Huawei devices always have pretty cool designs — sometimes they're riffing off other manufacturers, and sometimes it's their own strange, yet interesting, work. The Ideos X3 is certainly the latter of those two. It has a nice, curved design that feels good in the hand, and also has a nice heft to it, as well. The design material being used is plastic, which makes it hard to hide that it's a cheap phone; however, we've quite enjoyed using it.
The Ideos X3 we were reviewing was a mixture of three colours: black around the display and capacitive buttons (inner layer); chrome bezel (middle layer); and a white finish on the button of the front and complete rear of the phone (outer layer). It's an ... interesting ... combination, but overall, it works.
A curious combination of colours and materials, but it works.
(Credit: Buzz Moody/CBSi)
There are three capacitive buttons below the 3.2-inch 320x480 TFT capacitive display in back, menu and search formation. They do have a backlight, but it's very, very dull. Otherwise, they're perfectly visible. Below them on the chrome bezel is the hardware home button, which, even though it feels like it's two buttons, is actually just one.
Unlike most of the phones of this size that we've reviewed, the back cover slides off quite easily, giving access to the battery, microSD slot and SIM-card slot. The microSD slot isn't under the battery, so the memory card can be swapped out even when the phone is on.
Around the sides of the device are the volume rocker, micro-USB input and the 3.5mm headphone jack. Another cool addition to the Ideos X3 is the front-facing camera — something that most phones at this price don't have. The rear camera doesn't have a flash, so we were literally left in the dark for night-time shooting.
User experience and performance
Huawei has done away with the stock Android launcher, instead replacing it with a slightly customised version of SPD Shell 3G Google Play. The 3D effects are cool to look at; however, we found them to be pretty sluggish, not that we expected otherwise.
The UI is a mashup of Samsung's TouchWiz, LG's UI and Apple's iOS, which are — let's be honest — all pretty similar anyway. The Ideos X3 is running Android 2.3, and, besides the launcher, it's very much stock. The keyboard is really responsive and easy to use, though we needed to use it in horizontal mode to get the most out of the limited screen real estate available.