The 3-megapixel camera attached to the X1 is decent for the price, when it works, but you do need steady hands and a bit of patience to create Facebook-friendly photos. There is no auto-focus or flash, and only the most rudimentary software settings, but this also means that what you see on the screen before you take a photo is what you can expect you image to look like shortly after.
This photo is fine for Facebook, so long as you don't examine it close up.
What is most amazing about this handset is how much tech you get for $100. The X1 is packed with the same smartphone suite of chips and receivers that you would expect to find in any Android device. There is HSDPA 3G download speeds, a GPS receiver, Bluetooth for using hands-free headsets and Wi-Fi. These components all seem to work as expected; we managed to pair the X1 to a Bluetooth headset, and we browsed the internet over Wi-Fi.
The X1 also shares Google's free maps and navigation software, so this AU$100 phone will also double as an in-car navigation unit, even if it's a bit slower to use than a dedicated GPS tool like a Navman or a TomTom.
While the small, low-res screen is probably is the greatest area of cost cutting for Huawei in the X1, the low-powered processor would come in at a close second, we think. Huawei uses a combination of a 528MHz Qualcomm processor and 256MB RAM, which would have to be the bare minimum needed to run Android, and it is certainly not enough to run any complex games.
We tested some of our favourite titles on the X1, including Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja, and although they all downloaded and installed correctly, none of these games ran at a speed that could be considered playable. We also ran a few of the benchmarking tests that we run on all new Android phones, and the X1 delivered results far lower than any we have ever seen before.
There is a part of us that remains impressed with how much smartphone Huawei can pack into such a cheap phone, but this is greatly outweighed by what you can't do with this phone. The camera is passable at best, and its inability to play most fast-paced games will disappoint the teenagers who are likely to end up with a phone at this price point. We don't doubt that this is the best phone that Huawei can make for for AU$99 — we just wonder whether you should buy a phone at this price at all. If you can afford a model with a larger screen, it would be well worth the investment.