|Game of Phones. Best or worst pun possible? You decide.|
Gaming in the mobile space is something I don’t usually devote a lot of time to. My phones are primarily used for web browsing, social networking, texting, and music, making gaming one of the background features alongside the camera. My penchant for flagship devices like the Galaxy S III means that, when I do fancy a game, I have no issue finding a wide selection because my phone is a benchmark for performance in the Android space. When Neets asked me to assist with the gaming side of the Huawei Ascend G300 review, I thought I’d give it a shot, despite it not being my particular area of expertise. Because, of course, not all users are alike – and not all devices are created equal – I thought I’d enlist my partner, Miss Terri, for assistance on the gaming front, as mobile gaming most certainly is her forte.
Now, Miss Terri uses the old faithful Nexus One as her daily driver. She’s a stickler for aesthetics and design, and no other devices caught her eye last year, although I’ve tried to coax her into an upgrade for some time. This year’s HTC One X and Galaxy S III have her considerably more enthused, yet for now she’s trucking on with a 3.7” WVGA screen, a single-core Snapdragon (The massively-popular QSD8250 of HTC HD2, Desire, and every Windows Phone 7 launch device fame), 512MB of RAM, and limited internal storage. As such, she’s effectively using a device on par with the G300 already, even using the same Adreno 200 GPU, although the G300’s Snapdragon is the more recent 45nm MSM7227A rather than the Nexus One’s 65nm SoC – the 7227A is also found in LG’s recent L7, as well as Nokia’s low-end Windows Phone, the Lumia 610 - and the G300 isn't plagued with the same low internal storage issues as the poor Nexus. Lest we forget, those were market-leading specs as recently as 2010, so it’s very welcome to see them now appear on more budget-friendly handsets.
The 1ghz+ processor range really represents a significant step up over the last few years of low and mid-range devices, as the performance when coupled with 512MB+ of RAM (Which the aforementioned Nokia sadly lacks) is enough to tackle some of the more recently released – and demanding – titles in the Android ecosystem. Miss Terri’s familiarity with these, and with a similarly-spec’d device, made her the perfect assistant to run through a variety of titles in the Android gaming sphere.
We ran through nine notable market games:
- Osmos HD
Given that the Adreno 200 is a few years old now, I didn’t expect stellar performance in games with high frame rates. Nor did I expect the console ports/games with massive data files and awkward touchscreen controls/graphics-heavy first person shooters to run at all – this means Shadowgun, Dead Space, N.O.V.A. 3, and Grand Theft Auto III are off limits, but Android has always dealt with device limitations relatively nicely by simply obscuring incompatible games from the Play Store should you search from the device. That said, I was surprised to find Osmos and Riptide worked, and worked well at that – responsive and enjoyable to play, although Miss Terri noted a second or two of lag on first launch. The capacitive buttons, which can be hard to press in normal operation, benefit from that same issue by being harder to press when gaming than other devices. Damning with faint praise? Maybe - but I am genuinely impressed with this phone.
I'm pleased to report that the slew of casual games that makes up the bulk of the mobile gaming experience runs just fine on this device. Although the likes of Doodle Jump aren't exactly cutting edge, and the mobile gaming sphere is moving in a more console-like fashion, casual gaming remains the bread and butter of this space, and it's important that the essentials perform well. Even better, the generous 1500mAh battery that Huawei saw fit to include kept on truckin’ after a surprising amount of game time – a half-hour of Temple Run took it down less than 10%. I note that some markets are receiving the G300 with a 1200mAh battery, so it's nice to see NZ get the larger option. Although, as mentioned, the more action-packed and graphically-intensive games aren’t all steam ahead, I don’t think that’s much of an issue for the target market for this device – first-time smartphone buyers. Considering that virtually every Android device will go a round or two of Angry Birds (Unless you’re unlucky enough to be using, dare I say it…a resistive touchscreen!), a little more flexibility and muscle in the gaming department is very welcome here. Given the performance experienced stock, i'd not be terribly surprised if the likes of Chainfire 3D could see this device run more demanding titles - although that would require rooting, and was thus outside the bounds of the fun we could have with this review device. Miss Terri suggests that the G300 would be a welcome upgrade for those who’re currently on last year’s mid-range specs – thinking the lower end of LG, Samsung, and Huawei’s lineup, here. Indeed, it attracted attention from a friend who currently uses the decidedly entry-level IDEOS U8150, the first Android device to launch on 2degrees, and the G300 may well prove a sensible upgrade for her.
As almost every phone above $150.00NZ is now a smartphone (Of sorts), and considering the G300 can be had on sale for $250.00, one could certainly do a lot worse for the price in the current market. Huawei's marketing does an interesting job of talking the device up, although I'd dispute Gingerbread having anything resembling a new software smell at this point. As long as that promised Ice Cream Sandwich update hits sooner rather than later, I'll gladly endorse this device to friends and family. It's a nice form factor, has acceptable build quality, great specs for the price bracket, and the bundled software is largely inoffensive. Huawei have really started to make a name for themselves in the NZ market, and I look forward to seeing them break into the high end - This is currently the highest-spec'd smartphone Huawei offer here, although they note the beefier-spec'd Ascend P1 (Dual core OMAP 4430 CPU, QHD screen, ships with Ice Cream Sandwich) is coming soon.
Now, how about that Ascend D Quad XL, eh?
Now, how about that Ascend D Quad XL, eh?