Info

a la HTC or Samsung, but this allows the Ideos to be an excellent ambassador for Android 2.2.

A sweep to the left brings up local weather information and news headlines delivered as RSS-style nuggets in Top Stories, UK, Sport and Entertain tabs. This at-a-glance listing is much easier than having to fire up a full web page, but we noticed that the content wasn't necessarily as up-to-date as you might expect. Several hours after Wayne Rooney agreed new contract terms with Manchester Utd, the Ideos' Sports link was still unaware.

GOOD CONNECTIONS

Getting online, however, was fast and painless. Now that 3G has widespread coverage it's become more reliable. Logging on to our home and office Wi-Fi networks was also straightforward.

Touch-sensitive hardware buttons below the screen are used to initiate and end calls, while a large wobbly central button wakes up the screen from its unlit state and is used for moving up and down menus. Other navigation functions are covered by touch-sensitive buttons at the bottom of the display and onscreen. The Settings menu lets you view on-device

The verdict

Price (SIM-free) £149 Further information www. huaweidevice.com/ideos/

storage space; manage, mount and format SD cards; and change connection and accessibility options. The latter prompts you to download a free screen reader from the Android Market.

Text-to-speech and voice recognition options include the (parochial or sensible, depending on your viewpoint) ability to block offensive word recognition, so your little lambs can't use speech search to find sites they shouldn't.

One of the new features punted in Android 2.2 is support for Flash video. This battery-draining option is omitted from lower-specification handsets such as the Ideos, but our abortive tests on the pricier Motorola Milestone 2 suggest users aren't missing much. More general web surfing was fine, considering the fairly cramped screen and the resulting need to zoom. The accelerometer in the Ideos is quick to respond to changes of orientation, so you can at least read in landscape.

As with most Android phones, you need an SD card in place to use the onboard camera. At 5 megapixels this is now just about average; it can't hold a candle to the Motorola Droid X or SE Experia 10, both 8Mp cameraphones.

MORE FOR LESS

If you're keen to get into smartphones but have a limited budget, the Ideos, co-developed with Google, is a great start. Running the latest Android 2.2 OS and with customisable coloured backplates, it offers the strong appeal of Google's customisable platform without the drag of an expensive and lengthy contract.

Optimus One he LG Optimus One P500 is an affordable yet highly functional Android smartphone with a 3.2in capacitive touchscreen and Android 'Froyo' 2.2. The plastic chassis may be a little basic, but its soft, rubber-style back makes it comfortable to hold and we liked the curved edges on the top and sides.

Physical buttons below the display click reassuringly when pressed and provide decent tactility, making them easier to use than the hit-and-miss touch-sensitive keys on some handsets. The one design issue we had was with the volume controls, which are a little narrow, although well positioned. The power/ screen lock key requires a forceful press.

DOT TO DOT

The PSOO's display is not as bright as some, but has a decent 320x480-pixel resolution. The capacitive touchscreen is a cut above that of the Huawei Ideos and other budget Android phones.

The Optimus One provides all the regular Android features and functions,

The Verdict

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