Huawei isn't exactly a well-known brand in the UK, but the company actually makes many of the modems that operators bundle with their mobile-broadband packages. Now 3 has picked up the company's touchscreen U7510 phone and is offering it for free on a £10-per-month contract, or for £50 on a pay-as-you-go deal.
Style on the cheap
For a cheap handset, the U7510 actually looks quite stylish. We like the glossy black finish and chrome trim that frames the screen. The rear of the handset has a rubberised finish that makes it easy to grip, and the phone's curved design means it's comfortable to hold. The build quality isn't as good as that of most handsets from companies like Nokia and Sony Ericsson, however.
The U7510's key feature is its relatively large, 71mm (2.8-inch) touchscreen. This has a reasonable resolution of 240x320 pixels, so text and graphics look quite crisp. The touchscreen uses resistive rather than capacitive technology, so it's not as sensitive to touch input as the screen of a phone like the iPhone or HTC Legend. But it's perfectly useable, as long as you're willing to put up with tapping the screen a second time occasionally to make sure your input is registered.
The phone's interface looks very similar to the TouchWiz system found on Samsung handsets like the Genio Touch and Omnia Lite. There's only a single home screen, rather than the three found on TouchWiz phones, though.
As with TouchWiz, there's a widget bar at the side of the screen. This pops open to reveal a number of widgets that you can drag and drop onto the home screen. There are widgets for Skype, Windows Live Messenger, email, playing music, and more, as well as shortcuts to Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.
The phone's browser is reasonably good, and it's fast to load sites. It automatically reformats pages to fit the screen, so Web sites generally don't look like they do on a PC. The reformatting does, however, mean that you don't have to constantly scroll back and forth across the screen to read news stories or blog updates.
There isn't an on-board FM radio, but the U7510 does at least have a basic music player that organises songs into the usual artist and album categories. The headphones attach to the mini-USB port on the top of the phone, so you can't easily swap them for your own. Unfortunately, the supplied headphones are poor -- they lack bass and make tracks sound slightly hollow.
The handset's 2-megapixel camera is also basic. It doesn't have a flash and it lacks autofocus. Photos taken outdoors don't look too bad, but they don't offer much detail. Indoors, the camera is hopeless -- shots come out looking very dark and noisy.
The handset has HSDPA support for fast Web browsing on the move, and Bluetooth connectivity as well. There's no Wi-Fi connectivity, however. Also, while the call quality is actually pretty good, battery life could be better. The phone's battery is only good for around 4 hours of talk time.
The Huawei U7510 is a decent touchscreen phone for those on a budget. It looks fairly stylish, the Web browser is quite good and it has plenty of widgets. If you can afford it, though, we think you'd be better off spending a little more and getting Samsung's Genio Touch.
Edited by Charles Kloet