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Updated: February 16, 2012 18:56 IST

Huawei Ideos X3 review

Mahananda Bohidar
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Huawei Ideos X3. Photo : R. Ravindran
Huawei Ideos X3. Photo : R. Ravindran

Most smartphone manufacturers are now busy upgrading their flagship products. They are working on quad-core processors, better cameras, more intuitive apps and trying to deliver an improved experience for anyone who can splurge on a smartphone.

Consequently, anyone who doesn't have the moolah for one has to compromise heavily on the features that they can expect from a budget handset.

They usually have to make do with average build and call quality, a poor camera and a bad interface. Huawei, which is only a few years old in the smartphone market is currently focusing on a line of products that offer more than your usual bunch of features and come at a price that's not going to see you pull out three months' worth of savings in the bargain. The Huawei Ideos X3 is the latest handset that fits the bill.

App talk

A compact smartphone, the Ideos X3 weighs in at a little more than 100 grams. The handset is enveloped in a soft rubberised layer which makes for an easy grip. A thin strip of metal runs around the fascia and houses the main ‘Home' key. You can browse around the functions with the three touch-sensitive buttons on the fascia.

The USP of the Ideos X3 are the apps that the company has pre-installed. Huawei's proprietary ‘Streams' lets you stay logged in to up to four social networks at a time – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. The main window makes for a quick, convenient glance at the latest news feed and updates from all four websites. Once you log in to ‘Streams' your SNS messages also pop up on your SMS inbox. So right after your threaded text messages will be Facebook messages arranged in chronological order.

The first of its kind, the Ideos X3 comes with Huawei Cloud+ beta that lets you store up to 16GB worth of data in the cloud. It also automatically backs up your data and helps you locate your handset remotely in case you lose it. When you register yourself on the Huawei Cloud+ platform, you can store data on the cloud by logging in to hicloud.com. It gives you a platform to arrange and sync your contacts, store or transfer pictures from your phone to the Gallery. ‘Hispace' is a collection of apps that you can download on to the Ideos X3. You can log in to the same web site in case you misplace your handset. The software also gives you the freedom to restore important data and erase personal information remotely.

Another app that the company offers is ‘Message+', an IM service that lets you indulge in free pings with all your contacts (who have access to the same service).

Huawei Music is the native music player on the Ideos X3. It supports the most popular file format, Mp3, unlike the default player on most Android handsets.

The virtual keypad on the Ideos X3 isn't without its share of glitches. The number of times the keyboard registered a character that we hadn't intended it to, was surprisingly often. This didn't help the fact that one has to be really efficient on the 3.2-inch screen while typing.

You can use a memory card with up to 32GB of storage with the Ideos X3. The camera that the Ideos X3 comes with is a basic 3.2-meg camera at the rear and a front-facing VGA clicker. The primary camera gives very average results with its performance slipping under dim lighting conditions. Although colours reproduced under bright lights are close to original, the image turns quite grainy when zoomed in.

The Huawei Ideos X3 is powered by a 1,200 mAh Lithium-Ion battery. With regular use – a few voice calls, a day long connection to the Wi-Fi network and a bit of browsing – the handset gave us company for close to two working days, on a full charge.

One downside is the fact that the Ideos X3 runs on a 600 MHz processor and it shows at times when your operations on the handset slow down. Also, in the era of 1GHz processors, this might feel like a compromise at times.

We say

The Huawei Ideos X3 is great value-for-money, in terms of the variety of features that it offers. That is, if you can see past the drawbacks which include an unpredictable typing experience, an average camera and the occasional lags.

Love: Long battery life, cloud storage

Hate: Glitchy keyboard, average camera

Rs 10,229 mahananda@thehindu.co.in

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