Huawei IDEOS X3 Android phone
Huawei IDEOS X3 review: An Android smartphone for $99. What's the catch?
- Bargain basement price
- Android 2.3 Gingerbread
- Decent design
- Touchscreen sticky and not always smooth
- Screen is glossy and reflective
- On-screen keyboard is tiny
The Huawei IDEOS X3 naturally makes plenty of compromises to deliver on its $99 price. The screen feels sticky to swipe and isn't always smooth, the glossy coating makes it reflective under light and the keyboard is tiny. Despite these limitations the IDEOS X3 remains great value for money.
Price$ 99.00 (AUD)
Chinese manufacturer Huawei certainly knows how to sell cheap as chips smartphones. It's latest effort is the IDEOS X3, which retails for just $99 through Vodafone. It runs the 2.3 Gingerbread version of Google's Android platorm and has a 3.2in capacitive touchscreen. As long as you don't expect it to compete with higher-end smartphones, the IDEOS X3 is great value for money.
Huawei IDEOS X3: Design and display
The Huawei IDEOS X3 is surprisingly well constructed. We like the soft feeling plastic on the back that doubles as a comfortable grip, while the edges and corners are slightly curved and therefore fit nicely in the hand. The silver edging around the sides of the phone is an attractive touch and the phone is light and compact so it will easily slide into a pocket or bag.
There are a few things we didn't like about the IDEOS X3's design, however. The rear plastic battery cover slightly creaks when pressed and the front of the phone quickly becomes a fingerprint magnet. The screen is tough to see in direct sunlight as its glossy and very reflective. We also hate the home button — it feels stiff and is not intuitive or comfortable to press. Finally, we like the extra large size of the three shortcut keys below the display (back, menu, search) but they aren't backlit and are not always responsive.
The Huawei IDEOS X3 has a fair sized 3.2in capacitive touchscreen. However, it sometimes doesn't register swipes on the screen when scrolling through home screens. It also doesn't feel as smooth or snappy as more expensive Android phones and will often select a menu item when you are trying to scroll through a list. In short, the screen feels sticky — it isn't as responsive as a touch screen should be.
Perhaps the worst aspect of the IDEOS X3's screen is its impact on text input. The default Huawei keyboard is tiny and cramped and the default Android keyboard looks even smaller. The dictionary and built-in spell check does help things, but typing a message on the IDEOS X3 is a pretty painful process.
Huawei IDEOS X3: Software and performance
The Huawei IDEOS X3 runs the 2.3 'Gingerbread' version of Google's Android platform, and it offers most of the features and functions of far more expensive Android smartphones. The IDEOS X3 has GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, a 3.2-megapixel camera that doubles as a VGA video recorder and provides full access to the Android Market for third-party apps. The IDEOS X3's limited processor means it won't support Flash, but it does offer enough grunt to provide pinch-to-zoom capability.
Huawei has slightly tweaked the standard Android interface on the IDEOS X3 without going over the top. The X3 has five home screens for live widgets and uses an attractive cube animation when swiping between screens. You can also touch the home screen overview button to see all home screens at a glance and dive straight into any of them with a single touch. We like some of the extra widgets that Huawei has added, like a clean calendar widget and a combined clock and weather widget. Unfortunately, the main menu uses ugly looking icons that can't be sorted automatically.
The Huawei IDEOS X3 has a modest, single-core 600MHz processor and just 256MB RAM so don't expect super performance. These low specifications combined with a relatively small screen means the Web browsing experience is vastly inferior compared to Android smartphones with larger screens. Although the IDEOS X3 isn't as snappy as faster, more expensive Android phones, it does perform reasonably well considering its price.
The Huawei IDEOS X3 has a microSD card slot for extra storage, located behind the rear battery cover. Vodafone includes a 2GB card in the sales package.
Battery life is very reasonable for an Android phone: the Huawei IDEOS X3 will easily get through a full day of use. This may stretch up to a day and a half depending on your usage patterns.
The Huawei IDEOS X3 is available through Vodafone stores for $99. It is also sold through Allphones, Australia Post, Big W, Coles, Crazy John's, Dick Smith, Mo's Mobiles and Woolworths retail stores in Australia.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- 2 Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- 3 LG G6 phone: full, in-depth review
- 4 Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
- 5 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Fake heads and robot probes: testing smartphones prior to launch
- Rumor suggests the Note8 will be a bigger S8+ that adds a missing feature
- Xiaomi's Mi6 has the Galaxy S7’s looks, the S8’s power, and iPhone 7’s camera for half the price
- Samsung DeX turns your Galaxy S8 into a shockingly good desktop PC
- Find My iPhone helps nab a thief at Coachella with 100 phones in his backpack
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
- Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSenior Functional Analyst - FinanceQLD
- FTPMO - Master SchedulerVIC
- FTSenior System AdministratorVIC
- TPMaster Portfolio SchedulerVIC
- FTDigital Sales Account Manager - Global Ecommerce BrandNSW
- FTIT Service Owner - Supply Chain TechnologiesNSW
- FTScrum MasterNSW
- CCProject AnalystVIC
- FTSenior Finance Business Analyst, Superannuation, WealthNSW
- FTSolution ArchitectVIC
- CCCommercial ManagerVIC
- FTHelpdesk AnalystNSW
- FTBusiness Analyst/Project ManagerQLD
- TPSolution ArchitectVIC
- FTApplication Support Analyst - Accounting SoftwareNSW
- CCSoftware ManagerVIC
- CCSecurity Architect Port MacquarieNSW
- FTCRM Technical Specialist (Oracle Eloqua)QLD
- FTData Analyst - GISQLD
- FTCRM Technical Specialist (Oracle Eloqua)ACT
- CCFull Stack Developers x4!QLD
- CCTest Analyst - Infrastructure - NV1 ClearanceACT
- FTTest AnalystNSW
- CCCRM Techno FunctionalistQLD