We heart Huawei for bringing Android in on a budget on phones like the Ideos, so it warms our tablet-loving cockles to see it trying to do the same thing for Android tablets with the Huawei Ideos S7 Slim.

The S7 Slim has a 7-inch, 800x480-pixel capacitive touchscreen, similar in size to the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the HTC Flyer. And, like the Galaxy Tab, the S7 Slim is still stuck on an older version of Android, 2.2 Froyo.

The HTC Flyer uses a heavily customised version of Android 2.4 Gingerbread. Other Android tablets coming out this year, such as the Motorola Xoom, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, and the LG Optimus Pad, use Android 3.0 Honeycomb, which Google designed specifically for tablets, rather than smart phones.

Huawei has dusted its own user interface on top of Android to cover up its smart phone roots. Its five home screens are divided into categories, for example, with tabs along the bottom of the screen for Web, entertainment, communications and favourites. Each home screen is filled with an appropriate widget -- such as a grid of your browser bookmarks on the Web screen.

You can also get at all of your apps through a standard Android menu, which shows a grid of icons. The settings menus looked similarly untouched.

You may miss out on the latest tablet-focused apps in the Android Market if you go for this older version of the OS. But the S7 Slim could be a good choice if you can't afford to splash out on its competitors. 

In our early hands-on look, the S7 slim felt solid and looked attractive, especially for a cheap tablet. It's also got a microSD card slot -- something most of the Android Honeycomb tablets lack, since the software doesn't support memory cards yet. 

Orange is bringing Huawei's previous tablet, the Ideos Smakit S7, to shops in Spain and Eastern Europe under its own brand name. We'll probably have to wait for Orange, or a network, to do the same before we see the S7 Slim on UK shelves. But Huawei says it will be ready to ride in April. 

Sidle up to the S7 Slim by clicking the gallery above. 


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