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Huawei Ascend G330 - A High End Smartphone Player

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Huawei updates its popular Ascend G300 with a new budget handset, the G330

One of the more popular budget smartphones of 2012 was Huawei’s Ascend G300. At $150 SIM-free it packed in a four-inch screen and a 1GHz processor – both at the time of launch were specifications worthy of more expensive smartphones.

Hoping to capitalize on the success of the G300, the Ascend G330 is in fact only a minor upgrade, and one which fails to steal the limelight in quite the same way that its predecessor did.

Huawei Ascend G330

Huawei Ascend G330

The Huawei Ascend G330 features an updated processor in the shape of a dual-core 1GHz model, but this is supported by the same 512MB of RAM found in the handset’s predecessor. This means that while it runs smoothly for workday tasks, if you find you need to push the multimedia capabilities of the phone, or are a power user switching between multiple apps at the same time, it may complain and judder.

Storage is not a strong suit of this phone, either. With 4GB on board, the initial vibe is good, but in fact only 2.5GB of this is user accessible. You may well find you need to use a micro SD card to augment that, and unfortunately Huawei has not made the best job of locating the micro SD card slot. It sits underneath the back cover, and you have to remove the battery to get at the slot. It basically means you will need to fit in as large a card as you can get, because you won’t want to ever find yourself juggling cards on the go.

The build quality of the G330 is good in that the phone is relatively solid and tough. But aesthetically things aren’t great. Yes, the back is rubberized to assist with grip, but overall the impression is not of a device that is pushing the boundaries of industrial design.

At least the four-inch screen with its 800 x 480 pixels is sharp and bright. This is in fact the same specification as found on the G300. But it is still a pretty good spec as the budget end of the market is still cluttered with far lower resolution screens, even in the hands of some of the industry’s most prestigious names like Samsung. We’d love to see a 4.3-inch screen make its way into the budget sector, but for the time being, this will suffice.

The build quality of the G330 is good in that the phone is relatively solid and tough

The build quality of the G330 is good in that the phone is relatively solid and tough

“A neat lock screen gives you quick launch into the call log, messaging and camera apps”

Under the hood Huawei has chosen to go with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Slightly behind the times, as Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is very much in the wild, it is still a pleasure to see this version of the OS in a budget phone. And Huawei has added a few tweaks of its own without obscuring Android’s own primal goodness.

Huawei makes a bit too much of the fact that the BBC iPlayer app is pre-installed. It’s not particularly difficult to download this from the Play store onto other handsets. Perhaps people will be more impressed by EA Games’ Sims Freeplay, but here too we are nonplussed. To get to the game you have to pass a screen advertising trial versions of other EA games, and Sims Freeplay is also downloadable from Google Play.

What we do like is the inclusion of a DLNA app, file manager and All Backup which can be used to back up your SIM, contacts and other information. There’s a flashlight app too, and you can get to this by long pressing the home button beneath the screen when you’re in the screen lock app. This is the one true innovation evident on the G330, and is a feature we really like and would love to see other manufacturers emulate.

Bland design? The blocky design might look bland to some eyes. It does to ours anyway. BBC iPlayer: If you love catch-up TV, then the pre-installed BBC iPlayer app might appeal, though you can pick it up for free from the Play store anyway

Bland design? The blocky design might look bland to some eyes. It does to ours anyway. BBC iPlayer: If you love catch-up TV, then the pre-installed BBC iPlayer app might appeal, though you can pick it up for free from the Play store anyway

It is easy to change the number of home screens on offer – you can go between three and five, and a neat lock screen gives you quick launch into the call log, messaging and camera apps, as well as the ability to control music playback and that already noted torch feature.

Overall the Huawei Ascend G330 represents a reasonably effective update of the G300, but as we’ve seen with other landmark budget devices (like the famous Orange San Francisco), it is very difficult to pull off the same trick twice. With last year’s phone, any weaknesses were easily overlooked due to the handset’s incredible value. This time around, not so much. It’ll be fine for someone on a very limited budget, but it’s not a ground-breaking phone likely to grab any attention from the wider Android world.

Huawei Ascend G300 information

Performance: 3/5

Can judder if the processor is pushed, but fine for most tasks

Design: 3/5

Nothing special, and a little chunky for a device with this screen size

Features: 3/5

Some useful extras but nothing to make you go ‘wow’

Value for money: 4/5

The Huawei Ascend G300 is good value if the budget is really tight

Verdict: 3/5

Worth a look if you’re on the tightest of budgets, but there’s plenty of options out there with more to offer

Battery life

You might struggle to get through a day if you’re heavy on the media functions

Good for…

Web: The large screen makes the Huawei Ascend G330 ideal for web browsing

Music: You can cleverly control music playback from the phone’s lock screen

Text creation: The large screen means tapping at the keyboard is a comfortable experience

Sharing: A DLNA app is ideal for streaming from your Wi-Fi network

Technical specs

§  Operating system: Android 4.0

§  Processor: Dual-core 1.0GHz

§  Memory: 4GB storage

§  Dimensions: 122.5 x 62.6 x 11.2mm

§  Weight: 130g

§  Display size: Four-inch

§  Display resolution: 800 x 480 pixels

§  Expansion slot: micro SD

 

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