Gadgets Smart - and under [pounds]200 [Northern Echo (England)]
(Northern Echo (England) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) WILL 2013 be the year smartphones become an impulse purchase Some great handsets were released at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show last week but the big news could be closer to home.
You may not have heard of Huawei but it's already one of the biggest telephony companies in the world.
Until recently, this Chinese giant has been content to build handsets for other companies. Many of the "own brand" handsets sold by mobile operators in the UK have originated from a Huawei factory.
Now, however, Huawei is set to establish itself as a major force in the smartphone world and, if it succeeds, the days of pricey handsets could be numbered. Why Because Huawei plans to offer great phones at bargain prices.
Take the new G330 handset, a replacement for the much-admired G300. It's a smart slab of glossy black plastic with a bright and crisp 4.0-inch screen, a dual-core processor and 4GB of memory.
These are the kind of specifications that were cutting edge only 12 months ago, and it costs substantially less than [pounds]200. Give it a month or two and you'll probably be able to snap it up for [pounds]150. It's already available free on a [pounds]10 per month contract from Talk, Talk with a generous bundle of free calls and data.
Crucially, it doesn't look cheap. Several colleagues commented on how smart it looked and there's a pleasing heft to the handset when you're holding it. Some people even mistook it for the iPhone 4 - a mistake I'm sure won't disappoint Huawei too much.
The capacitive touchscreen has a 480x800 pixel resolution, not as good as Apple's phone but plenty for a pleasant webbrowsing experience, watching streaming movies and reading books.
Huawei uses the latest version of Android, Google's smartphone operating system, and has added some nice home page widgets such as the animated weather forecast, a quick launch lock screen and a comprehensive back up application.
The plastic back pops off to reveal a removable battery, a slot for a memory card (you can boost the 4GB of memory with an extra 32GB) and a full-size sim.
Google describes the latest Android OS as "butter smooth" and it certainly runs smoothly on the G330. Swiping screens revealed no judder or ghosting and web pages load almost instantly. Streaming video was smooth and sharp with no buffering. As it's a an official Android handset, you get full access to the Google Play store and more than 700,000 applications (many free).
If you're on a tight budget the G330 is a no-brainer. Yes, it's cheap but it's a handset you don't have to apologise for. In fact, it ran rather better than the HTC Desire I had last year.
Huawei has big plans for the UK. Cheaper and more expensive handsets are due in stores soon. If the G330 is any indicator we'll be hearing a lot more about this ambitious company in the future.
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