The Huawei Ascend G300 is aiming to challenge established budget devices such as the BlackBerry Curve 8520, Samsung Galaxy Y and even coming in at similar monthly prices as the HTC One V. Huawei is no stranger to producing a budget device, with the unlocked. Huawei Blaze retailing at £99 (around $160). The Ascend G300 does initially come locked to Vodafone, but also fights its way in at under £100 (around $160).
Despite some necessary compromises, first impressions are promising. There’s a 1GHz processor, large 4-inch 480×800 screen, and a flash for its 5MP camera. The front is almost completely glass, and the metallic chassis shows itself at the top and bottom. With an almost HTC One X look about it, a user will find three capactive soft keys just below the screen. Huawei’s opted to discard the search button, keeping only the Menu, Home and Back buttons.
At the opposite end of the bezel, there is a small LED light. It’s well hidden, but flashes whenever a user gets a message, and lights up when charging. The colour does change, and can be customised in different applications. On the top edge a user will find the 3.5mm headphone jack moulded smartly into the body, as well as the screen lock button. The left hand side of the Ascend G300 houses the volume rocker. There is a nice dip in the centre which helps a user control it. An uncovered MicroUSB port is located on the bottom, leaving the right side empty.
The smart design also extends to the back. Made up of the battery cover, between stylish white plastic that curves round the side, the back also houses the camera and flash, as well as the loud speaker, another microphone and the obligatory logos. Behind the battery cover we can see the SIM card slot, 1500 mAh battery and a microSD card slot.
Weighing in at 138g with battery, the Huawei Ascend G300 is not too heavy in the pocket and whilst not pointing to the lightness of slim high end devices, it hints towards a sturdy construction. The 4-inch screen is responsive, and bright enough to use outdoors. It can be said that the capacitive buttons are not overly sensitive, but it is had to press the buttons more than once to get a response.
Like most custom UIs, HAP 5.1 brings in custom icons and widgets. It also adds a nice blue touch to the standard android message boxes. The stock Android dock has been replaced with Huawei’s own, presenting a user with 4 icons. These can be changed to a users preference, but Huawei has chosen to initially populate it with the applications, dialer, SMS and browser icons. In the leap view, HAP 5.1 allows a user to have 5 home screens, which can get a bit frustrating and a user can select his/her default home screen. Switching between screens by sliding to the sides doesn’t come with fancy animations, it’s more like a carousel with the wallpaper moving with it.
HAP 5.1 brings with it a new custom lock screen, a very useful feature. A user can’t choose the applications that get placed on it, but there are unlock, camera, SMS and call log shortcuts. A user can pull down the notifications bar, and a user will find that Huawei has added power toggles, for Wi-Fi, data, GPS etc.
Huawei has added some custom widgets, usually being called “My….” such as My Analog Clock, My Calendar, and My FM, on top of some stock Android offerings.