Mobile phones have been in a transitional phase for a few years now. People want more features out of their handheld device other than just making phone calls and sending SMS messages. Currently mobile phones are divided into two categories, Feature Phones and Smartphones. Whereas Feature Phones simply make calls and SMS messages with the occasional games, Smartphones will do almost anything you want from web browsing to navigating via GPS. It is easy to see where the trend is going as more and more companies are releasing smartphones whether it’s Apple’s iPhone, Blackberry’s Curves and Bolds, Windows Phone 7 phones, or the slew of Android phones from manufacturer’s such as HTC, Samsung, and LG. Even Nokia is transitioning from its Symbian OS to Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 platform.
There are some people who have easily jumped the band wagon and have gotten the latest and greatest smartphones that cost around PhP14,000 to PhP35,000. Then there are those that are on the fence, those that don’t want spend vast amounts of money on something they might just keep in the box never to be used again. Or those that want to get their feet wet before plunging into the smartphone sea.
Huawei may just have such a device called the IDEOS. When I last saw the IDEOS phone during the launch, it was still using the 2.1 version of the Android OS. In between that time and them lending the phone to Techindustriya for review we were pleasantly surprised that they had upgraded it to 2.2 Froyo.
The specs of the IDEOS aren’t something to brag about. It sports a 528MHz ARM 11 processor with an Adreno 200 GPU. Memory consists of 200MB storage, 256MB RAM, and 512MB ROM. On the other hand, other features such as a TFT capacitive touch-screen display, GPS, accelerometer, proximity sensor, camera, 3.5mm headphone jack, and Micro-USB and WiFi connectivity are built in. Caveats are that the camera only sports a 3.2 megapixel sensor with no flash and that the touch-screen is not multi-touch capable. Speaking of the camera, the IDEOS does not have a dedicated camera button so for spontaneous moments, you’d better have the camera app shortcut on the homescreen.
Curiously for a touchscreen-centric phone, the IDEOS has three physical buttons below the display. The two buttons on each side are the Call and End buttons reminiscent of feature phones of the past. These two buttons work as advertised and maybe because of muscle memory, I frequently use these buttons when making calls. It is the middle button that has me really curious. It is actually two buttons where the chrome border acts as a navigational key and the round middle button is the OK key. To be honest, because of the touch screen, there is little use for the middle buttons it is more intuitive to tap and swipe using the screen. Also, right above the buttons are the touch sensitive icons for Home, Menu, Back, and Search which are more useful then the main buttons. Then again, for those that are more familiar with non-touch displays might find it more comfortable with it.
When I first got the phone and charged it. I was sorely disappointed with the battery life. I had GPS, 3G and WiFi enabled and noticed that only around 4 hours of use, it was already screaming for a wall socket. I finally found out that it wasn’t the hardware but the apps that I had installed that constantly use the data connection thus draining the battery life. After some tweaks, the IDEOS was able to last most of the day even with heavy use. With that said, the WiFi antenna of the IDEOS is still a huge power drain.
The way that the IDEOS phone is spec-ed and designed, I can easy recommend it as a gateway Android smartphone. It is easy on the wallet and perfect for those that want to transition to a smartphone but still doesn’t know how to take full advantage of a device. For a device with only 528MHz, it is snappy and responsive but be warned, it will bog down once you attempt any sort of multitasking. It works great for single tasks but is not powerful enough to take on full games such as Angry Birds.
On the other hand, once someone has mastered the capabilities of the Android OS, he or she will immediately find it lacking and would want more hardware. In those cases, it would be a perfect phone to convert people to the smartphone world.
Plus: Great size for a phone, Android 2.2, Snappy UI response
Minus: Non-multitouch display, No, dedicated camera button, Power hungry WiFi
Bottomline: A good transition phone from feature phone to Android smartphones.