Although it may reside at the opposite end of the touchscreen scale to the near-legendary iPhone 4, the Huawei G7002 is remarkable because it offers so much for such a tiny price tag. It's far from perfect and is saddled with a cheap design, average camera and underwhelming touchscreen, but these issues are easy to overlook when you consider how much you're getting for your meagre amount of cash.
The G7002 is exclusive to O2 in the UK and is available on pay as you go for around £40. You can buy the handset online, SIM-free for £90.
The Huawei brand may not have much in the way of cachet here in the UK, but in its native China the firm is a household name. Rapid expansion has allowed Huawei to become a major player in the global telecommunications arena, and the company has made its first tentative steps into the western market with the Android-powered trio of the T-Mobile Pulse, T-Mobile Pulse Mini and Huawei Ideos.
The G7002 is an attempt by the company to build on the success of these cheap and cheerful smart phones. At this stage, however, it's worth noting that it doesn't run Android and actually has more in common with 'dumb phone' rivals such as the T-Mobile Vairy Touch II and Alcatel OT-880. The spec sheet is incredibly modest -- but then so is the price tag.
Just as you'd expect from a touchscreen device costing less than fifty sheets, the G7002 doesn't possess the most inspiring build quality. The glossy plastic casing looks and feels cheap, and makes the phone an absolute nightmare to hold onto when your palms are anything other than bone dry. The silver banding around the edge of the phone is presumably there to add a touch of class, but it's also fashioned out of dodgy-looking plastic.
Despite the underwhelming aesthetics, the G7002 actually feels pretty sturdy when you grip it. There's no movement or creakiness, and the proliferation of plastic does at least bring down the overall weight. At around 95g, it's certainly not going to put any undue strain on the stitching of your trouser pocket.
One of the things that differentiates the G7002 from other low-cost mobiles is its 2.4-inch touchscreen display. Understandably, it lacks a capacitive touchscreen -- as seen on market-leading devices like the iPhone 4 and HTC Desire HD. Instead, the G7002 packs a resistive variant, which is cheaper but less responsive, as it requires pressure to register an input.
To be brutally honest, the G7002's screen is disappointing. A notable amount of finger pressure is required to do anything, and this shortcoming is almost certainly the reason why Huawei has bundled an extendable stylus with the phone, which docks into the bottom portion of the device.
Delving into the operating system of the phone itself, it's clear that Huawei has designed it with the stylus in mind. Text input is achieved on an alphanumeric keypad by default, but it's possible to switch to a full Qwerty arrangement. This is preferable for text-heavy tasks, but the keys are so minuscule you'd have to have the digits of a fairy to be able to type with your fingers.
The stylus is essential for all but the most basic actions. Thankfully, the G7002 does at least come equipped with a four-way direction pad and selection button, which allows you to navigate menus and reduce the number of times you need to pop that stylus out of its cosy dock.
In terms of its operating system, the G7002 borrows from many other budget touchscreen devices, such as LG's Cookie Fresh and Viewty Snap. You can install interactive widgets to the home screen to quickly launch specific applications (such as messaging and call history) or toggle settings. Finding your way around the menu layout is a relatively painless experience, and the ability to configure screen-transition animations is a welcome touch, especially when you consider that most budget phones lack in-depth customisation.
Given its humble status, it's hardly a shock to discover the G7002 lacks 3G connectivity. Internet access is handled via GPRS, and download speeds are predictably sluggish. Thankfully, Bluetooth data transfer is supported, which should prove useful when moving photos and music to and from the handset's memory. Speaking of which, the G7002 is capable of accepting microSD cards of up to 2GB capacity, which is a little less than most modern mobiles, but should be ample storage for casual users. No card is included in the box, so you'll need to purchase one separately.
Around the back of the phone there's a 1.3-megapixel camera, which takes serviceable shots and records average-quality video. To round off the phone's multimedia credentials, there's also a sound recorder, music player and FM radio, but the lack of a 3.5mm jack means you're forced to use the dismal pair of headphones that are bundled with the phone to enjoy audio entertainment. Finally, it's worth mentioning that the G7002 boasts impressive battery life. This is no doubt related to the fact it lacks 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity. While Net-lovers will be perturbed by the slow data transfer over 2G, the stamina of the G7002 goes at least some way to mitigating this failing.
Despite the myriad shortcomings of its hardware, the Huawei G7002 still packs an astonishing amount of tech. When you peruse the spec sheet -- 1.3-megapixel camera, video recorder, microSD card slot, touchscreen and Bluetooth -- it makes the retail price of around £40 even more remarkable. The addition of some seriously impressive battery life merely sweetens the deal.
Granted, the G7002 is out-gunned by other entry-level touchscreen phones, such as the LG Cookie Fresh, and the reliance on the bundled stylus can make using the handset rather awkward. But you have to remind yourself this device is competing in the same price range of incredibly primitive phones, such as the Samsung E1150 and Nokia 1616 -- neither of which possess anywhere near the same amount of features as the G7002.
Edited by Emma Bayly