Huawei Ascend G300

Like other entry-level Huawei handsets before it, the G300 is excellent value for money. What it lacks in polish, it makes up for with its decent features and hardware.


8.0
CNET Rating
9.0
User Rating

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CNET Editor

Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies. Twitter: @Joseph_Hanlon


Design

At AU$179 (locked to Vodafone), the Huawei is a cheap phone, and it looks it. The handset is a little thicker than its more expensive competitors, and its two-tone white and silver plastic chassis isn't winning hearts in the CNET labs — especially with thick seams visible between the handset's various pieces. But then, this is like looking over a KIA car and moaning about it not having the same finish as the Ferrari on the lot next door: you get what you pay for.

The G300 is a comfortable handset to hold. For as deep as the seams are, separating the various plastic pieces of the chassis, these don't cut into your fingers when holding the phone. The plastic curves nicely around the edges so that the phone sits nicely in the hand. The power button is on the top of the phone, so it is easy to find with an index finger when using the phone with one hand.

It includes a 4-inch capacitive touchscreen, with a WVGA resolution. This isn't too shabby when you consider that the top phones of 2011, like the Samsung Galaxy S2, had 4.3-inch screens with the same 480x800 pixel resolution. Sadly, the quality of this screen doesn't match up to the Galaxy S2. The G300's screen is perfectly usable, but it doesn't look great, especially off axis. From directly front on, images look good — crisp text and decent colours, but even from subtle angles off-centre, the image begins to deteriorate. It is a fine screen for under AU$200, though.

It's ports and switches are all exactly where we'd expect them. Power on top, volume on the side. There is a 3.5mm headphone socket on top as well, and a microUSB port on the base for charging the phone. On the underside, you'll find the handset's camera lens, LED flash, external speaker and a second microphone, presumably to help cancel ambient noise during calls.

User experience and performance

As with the physical design of the phone, there is nothing particularly attractive about the Huawei Launcher software installed on the G300, but it certainly works well. Despite some visual jitters in the animated transitions throughout the system, we had no trouble using the G300 on a day-to-day basis. The combination of software and hardware creates a responsive canvas for users to swipe and scroll through. Powering on the phone from sleep is as near-to instantaneous as you can expect, and the basic system is ready to use straight away.

Huawei opts for a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor for the G300, with a single-core 1GHz processor and an Adreno 200 graphics chip, which serves this unit well. This zippy performance is also a product of Huawei using the older Gingerbread build of Android. Though this is now two-generations of Android old, it is probably the best system for a phone with this hardware profile.

During our tests, we recorded 4-hours and 48-minutes of battery life when browsing the web continuously on a Wi-Fi connection. This is a good result, helped in part by the size of the screen — with most new Android phones having screens slightly larger than the 4-inches here. We also like to run a continuous video playback test, but none of our standard testing video files would play on the G300. This might be something to consider if you are hoping to use the G300 as you own portable cinema. All in all, 4.5-hours of screen on time should be sufficient for most people shopping for a G300, we think.

It's also worth noting that, while some video files wouldn't play, all of our favourite 3D games did. We tested fast-paced games, like Riptide GP, on the G300 and they all worked fine and ran smoothly.

Camera

Snap-happy smartphone users will be pleasantly surprised by the images taken by the G300's 5-megapixel shooter, as we were. When in focus, the photos we took were pretty impressive: colours were rich, with strong contrast leaning towards being a touch too dark, overall, but it is still a pleasing effect. The caveat about focus is important to note, though, as more than half of our test images turned out too soft to be usable. Using this camera takes a steady hand.

(Credit: CBSi)

(Credit: CBSi)

(Credit: CBSi)

Features

For under AU$200, you really shouldn't expect much in the way of "value-adding bonuses", however, Huawei does manage to sneak a few onboard the G300. There's a few basics, like an FM radio and a voice recorder. The pick of the litter, though, is a Backup tool that can be used to back-up just about everything on the phone that you would lose after a system wipe. You can copy SMS, contacts, system settings and even alarms and bookmarks, all to a microSD card — though you will need to buy one separately to use this feature.

Huawei also includes a third-party keyboard with the G300, though we struggled to consider it a "value-adding bonus". Called Touchpal Input, it is one of the worst Android keyboard replacements we've come across. For starters, each key has two functions listed — usually a number and a letter. However, with both icons as larger as one another, it is extremely difficult to know accurately where you are placing your fingers. Even for the CNET team, with years of QWERTY keyboard use under our belts, we still hesitated with every keystroke. Uninstall and replace.

Overall

Like other entry-level Huawei handsets before it, the G300 is excellent value for money. It lacks a certain level of polish, but this shouldn't steer you away from a closer look if your budget tops out at about AU$200.



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Be posted a comment   
Australia

This phone is great!!!
Its FAN-tastic! It is cheap, does basically everything an IPhone does and doesnt break at the drop of a hat on a drunken night out.
What you loose in speed or programming from the mac or more expensive Android phones you GAIN in durability. It CAN do everything you want with some patience, though a little temperamental. Its a great phone for the average person who wants to connect to the net but is not a super phone wiz and doesnt need to look cool or have the latest gadgets!! The battery works just fine if you treat it right, by running it right down to the end.
I drop my phone all the time, spill water on it, over use it and confuse it, but it sill works!! Its never smashed, cracked or broken due to my super clumsy nature and its still reliable as **** when i need it to be! Its only cost £100!! I can not recommend this phone more, especially as an alternative to kids who want a smart phone, but your not paying £500 for one! Or for someone with young kids who throw your stuff around!

 

CarlosD2 posted a comment   

Nothing wrong with this phone. 4 in screen, 1 ghz, gpu and can be had for $100 from officeworks. Comes with update to ICS through the phone, (best research that first as there seems to be mixed results).

Only downsides for me are fiddly power button, and the battery cover is too smooth. Also removing the cover feels dangerous since it is so thin, (no bricks and mortar store seems brave enough to stock covers for anything other than the top four best selling mobiles.

Even for $170 you couldn't expect some kind of media blaster, let's be realistic here.

I got one for my mother since it has a nice big screen, and is responsive. It also comes with TouchPal keyboards which gives you 3 different types of keyboard and differing ways of using them, (for example swipe a letter up for that capital letter). Otherwise it was the default Android 2.2 keyboard which I had no problem with.

Locked to Vodafone, but unlock codes can be brought cheap off the net, or voda may unlock it for free. Good value foe $100

 

Sp Lo posted a comment   
Singapore

I think this phone is not worth the money. The battery life is very poor. 1350 MaHr. Phone is very hot after a short use. > 5mins. Equally hot when charging. This heat will destroy the lithium battery very fast. Touch screen is very in sensitive.
All these are not within acceptable. Avoid this phone!

ChrisP2 Facebook
9
Rating
 

"Great for the price"

ChrisP2 posted a review   

The Good:Price, Touch screen works, never locks up.

The Bad:Media player could be a little better with music.

I first owned the X3 which totally turned me off this brand because it's an absolute piece of crap, I was hesitant of buying this phone but it is actually really good. I have no problem with the keypad, you just have to remember if you want a number you have to swipe down and if you want upper case swipe up, for normal typing just tap the hole button, faster internet browsing compared to the X3 and receives a stronger signal everywhere. The camera takes a clear picture but lacks a few settings that probably aren't needed anyway.
The only problem I find with it is the media player doesn't have an equaliser and navigation through the player is all over the place and hard to get to things. It gets songs out of their correct order for some reason and Shuffle All turning itself on all the time makes it worse. the media player on the X3 was bad but the Ascend G300's is worse.
Apart from the media player, this is a really good phone, never locks up, runs smooth... I like it.




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User Reviews / Comments  Huawei Ascend G300

  • Be

    Be

    "This phone is great!!!
    Its FAN-tastic! It is cheap, does basically everything an IPhone does and doesnt break at the drop of a hat on a drunken night out.
    What you loose in speed or p..."

  • CarlosD2

    CarlosD2

    "Nothing wrong with this phone. 4 in screen, 1 ghz, gpu and can be had for $100 from officeworks. Comes with update to ICS through the phone, (best research that first as there seems to be mixed res..."

  • Sp Lo

    Sp Lo

    "I think this phone is not worth the money. The battery life is very poor. 1350 MaHr. Phone is very hot after a short use. > 5mins. Equally hot when charging. This heat will destroy the lithium bat..."

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