- Affordable price
- Huawei’s custom features
- Well built
- Decent screen
- Can be a little slow at times
- Smart Traffic app may not work on all networks
You might not have heard much about Huawei before, but the company has been making mobile phones for other company’s for years. The Blaze is its first launch into the UK market under its own name, with a £99.95 price point, the company is targetting the entry-level and affordable smartphone market populated by the Orange Stockholm and LG Optimus One.
Will it blaze a trail across on the UK market? Lets find out….
Design and build
We’re impressed with the feel of the Blaze. The rubberized back feels comfortable to grip and the metal trim around the front differentiates it from the Android pack, giving it a stylish edge, although the black plastic is a magnet for fingerprints. Pink and white versions are available too.
At 3.2-inches the screen is generously sized for phones at this price, with a 480×320 resolution that matches the pricier Samsung Galaxy Ace and HTC Wildfire S. In use it feels smooth, although you often have to use more than a lightening tap.
We’re please Huawei has chosen to put a solid Home button on the front,along with the Android function keys, it just makes the phone quicker to use.
Huawei was keen to point out that the screen has a slight curve ‘S-Style’ screen, although it’s very slight.
Elsewhere there’s a 3.5mm jack and micro USB for charging, storage is only 256Mb, we’re not sure yet if it will be sold with a memory card.
Huawei’s added some custom tweaks to Android 2.3.4. Flick between five homescreens and you get a funky cube effect and static messaging, phone and browser icons at the bottom. The icons are different too, with a Samsung Bada-esq main menu.
Like HTC and Samsung, Huawei’s included it’s own social networking widget, which pulls in Social Networking feeds like Twitter, Facebook and Flickr via the Huawei Social Club app, as well as Corporate and Gmail accounts. We like the way you can quickly post to Twitter or Facebook.
All Backup is a neat feature that lets you back-up all your content to SD card. Smart Traffic lets you monitor your data use – which is especially useful if you are on a limited data plan or know you are going to go over it quickly. It runs in the background, so when you swipe down you instantly see how much data has been used. Huawei did confirm that this feature might not be activated by all networks, we’re guessing they might not be disappointed to see you go over your monthly bill.
Browsing is a fairly good experience, as we’ve mentioned, pinch to zoom isn’t quite as fluid as we’d like, but zoom in and the text wraps to fit the space automatically. Flash support is a bonus and you can open
Huawei’s equipped the Blaze with a fairly standard 3.2-megapixel camera, there’s no flash and features are limited to filters and white balance. Pictures are ok or emailing and uploading to Facebook, but they aren’t spectacular appearing over processed and often soft. VGA movies aren’t pretty good, exposures struggles a bit with tricky light, but is perfectly usable.
At the heart of the Blaze is a 600Mhz Qualcomm MSM7227 processor and 512Mb RAM, which is what we’d expect in a phone at this price bracket. It’s smooth at completing simple tasks, but occasionally its shortcomings are obvious. On non-mobile optimsed websites, scrolling is very slow.
In the context of its price bracket, the Blaze is a very well featured phone, with excellent connectivity, a solid design and some nice Huwaei additions to the Android user interface. It can be a little slow at times and the camera isn’t fantastic.
But If you want to spend £100 on an Android smartphone, we’d recommend the Blaze. It’s certainly whetted our appetite for the company’s mid and high-end offerings now.