Tag Archives: Huawei

Huawei E5576 portable 4G LTE mifi hotspot router


The E5576 is among the first Cat4 LTE mifi hotspot routers in the market.  The key change from Cat3 LTE is that possible download speeds have increased from 100Mbps to 150Mbps, while the uploads speeds still remain at 50Mbps.  However mobile phones have now moved beyond Cat4 in recent versions, but you will be hard pressed to the stated speeds with you Telco’s.

 Design

The E5576 compared to some 3.75G Huawei portable hotspots is chunky with a 15.5mm thickness, and a 150g weight, and the reason seems to be the inclusion of a higher capacity battery and improved Wi-Fi range.  However it’s still very pocket-able and compact in size.

IMG_20140824_090520

The device has a standard SIM (mini SIM) slot, where most phones are now featuring micro SIM or nano SIM’s.  However there are many markets where the Mini SIM is still in use, and Wifi hotspots and dongles tend to retain the mini SIM due to this reason.

IMG_20140824_090620

The device also has a built-in MicroSD slot, which can be access by the connecting devices similar to a NAS storage device, the storage is directly accessible if you connect it to a computer.

The device has a WPS button in case you don’t want the hassle of entering a key, or sharing the key but want to provide access to your hotspot to another person.

IMG_20140824_090727

The device features a 1.45″ OLED display that provides information of the mode of connectivity, signal strength, the battery percentage, if you have any sms messages, the network connected to, the time and most importantly the amount of data you have downloaded since the device was switched on.  The display is very easy to see both in dark and very brightly lit areas.

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The device also has a port to connect an external antenna if you want to boost the signal strength.

Performance

The important thing is how does it perform.  Testing any device for Internet speeds is not easy, as the only way is to compare against another device at similar time periods on the same network.  What I have done is tested the device in several locations using my telco provider who states their max speeds in burst mode is 40Mbps.

The other impact on this would be the inherent latency and overheads of accessing the device over Wi-Fi and the performance of your Wi-Fi hardware in the phone / desktop you are using to access this device.  To see if this has an impact I have also tried access the device from two devices at similar times.

I have also used several test products, as they all have different test modes.  My preferred tool is speedof.me (a web site) as unlike other tools it does not only test for ultimate speeds but speeds across different file sizes (we don’t always download large chunks of files).   My telco provider Dialog Telcom in Sri Lanka, is considered the fastest in our country, but the speeds offered by them tops at 40Mbps in short bursts, and hence is no way going to top the max capabilities of this device.  The highlight the device provides more than adequate performance, and i have achieved sustain speeds in the 10-15Mbps region when downloading from youtube using JDownloader with 10 streams per download.

Tool

Download Average

Download Max

Upload Average

Upload Max

Latency

Speedof.me

10.2 Mbps

10.2 Mbps

2.8 Mbps

2.9 Mbps

166ms

Speedof.me

18.8 Mbps

19.3 Mbps

12.5 Mbps

12.5 Mbps

158ms

Win8 Network Speed Test Metro app

7.8 Mbps

47.1 Mbps

0.8 Mbps

1.2 Mbps

200ms

SpeedTest.net

24 Mbps

13.1 Mbps

260ms

Battery Performance

The device features a 3000mAh battery. The battery is not removable, which is a strange decision for such a device.  Most personal Wi-Fi hotspots states usage times of 4-6 hours, the E5576 official brags a 10 hour usage time, though I feel this might be 3G usage periods as 4G can be very demanding.

My test for battery usage may  not be very formal, but compared to my last personal hotspot I had (the Huawei R201), the E5576 definitely has superior battery performance even when used in battery drenching 4G LTE mode.  So from an end user perspective I feel over 4-6 hours is easily possible from this device in 4G mode.  However for non-continuous use where i had many devices connecting it for occasional use, i could take it for a day easily.

No fancy capabilities such as wireless charging as yet on this device 🙂 The device comes with a micro USB to USB cable and charger, though you can charge the device through your PC USB port (which is what most would end up doing).

Variants

The E5776 comes in different flavors, as telco’s require some frequencies to be limited so that the device does not work across all regions.  Its important that you see what your local frequencies are, and also the locations you might travel if you are globe trotter and buy the best possible model if you are buying it privately.  The model I have with me is the E5776s-32 which is pure FDD LTE model, while other models also support TDD LTE modes, but have only limited FDD LTE band support.  Further this model is the only one which has a wide 3G band coverage, making it ideal for the globe trotter types.

The information on the  models I have extracted from http://www.store4g.com/huawei-e5776/

Huawei E5776s-22 4G LTE-TDD 2600MHz
4G LTE-FDD 800/1800/2600MHz
3G HSDPA/HSUPA/UMTS/WCDMA 900/2100Mhz
2G GSM/GPRS/EDGE 900/1800 MHz
Huawei E5776s-32 4G LTE CAT4 FDD 800/900/1800/2100/2600MHz (LTE B1 B3 B7 B8 B20)
3G HSDPA/HSUPA/UMTS/WCDMA 850/900/1900/2100 MHz (WCDMA B1 B2 B5 B8)
2G GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900MHz
Huawei E5776s-860 4G LTE-TDD 2300/2600MHz
4G LTE-FDD 2600MHz
3G TD-SCDMA/WCDMA 900/2100mhz
2G GSM/GPRS/EDGE 900/1800 MHz
Huawei E5776s-601 4G LTE-TDD 2300MHz
4G LTE-FDD 1800/2600MHz
3G TD-SCDMA/WCDMA 900/2100mhz
2G GSM/GPRS/EDGE 900/1800 MHz
Huawei E5776s-922 4G LTE-TDD 2300/2600MHz
4G LTE-FDD 1800/2600MHz
3G TD-SCDMA/WCDMA 900/2100mhz

 Administration

The application provides the usual web interface, and the default access URL is 192.168.1.1, with admin/admin being the username and password combination.

The application also has a MOBILE version which is a made to fit for a small screen, but note that the mobile interface has only basic features, and remember to load the desktop mode in your mobile device or you may feel that some options are missing in the device!  For instance you can’t define a new provider (VPN) from the default mobile view.

Areas of improvement

One area I feel that the unit has stepped back is the way you switch off the device.  If you hold the power button for about 5 secs the device shuts down the Wi-Fi, but continues to have its data connection on.  If you press the power button for around 10 secs the device shuts down.

It would have been more preferable if the unit had a separate button to switch Wi-Fi hotspot off, and kept the power button for the purpose of powering off only.  Pressing the power button for 10-secs is a bit tedious, but it has the advantage that the device is unlikely to get switched off by mistake when in a bag or pocket.

Conclusion

If you have a decent data package on your phone, and you do not mind using your phone as a hotspot, such a device is likely to be meaningless.   However if you have several devices, and want to share your data, this is an ideal device, and provides excellent performance, good battery life.  The Huawei range has a much better reputation for reliability over ZTE based on local experiences.

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Dialog Fixed Line LTE, good on the pocket, blazing speeds


Dialog Telecom made its name when it took the the risky decision (at that time) to go GSM when then the leading provider CellTel had practically monopoly on the mobile market with CDMA but was late taking up GSM by which time Dialog has successfully grabbed the market share.

The battle after GSM was the constant battle of who has the highest data network, with 3G then 3.5G and then 3.75G, so on, and now it has boiled down to who will be first with LTE as the earlier option of WiMAX has lost ground.   All in all whichever version of 3G you had and marketing teams blazed away on high theoretical download speeds, real download speeds did not differ that greatly and depended heavily on the coverage and area data consumption.

While the question who trialed LTE first may vary, Dialog has managed to get the LTE network coverage started in two cities, and offers as a fixed line service offering than a mobile offering presently.

However the fixed line offering is provided via a rather portable LTE Broadband router, which requires power but is still handy enough to be carried with you.

UPDATE (3-may-2013): Dialog have now launched a mobile LTE service but the coverage still limited understandably.

UPDATE (2-Feb-2014): Dialog mobile LTE coverage seems to extending to main cities rapidly and the speeds are remarkably different.   Interestingly the upgrade to LTE has also enable high 3.75G capabilities as well, but when compared to LTE there is no comparison on the speeds of downloads.

I just got the package more with the interest to see how LTE speeds were, as my recent trial of Etisalat with their fast internet highlighted that without the dual-band modem their speeds were still around the 3mbps at max, even though the modem could do 7.2mbps, only slightly faster than the performance i used to get from a Dialog 3.5G connection.  However owners with dual-band dongles have indicated they get very good download speeds.

Dialog had marketed the LTE as 4mbps upload/download, but my test easily surpassed this and the real world performance was also far better, however i am sure once there are more clients Dialog may put a cap on the speeds to the stated SLA.

However if we were to compare LTE performance of Dialog against what is on offer in other markets, the story is different and here i think its the bandwidth limitations main links the cause of the stifling.

Device

The device provided by Dialog is the Huawei LTE CPE B593u-91 model.  A bit more study highlighted that the B593 comes in many flavors (Refer http://www.4gltemall.com/huawei-b593-4g-lte-cpe-industrial-wireless-router.html) and has been available since 2011, and was also regarded as the first commercial LTE TDD wireless router.  The version provided by Dialog only supports two LTE frequencies. CameraZOOM-20130305215552315small

The device is a fully featured broadband router, including 4 LAN ports and 2 x USB 2.0 ports (one on the side, one on the back).  Supposedly the USB ports which supports external storage devices.  Hence you can create yourself a file server with ease by hooking a flash drive or external portable hard disk. Based on setting on the USB management option, the only system file formats supported are NTFS and FAT32, which should serve well with Windows folks, but users with other operating systems may not be as happy! The FTP server feature can then use the connected drive as the store for the FTP file server.

CameraZOOM-20130305215715851 - Copysmall

The device also support Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, though the test show the LAN cable performance to be better than the Wi-Fi performance.

CameraZOOM-20130305215727342small_cropCameraZOOM-20130305215742947small_cropDialog sales chaps indicated the device only works with 4G / LTE networks, however based on the specifications the device should also connect to 3G networks in the event there is no LTE network, however i need to test this 🙂 I did check the admin web app, and yet the modem does have Auto, LTE only, WCDMA only and GSM only.

UPDATE (3-may-2013): I took the device on an outstation visit and my fears were confirmed, Dialog has locked the device to be used only within an area and it does not work in other areas.  In addition the device does not connect to 3G networks even if you give the correct APN.  A bit more research also indicated that this maybe a firmware block on the device requested by the telco.

UPDATE (20-May-2013):  The dialog support team to dropped by said once the customer base for fixed LTE goes to 5000 they intend to merge the LTE and 3G directories, which will allow LTE connections to fall back to 3G when there is a problem with LTE.   How this will impact the performance of the connection will only be known when this merge is done.

UPDATE (2-Feb-2014): The Huawei LTE CPE B593u-91 only supports fixed line LTE protocol, hence it cannot work with the Mobile LTE or mobile 3G channels.  Hence the story of LTE falling back to 3G by the Dialog staff is “horse-shit” to say the least.. integrity.. yeah :D.  However on the mobile LTE front this is definitely applicable and relevant as your LTE device can fall back to 3G and 2G.

The device back panel can also support two external antennas, these are not provided with the package by Dialog, however extra antenna(s) can help improve signal strength, and would have a nice inclusion.

Speedtest.net Results

I tested using the telecom operators favorite tool Speedtest.net, however making a few changes to avoid getting two fake results.  Remember when testing make sure its not connecting to the local server, as in this case you are testing the local network speeds as opposed to your real download speeds.

Speedtest.net usually connects to a server close by and for Sri Lanka it usually picks up Chennai.

I also picked up a server from US, NY and tested it to see if the speeds were different and there was a market different.

Interesting that on all test the upload speeds were great, when in my usual 3G broadband the results were other way around.

One improvement compared to 3G over a dongle was that the LTE network was maintaining its speed even if many downloads were coming down, however this could also be due to the fact that the LTE network is still to get loaded, and there would be ample bandwidth to go around the current customers.

Machine/Device Browser Connection From Connecting Server Download Mbps Upload Mbps
Windows 8 Desktop Chrome Network cable Dialog Telecom PLC Chennai 6.42 5.35
Windows 8 Desktop Chrome Network cable Dialog Telecom PLC New York City 3.71 5.22
Google Nexus 4 Speedtest Android App Wi-Fi Dialog Telecom PLC Chennai 2.69 8.86

Interestingly the actual download speeds with multiple connections per downloads were even greater.  For example when i had JDownloader setup with 10 connections and used a mediafire and a YouTube links to test, I was getting a solid 2-2.5MBps.

UPDATE (3-may-2013): Something i missed earlier and have to update is that this is 2.5MBps, not Mbps, which means the speeds are 8x times that in the normal way we indicate speeds.  So this means the speeds were 16-20Mbps, which is blinding fast compared to all other forms of connections.  I used an unlocked dongle on my 3G dongle, and found that even on normal 3G Dialog can go up to 12-13Mbps when i was running similar downloads at around 4-6AM in the morning, this is without LTE mind you, however unlike the LTE line these speeds drop to 2-3Mbps at best during the day.

UPDATE (2-Feb-2014): Dialog Mobile LTE seems to be even faster, specially during off peak times when you can speeds surpassing 30-40Mbps.  Not sure if the performance of fixed line LTE has also improved, any subscribers who can confirm this?

UPDATE (Oct-2016): Now that i am back with an Dialog 4G LTE as my primary data connection, the speeds are still very good, though it drops during the day.  While not as fast as the the initial days, the speeds in the night are pretty darn good in my area.

Problems

UPDATE (20-May-2013): The speeds and all have gone shattering, when i noticed a regular drop in connection, and loss in speeds. I have been in contact with the dialog support team, and they had guys come over and check the device, and they seem unable to diagnose the problem, which is scary indicating that they may not be still experienced in troubleshooting the problem. The pages timeout, and i am unable to download anything more than than 10-15MB at a time, before the connection drop and i have keep starting the download again and again.  In addition the connection is so patchy i can’t get mail to go through using my official exchange in web mode.  The final word is that they need to check the entire set of stations to identify the cause, as there are other in the area also reporting similar problems.

Word of advice if you have this problem, and the support team says test a YouTube HD video, and it works it does not mean much.  YouTube is a streaming protocol, and hence small breaks are acceptable, but this will not work for a direct download. Test it by downloading multiple files (large ones) at the same time, that will show the problem.

UPDATE(27-May-2013): The tech team who were scheduled to come to sort my connection problem called into say they were unable to come because i have not paid the bill. This was shocking since i had already paid in excess through the Dialog web portal.  Checked with the customer service and they confirmed the payment had not been reflected, but they re-enabled my connection since i had my payment reference no.  Later on they called to say that they had a problem with LTE payments online, it seems the system accepts the payment but is not sending the payee detail and account no 🙂 so they had not been able to find who had made the payment.  I have been requested to call once i pay online (if i am brave to do this thing again!) to the support line to make sure the payment has gone through.   Disappointing.

UPDATE (22-Jun-2013): After almost 4 weeks of trouble with the connection  the problem of disconnection noticed was never resolved.  Requests to support through formal channels (call center + web portal) were not followed up by Dialog, and even personal contacts within Dialog said the LTE team seem not interested in sorting a paying client’s problem.  I resorted to sending mails to the CEO of Dialog, who was prompt, but it seems the CEO’s involvement too failed to get things working, as only a second mail saying the team never followed up go them activated.  However rather than solving the problem the Dialog LTE team resorted to stating false information and statements, which got me totally wired up, and current blinding speed or not, I disconnected the line since the service levels were atrocious and more so what’s the use of of a super fast line if you can’t download anything!  Lesson is that the LTE team is nowhere upto Dialog’s support levels in other services they offer, and the technical team not in sync / incapable of resolving issues seemingly the root cause of this.  What i did not know was that the initial payment of Rs 7500 is for the connection, and on disconnection the device is taken back by Dialog.

UPDATE (Oct-2016):  Competition has reduced the initial payment cost significantly, and if you are a wise buyer, wait for the regular deals where they offer the packages without any connection fee, or a 50% discount.  A common benefit by all the vendors is that as long as you have the connection, any issues with the device, they will replace your device free of charge.  Not sure how it works with SLT but this applies to Dialog and Lanka Bell to my knowledge.  I have experienced this with Dialog, where the support engineer replaced the device which had the downloading issue, and gave me a complete new device.

Being a person up for experiments i will not put down the Fixed LTE offering by Dialog due to my problem, however I do hope that Dialog LTE team will pick their standards and also work out how to resolve technical problems if the fixed line LTE is to grow.  If they are struggling now, one can only imagine the standards if the number of connections grows.

Conclusion

Though LTE offers stunning speeds elsewhere in the world, in Sri Lanka with limited bandwidth outside the country, high speed internet will be limited by this fact more than anything else, but we have seen improvement and hopefully this will accelerate as the need for faster and greater data with the smart phone, phablet and tablet era grows.

The LTE performance of Dialog current is far beyond its stated SLA, and that’s very good news, and possibly the fastest you can get from all current connections including dual-carrier HSPA+.

UPDATE (31-May-2013): However in case you do have issues with the reliability of the connection, don’t expect it to be sorted out fast for now, as Dialog tech teams seem to in a “learning mode”, and in my case even after 14+ days the problems have yet to be resolved.

The juicy part of the deal is that it offers 25GB (and it also has a 60GB variant) of high speed internet for the price where most HSPA+ and DC-HSPA+ offers from competitors as well as Dialogs own offer for less than 15GB.

UPDATE (20-May-2013): In addition the price per additional MB and the bulk price for additional high speed 10GB is very attractive.

The downside is that router is not portable and does not work beyond set regions, and also is not capable of switching to 3G when LTE is not

UPDATE (20-May-2013):  The portability maybe eliminated when the 3G and LTE directories are merged, but until this is tested i can’t be sure.

While i continue my rotation with vendors to evaluate their Internet offerings, I hope the speed increase also comes with more data, something we are still not seeing Sri Lanka. While speeds are important but with speed your data cap vanishes in no time (e.g. with the new LTE speeds i did 7GB in just 2 hrs), and in an era where all we talk is HD this and HD that, the time has come where Telco’s have to increase their data cap on packages, but that would be asking too much from money conscious telco’s (a trait that is common across all telco’s it seems)!

UPDATE (2-Feb-2014): Seems like SLT has acted in response to the complaints by subscribers and increased the data quota, however i am sure SLT has to do it since their download rates are far slower than the LTE solutions.  But one area the SLT ADSL still remains a firm favorite is among the online gaming community where the ping rate matters, and here the wired connection is unmatchable is what my gaming friends confer.

UPDATE (Oct-2016) : A bit late in updating this, but dialog also matched the SLT offer by doubling the data, by adding the same day capacity to the night quota.  So if you were on the 25GB package, you now get 50GB.  The boost in capacity is definitely good for the customers, as with the solid speeds offered by Dialog 4G LTE, you are going to bust through your cap quite quickly.

Huawei Ascend G300 – A solid and likeable phone


The Huawei G300 is marketed as a mid-tier Android in the local market, though outside in the European markets this is pitched slightly lower to make it compete better. The phone features a design that makes it look like a Google Nexus in design, but feel like an 2011 HTC with its cool metal exterior, the HTC effect is further enhanced by its super IPS LCD screen.

Hardware

The G300 like the Y200 reviewed and tested earlier features an energy efficient A5 Cortex (from Qualcomm) processor, paired to an Adreno 200 graphics GPU. However unlike the Y200 the G300 features a higher 1Ghz clock speed, and also has 512MB RAM, making it perform far more snappy.

Screen and Display

One of the most eye catching aspects of the G300 is the IPS LCD screen, that has an HTC feel in the flat and sharp effect. The screen has a perfect 4″ size, with 800×480 pixels. The display quality is definitely very good as it performs well indoors and outdoors.

The screen is not protected by a Gorilla glass layer, but Huawei seems to have its own supplier for a similar implementation, as over 3 months of use without any screen protector has shown no scratches even though the phone has shared the pocket with keys many a times.

The display touch responsiveness is smooth and solid, though the touch type buttons at the bottom tend to require a second tap in some cases to work.

External design and build

The phone has a HTC / Google Nexus feel with its metal + plastic body and simple design. While it may not win any awards for the external design, the design has a very good hand feel, and the weight balance is superb. The quality of the materials are definitely good, as they have taken ware and tear extremely well.

Interface and software

The G300 shares the same approach like the Honor and Y200 tested, that it has minimal customization. It would have been great if Huawei had partnered with custom launcher such as Halo, Nemus which are lightweight but offer mode cooler interfaces that mimic newer Android builds, and yet consume very little resources.

I used the version of the phone running gingerbread, and for some reason Huawei only released the ICS build on this phone for the Vodafone version, and the international version was not provided the updated. Surprisingly the newer phones in the market now have ICS running. I feel Huawei may have changed the internal hardware of the newer phones to ensure it ran ICS well. This maybe a good move, as based on my experiences with Sony who were one of the few to release ICS on 2011 phones with only 512MB memory, the problems were close to horrific for many.

However I am sure many buyers who brought the G300 early on will feel they were let down, and Huawei should see how they provide the ICS build for these customers, since the Vodafone version with the same hardware was provided an ICS build.

ICS would bring the far more attractive interface, and also improve the app support which is now starting to focus more for ICS and JellyBean as the phones move away from Gingerbread in 2012-13. The biggest advantage being the improved browsing experience, and the ability to run Chrome.

Camera and multimedia

The G300 features an 5MP camera with auto focus and LED flash light. The camera implementation is very close to stock Gingerbread, and though it is decent, having the CameraFX app to boost your camera capabilities is recommended.

One the still and video aspects, the camera performs decently under good light, but under poor light the capabilities are average at best. The video is passable but is limited to 640×480 VGA, with no HD capability.

The stock video player has limited codec support as is the case with most phones other than Samsung, and the best app I have found in the market has been MX Player that allows this phone to play most formats upto 720p. I have tried playing many formats including MKV, FLV, Xvid, Divx, and they played smoothly.

However one area that the G300 falls against the competition is the omission of the front camera. For many the smartphone has replaced the key reason to have a PC which has been Skype for video and voice calls. Now with power of Android the user base has even more options with Viber being a key competitor to Skype. The lack of a front facing camera on the G300 might deter a fair percentage of buyers, since most of the competitors feature a front camera as standard.

Storage and expansion

The G300 has 4GB of internal storage that should be sufficient since this is unlikely to be capable of running high end mobile games. However if you want to store music, video and photos, you will definitely make use of the available micro SD slot that is capable of taking a card upto 32GB.

Call quality, signal strength and battery

Huawei seems to have mastered the call quality and signal strength, as the G300 like its Y200 and Honor models, excelled is on the signal strength and call quality. The phone has very good connectivity and outdid the Sony phones we have used as it never dropped a call. The powerful speakers means the loud speaker performance is also good.

The phone battery was able to provided 2+ days of use with occasional internet and wifi use, and video watching in addition to calls. If used only for calls and with no internet usage the phone can take last 3+ days or more depending on the screen usage.

Desktop Software

Huawei provides its highly capable HiSuite application that provides backup capabilities, file transfers, software upgrades, etc. The software has improved a bit in recent times, but still the interface is badly in need of modernization, as the overall capabilities are far superior to more better known brands!

Connectivity and Networks and value adds

The phone comes with the standard Micro USB that doubles as the charger and connectivity port. The phone does support mass storage mode, which is useful.

The phone also features an FM Radio (with RDS) that is a very wanted feature in Asia!

Performance

The phone is capable of being very fluid due to its minimal customization for day to day telephony related work. The graphics capability is also on par with most phones in the market the G300 competes, and should be able to play most standard games with an acceptable frame rate.

In the area of web browsing the phone starts to show its age, compared to the dual and quad-core phones, though a normal user can avoid this buy using Opera for daily browsing, or Boat Browser.

A few popular benchmarks, the Quadrant in particular is higher than similar configured Sony phones due to the far faster internal storage on the G300 (Sony phones have very little storage, and hence the tests are run on the microSD card) and G300 seemingly having 1.5X the 2D performance of the Sony Neo.

However strangely the higher performances noted on Quadrant on not shown on GeekBench and Antutu which tests the memory and storage. Antutu did confirm the better storage performance, but the 2D performance advantage was not evident on this test, and with the new Antutu 2D test the performance seems to be lower.

One place that Sony has gained a solid reputation is on their browser optimization that is considered among the best on leveraging average hardware, and the Vellamo HTML5 test shows that where the Neo trounces the near identical spec G300 by a clear margin.

Huawei Ascend G300 1Ghz, Adreno 200, Gingerbread Sony Neo MT15 1Ghz, Adreno 205, Gingerbread
Quadrant 2061 1144
GeekBench 2.0 529 545
Antutu 2.9.x 3200 3050
Antutu 3.0.x 3802 4681
Nenamark 2.x 19.5 fps 14.1 fps
Vellamo 2.x HTML5 644 993

Conclusion

When I initially got the phone for testing, the pricing of the phone was more closer to Galaxy S2 than the mid range phones, but the phone has now been discounted and is extremely well priced that it under cuts the far less capable phones such as the Samsung Galaxy Ace in every department including screen size, processing, screen quality, etc.

Featuring identical hardware to the HTC One V, Sony Xperia J (aka what I call a re-bodies Sony Arc with cut down multimedia capabilities), etc the Huawei currently has to fight the competition on price, since outside China its still building its brand, though in its home country its already well and truly made its mark. While the recent Sony dual-core NovaThor range such as the Sola, Xperia U may offer better performances, all of them feature small screens and lower capacity batteries, and also have the troublesome Sony ICS build, that makes them not true competitors for the G300.

The Huawei G300 has a superb screen and great battery life and call quality that makes it a super buy for a person wanting a day to day Droid, and want to avoid using the unbranded Chinese phones whose software and hardware will not have the same reliability. The phone may not have a stunning design, but its rugged design and pricing counters that.

UPDATE: Huawei has started to replace the G300 with the G330 which features a dual-core processor, etc, but this model has not yet arrived in our markets as yet.

Huawei Y200 – Android for the budget, and pretty darn good one


Android has evolved fast, and the Huawei Y200 maybe at the more towards the lower end of the Android phone range, but it packs a very up to date hardware and configuration that is superior to the far more popular Samsung models!  The Y200 has close bearings to the Huawei Soniq in form factor and design, but features a higher spec on the hardware aspects.

Hardware

The device has the latest Cortex A5 processor which uses a 45nm technology, the result is less heat and battery consumption and processing power that is far better than the previous generation products.  However the graphic processor sadly has no changed, and remains the what seems to  be the standard for most mid range phones, the Adreno 200.  Though most may all feature the Adreno 200, the actual GPU core speed and memory speeds differ which is why there are differences in the graphics performance though the same GPU used.

The screen is not what you call small, at 3.5″ as its actually larger than an Iphone 4S screen in physical size.  The resolution is also above the competition at 320×480, compared to the  Galaxy Y range which has a very low 320×240 resolution.  The colors and brightness are pretty good for a budget phone.  The touch is smooth and multi-touch is decent.  However the bottom shortcut buttons are a bit lacking in the touch sensitivity.

The area that the phone has a weak point on the hardware aspects is on the available memory.  The phone only has 256MB memory, of which only around 140MB is available for use by other apps.  For most general usage the limited memory does not impact and the phone is very nippy and smooth.  However the very moment you start loading a lot of apps or try running apps that require more memory, such as games the phone starts to lag.   Huawei should have opted for at least 384 or 512MB as that is the optimal for a phone.  However since the phone comes with a minimal customized  gingerbread version the phone performs far better some phones with higher memory configuration which might be running skins which required more memory (as done by LG, Samsung, HTC and Sony)

External design and build

The unit has a standard design that is rather conservative very similar to the Galaxy Y range, here the LG L3 unit definitely has the edge with the different design.

The build quality is good, with no squeaks, though the rear cheap plastic may show wear and tear unless its protected from the elements. After a month of use without any back cover the phone has started to get some small scratches as expected from a plastic back cover.

While the phone has no Gorilla glass, Huawei seems to have a good source for their glass, as I had it in my pocket with keys, etc and the glass has not shown any damages!

The lack of chrome may make the phone look less expensive, but I strongly believe cheap chrome which will fade is worse, and hence this is a better option for heavy use phones.

Interface and software

Huawei goes on the route with minimal customizations to the stock gingerbread, and while this means decent performance the interface can be a bit drab.  You can spike things up by using a custom launcher.  May use Go Launcher or ADW launcher, as these offer very nice customized skins. However I prefer a low memory and smoother launcher, and I have used Nemus launcher on this phone.

However the small tweaks done by Huawei are useful, such as the drag down toolbar at the top which offers instance shortcuts to enable data/wifi/gps/bluetooth, shame they missed the toggle for silent/vibrate.  I have installed notification toggles that provides a wonderful addition that is highly configurable for quick access options.

The phones software was excellent, with solid performance after 2 months of use, which bodes well for the phone.  However if the battery drops around 15% the phone sometimes has a tendency to shut down, i am not sure if this is intentional (Some Samsung phones also have this behavior though its well defined, where 10% battery causes the shutdown).

The phone is not likely to get an upgrade beyond 2.3 Gingerbread, and frankly even if a upgrade is available I would avoid it as even phones with 512MB and 768MB RAM are struggling with ICS which has proved to be a memory hog.  Custom ROMs may offer ICS that can run smoothly but I will leave that option to the few who do go around to upgrading with custom ROMs.

The HiSuite from Huawei looks basic but it offers features that many of the big names missed out including my high end HTC!  The app allows backup and restoration of apps, contacts, importing contacts from other phones, taking snapshots of the phone screen, and updating the phone software. Huawei should invest on a professional UI designer to beef the user interface to reflect the features of the software! Someone who has worked with Apple maybe 😉

Camera and multimedia

The camera unit is decent with 3MP and has auto focus which means you can take close-up photos including pictures of documents, etc, a feature that many phones higher up also lack.

 

What lets it down badly is the lack of a LED flash.  For most users of such phones, the camera is important as they may not posses any other form of digital camera.  Without a flash the camera offers no capability to take photos in the dark or low light.   For many the availability of the flash is required not just for photos but to use it as a flashlight.  The Galaxy Y missed this point, and sadly so has the Y200.  Huawei could have easily boosted their Y200 sales by including this feature.

On the picture quality the pictures tend to have a whitish tint, no matter what the form of lighting.  While it will do well for general shooting, don’t expect to win any photo awards with this camera.

The video recording is VGA (640×480, 30fps), which may seem outdated but its actually far superior to the competing products which offer very primitive video of 240×320, and that too at pathetic frame rates of 15 or 24fps.  So here again the Huawei offers decent video recording feature compared to the rivals from Samsung and LG.

The phone has limited codec’s bundled, hence downloading an alternative video player that offers software rendering for other formats is important.  My preferred choice these days has been MX player for this. TheY200  has enough juice to playback 720p video smoothly, I used MX player and found that the 800Mhz on the Y200 was able to use the software renderer to playback video smoothly, and matched the performance of the 1Ghz A5 processor for video.

The Y200 hits the spot on sound, with its powerful stereo speakers it puts out a lot of sound at full volume, far greater than many higher end phones. The phone maybe tiny but it sure does produce a lot of sound, so if you are configuring an alarm make sure you reduce the volume, if not its going to wake a lot of people up!

Storage and expansion

The phone has 512MB internal storage, of which around only 160MB is available for user apps.  For most users you will need an expansion card, and the microSD supports up to 32GB cards.  Gingerbread (android 2.3) has the built-in feature for moving apps to the SD card, though using the app “App2SD” is recommended as it can to the movement automatically rather than you doing once you hit the storage limit.

Call quality, signal strength and battery

The area the phone really excelled is on the signal strength and call quality.  The Phone has a second microphone for noise cancelling which is one other reason why the call quality is very good.  The phone has very good connectivity and outdid the Sony phones we have used as it never dropped a call.  The powerful speakers means the loud speaker performance is also good.

The phone battery was able to provided 2-3 days of use with occasional internet and wifi use, and video watching in addition to calls.  If used only for calls and with no internet usage the phone can take last 3-4 days, and I believe this is mainly due to the use of the A5 processor which is far more power efficient than the Arm9/11 based units which are powering the Galaxy Y phones.

Performance

On general use the phone is excellent as its smooth and switches between apps in decent fluidity.  However if you load larger apps the phone can get laggy.  Performance tests for the phone are shown.

A point to note is that the performance no from this benchmarks are based on a combined set of sub tests such as CPU, 2D, 3D, storage, etc for Quadrant, Antutu and Geekbench.  However the Y200 is able to match the more Sony Arc in performance in most areas tells how budget phones have evolved in hardware, which also explains the good performance of the phone.

One reason I find the perceived performance of the phone is good is due to its good 2D performance.  The phones 2D sub test in Antutu and Quadrant actually had ratings higher than many high end phones, mainly due to the lower resolution and decent GPU and processor.

The Nenamark tests of the Sony tipo by the popular site gsmarena indicates that the usual higher performance you expect from ICS is not evident on the similar configured Tipo, so the Y200 Android 2.3.6 build has been optimized well by Huawei.  Comparison of Quadrant and Antutu reveals the same, so the Y200 performance is on bar with Sony who are known to optimize their software well.

Huawei Y200

800Mhz A5

Sony Tipo 

800Mhz A5

Sony Arc

1Ghz

Android Vn

2.3.6

4.0.4

4.0.4

Quadrant

1140

1418

1130

Geekbench 2

434

 –

Antutu

2625

2670

2834

Nenamark 2

15.3fps

15.9fps

25.6 fps

Conclusion

Huawei has analyzed its competition and priced the Y200 to compete well and also backed it with sound hardware.  The phone easily beat the Galaxy Y and Galaxy Mini in practically every aspect, and nearly matches the far more expensive Galaxy Ace product (actually it will perform better than the Ace S5830i which features the less capable Broadcom chipset).

Huawei’s though has competition in the market with the launch of the Sony Tipo which is priced in the Galaxy Mini range, while its definitely low down on hardware it comes with ICS out of the box and a cooler design, but missed out by providing a fixed focus camera with no flash that takes away the Sony advantage that people buy it for!

However if Huawei had put this phone out with a LED flash and slightly higher memory configuration, my belief is that it could have had a great product.

Regardless of these two shortcomings the Y200 proved that budget Androids are extremely capable and offer a rich experience that will outdo most Symbian phones in the market, and in the android space it was ahead of its key rivals in most areas.

UPDATE: Huawei Y201 released recently has Huawei fixing all the negatives of the Y200, the Y201 Pro features 512MB RAM, 4GB internal storage, and now comes with Android 4.0 ICS as standard

Huawei MediaPad ICS official build now available for download


Unlike many other bigger name manufacturers Huawei has been pretty involved in providing updates to their device and though slightly late than the original planned day, they have now made available the official release of ICS for the MediaPad.

Direct download is available at http://www.huaweidevice.com/worldwide/productFeatures.do?pinfoId=3135&treeId=3290&directoryId=5011&tab=0.

Please see my article on the MediaPad to see how you should backup your device.  In addition Google now has the feature to backup your apps and data.  Do note though that when you enable this, you may have issues if you are running apps that you installed “personally”, so be cautious since Google ain’t very nice on the way they go about things.  Recently they had removed over 50 apps that had violated their store policies (including apps that allow downloading youtube applications), and they have even gone ahead and removed it from all devices that had downloaded it from the store!

Interestingly Huawei also have an updated Honeycomb build.  This seems to be mainly because the amount of ICS devices in the market is still rather low (less than 5%) with the key players Amazon, Samsung still yet to roll out ICS for most of their popular devices.  Hence application compatibility with ICS is still a problem.

Huawei MediaPad ICS first impression


Could not resist waiting for the official update, and plunged in and installed the March release of the ICS International release from the xda forum.  Installation went very smoothly and remembered to back the apps prior to the update using HiSuite, and the restored back up after the update.

First impressions

Initially felt a bit of lag in the UI, when i was expecting lightning fast responses that i encountered using ICS with a friend who had a Google Nexus phone.  However found that the ICS build downloaded being still not fully final had logging enabled, and disabling logging improved the overall smoothness immensely making the device very usable.

The build is definitely close to final as the camera, video, wifi, 3G all work fine.  The device now officially has the phone and messenger.

Strangely the theme and look and feel still remains very much like Honeycomb, that you don’t feel a WOW factor from the ICS update is something that let me down.

The new option where you can change the font size available in ICS is very useful as you can select high res mode and customize the font size to suite your visual preference.

Screen shots

Start screen nothing very different, notice the “emergency call”, which is because the phone is airplane mode.

The interface here is not the standard, as i am using the APEX launcher since default ICS launcher is rather unattractive and feature limited.  However APEX launcher itself is something hard to understand since it has so many configuration settings.

The version in case you have a doubt what is running on the device 🙂

Settings menu for display, notice the font option. Also nice is the power saving option available under settings.

Benchmarks

Attached a few benchmarks to give you an idea on more where the MediaPad stands compared to current devices.

AnTuTu 2.7.2

Competes well with similar configuration devices, though all seem to be blown by the Transformer Prime here!

Quadrant

Quadrant seems to having some issues with there benchmarks, and are unable to show against the latest crop, i am awaiting the update to rerun the benchmarks.

Vellamo

My Internet connection was very slow, and noticed this test ran slow, i am not sure if this impacted the networking score.  However here the device is very competitive.

 

Huawei MediaPad review, 7″ Dual-core 3G Tablet S7-301u


The MediaPad was launched by the local Telco’s.  However Huawei’s past record with the S7 and S7 slim had been poor, and many still think MediaPad is the same device.  The MediaPad in contrast seems to evolution of the S7 Pro devices with similar hardware but with HoneyComb 3.2 rather than Gingerbread as the base OS.

The MediaPad however has been available in the US much earlier, though with some slight changes to the design as the T-Mobile Springboard.

I had been waiting for the Asus Prime to be launched, but the device had been delayed once again, and decided I will try out a new device until the Prime was freely available in the market.

A device that caught my eye was the Galaxy Tab 7.7, however Samsung once again continues it long delay from launch to available in the retail market.  The MediaPad caught my eye because it had very similar specifications for less than half the price.

The decision was made easier when my Telco offered me a 15% discount for long term clients, and here is a brief review of the device that I currently have.

 The device

The device sadly has no unique design and looks like a shrunken IPad device in look and feel.

However the device is fairly light, and definitely much lighter than the long service Galaxy Tab 7 and slightly slimmer as well.

Unlike the Samsung devices the external cover is made using Aluminum that makes if look and feel more like an small IPad.

The main change is in the rear of the device, where there are two black plastic covers at the top and bottom.  The bottom one is removable and contains the SIM card slot and the MicroSD slot.  The top is purely for design, and my personal opinion is that they could have skipped the black on top as it ruins the design of the device.

Hardware

 Unlike the old Huawei Android tablet devices, this comes fully in line with what the current market has.  The key notes of the hardware are,

  • Dual-Core 1.2Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 processor
  • Adreno 220 Mobile graphics with 1080P video playback
  • 7” Capacitive Multi-touch IPS LED LCD touch screen with a very high resolution 1280×800, with a PPI of 216 making it very sharp (yes the pixel density is much higher than an IPad)
  • 1GB RAM and 8GB internal storage
  • 5MP rear camera with auto focus and zoom (digital) feature and 720P HD video recording
  • 1.3MP front camera that will allow video calls
  • Large battery for a 7” (4100mAh) compared to devices such as the Acer A100
  • Sensors: Light (for auto brightness) and Accelerometer sensor
  • Built-in 2G/3G with HSUPA (5.76Mbps) and HSDPA (14.4Mbps) support
  • Built-in Bluetooth
  • Dual-speakers with SRS

The hardware definitely is in par with the latest crop of Android tablets.  While most are familiar with the Tegra based devices on tablets, the Snapdragon is more commonly seen on phone devices.  However with the Adreno 220GPU is more than capable for gaming, and has the advantage that it can play 1080P video natively.

Screen quality

For any tablet the screen is important, and specially for a 7”.  The screen on the MediaPad is pretty good, which very good sharpness and brightness.  For most times I have the brightness at 30%, as its more than good enough!  The light sensor also means you can set it to auto brightness.

The viewing angles are good, which is expected for an IPS type screen.  With a PPI of 216, the text is sharp and clear, and is very good for browsing and reading.  I had no problems reading PDF magazines with no zooming even for small fonts, something that was hard to do on the Galaxy 7” tab with the lesser resolution.

The device also strangely comes with a feature that says standard resolution and high resolution.  When I ran software to see if the resolution changed, I noticed  no difference but what seems to be done is the image, fonts are scaled down lower when set to high resolution.

In standard resolution the multi-touch is good, though I have noticed that you have to give the odd double touch once in a while, a problem with several Android devices I have used, something you never come across with the Apple IPad which definitely has a superior touch experience.  Hopefully Google Android 4.0 Ice Cream with its UI acceleration feature (a first time on Android) will resolve this problem.

In high resolution the icons are much smaller and can be problem for the chubby fingered folks (such as myself!).  However the screen is definitely sharper in the high resolution mode.  The captures below are scaled down, and the actual is much sharper.  I will try to attach a higher res capture at the end of the review.

A common question is how good is it to a Samsung Galaxy series which is fast becoming the most spoken of the Android tablets, though the sales figures may indicate that other devices are selling in equal share!

  • The screen is much bright than the older 7″ Samsung Galaxy tab, and with the higher resolution much sharper
  • Compared to the new 10″ Galaxy tab, this screen is not as good, and lacking in the color vibrancy.  However to be fair the Galaxy 10″ and 8.9″ screens are considered the best in the market, beating even the Apple IPad screen.  Hence the screen in the new Galaxy 7″ Plus will definitely be more vibrant, though it may not be as sharp due to the lower resolution.   The Galaxy 7.7″ due soon however may be the reference model with its super AMOLED screen, but with a price that is over 2 times this device its market placing is very different
  • Compared to the Acer device i tested which was  TN based LCD, this screen is on par or better.

Build Quality

The device build quality is quite good and feels very solid with no noticeable squeaks.  However the metal cover means it is easily prone to dents and scratches and hence a case is compulsory.

I would have preferred if Huawei had stuck to the T-mobile Springboard scheme of white covers at the back, and avoided the plastic at the rear top.

Software and Updates

The device comes pre-installed with Honeycomb 3.2 and has the over the air update feature.  Interestingly it has two options update via Google server and Huawei server.  I am a bit curious why the Google update feature is there, since Huawei has dome some minor customizations on top of the standard Honeycomb.

The device also comes with Huawei’s HiSuite Software, which does provide some decent features though the user interface is rather old-fashioned!

Features include,

  • Ability to install software by dragging and dropping into the interface
  • Backup contents and restore
  • Take images of the screen being shown of the tab onto your PC (screen captures)

I also found on the net that the device has been rooted, which should make things a lot more flexible.  .

Bundled Software

Unlike many tabs, this does come bundled with a file manager that is very good news, though you will definitely replace that with File Manager such as File Expert or Astro.

The device also ships with Google Market, so you have access to all the Google software, that definitely makes it a better proposition than generic tablets.

Complementary you also get the following softare,

  • Games: Angry Birds, Asphalt 6 and Let’s Go Golf
  • Yoko Office

Video Multimedia formats and Playback

[Under testing].

Camera

Consider the device has a back camera and front camera, but don’t expect too much from the back facing 5MP camera. The camera is rather low end in nature and the picture quality is noisy.  No LCD means that it will not be very useful in low light situations.

The video quality is acceptable, but just like the stills it is noisy.

Audio Quality

The dual speakers are decent, and quite loud, an issue I had with the Galaxy Tab 7”.  The sound is a match in volume to my IPad2 in sheer loudness.

Music playback is pretty good, though the speakers are definitely not very good on bass.  While it does not distort, it can be bit shrilly.

Being a 7” if you were to hold the device with your hands in landscape mode, you could end up blocking one of the speakers, which is a problem for such speaker placement. However there is very little option for such devices to locate it elsewhere.

Connectivity Ports

For a 7” this device comes with a rich set of connectivity options, which include,

  • Micro USB, you can connect a micro USB to USB connector and then connect a flash drive if require as the device does support USB on the go
  • Micro HDMI
  • 3.5” headphone jack
  • MicroSD card slot

Hence compared to the very popular Galaxy Tab devices the presence of the Micro USB and MicroSD provides greater flexibility.

The MicroSD is definitely needed since the tab only has 8GB of internal storage.  However while you can hot swap the Micro SD, you need to pop the rear cover.

One weak point similar to the Galaxy tab is that the device cannot charge over the micro USB.  You have to carry the bulky adapter that is given.  However unlike a Galaxy Tab, adapter is a 6V, which means Huawei could have made this charge of the Micro USB.

Storage

An area for controversy for me at least.  According to official Telco banner and many sites the device was supposed to have 8GB internal storage.  However I found it only has 5.8GB, and popular mobile review sites have varying configurations on this area.  Huawei in their official site DO NOT MENTION the size of the internal storage, which adds to the mystery.

Over 2.5GB of the internal storage is used at the start and the bundled software definitely is not that large.  Need to check with another Honeycomb device to see if the base OS actually takes such a large size!

Sensors

Here is a capture from Quadrant indicating the detected sensors.

Battery life and recharge time

Since my reviews are purely on feel, I don’t have measures to prove this but I am sure you can find reviews from sites on actual facts.

For a start any device with 3G enabled is going to drain battery, but what is important is how it performs with this feature disabled.

With 3G disabled the overnight loss in battery is around 2%.  The device definitely can last a few days without charging.

But as a user I feel the battery drain is much greater than an IPad on regular use such as browsing, video playback.  The recharging time is not slow as was the case with the Samsung Galaxy tab (that takes hours which is very painful), and is more akin to an IPad charging, which is bearable.

However the good news I that the battery recharge times are not as long as the Samsung process, and you can recharge the device in around 2-3hrs to full capacity.

I also found a charger on ebay that can be connected to your PC USB port, with the other end compatible with the Huawei Media Pad.

Benchmarks

Quadrant Standard – 1901

LinPack (Single/Multi) – 46.088MFLOPS / 53.224MFLOPS

NenMark1 – 52.2 FPS

AntTuTu (2.4.3) – 5362

Gaming

I tried out the some racing games including the bundled Asphalt, ROC, Drift Mania.  Seems my device has a hardware problem, as the steering using tilt does not work properly (refused to turn to the right).  I posted on the Huawei Facebook wall, and i got a response that i should get the device checked.  Will update if this is a problem with my unit or if this is an incompatibility with the device once i take it to the service center.

Firmware updates and ICS upgrade

The good news is that Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) is in the works for this device 🙂 and seems the next batch of the devices will be shipping straight with ICS, making this device among the first to be shipping with ICS after the ASUS Transformer Prime tablet.  The updates for existing devices has been scheduled for March 2012, hope it comes earlier!.

The device has two options one to update from Huawei and the other from Google server.   Each time i tried it says the version i have is the latest. However i went Huawei site and found  more newer version that what i had.  The direct link for downloads from Huawei is http://www.huaweidevice.com/worldwide/productFeatures.do?pinfoId=3135&treeId=3290&directoryId=5011&tab=0.

I noticed the following improvements with the HUAWEI_S7-301u_FIRMWARE_adroid3.2_C232B016_General_VersionForUser_05010SJR  (9-Jan-2012) update.

1. Fixed the issue where the device switched to 2G far to easily, now it works better.  However sadly it does not have the features that we find standard on the Gingerbread (GSM, GSM/3G, 3G only) which is far more simpler.

2. The update also has improved the touch implementation and i find the experience a lot more smoother.

3. Has updated versions of the bundled apps

4. Built-in file manager now detects the external SD card properly and seamlessly

5. Issue with games involving the tilt has been fixed.  Now i can play my racing games!

On the negative side i noticed the following,

1. WIFI connectivity does not work properly (big bummer, since some apps and games insist on using a wifi connection to download larger downloads)

However the update using the download had some quirks which one should watch out,

1.  Remember to back up your data and apps using the HSuite and also app backup, because if you update using the download it clears the local storage contents and the tablet is back to new state with the updated firmware. No such warning is mentioned in the Huawei guide for updating the firmware!

2. If you run the update and don’t remove the SD card, the device keeps updating on each re-boot.  So make sure you remove the SD card after the update, and then re-insert the card back.

3. Once the update is done and OK comes on your screen the tablet will reboot, but the update is not done yet.  It will then start the bundled app updates and then reboot again while showing the startup screen.  the messages come in an ugly yellow DOS-like font 🙂

Conclusion

The device is definitely well built, and also very competitive priced.  Currently its priced below even the older Galaxy Tab 7”, but is much higher configuration with faster 3G, higher resolution and brigher screen, better battery life, faster processor and graphics and greater flexibility in connectivity ports.

Another very important upgrade is that it is running Honeycomb and should be getting the much sought after Google Ice Cream update soon.

On the device per say, the screen and multi-touch are good and making it ideal portable device for your internet and video playback.  The screen is very bright and the video is very crisp and clear.  The audio is sufficiently loud for such a small device.

The connectivity options are great and giving you several options to easily transfer files into and out of the device. The connectivity options are far better than the popular Samsung Galaxy tab series which is hell bent on following Apple strategies, though the new 7” devices are now offering more options.

The cameras may not be great, but they will do their job, and the front camera makes it ready for video calling.

The battery life is decent, and based on some professional reviews it can do over 6.5 hours of non-stop video, which put it above the older Galaxy 7” tab, and far better than the Acer A100 which has less than 3+ hours in similar tests.

The device is better than generic chinese tabs since the hardware is more standard.  My only hope is that Huawei who are now getting serious with their devices under their own name, will improve their software support services.

MediaPad and Google ICS update

Installed the near final ICS firmware, see my comments and benchmarks at https://rayazmuthalif.wordpress.com/2012/03/21/huawei-mediapad-ics-first-impression/

Where can I buy it in Sri Lanka and the experience when buying it

Currently only the Telcos are selling it, and the local supplier for Huawei (MiTech computers) is only getting shipment in January 2012. They have indicated they will bring down accessories for this device as well.

The local supplier also mentioned that the Telcos were getting these devices in bulk, and that pricing was much cheaper than the retail prices since they seem to be keen on pushing tablets to benefit from the eventual data usage!

Comparison with other popular 7″ tablets

Did a quick chart for the spec crazy group.  The prices of the tabs are very different, and also differ from market to market.  Selected them more with an Asian availability (devices from Motorola, Acer and Toshiba for example are hard to find here).

MediaPad vs other 7in tablets 2012

Accessory links

Finding accessories is something that is harder compared but that applies to most Android devices.  Sadly Huawei has not yet got into the full thick of things by selling original accessories as done by other tablet vendors.  The source hence is ebay, and the well known PDair case manufacturers.

I ordered some, will update the review once i get the goods.  But here are some that caught my eye.  I ordered a matt finish anti glare screen protector and microfiber case in addition to the USB charger.  While many don’t like the matt finish specially since impacts the gloss of the screen, i find it more easier to use and like the non-glare feel.

Microfiber case : http://www.ebay.com/itm/Sikai-MediaPad-MibroFiber-case-Huawei-IDEOS-MediaPad-leather-case-Black-/190616907526?pt=PDA_Accessories&hash=item2c61a72f06

Silicon case : http://www.ebay.com/itm/SiKai-MediaPad-Top-Sensation-Protector-cover-Silicone-Huawai-Media-Pad-case-/190610235740?pt=PDA_Accessories&hash=item2c6141615c