Huawei is one of those companies that have specialised in the manufacture of mobile handsets, for quite sometime now. They only recently made a debut in the Indian market, but failed to impress the community seeing as their U8-150 budget Android device was far from perfect. The U8800 aka X5 was just launched in the mid-range segment and has the definite potential to redeem the company’s standing. Here’s a closer look.

Form Factor
The X5 is a pleasant looking mobile phone with a very down-to-earth feel. The ovalesque design form makes it comfortable to handle and at just 130 grams it’s not a heavy device in your pocket. The slightly rubberized rear and black chrome finish for the front also gives it a very funky look and feel and the absence of physical keys makes it quite modern, for lack of a better term. The only buttons available on the X5 are the Power/screen lock key on the top near the 3.5mm handsfree socket and the volume/zoom rocker on the top left side. The micro USB/charging port is located at the bottom. The IDEOS X5 is also equipped with a hot-swap micro USB slot under the rear panel and incidentally also features 2GB of internal storage.

Quite slim and curvey

The one flaw with the design, which can be excused is the slight protrusion of the camera lens at the rear. It’s a 5 megapixel autofocus camera with an LED flash that’s strapped on. The 3.8-inch capacitive TFT LCD is supposed to be finger print resistant and truth be told, it is to quite an extent. But like similar displays boasting of this surface technology, including the iPad, it’s not 100%. The resolution on the display is 480 x 800 with 16 million colors making it crisp and clear, but not altogether perfectly visible in bright sunlight conditions. 

3.8-inch disdplay with a 480 x 800 pixel res

3.8-inch display with a 480 x 800 pixel res

With a simple, yet tasteful form factor, the IDEOS X5 comes off as a handset that that could be one to beat in its price segment. But design is one thing, lets move on to its performance.

Features and Performance
Running Android 2.2, aka FroYo out of the box on a 800 MHz Scorpion processor coupled with an Adreno 205 GPU, the IDEOS X5 is a very capable smartphone. The stock UI is quite basic and initially seemed to have a bit of lag while traversing through the menus. One quick reset later and everything was ‘A-ok’. Just to compare though, I tried a couple of free third party UI’s as well and the experience was just as good – functionality was smooth with no lag and activating apps was also a seamless process. Multitasking and handling of heavy files also proved to be a non-issue with the IDEOS X5. Huawei has also thrown in Swype for text input, which could drastically speed up your typing once you get the hang of it.

FroYo out of the box

FroYo out of the box

The IDEOS X5’s media prowess leaves a little to be desired. Even with the added bonus of an SRS WOWHD preset and a few others, I found the decibel level to be just a little low for my taste. Audio quality was, however, quite clear with a set of balanced tones making their way out. The bass line is expanded quite well with SRS WOW and you’ll wind up with bass heavy tone quality, but nevertheless still quite well rounded . By contrast though, video playback volume via RockPlayer was no problem and I was able to hear dialogue clearly enough even in a crowded train. The bundled handsfree kit is not really up to par though and you should consider buying a better set of earphones, at least. The X5 doesn’t come with bundled support for XviD and DivX codecs, so you’ll have to go with Moboplayer or RockPlayer for additional file support. 720p files played without a hitch and watching videos on the 3.8-inch display with the resolution that it supports was nothing to complain about.

The IDEOS X5 is well equipped for connectivity with 3G, EDGE, Wi-Fi with a hot-spot option as well. Other connectivity settings included USB tethering, Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP and USB 2.0.  Although, Huawei hasn’t included any GPS software with the device the X5 does have a GPS module, which can be used with Google Maps. All of Google’s corresponding location based services – Latitude, navigation and Places are on board. Google Earth is also thrown in for good measure.

Full web experience

Full web experience

Huawei has also included ‘Shopper’, which is a Google app that functions just like Goggles. It captures bar code data or images of products, CD cover art etc. and provides all kinds of details on the same including location details for purchase. It also incorporates Google’s Voice Search feature. Google talk is also provisioned for. Along with the native browser, Layar, the augmented reality browser is also thrown in. With Flash 10.3 support the mobile web is a much better experience. HiSpace is Huawei’s own version of the App market with a few choice apps selected that would possibly be good for the X5.

Misc. Features
Some of the extras, aside from Android basics like the clock with an alarm function, a file manager, calendar that syncs with Google etc. include – Aldkio for eBooks, Documents to Go, RichPad and notepad (either could be considered redundant) and Voice dialer are included. There’s not much else worth mentioning.

Google shopper for shopoholics

Google shopper for shopoholics

The 5 megapixel camera is nothing to write home about and is, simply put, quite average. For some reason viewing subjects on the display shows up with a sort of purplish hue. Settings include – macro, white balance, a few scene modes and geotagging. The X5 can also record video in 720p, which is really not the most focused of all mobile phone video capture.

Average picture quality

Average picture quality

Image quality is average for a 5 MP camera suffice to say, the X5’s camera is not its biggest asset, but it get's teh job done, although it's not quite as good as most others out there.

With its 1500mAh battery, the IDEOS X5 can provide you with just a little over a day and a half of usage that would include a little bit of social networking, email access, music, calls and messages. Stand-alone talk time averaged in at about 4 hours and around 35 minutes, which is not too bad.

Simply and functional UI

Simple and functional UI

The Bottom Line
The price tag on the Huawei IDEOS X5 is Rs. 15,000. It works out to be just a little steep, but manages to offer quite a bit of functionality for the price. Although, in this range, I would have expected a better camera and DivX and XviD codec support as well as a better set of earphones. However, as is the IDEOS X5 did manage to fulfill most other requirements satisfactorily, and if your budget is somewhere in this range, then this handset is a worthy consideration.

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