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Huawei Blaze: hands-on and first impressions

You might not be too familiar with Huawei holds the number five spot in the worldwide Android market, shopping 12 million handsets worldwide.
Huawei is also an OEM manufacturer, producing the hardware for the Orange Stockholm and Vodafone Smart.

The Blaze is its first foray into the market under its own banner and sits at the entry-level price point of around £100 competing with the forementioned Stockholm, Smart and Samsung Tocco Lite.

Build quality is impressive, it feels solid and less plastiky than rivals. The back is rubberised which feels nice to touch and crucially ensures you have ample grip. To access the sim and microSD slot the entire back slides off.

Alongside the typical Android back, menu and search controls, there’s a large solid home button, which is our preference to four touch sensitive buttons.

Running Android 2.3.4, the Blaze isn’t vanilla Android, Huawei’s made some impressive tweaks. Flick through the homescreens and you get a 3D cube effect and the main menu has bright colourful icons that remind us of Bada. Huawei’s also added including apps such as: Smart Traffic, All Back-up and Streams.

The 3.2-inch screen is slightly curved – Huawei calls it an ‘S-Style’ screen, its resolution of 480×320 is fairly respectable and in fact the same as Samsung Galaxy Ace, which is in a slightly higher price bracket.

Powered by a 600Mhz Qualcomm MSM7227-1 processor with 512MB Ram, connectivity options include WiFi and 3G. There’s also a 3.2-megapixel camera.

We’ve been playing with the Huawei Blaze for a few hours now and we’re impressed. The build feels a cut above what we’d expect from a phone at this price point  and we like the tweaks Huawei has made to Android. We’ll bring you a full review as soon as possible.

Huawei says this will be the first of several handsets launching in the UK, some at the higher price bracket and if they’re as impressive as the Blaze appears to be, we’re looking forward to tryin them out.

The Huawei Blaze is available in white, black and pink from Phones 4 U for £99.95 on PAYG.

Huawei Blaze: Back

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Huawei Blaze: S-style screen

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Huawei Blaze: Main menu

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Huawei Blaze: 3D swipe effect

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Huawei Blaze: All Backup

All Back-up lets you save the contents of your handset to SD card

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Huawei Blaze: Smart Traffic

Smart Traffic lets you monitor data use – which is useful if you’ve got a data bolt-on, although if you buy the handset through a network this feature may be deactivated

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Huawei Blaze: Streams

Streams pulls in Facebook, Twitter and Flickr accounts – updates appear as cards you flick through like Sony Ericssson’s Timescape. Of course you can use the standard Facebook and Twitter apps if you prefer.

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Huawei Blaze: Controls

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Huawei Blaze: Battery

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