1GHz processor. 5-megapixel camera. 4-inch WVGA screen. £100. SAY WHAT? £100?!? Yes yes yes, it isn’t a typo and we resent using exclamation marks, but the Huawei Ascend G300 calls for them. You can walk into the Vodafone store and pick up an Ascend G300 with just five twenty pound notes and a thrifty inclination – we kid you not. It’s real. Touch it.
Huawei Ascend G300: Design
So what gives? Surely Huawei have chopped a limb off the Ascend G300 in order to drop this competently specced smartphone’s price lower than some feature phones. If they have, it doesn’t look like its design has suffered.
With the Vodafone variant sporting a white and silver colour scheme, during their exclusivity period of three months, this is the only version you’ll see here in the UK. The Huawei Ascend G300 therefore looks like a smaller HTC Sensation XL and this is a good thing for the most part.
It doesn’t feel cheap. It has a plastic body, but so has the Samsung Galaxy S2 and Galaxy Nexus. While there is slight squeakage along the plastic accents on the side of our sample, it took us squeezing with intent in order to charm noise from the chassis.
Ports and physical buttons are few and far between with a 3.5mm headphone jack, power button, volume rocker and micro USB slot along the sides, top and bottom. Robust, simple, attractive.
Huawei Ascend G300: Screen
4-inches and WVGA gives a pretty decent viewing experience. We were impressed when it landed on the Motorola MOTOLUXE at £230, and we’re blown away it’s made it to the Huawei Ascend at £100.
It’s sharp and bright, though in contrast to higher end panels such as the HTC One V, colours can look slightly washed out but overall, crisp cheap and very cheerful.
Huawei Ascend G300: User Interface and Keyboard
Running Android 2.3 Gingerbread, the Huawei Ascend G300 isn’t up to speed with the latest and greatest Ice Cream Sandwich, but Huawei go to some lengths to improve the user experience over stock Gingerbread.
3D transitions, a handy lock screen and a more intuitive dialler all come together to ensure you get more bang for your £100 buck than you ever thought possible. Pinching the home screen will pull up an overview mode and the four dock shortcuts are chop and changeable.
Also loaded with Vodafone content, this isn’t too imposing and is even on occasion useful if you use the Vodafone specific services. If not, the G300 is powerful enough to handle a third party launch that will hide these should you so wish.
The default keyboard on the Huawei Ascend G300 is TouchPal which is an interesting mix of long presses and options. This works for some, though should you wish you can revert back to the stock Gingerbread keyboard in your settings.
In turn, you may want to tweak your Ascend G300 once you get it to make it just right for you. Fortunately, with 1GHz of power, tweaking won’t grind your new phone to a halt. And all for £100. £100 you say?
Huawei Ascend G300: Camera
Now while it may seem like we’re harking on about the price, our amazement isn’t anywhere near ending. With a 5-megapixel sensor and single LED flash coupled with a promising review thus far, there’s every reason to be hopeful for the Ascend G300’s camera.
While the pictures we first took looked a bit dark, a bit washed out and a bit meh in general on the G300 itself, exporting them worked wonders proving that the actual output from the cam is pretty high. Click the grid to see for yourself. Not quite up there with the HTC One V, but markedly better than anything else in the price point.
The camera UI is also a tad lacklustre being the stock Gingerbread experience. That said, you can download umpteen camera apps from the market to ensure you never have to see it – we’d recommend Camera FX Pro.
Video is recorded at WVGA resolution, so no surprises that output isn’t anything stellar. Sound quality is bordering on terrible and there’s also no continuous focus, so we wouldn’t recommend the Ascend G300 for anything more than a casual capture.
Huawei Ascend G300: Connectivity and Storage
The Ascend G300 has Wi-Fi, bluetooth and 3G as standard. Over Wi-Fi, web browsing is pretty nice and speedy despite the humble processor and the phone also takes a full-sized SIM card.
The GPS locked on quickly, though our unit kept throwing errors our way when we tried accessing Google Maps. In addition, over 3G, the internet didn’t feel quite as fast as other phones despite being specced the same. This could come down to network, though with exclusivity on Vodafone should be representative of what you can expect.
Voice also wasn’t as clear as on higher end handsets with the microphone not being particularly sensitive and audio sounding a little soft.
With 2GB of available memory out of the box and a microSD card slot, the Huawei Ascend G300 opens you up to more memory than some of the £400+ phones at a quarter of the price.
Huawei Ascend G300: Performance
The Ascend G300 is perfectly competent in terms of speed. Huawei’s custom UI works smoothly, there are no Motorola MOTOLUXE-esque stutters and staggers and Huawei’s push for associating this device with streaming video is understandable with services like BBC iPlayer and Netflix playing back well.
Battery life is ok, though not mind-blowing. You’ll get at least a day out of the Huawei Ascend G300, and with conservative use, two.
Huawei Ascend G300: Conclusion
In much the Same way the Orange San Francisco was a landmark handset for 2010, the Huawei Ascend G300 is a landmark for 2012. Cheap, powerful, attractive, competent and highly customisable. There’s nothing else on the market that competes at the price-point and we’re still in disbelief as to just how cheap it is despite the couple of niggles, most of which can be remedied by a root around the Google Play store. Wrapping up, at £100. Need one? Get one. Simple.