardware profile.

During our tests, we recorded 4-hours and 48-minutes of battery life when browsing the web continuously on a Wi-Fi connection. This is a good result, helped in part by the size of the screen — with most new Android phones having screens slightly larger than the 4-inches here. We also like to run a continuous video playback test, but none of our standard testing video files would play on the G300. This might be something to consider if you are hoping to use the G300 as you own portable cinema. All in all, 4.5-hours of screen on time should be sufficient for most people shopping for a G300, we think.

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