Huawei Ideos

With a rich feature set and a great user experience, the Ideos raises the bar for smartphones — not just budget models, but also those that cost five times as much.

CNET Rating
User Rating

About The Author

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


It's small and its interchangeable battery covers are garish, but it's really hard to tell that the Ideos is such a cheap phone. The Huawei Ideos is one of the company's first phones in Australia to be sold under its own name. Huawei products have been available down under for years — in fact, most of the re-badged USB modems available from telcos are Huawei modems. To introduce itself to market, Huawei (pronounced whar-way) is trying something drastic: it's selling full-featured smartphones for well under AU$200.

The Ideos packs a smallish 2.8-inch screen with a 240x320-pixel (QVGA) resolution. This might sound like a reason to run screaming in the opposite direction, but we've been happily surprised by how clear and colourful things look on this display. The touchscreen is also very usable. Huawei has opted for the more sensitive capacitive touch technology here and the results are a premium-feeling user experience.

Under a row of touch-sensitive navigation buttons we find call and start buttons and a huge, circular navigation pad. There's also a 3.5mm headphone socket for connecting your favourite headphones and a 3-megapixel camera lens on the back.

What's in the box?

Just how much phone do you get for AU$160? You'd be surprised; as surprised, perhaps, as we were. Firstly, you get all of the standard smartphone connectivity hardware you'd expect to find in phones. There's HSDPA, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, micro USB and a microSD card slot for expanding the memory. The 3G radios are compatible with the 900MHz and 2100MHz spectrums, so it's fine for the VHA and Optus networks, but it's not Next G compatible.

The Ideos runs on Android 2.2 (Froyo), which is big news in terms of features and performance. It comes preloaded with the standard Google apps like Maps and Gmail, plus tools like Facebook and Twitter pre-installed. There's also an FM radio to complement your own music playlists.

We also can't forget to mention that with Google Maps Navigation the Ideos becomes a fully-functional turn-by-turn navigation device. This isn't a feature exclusive to this handset, and there'll never be a car mount made specifically for the Ideos, but for AU$160 this is a pretty good deal.

So, what doesn't it do?

As you'd expect there are a few limitations to a phone at this price, and considering it does the basics so well, these shortfalls are worth pointing out. The Ideos makes use of a 528MHz processor and 256MB RAM, which is roughly half the power of phones like HTC's Desire and the Samsung Galaxy S. This hardware is more than sufficient for basic everyday tasks, but advanced, graphic-intensive tasks will grind the poor Ideos into the realm of the unusable.

We ran a few common tests with the Ideos, installing both Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds to see if it could cope with some of the Android Market's most popular titles and found that both were unplayable. We also pushed the media player in this phone with a 720p video file, and while it would launch, the speed of playback was unwatchable. It's hard to see these problems as considerable drawbacks in such a cheap phone, but we can see how its target teen market could be disappointed to know that their shiny new smartphone won't be capable of playing the latest mobile games.

The 3-megapixel camera will also disappoint anyone hoping to capture life's impromptu moments. This camera is absolutely bare-bones, there's no flash, no auto-focus and limited user controls. The only upside as far as we can see is that the photo preview is very accurate — that is, through the viewfinder you can see exactly how terrible your photo will turn out before you press the shutter.


The Ideos is a rare beast; a budget phone that comes packed with the same features you'd expect in a phone for at least twice as much money. This money is saved in the quality of the screen and the power of the hardware, but for people who just want to add web browsing, social networking and email to their standard phone use, you won't know the difference. The basic user experience is of a high quality, and the phone itself feels nice to use. The Huawei Ideos definitely sets a new standard in what we can expect from a phone in this price category.

Previous Story

New Android Market incoming

Mobile Phones
Next Story

Save your Android battery life

Add Your Review 82

* Below fields optional

Post comment as

davidharris74 posted a comment   

itnot te worst phone but a companie being born I would like to know id this companies make sim packs mirco and larger


"Waste of Money"

rhino68 posted a review   

The Good:Nothing

The Bad:Everything

This is without a doubt the worst phone i have ever used on a scale of 1-10 i would generously give it 0.5. it is technically a cheap phone to buy, but works out expensive as you will either throw it away within a month or give it to your child and have to buy yourself another one


ThulaniM posted a comment   

The good....very cheap

The bad....its worth the price

The phone is to small,the software does not work well.Some apps dont work.

ShaneT2 Facebook

ShaneT2 posted a review   

The Good:cheap

The Bad:feels cheap

Slow, clunky, screen so small you can hardly read. Larger apps take forever to start.


PatrickW1 posted a comment   

What are you people on about? I have a Huawei Ideos U8150 That i bourght for $60.oo.(NEW) at Aldi"s.(my first smartphone).& It"s Fantastic. I have"nt had Any of the problems i have just read about. Nothing wrong with it. My battery last"s all day.(and i still use it alot). Also have Huawei Sonic and It"s Geat as well. My Dongle3G Broadband/my WIFI modem are also made by Huawei. and havent had any problems with them.Did you know Huawei has been makeing electric part"s and stuff for along time. thay make alot pf stuff for Apple Iphone and other brand"s(for Year"s. You just have never hear of them before.


GabrielleR posted a comment   
New Zealand

this phones camera is only in black and white i just got it and want to knw wheather this is a dudd or hw do i make it change it to coloured fotos? iv checked the sepia ect options it says nothing/!!!! help


azurejasper posted a comment   

I've had this phone for exactly 13months & 24 days... of course, the warranty is only 12months!

just last week this phone crapped out, and now won't charge or turn on... have tried a different charger but it's had it...

when I first bought it I thought it was good value, but now, just over 1 year later, its just more useless landfill... I don't think I'll buy another cheap (sub AU$200 or AU$300) smartphone - spending that much every year just isn't fair... and you just know the manufacurers make them to die.

In fact, I read the warranty card of this phone, and it actually states that the warranty is 12months from the date of purchase, or 15months from the date of manufacture - that's outrageous! So you just know that from the time the put the thing together, it'll only last 15moths... not cool :(


"cheap, programmed to die 15months from manufacure"

azurejasper posted a review   

The Good:not much.. cheap, almost capable...

The Bad:battery (needs constant charging), speed, sound, lifespan

I've had this phone for exactly 13months


"great low end smart phone"

s1z3r posted a review   

The Good:the capacitive touch screen, price

The Bad:camera

this is a great low end smart phone and i would recommend it to any first time android users, i got this phone on prepaid virgin for $79 at dick smith. its great how this phone is cheap but packs features from a high end phone! and the capacitive touch screen makes using the phone a whole lot easier and comfortable!

NathanB8 Facebook

"Worst phone on the market"

NathanB8 posted a review   

The Good:Nothing - android cant run on this thing

The Bad:everything

Android cant run on this weak phone.

If you dont mind waiting 2 minuets every time you want to do something on this phone and dont mind that only half the games work on it because of the little processor it has then i guess you could live with it.

but for an extra $200 you can actually enjoy your phone.

i see this phone as just a bad name to android. it was my first android phone and i wanted to throw it out the window everyday. i was lucky someone gave me a real android phone, then i realized android is great.

Sponsored Links
CNET's latest

User Reviews / Comments  Huawei Ideos

  • davidharris74


    "itnot te worst phone but a companie being born I would like to know id this companies make sim packs mirco and larger"

  • rhino68



    "This is without a doubt the worst phone i have ever used on a scale of 1-10 i would generously give it 0.5. it is technically a cheap phone to buy, but works out expensive as you will either throw..."

  • ThulaniM


    "The good....very cheap

    The bad....its worth the price

    The phone is to small,the software does not work well.Some apps dont work."

CNET Speedtest

More Mobile Phones

Recently Viewed Products