Huawei Vision

The Huawei Vision is the difference between cheap and great value. The handset packs power and performance into a sturdy unibody design at a great price.


8.4
CNET Rating
1.3
User Rating

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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


Have you heard of Huawei yet? Seen phones bearing this brand at your local phone shop lately? Do you know how to pronounce Huawei (Wh-ar-way)? If the answer to these questions is no, then we suggest you read on. Though Huawei is far from a household name, a handset like the Vision is bound to garner some attention, especially when it carries an AU$279 price tag.

Design

If you are familiar with Huawei, you probably know it as the brand that makes the cheap phones. Until now, the Huawei phones we've reviewed at CNET Australia have been all cheaply built plastic handsets, some of which we loved, but only because they are so ridiculously affordable.

The Vision breaks this mould with a much more attractive and sturdy design than previous Huawei handsets. The company opts for a unibody aluminium chassis for most of the phone's body, with a tri-tone battery cover like recent HTCs. Only the bottom third of this cover is removable, giving access to the 1400mAh battery, SIM slot and microSD card slot, pre-loaded with 2GB of memory.

However, Huawei's most improved smartphone element is its display, with the 3.7-inch screen on the Vision far outpacing the screens on any in its budget Ideos range of phones. This screen is more like one you'd expect from HTC or Samsung, with a WVGA resolution, good colour and decent off-axis viewing angles. Most impressive is the curved glass over the LCD panel. This curve bulges slightly from left to right, following the line of your thumb as you swipe between home screens. Huawei says it takes 17 hours to curve each piece of glass, which is an amazing titbit, resulting in a somewhat smoother touchscreen experience.

User experience and performance

The main home screen in the SPB 3D launcher next to its 3D carousel mode, accessible by pressing the button at the bottom of the screen.
(Credit: Screenshots CBSi)

Keeping a smartphone to a price under AU$300 is remarkable when you consider the build quality described above, and even more so when you add a number of software costs into the equation. To give the Vision a first-class user experience, Huawei has licensed a number of third-party apps to enhance the phone's look and feel. Most notable is the SPB 3D launcher; a slick-looking home screen replacement that sits on top of Android. With SPB 3D, you get seven customisable home screens, plus a bunch of great-looking widgets. It's not quite as polished as HTC's Sense UI, but it is very close, and it has a number of similar elements to Sense, including great-looking weather presentation.

The SPB widgets look great, and are the kinds of tools that you'll use daily.
(Credit: Screenshots CBSi)

The onscreen-typing experience is also improved by an app called TouchPal, which features excellent early word prediction and some other really nifty typing features. If TouchPal or SPB 3D don't work for you, both are easy to switch off, leaving you with Google's default Android Gingerbread experience.

Powering the 3D home screens is a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and 512MB of RAM. This chipset also includes an Adreno 205 graphics processor, which is evident when we ran the Neocore 3D benchmark with the Vision and saw a result of 59 frames per second — a score on par with most of this year's biggest releases.

The Snapdragon chipset is the same option taken by manufacturers for last year's favourite phones, including the Desire HD and this year's Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc. Again, you can see how this processor stacks up in a comparison of benchmark results.

BrowserMark results

  • Longer bars equal better performance 34443 37971 34080 36458

The handset's 1400mAh battery is sufficient for everyday use, with a single charge lasting up to a day and a half of regular, business-day use.

Camera

If there is one area where the Huawei Vision is not like its more expensive competition, it's in the quality of its 5-megapixel camera. This shooter is passable for spur-of-the-moment photos, but its autofocus is quite slow, and its colour reproduction skews the palette of most images towards being bluer than they naturally are. It is a fair bit better than cameras we've seen from Huawei in the past, but it's a good step short of the competition this year.

The Vision's camera struggling with strong light sources.
(Credit: CBSi)

This photo turned out OK, but the colours shown are so dissimilar to the original subject. The blue halo on the moose thing is the LED flash, which should have been accounted for by the image sensor when the pic was taken.
(Credit: CBSi)

Sometimes the camera nails it. This picture shows decent focus and some great, vibrant colours.
(Credit: CBSi)

Browsing and multimedia

With a 1GHz processor under the hood, and running Android Gingerbread, we really weren't surprised that the web-browsing experience on the Vision is quite snappy. Connected to either a 3G or Wi-Fi network, pages load fast enough, and tricky web elements, like Flash and JavaScript, work fine. You will notice lower frame rates when scrolling over large, complex web pages, but it is sufficient for everyday use.

Multimedia is slightly disappointing, with the Vision failing to play a 720p video file that we use to test Android devices because it is in a universally recognised format. That the Vision wouldn't play it is baffling, given the phone's hardware specs, but it will also probably be an unimportant note for many thinking of buying this phone. There is no media sharing on offer here, either, with both DLNA streaming and TV-out connectivity absent, but we don't really expect these sorts of features in a phone costing less than AU$300.

We took a moment during our review period to test a few of the most processing-intensive 3D games on the Android Market, including the new Blood and Glory fighter from Glu Mobile. Happily, the Adreno graphics processor kept up nicely, providing a smooth gaming experience.

Should you buy it?

Although the Huawei brand isn't as familiar as names like Nokia and Samsung, the Vision certainly performs like a phone from any household-name phone maker. Huawei has done an excellent job of recreating last year's best phones at one of this year's best prices. The Vision packs a good screen and decent processing, plus Huawei chooses some excellent third-party interface options to bolster the user experience.

If the Vision has competition in this price range, it comes from last year's phones that are now available on prepaid. Vodafone has the Samsung Nexus S for AU$269 at the time of writing this review, and Telstra has the HTC Wildfire S for AU$199 and the Motorola Defy+ for AU$299. The Vision would be our pick out of a three-way race with those HTC and Motorola phones, but it's a tougher choice between the Vision and the Nexus S. Huawei packs quite a few nice software bonuses into the Vision, but you can't overlook the superior screen on the Nexus S and the image quality of its 5-megapixel camera.

Allphones is the exclusive-release partner for the Huawei Vision in Australia, and if you pop into a store to take a look, make sure you compare it to the Nexus S while you're at it.



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AvnilD Facebook
1
Rating
 

"Worse phone ever"

AvnilD posted a review   
New Zealand

The Good:The battery lasted half a day sometimes

The Bad:Too many to list here.

Bought this phone in December 2013 and have three failures so far. Worst phone i have ever purchased. Warranty doesn't cover anything as i got blamed for miss use every time i took it in. This phone can not handle average use.

 

MikeD2 posted a comment   

Mine Died yesterday it worked well since september but after casual reboots .. just died , no response to anytihing so i have a hard brick ... usualy i repair this type of phones but not if it's with a motherboard fried

 

Lumbofish posted a comment   
Denmark

I can now join the rest of you guys; I have 2 of these, and the first one shuts down occasionally; the newest one just died without warning today :-(
I'll NEVER recommend this model to anybody!!!!

 

JustinW6 posted a comment   

i bought this phone with great trepidation given the reviews here. i have been pleasantly surprised. it has the specs of phones more than twice it's price. i picked it up for $180 unlocked and while the camera leaves a little to desire, once you get used to it it's serviceable. what more do you want for that price anyway? i have always made sure to place it face down when charging to allow heat to dissipate from the battery and haven't had any troubles other than it overheating slightly and stopping charging one time. it does switch itself off occasionally but i attribute that more to the android OS rather than the phone itself. my wife's galaxy ace does this occasionally also. overall i couldn't be happier with this phone...especially for that price.

 

MarcoS posted a reply   
Mexico

Would you consider this a durable phone? I'm planning on buying a phone that I can keep for over 2 years.

mugilla
1
Rating
 

"Save your time and money"

mugilla posted a review   
Australia

The Good:I could have been very happy with this

The Bad:Just doesnt stay switched on, locks up and freezes constantly

This phone could have been great, when its on its great for me, but while its sleeping it is crap, utterly worthless, Freezes, shuts down 8 - 12 times per day always while sleeping. Have done factory reset many times and left it at that without any changes but it still just shuts down/freezeing while sleeping. Get no response from email to Huawei. Company should be prosecuted for selling phones that dont function, read other owners reviews and elswhere on the web and dont ignore them like I did, you'll regret it and Ive only had it for 2 weeks, it does run well while playing around with it but try carrying it in your pocket for 2 weeks ... Shame on you Huawei

SusanH2 Facebook
1
Rating
 

"Never buy Huawei - waste of time and money"

SusanH2 posted a review   
Australia

The Good:there is nothing good about Huawei, or Huawei vision

The Bad:every single thing sucks about Huawei as a company and the Vision

I am still arguing with Huawei to get a replacement phone. Having now read countless reviews where we all have the same experience with this dodgy, lemon of a phone, now I want my money back.
I dealt with one nice, smart woman at Huawei who tried so hard to get a replacement for me. She ended up quiting and told me that Huawei are the WORST company to work for. No surprises there. CHEAP, CHEAP, nasty, phones.
Stay away.

bigdaddy
1
Rating
 

"Tin can and string more relieable"

bigdaddy posted a review   
Australia

The Good:writeing this review

The Bad:decision to buy in the first place

This phone is poison as are aftersales support from manufacturer and retailer.
Handset would not turn on after 4 days of use regardless of charge or powersupply.

Retailer would not off early life failure, only 4 week repair, then to be told nothing wrong. Handset then lost by courier, jerked around big time by Huawei, Repairer and Allphones.

Naurally handset died upon return after no fix repair. Retailer insinuated I didn't know how to charge or turn on phone, Told I had to go through this 4 week process 3 times before Huawei would acknowledge handset was a lemon and refund.

Run for your life. Don't waste 3 months of your life on a 300 phone that never meets its design purpose of turning on.

 

Ellz0r posted a reply   
Australia

thats exactly what happened with me.

phone died after 9 days. got marked as a early life failure and got told they would replace it with a new one. 3 months later got it back saying they found nothing wrong with. According to the paper work it had been sitting at Allphones for a month under a different name, but Allphones clammed it just came in after several phone calls to them asking what was going on.

kwiggy
2
Rating
 

"Good featured phone that is unreliable and with no support available"

kwiggy posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Features for the price

The Bad:It doesn't work

I bought one of these for our daughter, and it has been completely useless. It just dies for a week or so

 

SusanH2 posted a comment   
Australia

I would NOT buy this phone. Ours started to have issues taking a charge when it was barely 2 months old. If we moved the cord around it would take a charge sometimes, then it stopped and the battery died. Allphones Chatswood, where it was bought, were no help and told us to call Huawei. Huawei took over 4 days to send a courier slip to send it to Roadhound service. Roadhound then never contacted us for weeks after reviewing the phone. And when we called them they were downright rude and said the USB port is damaged so the warranty is void. There has been no recognition that any damage to the phone was either due to a phone flaw or because it wouldn't take a charge. Allphones agreed when they checked the phone there was no physical damage to the port. Huawei say they will review but they sit on the case for days and never call us back as promised. It is now a month with no phone. The old saying "you get what you pay for" rings true here. Cheap phone, cheap body and port. We have had many blackberries, an htc and other phones with the same USB port charger and not one has ever failed like this. Crap phone, crap service. Stay away from huawei.

 

bigdaddy posted a reply   
Australia

You are not alone, at least you got 8 weeks use. Mine was 3 days old and same problem then made to feel it was my fault. "You must have damaged the phone" "You don't know how to work it"

Huawei, Roadhound, Allphones = All crooks.

MobileNoob
2
Rating
 

MobileNoob posted a review   
Australia

Would NOT recommend this phone. Had to agree that it looked awesome with all the cool features. It was something that i was looking for on a mobile phone. Cheap with all the great features such as video recording, a feature which my old phone doesn't have). Bought this phone to replace my iPhone 3. There was significant drop in coverage. The battery drains away too fast even though just on stand by mode (it last less than a day even though u don't use it at all, bear in mind with no extra app processes running at background, background light set to lowest). Phone warms up so much that at one point it automatically stops charging and notify me to unplug it from charger as it was overheating. The autocorrect for minor spelling error does not work when typing messages (only works when u switch to huawei default typing keyboard) (i.e. it has 3 types of input manner, u can choose either huawei default keyboard, android keyboard and the other...... i forgot the name). Talk on the phone for awhile (just normal calls like about 10 mins, the phone was significantly warmer than other mobile phones that i've tried before). Returned phone and will not consider trying it again.


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User Reviews / Comments  Huawei Vision

  • AvnilD

    AvnilD

    Rating1

    "Bought this phone in December 2013 and have three failures so far. Worst phone i have ever purchased. Warranty doesn't cover anything as i got blamed for miss use every time i took it in. This phon..."

  • MikeD2

    MikeD2

    "Mine Died yesterday it worked well since september but after casual reboots .. just died , no response to anytihing so i have a hard brick ... usualy i repair this type of phones but not if it's..."

  • Lumbofish

    Lumbofish

    "I can now join the rest of you guys; I have 2 of these, and the first one shuts down occasionally; the newest one just died without warning today :-(
    I'll NEVER recommend this model to anybod..."

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