The Huawei IDEOS X5 was, and still is, the cheapest device around with such amazing specs. I mean you can pick up this device for just under $300 at your local Crazy John’s and you’ll get virtually the same specs as an HTC Desire Z minus the $500 price tag. I’ve been quite excited to get my hands on the IDEOS X5, just to see if it’s not some crappy device that will break or stop functioning within a few months. I was pleasantly surprised to find the build quality is quite good and the software (vanilla Android with some preloaded games) works flawlessly. Hit the break for the quick review of this quick little phone.

Pros..

  • Cheap!
  • Fairly fast
  • Android 2.2 (Vanilla)
  • 720p video recording

Cons..

  • A little bit bulky
  • Capacitive buttons

Hardware..

Huawei are good at making hardware, there’s no doubt about it. Their bits of technology (antennas, etc.) are in nearly all of our favourite gadgets, so building a phone for them would have been an easy exercise. The look of the IDEOS X5 is very simplistic, there’s no wacky curves or sexy metal finish, as this baby is all plastic and still has a bit of weight to it. The device feels wide and thick in the hand which makes it somewhat uncomfortable to hold for longs periods of time. As for the internals, Huawei didn’t hold back: 800MHz Qualcomm Scorpion CPU, Adreno 205 GPU, 480×800 Capacitive Display, Wi-Fi b/g/n and HSPA 2100/900MHz. This device has all the internals of a mid-range device for a low-end price.

Build..

On the top of the IDEOS X5 is the power button and 3.5mm headphone jack and just below them on the rear of the device sits the 5MP camera capable of shooting 720p video at 30fps, an LED flash, loudspeaker and what appears to be a second noise cancelling microphone, which is always a win on devices nowadays. Below the camera is where the back slides off to reveal the 1500mAh battery, SIM card slot and MicroSD slot, which is hot-swappable. On the bottom of the IDEOS X5 is the MicroUSB connector for charging and mounting to your PC and the microphone. The left hand side is where you’ll find the volume rocker which has great feedback and easy to use when holding the phone one-handed. Last but not least are the four capacitive buttons below the 3.8″ Display in the order of: back, menu, home and search. I had a few problems hitting these when using the keyboard, but once you get used to handling the device this isn’t much of an issue.

Display..

Underneath what feels and sounds like a plastic screen over the front of the device is the 3.8″ Capacitive display with a resolution clocking in at 480×800, which isn’t too shabby. The screen, being capacitive, can handle 2 simultaneous finger touches at once, so it’s more dual-touch than it is multi-touch. There were no problems with the simultaneous touches crossing axes, meaning game play and apps needing multi-touch will work flawlessly. The display is also very responsive with not a single touch registering the wrong thing.

Camera..

The IDEOS X5 can shoot 720p (HD) video at 30fps, which is quite a selling point for a device at this price point. The video quality might not be top-notch, but hey it could always be worse. The camera is a 5MP shooter and test shots can be found below as always. Also note that the camera takes about 1-2 seconds to actually take the photo, so if you shake the phone once you’ve hit the shutter button you’ll be presented with a blurry shot. It’s even worse at night or in a dark place, it takes at least 5 seconds to take the shot.

[nggallery id=73]

Battery..

The 800MHz Scorpion CPU from Qualcomm is designed to use less battery power than the older 1GHz CPU found in devices such as the HTC Desire and Nexus One, so when you couple that with the 1500mAh battery found in the IDEOS X5 you get pretty reasonable battery life. I was pulling in the usual day of medium use (syncing on, listening to music every now and then and sending hundreds of texts). Like every other Android device out at the moment, you’ll want to charge the phone before you go to bed each night for use the next day.

Telephony..

With the inclusion of the second noise cancelling mic on the device, making calls in a noisy place is not a problem. I called people whilst on the busy train and the person on the other end said I was clear and the background noise was minimal. So yes, the IDEOS X5 can make calls easily.

Software..

There’s really nothing to say about the software on the IDEOS X5. It runs vanilla Android 2.2 (no news on 2.3, yet) meaning that it’s fast and Flash 10.2 compatible. The device comes preloaded with some software such as Documents To Go, Aldiko (eBook reader), Layar and some games such as Iron Man 2 and Bubble Bash 2. The default keyboard has been replaced with SWYPE which is always a nice addition as it allows you to swipe rather quickly to get words together and even works perfectly as a normal touch keyboard. Other than that it’s plain Android 2.2 with the Google Experience, meaning Google Apps + Android Market are loaded up and ready to go. If you like Vanilla Android and you like cheap devices, this is your phone.

Benchmarking..

As you can see below, the IDEOS X5 can really hold its own against some of the big players in the mainstream Android market.

  Neocore (Frames/sec) Quadrant (Higher = better)
HTC Desire 28.1 1240
Huawei IDEOS X5 45 1375
Sony Ericsson Xperia Play 59.8 1351
Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc 58.3 1579
Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo 62.4 1415
Motorola Atrix 54.1 2801

Conclusion..

The Huawei IDEOS X5 has to be the most powerful device in its price range, and I didn’t have an issue with it at all. Gaming worked, the software worked and the hardware didn’t offend me or anyone else. If you’re going for the higher-end of devices, this isn’t for you. If you’re after a cheaper Android device with specs that aren’t going to disappoint, this is the one for you. It’s even a good phone to have as a backup or for travelling with if you’re scared to take your pride and joy into the wilderness. The IDEOS X5 is well worth its $299 price tag.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Anderton/504726871 David Anderton

    Good to see test score table in the review!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Anderton/504726871 David Anderton

    One thing missing Buzz is sound quality of speakers and call quality.

  • Anonymous

    This phone is very tempting for $299. It’s better than the other alternatives in this price bracket.

  • Kiners2000

    its a pretty good 2nd or 3rd phone….root it and you are sweet

  • Anonymous

    Good review.
    A mate bought this one recently and couldn’t be happier with it. Really an awesome phone for the price.

  • Interesting……

    Good review Buzz.

  • Nozx

    I would recommend this phone to anyone wanting a cheaper priced android. Admittedly if this was available when I purchased my galaxy s and I knew what I knew now about the two I would have opted for it in place of.

    My younger brother and I went shopping for a phone and came back with this a month and a half ago. The screen while due to the smaller size vs the galaxy is clearer due to its smaller pixels…reading smaller txt is noticeably clearer. Also setting the same wallpaper highlights how green the amoled screen is on the galaxy so in many I stances things look better and more real in terms of photos and oversaturated and unnatural on the galaxy by comparison. It has a longer battery life on the X5 which is definately a bonus and freezes far less than frequently.

    I love my galaxy…its more powerful and sexy for sure. But this price brings a new level of competition, particularly to those less worried about aesthetics. Note: I found the X5 in some ways more comfortable to hold due to slightly less width/height and thickness aided to a less stretched feel you get with the larger screen on the galaxy ie. Stretching ur right thumb for the drop down to enable wifi. – Small things but good points to someone who uses their phone a lot.

    • Nozx

      Lol sorry I failed to proof read on the bus to work.

  • Odinsbiatch

    Uhh… isn’t 2.2 eclair?

    Or are you using the term “vanilla” as simple?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1332994767 Dylan Waghorne

      as in “default android,” like no skins like HTC sense, and fyi 2.2 is froyo :)

  • [MuffinMan]

    Really want this phone. I killed my ideos u8150 by falling off my bike over the handlebars onto it (given that a $160 phone was the only damage, I was happy) and now I’m using my friend’s old optimus… the resistive screen really is frustrating. This looks like a brilliant (but not too pricey) upgrade. I also love the fact that vanilla android just works.. the lg overlay keeps being weird and doing things like deleting my user dictionary. It also is hopeless at predictive text

    • Peter

      Not important really but U8150 wasnt resistive, I loved mine too, but the screen size was a bit restrictive, and RAM and ROM and processor….but I new that when I bought it, as it was my android test device, and I was sure as hell not going to buy a $600 phone and be locked to a network for 24mths while I checked to see if android would do what I wanted….It did the job, and made me want more, the X5 is a good next move..

    • Peter

      sorry , mistake didnt pay attention, resistive was related to optimus, I think I’ll shut up and go home….

  • Peter

    I bought this phone about a month ago after trying my first android Huawei U8150 and being satisfied enough to want to see what higher specs would offer. This is easily the best phone I’ve had, I’ve never been so damn satisfied with a device, for the first time my expectations for technology havent been left unmet. It must be the best value entry level android around, with a decent amount of RAM ROM and processor, so that there dont appear to be any restrictions on what apps will run on the phone ( including HTML flash video ). I’m finding now that I’m using it so much for downloading pdf docs editing ( with a great android market app ) and then if needed moving to PC, photo’s videos audio ( speaker is so loud ) This phone has exceeded my expectation, and changed the way I use my PC and phone…..it’ll take productivity and entertainment to a new level. Its weird getting a device and being so satisfied that I dont lust after another, even the nexus s, which I happened to look at a week ago, it didnt make me want at all. $299, what a deal, and if it matters to me in a years time I’ll get a dual core, I just hope I can get as good a deal with that as I have with this….

  • Emma

    Bought this phone on 31 March from DSE (today 2 May) and today the extreme right and left sides of the screen no longer respond to touch. On the keyboard this means the “go”, backspace and “.” are no longer available. Without “.” I can’t enter any more sensible URLs.

    Hmmm, DSE will look at it; they will replace it if the fault is confirmed by their technicians. Clearly there is no repair option. Gee suddenly the Nokia repair centres seem like a great idea.

    • Marco

      Hey i have this problem as well ……. What happened with your phone???? Did they fix it???

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  • Sam

    I bought mine from DSE 10 days ago for $299, and I’m happy with it.
    The only issue I have with it is WiFi, it connects to my home network, and gets an IP address, but it doesn’t browse the internet. Does anyone know what the issue is, and how it can be fixed.

    • Aman

      dse from australia? If so i am so going to buy this!

      • Grunger

        Yup and you can get it unlocked from Crazy John too.

  • Simon

    It has GPS too. Sounds like a very good buy. Are there any test units in Crazy Johns or Dick Smith to play with?

  • Mark

     Recent firmware has allowed for over clocking to speeds of 1.8Ghz stable, with CM7 on the way.

  • Michael

    Has anyone had the random rebooting issue? If so, what did you get done with it? I’ve had mine in for repair twice and all they do is ensure it has the latest software and give it back. Needless to say it’s not fixed. Otherwise, I really liked the phone. 

    • Siva

      Hello, I have a reboot issue. It actually started after I installed the firmware update a week back. Tried to reset to factory settings and back…. no solution… will take it to the service center… price to pay for buying a cheap phone at 350 AUD…

  • [MuffinMan]

    Whirlpool forums seems to indicate that Huawei have rolled out an OTA update which adds the Wi-Fi hotspot capability and apparently fixes the reboot issue.

    • [MuffinMan]

      What’s more, huawei have said via twitter that they are planning a gingerbread update, but no dates yet.

    • Siva

      It actually increased my reboot issue… have anyone faced reboot issue after the firmware update…

  • Markanski

    Mine still randomly reboots since the recent OTA update… but it did so before the update, too.  I’ve always thought that it might be one of the many apps that I have running in the background.

    • Siva

       I managed to identify some probable cause of reboot issue. I did everything possible to identify the cause. Reset to factory settings, installed recent updates, removed the SD card, removed all apps, did not use apps from SD card.

      Finally I found out that the reboot was happening frequently when I was travelling to Melbourne in the CBD area. it rarely occurs when I am at Sydney in my hills shire suburb.

      I also use Vodafone service. So it could be unreliable service from Vodafone at MEL CBD…

  • GolfCranK

    This phone is definitely one the great budget buys of 2011. I’ve had mine for 6 months now and with the dev support on xda forums it just keeps getting better. I am not great at mastering the dark art of modding but the X5 is so easy to work with due to it’s unlocked bootloader and vanilla android experience. I am currently running it on a gingerbread 2.3.5 rom called oxygen with a different kernel and a few other tweaks which make it run fast and silky smooth.

    Gps is first rate and all I use in the car now is my x5 with google navigation….. brilliant.

  • Markanski

    Further to my earlier comments, my reboots seem to occur when the phone is trying to get a wifi connection.

  • Jhscann

    I bought one for my girlfriend and it seems great. however there seems to be a problem with the microphone gain being too low in calls. everyone she has spoken to says they can’t hear her for her voice sounds muffled. Is this a common issue? Perhaps there is a way to increase the gain? If not then perhaps I should return it to the store for another one? Any ideas?