Huawei Ascend G300 review

Is this more than just a budget phone at a budget price?

Huawei Ascend G300
Pull the Ascend G300 out of your pocket and the smart design brings a smile to your face

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Let's be clear, the Huawei Ascend G300 was never going to be hot enough to set the world alight, but coming in at £100 (around $160) on PAYG, it's not going to burn a hole in your pocket.

Fitting a 1GHz processor, 5MP camera with flash and 4-inch capacitive screen into a phone at that price point is no mean feat, and hats off to Huawei for giving it a go and succeeding.

We liked

Just looking at the Huawei Ascend G300 you can see why we might like it. The chassis is smart, and has a certain HTC One X look about it, which for a phone at under 25% of the price is no bad thing. While not being the slimmest and lightest handset around, the weight suggests a sturdy build.

The capacitive screen is also very responsive, something that a lot of budget phones don't seem to manage.

We know it's also not anything major but we like to see Flash compatibility onboard as it's not something that's prevalent on budget Android devices because of lower-powered processors. The Huawei Ascend G300's 1GHz processor means that Flash - and all its upsides - are available, and it helps the OS to run smoothly.

It's also great to see the phone updated to Android 4.0. It seems a little unstable and we suffered a couple of app crashes during the re-review, but it's a vastly prettier and more capable operating system that totally refreshes the Huawei Ascend G300.

We disliked

That said, performance wasn't exactly at the blistering speeds that maybe high end phones have led us to believe should be everywhere. There was the occasional lag, especially when trying to operate the capacitive buttons below the screen.

The upgrade to Android 4.0 taxes the Huawei Ascend G300's processor and limited RAM quite heavily. Multiple tabs make the browser crunch and you'll often have to wait a few seconds for the home screen icons to repopulate and appear when exiting an app.

And the Huawei keyboard is difficult to use. We found that we were inadvertently swiping sideways and selecting different layouts. We also found that we weren't always hitting the correct keys and the autocorrect wasn't as good as others. We eventually ended up switching to the standard Android keyboard.

Final verdict

When you initially pull the Huawei Ascend G300 out of its box, or out of your pocket, the smart design brings a smile to your face, but it's not one that will last forever.

Yes, it works well and it stable for the most part, but it'll start to feel a little slow once you've installed a few apps and used the phone for a while, as the effect of constant mini delays and niggles with the Android 4.0 update gradually wear you down.

The budget market is a difficult one to crack, with other offerings such as the Blackberry Curve 8520, and a few Samsung offerings like the Samsung Galaxy Y around, all competing against last year's higher end models.

Elsewhere we have to mention HTC One V, baby brother to the HTC One X and HTC One S. While being more than double the price (£230, around $370) on PAYG, the HTC One V does come in at very similar monthly tariff.

Huawei has put in enough tech to make the stylish Ascend G300 very appealing at such a low price point, and with the update to Ice Cream Sandwich now available it even manages to keep up with future devices.

But it's probably time Huawei boosted the memory and processor a little, since the demands of Android 4.0 and today's ever-larger games and apps means it can struggle to offer a smooth experience, especially when asked to multitask.