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Huawei Ideos X3 review: Huawei Ideos X3

Huawei puts forward a very respectable low-end device in the Ideos X3, but its nearest competitors have a couple of extra features worth considering.

Buzz Moody
3 min read


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.


Huawei Ideos X3

The Good

Front-facing camera. Interesting user interface. Overall great performance.

The Bad

No LED flash. Mediocre touch response.

The Bottom Line

Huawei puts forward a very respectable low-end device in the Ideos X3, but its nearest competitors have a couple of extra features worth considering.

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.

With Google Play (Google's Android app store) installed on the device, we had almost full access to the wide variety of apps on the Play Store, though some newer apps need Android 4.0. We didn't run into any problems on that front, but beware of trying to play graphics-intensive games: they just won't work on this device.

The browser is perfectly fine to use, even if we found it a little sluggish (a recurring theme). Voice calls were fine, and data was speedy enough over Vodafone's 3G network.


As with most devices in the AU$100-$200 price range, the Huawei Ideos X3 only has a 3.15MP rear camera that lacks an LED flash for low- to no-light situations. You can check out photos we took with the device in well-lit conditions below.

(Credit: Buzz Moody/CBSi)

(Credit: Buzz Moody/CBSi)

Should you buy one?

The Ideos X3 retails for around $200, though prices vary greatly at the time of writing. Crazy John's is currently selling it on sale for AU$89, but some online retailers have the X3 valued at up to AU$270. Make sure you look before you leap.

At AU$89, the X3 is a steal, though network locked, but for about AU$50 more, you can also choose the HTC Wildfire S, with a better camera (with a flash), better UI and better battery life. We found no real flaws with the Ideos X3, but, in this price range, you have plenty of options.