We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Android smartphones Reviews
15,670 Reviews

Huawei Ascend G 300 review

£100 (Vodafone PAYG)

Manufacturer: Huawei

Our Rating: We rate this 4.5 out of 5

The Huawei Ascend G 300 is a budget Android smartphone that outperforms everything in its price range.

Huawei's Ascend G 300 is a budget Android smartphone that offers unbeatable value. Currently running Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread, with an update to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich promised this summer, the G 300 is available on the Vodafone network for £100 PAYG, or £15.50 a month. See also Group test: What's the best smartphone?

You wouldn't expect to get a handset in line with the market-leading iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy S3 for this kind of money, yet benchmark results have found it to be faster than an iPhone 4 and in line with the best of last year's single-core Android smartphones. When compared to current models, the Huawei's spec is closely matched to HTC's budget One V, yet it's available at less than half the price of that circa-£230 smartphone. Visit Group test: What's the best Android phone?

The Ascend's two-tone silver-and-white plastic case looks cheap but, crucially, it feels sturdy. At 130g and 63x10.5x122.5mm, the Huawei G 300 also feels comfortable in the hand. There's a volume rocker on the left side, a power button and headphone jack on top, and a microUSB charging slot at the bottom. Three touch-sensitive buttons below the screen accommodate Android's standard Menu, Home and Back functions.

The Huawei Ascend has a 4in capacitive touchscreen with a 480x800-pixel resolution and a pixel density of 233ppi. The G 300's display is adequate for browsing web pages and reading text, but this isn't the brightest screen we've seen and it can feel a little unresponsive at times. The 'budget' HTC One V offers the same resolution, but a slightly smaller 3.7in screen means it has a tighter pixel density of 252ppi. In comparison, the best phone screens offer in the region of 306- (Samsung Galaxy S III) to 326ppi (Apple iPhone 4S). 

The G 300 also boasts a 1GHz Qualcomm single-core processor and 512MB of RAM, but just 2.5GB of internal storage. HTC offers a little more at 4GB, but users of either phone are likely to quickly run out of storage space. Thankfully, a microSD slot lets you supplement the Huawei's storage capacity with up to 32GB of removable memory.

There's a 5Mp camera with a 4x digital zoom, an autofocus and an LED flash on the rear, but the Huawei is capable of only VGA-quality video recording. This is fairly standard for a budget smartphone, and we can't complain at this price. Note that there's no front-facing camera for video chat.

Connectivity stretches to wireless 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1, while the Ascend operates on both 2G and 3G networks.

The Ascend runs Google Android Gingerbread 2.3.6, with an update to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich promised this summer. If and when that happens, the G 300 will be the cheapest Android 4.0 smartphone you can buy. In the meantime, the Huawei features a slightly tweaked Android Gingerbread interface, with an application launcher bar running along the bottom of each of its five home screens. The ability to continuously scroll through these home screens, without having to scroll back to the left once you've reached the final screen, is a nice touch.

The circular lock screen is also interesting - you slide to the right to unlock the phone, to the bottom to go directly to the camera, left for messages and up for the call log. We couldn't find a way to customise these options, and several times accidentally launched the camera when we tried to unlock the phone without paying due attention.

We also like the Ascend's fast boot option, which reduces startup to a matter of seconds, and a power saving mode that lets you prolong battery life by automatically switching off wireless, Bluetooth, animations, haptic feedback and background data, and reducing the screen timeout and brightness. Runtime has previously been a major sticking point for Android, but the G 300 turns that on its head. We were amazed to find the phone still switched on in standby mode a week after we'd thrown it into the box and forgotten about it, and this phone easily surpasses the less-than-one-day battery performance of top-end Android handsets.

We used Geekbench 2, a cross-platform benchmarking tool, to measure the Huawei's processing and memory performance. Its 525-point score puts it almost on a par with our own 2011 single-core Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc (536 points) and, although it's slower than an iPhone 4S (622 points), it beat the iPhone 4 (371 points, as reported at tinyurl.com/6sapog9). Given its ultra-low price tag, that final comparison is particularly interesting.

We also measured the Huawei's web-browsing speeds using Speedtest.net. Over our home Wi-Fi connection, we recorded a 62ms ping time and download and upload speeds of 5.81- and 0.41Mbps respectively. At the exact same time, using the same server, the same browser and the same Wi-Fi connection, our Xperia Arc recorded a faster 47ms ping, 8.89Mbps download and 0.63Mbps upload. However, we didn't feel that the G 300 was noticeably slower in real-world use.

Huawei Ascend G 300 Expert Verdict »

Google Android Gingerbread 2.3.6 smartphone
850/900/1,800/1,900MHz GSM
900/2,100MHz HSDPA
1GHz Qualcomm MSM7227A processor
512MB RAM
4in (480x800,233ppi) capacitive TFT touchscreen
2.5GB storage
802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth 2.1
GPS
5Mp camera with LED flash, autofocus and 4x digital zoom
VGA video recording
5.6 Whr (1,500mAh, 3.7V) lithium-ion battery
5 hours talktime, 350 hours standby (3G)
microSD (up to 32GB)
63x10.5x122.5mm
130g
  • Build Quality: We give this item 7 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 7 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 10 of 10 for value for money
  • Performance: We give this item 8 of 10 for performance
  • Overall: We give this item 9 of 10 overall

Huawei's Ascend G 300 has a few shortcomings in comparison to the best smartphones on the market - namely, a low storage capacity, an inferior build, a less-capable camera and only a single-core processor - but its performance is well above that of the budget models with which it competes. With an upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich promised, a large 4in capacitive touchscreen and fantastic battery life, the G 300's £100 price tag is unbelievable. We recently reported that well-known smartphone brands would have a fight on their hands in 2012 against low-cost Chinese vendors; if the Huawei Ascend G 300 is a sign of what's to come, the bigger boys have every reason to be scared.

  • Huawei Ascend D Quad preview

    Huawei Ascend D Quad preview

    The Huawei Ascend D Quad boasts some class leading specifications including a powerful quad-core processor.

  • Huawei Ascend G330 review

    Huawei Ascend G330

    The Huawei Ascend G330 adds a faster processor and new features to Huawei's already tempting budget Android phone, offering a mix of low price and usable performance. Here's PC Advisor's Huawei Ascend G330 review.

  • Huawei Ascend Y300 review: no-frills value Android smartphone

    Huawei Ascend Y300: no-frills value Android smartphone

    The Huawei Ascend Y300 is a no-frills budget Android smartphone that does the basics well. Read our Huawei Ascend Y300 review to find out more.

  • Huawei Ascend G7 hands-on review: New, metal mid-range smartphone with 5.5in display

    Huawei Ascend G7 hands-on: New, metal mid-range smartphone with 5.5in display

    Huawei has launched the Ascend G7, a new 5.5in mid-range smartphone with a metal chassis and decent specs. Here's our Huawei Ascend G7 hands-on review from IFA 2014 in Berlin.

  • Huawei Ascend P1 review

    Huawei Ascend P1

    Huawei's Ascend P1 is light and offers good performance, but its let down by questionable build quality. Read our full review to find out more.


IDG UK Sites

Microsoft smartwatch release date, price and specs rumours: Launching within a few weeks

IDG UK Sites

Why you shouldn't buy the iPad mini 3: No wonder Apple gave it 10 seconds of stage time

IDG UK Sites

Halloween Photoshop tutorials: 13 masterclasses for horrifying art, designs and type

IDG UK Sites

Should I upgrade from Mavericks to OS X 10.10 Yosemite? What you need to know before updating to...