It's small and its interchangeable battery covers are garish, but it's really hard to tell that the Ideos is such a cheap phone. The Huawei Ideos is one of the company's first phones in Australia to be sold under its own name. Huawei products have been available down under for years — in fact, most of the re-badged USB modems available from telcos are Huawei modems. To introduce itself to market, Huawei (pronounced whar-way) is trying something drastic: it's selling full-featured smartphones for well under AU$200.
The Ideos packs a smallish 2.8-inch screen with a 240x320-pixel (QVGA) resolution. This might sound like a reason to run screaming in the opposite direction, but we've been happily surprised by how clear and colourful things look on this display. The touchscreen is also very usable. Huawei has opted for the more sensitive capacitive touch technology here and the results are a premium-feeling user experience.
Under a row of touch-sensitive navigation buttons we find call and start buttons and a huge, circular navigation pad. There's also a 3.5mm headphone socket for connecting your favourite headphones and a 3-megapixel camera lens on the back.
What's in the box?
Just how much phone do you get for AU$160? You'd be surprised; as surprised, perhaps, as we were. Firstly, you get all of the standard smartphone connectivity hardware you'd expect to find in phones. There's HSDPA, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, micro USB and a microSD card slot for expanding the memory. The 3G radios are compatible with the 900MHz and 2100MHz spectrums, so it's fine for the VHA and Optus networks, but it's not Next G compatible.
The Ideos runs on Android 2.2 (Froyo), which is big news in terms of features and performance. It comes preloaded with the standard Google apps like Maps and Gmail, plus tools like Facebook and Twitter pre-installed. There's also an FM radio to complement your own music playlists.