By April 7, 2011

Huawei U8800 Ideos X5 review

X5-frontChances are, if you have had a broadband dongle in the past then it may have been made by Huawei. Having built a rock solid foundation with 3G dongles over the years Huawei are sailing, full steam, into the mobile phone world. Much like HTC did, years ago. With a few phones out over the last few years, mainly rebranded by the networks to their own brand, Huawei are looking to make their name known as a phone manufacturer.

The 10 second review:

  • Device: Huawei U8800 Ideos X5
  • Price: £229 Sim free
  • Summary: Generously proportioned Android device
  • Best of:  Screen size, weight, price
  • Worst of: Camera performance

What’s in the box?

  • Huawei U8800 Ideoa X5
  • Mains charger
  • 1500mAh battery
  • Earphones and microphone combo
  • USB to micro USB cable
  • Manuals & documentation
  • Some black cardboard


Huawei U8800 Ideos X5 Specification:

  • 2G Network: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
  • 3G Network: HSDPA 900 / 2100
  • Weight: 160g
  • Display: 3.8″ Capacitive TFT touchscreen, 256K colours
  • OS: Android 2.2 Froyo
  • MicroSD card slot: up to 32GB
  • Supports HSPA+
  • WLAN: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth: Yes v2.0 with A2DP
  • 512MB RAM
  • 4GB internal storage
  • Camera: 5 MP, 2592 x 1944 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
  • Secondary Camera: VGA
  • Proximity Sensor
  • G-Sensor

Matt’s unboxing of the X5 here and again here. Whadda guy!


We have seen the Ideos X5 before, quite some time ago and, to be honest, it didn’t work. However, now it’s back and looking quite good!! The black gives the device a rather sexy appearance that other colours could not achieve. The device has a large, clear and impressive 3.8″ Capacitive TFT touchscreen. Bright, vibrant and glossy. Unfortunately it’s a fingerprint magnet. Then again, in this day and age were a monkey can be shot into space, what phone doesn’t show up impressive smudges? Added to the sex appeal is the flush screen and the touch sensitive back, menu, home and search buttons all run along the screen base. I’m not really too much of a fan of touch sensitive buttons, I prefer a tactile approach and here is a good example of why, the buttons are much too easy to press by accident.

Huawei U8800 Ideos X5 review -angled-left

On the bottom is the MicroUSB port and a little hole for the microphone.


Huawei U8800 Ideos X5 review-bottom

On the top is a power button, very handy for turning the device on. There is also a 3.5mm Headphone socket, very handy if you want to use headphones with a 3.5mm jack.

Huawei U8800 Ideos X5 review-top

On the left is the volume rocker. As you can probably surmise, this allows the user to interact with the volume. You can turn it up if it’s too low and even turn it down if it’s too loud. Of all the features this phone has, this is one of the most routine.

Huawei U8800 Ideos X5 review-left

On the back there is no Huawei logo, interesting as it is on the box. Instead there is Ideos X5 written in white and “with Google” further up the phone. The white writing helps distinguish the lettering from the black shading of the rubbery cover, a bit of a wise decision as printing this in black could have rendered the branding useless. At the top of the back is the camera lens, LED flash and loud speaker. The speaker is servicable if a little ropey when on highest volume. There will be some crackle on high notes, slightly disappointing.


When it comes to build quality, it’s well made. Whilst not as well refined as an HTC handset I would say that it’s more solid than any of the recent offerings from Samsung. The polished plastic around the bezel and the rubberised back panel really help to hide a lesser build quality than the premium handsets on the market.

The camera is one of the biggest let downs. When set to automatic there appears to be a huge lag between what you are taking a picture and what you actually get. Even in ideal conditions this camera struggles. Take for example the picture of the back of the dog. Buddy, the hound, sat posing, smiling for the camera. I pressed the button and the image stored is easily 3 seconds later. Low level light photographs are no different. The camera has a nasty habit of over compensating. Too many colours will result in distortion and blurring. I have seen worse, but not in a long time.








Running Android 2.2 Froyo the device runs very nicely.  Huawei have spent a lot of time making this as smooth and fluid as possible. It really shows. Swiping from menu to menu, even opening the app drawer is a pleasure, this is one of the most smooth transition displays I have seen on an Android phone. When starting an app the appear instantly, something which over time I dare say will stop happening when the device is loaded with apps. Given the time of the X5’s release and the effort Huawei have put into making the device competitive I would guess 2.3 is a realistic option for the future. It’s important to point out that the Ideos X5 runs a Vanilla version of Android. Great for some but many might be put off as they will be hoping for a good looking UIs, such as HTC Sense.

One slight problem I notices for a short period was that the phone randomly reset. Some might be able to blame an app but not this time. During the early testing phase before I had installed any apps or customisation. I might even go as far to say that it stopped once I had bundled on a few apps and synced my Google account.

I was surprised at the storage of 2GB internally, I wasn’t expecting much more than 512mb. There is the option of a microSD card, giving it the possibility of up to 32GB. There is some content to get excited over however, one you realise that it’s just timed demos for Gameloft games you soon remove them. Actually, pretty crappy Gameloft games too, like Ironman. Oh, wait I said surprise, now I’ve ruined it. Sorry.

The battery life is quite good when compared to other Android handsets. I managed to get a little over a day on medium to high usage. This would be about even with my Nexus One, possibly a little more. However, I’ll say it took a bit of time before the battery was broken in. The first few days I saw it’s rapidly decrease in a matter of hours, so give it time.

Overall, I quite liked the device. Aside from the mucky camera the rest is rather respectable. Originally the handset debuted at £250, which is a bit steep. You could pick up an HTC Desire for that. However, it has dropped considerably and you can even find it for around £210. For that price it’s worth considering. Huawei have done a pretty good job here and ought to be proud of themselves. I would say that in the future there will be a firmware update that will sort the camera problem. Once done, if you can handle the 800mhz processor then you are on to a winner.

Review by: Gareth

Posted in: Phones, Reviews
Tags: ,

About the Author:

Seasoned tech blogger. Host of the Tech Addicts podcast.
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