It seems that bdfone has finally released their first Android phone: the bdfone A2W. I previously mentioned them having a prototype over 1.5 years ago but it seems that they have finally got a production unit. From their Facebook page it seems to have started selling in December (in my last of connectivity, I must have missed it). It is currently priced at B$290 on QQeStore
They have hit a good price point, but with an older version of Android (not even 2.3) and a relatively old and slow CPU, it seems to lose out to the competition. There is also no mention of resistive or capacitive screen, just a “touch screen”. I also wonder how they will support Android updates or if they will at all. For the price I would recommend the Sony Ericsson WT19I Live with Walkman for B$308 (which has better specs) or even the LG Optimus Net P690 for B$268 (which has very similar specs).
Brunei made Android phone
Competitors with better specs in the same price range
Old slow 600MHz CPU (other budget phones use 800MHz)
Unknown screen type
Unknown Android update possibilities
Unknown available space for apps
CPU: 600MHz (based on Wikipedia’s entry on the MSM7227)
I managed to take a look at the Huawei Ideos X5 that I first laid hands on at the TechXpo 2011. It is a very decent device at an affordable price of B$399. My only gripe is the lack of a front facing camera which means you will not be able to do normal video chats. If it had a front facing camera, this device would be one of the best budget Android phones. It has a bigger and higher resolution screen compared to the Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman and the Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini Pro and thus makes it a good size for thumb typing, even for those with fat fingers like mine. Overall a very decent device, with 450MB+ for applications (a lot of space for a budget device), but I fear that there will be no official Android version updates.
A decent Android device at B$399 with larger and higher resolution screen compared to some cheaper phones
High resolution 3.8″ WVGA (800×480) screen
Support for Flash
On customer request the device will be rooted and upgraded to Android 2.3 running CyanogenMod
The Bad & the Ugly
No front facing camera
There are cheaper phones with front facing cameras
May not have Android updates
Android 2.2 / Android 2.3 (upgrade to 2.3 upon customer request)
3.8″ WVGA (800×480) capacitive multi-touch screen
460+MB available for apps
5 megapixel camera with flash (no front facing camera)
microSD card slot
Connectivity: WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS
Note: We would like to thank TenTen for allowing us to film this at their shop in Kiulap. TenTen offers many Huawei and they also have battery packs for your iDevices or generic battery packs with a USB output to charge for your phone
The bmobile Pure is a budget Android phone running Android 2.2 and has pretty device specs but a pretty good 3.8″ high resolution screen. The high resolution 3.8″ screen makes it nice to read and surf the Internet but the 256MB RAM may be limiting for multi-tasking and general smoothness of the device. I was not able to get the Flash apk to try install and test Flash on the device but the 600 MHz CPU may not be capable of Flash, so I wouldn’t expect it to run.
Sadly there is no Android Market or Google apps such as Gmail, YouTube, Maps and the Market. Not having the Market means that the device needs an alternative Android app store. The Pure is bundled with the local grown Widget Warehouse for apps, however it seems that the Widget Warehouse doesn’t even work with the Pure. So I guess there is a need to rely on other 3rd party app stores such as GetJar, Soc.ia Mall (previously AndAppStore), SlideME, Opera Mobile Store. Side loading apps via downloading apk files (Android installer files) work well and that was how I installled apps to the device.
I love the fact that Android is able to scale down to a device as cheap as B$199 and with that device, although having limitations such as not having Google apps, it still has all the full functionality of a smartphone.
Seems like a great budget Android phone with a slightly larger screen than the Xperia Mini pro but without a keyboard to make it more svelte. Seems to share all the same common good specifications for a budget phone but a slightly larger screen and slightly cheaper at B$350.
320 x 480 pixels, 3.2″ capacitive screen
320MB for applications
5 megapixel camera w/ 720p video
Front facing VGA camera
xLOUD™ loudness enhancement makes it possible to listen loud without distortion.
This phone seems to be a phone I would buy, if I didn’t buy my LG Optimus One, as a great budget Android phone which seems to have the least compromises. Check out the video that I managed to get at Incomm as I played with the device.
Android 2.3 Gingerbread: the current major version of Android of phones
3" HVGA (320×480) screen: a bit small in size but good resolution that is widely supported by all apps
Slide out landscape QWERTY keyboard
1GHz Snapdragon CPU with Adreno 205 GPU
400MB for apps (according to GSM Arena): a bit small but acceptable for a budget phone and sadly (for Arc users) it is the same amount as the Arc based on Sony’s specs which says up to 320MB (Arc vs Mini Pro)
5MP rear camera with autofocus, flash and 720p video recording (auto focus while recording video, recorded in mp4 encoded with h264, aac)
VGA front facing camera for video calls
Supports Adobe Flash
Plays 720p videos (mp4 encoded with h264,aac)
Can open PDFs and Microsoft Office documents (doc,docs,xls,xlsx,ppt,pptx)
I really like that this budget phone seems to have practically no compromises for a budget phone: there doesn’t seem to be any major show stoppers. Most budget phones will have no front facing cameras and won’t have cameras that can record 720p. A budget phone won’t have a keyboard nor a 1GHz CPU. The CPU couple with a GPU and sufficient RAM should ensure this device is smooth and usable for the regular user.
The main issue is the small 3" size of the screen (iPhone: 3.5", Optimus One & Wildfire S: 3.2", Galaxy Mini: 3.14"): a small size coupled with a high resolution may make some text small to read and will make using the onscreen keyboard a bit difficult. Thankfully there is a physical keyboard on the Xperia Mini that should help alleviate this (as long as the keyboard is good and usable). Also the smaller 1200mAh battery (vs 1500mAh of the Optimus One) may give it less battery life, but that also depends on the amount of work being done: with a better CPU, the same amount of work may require less energy from the Xperia Mini. I guess we’ll just have to wait for more in-depth reviews with battery life scores and this is the main unknown factor at the moment. Another compromise would possible be the UMTS frequency band support with it only being dual (900/2100) or triband (800/1900/2100) depending on where it is purchased but I don’t think this will affect many. Most of these issues/compromises are acceptable for a budget device.
With that said, I think I could tentatively highly recommend this phone to users but only after they take a look at it and try to use the keyboard and check to see if the text is too small on the device; and also after some battery life tests are published – all the features are of no use if the battery life is bad. From my use with it, the screen and text size seem fine but my fat thumbs did have a bit of an issue with typing. It could play 720p video, Flash video and even edit office documents. Overall a snappy device and I’m just very impressed at what Sony Ericsson managed to pack on this device hitting all the right check boxes giving the user minimal compromises. Great job Sony Ericsson, now improve your higher end devices!
Sample Photos (note front camera was covered with a thin plastic film):