The Chinese telecoms equipment giant Huawei is definitely going to be a force for change in the smartphone market over the next few years. It’s no fuss but tech heavy G330 smartphone is a serious statement of intent.
As smartphones go I’m not really at all excited by the trend towards creating large screen tablet-esque devices almost five inches in size. I get it that the display technologies are pretty impressive these days and that people see their smartphones as mostly entertainment hubs rather than just phones. But either you have to have hands like shovels or have no shame being seen holding a tablet up to take a photo to really get with this trend.
It’s for these reasons I preferred the Samsung Galaxy SIII mini which has a 4-inch screen to the earlier 4.8-inch Galaxy SIII. I like to carry devices that fit snugly in my hand and don’t like to think I’m playing Twister with my thumb just to reach across a screen.
I think the smartphone manufacturers to keep an eye on over the next two years will come mostly out of Asia, and China to be particular, companies like Huawei and ZTE or foremost in this charge.
At the moment these companies have to contend with market flooding allegations in Europe in relation to modems and notions of spying in the US that call to mind the McCarthy era when it comes to just selling networking equipment.
The reality is you can’t beat market forces and Huawei, one of the biggest telecoms equipment makers in the world, is betting heavily on being a force in the smartphone market.
In July it launched its first branded smartphone in the Irish market, the Ascend G300 which ran on Android Gingerbread 2.3 on the Vodafone network.
Huawei’s latest smartphone to enter the Irish market, the G330, runs Android Ice Cream Sandwich and comes with a 1GHz dual-core processor.
Design wise, it comes in black and luxury silver and on first sight appears quite plain and feels slightly chunkier and heavier than competing devices.
This is all a little beguiling, however.
I got to thinking about the kind of investments people make in their smartphones and I actually think the G330 is reassuringly solid and a very comfortable device to use. The 4-inch screen is the right dimension for most smartphone owners and I found the display on the device to be well-lit and responsive to touch.
The G330 comes with Huawei’s HAP 5.1 Android interface which enables one-step navigation to calls, messages and cameras from the unlock screen.
The display is capable of 480 x 800 pixels (233 dpi density) and 16m colours, again perfect for watching movies and viewing photos. It’s camera is 5-MP and comes with neat little additions like geo-tagging and auto focus.
The secret weapon in the G330 is its 1500 mAh lithium ion battery which is capable of 350 hours of standby time and up to five hours of talk time.
The smartphone is powered by a dual core 1GHz Cortex A5 processor and a Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset.
Like I said, I think the secret weapon inside the G330 is its battery, which gives you a day or two’s calling and surfing on a single charge.
I found the set-up much easier than other Android devices – I counted about three steps in terms of selecting a language, connecting to Wi-Fi and signing into Google. Okay, there’s a fourth step, registering with Google Play, but all in all it was faster and less hassle than I’m used to on other devices.
User experience is critical and I have to say I found it a very fast device and smooth devices to use. Apps like Google Maps really come into their own on this device.
Another revelation was how good Google’s Chrome browser has become. It’s amazing how well the browser performs and you can see why Google develops everything today from a ‘Mobile First’ experience. The ability to add tabs on a mobile browser and use a single window to both search Google and put in URLs is simply clever thinking.
I think the G330 is everything a smartphone should be – with all the smarts!
Don’t let its conservative appearance fool you (it could pass easily as a business phone), this is a device that is perfectly suited to an always-on digital citizen who enjoys consuming content, engaging socially and staying in touch at all times.
The Huawei G330 is available now on the Meteor and eMobile networks from about €149.