The Huawei U8180 "Gaga" Phone – A capable entry level smartphone

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Huawei U8180 Gaga
We already covered the launch event of the Huawei U8180, and Yomi has a review of the Gaga phone here on the blog already too. So, you might be asking, What’s the point of a second review?

What you are to expect from this review is a narrative from someone who is having his first ever experience with Android OS. Yes; that’s me. It is also the first time I am spending a great deal of time with a full touchscreen device. I once bought the Nokia N8, but sold it shortly after.

The Gaga phone is a small, dainty device with Android 2.2 and a 2.8-inch screen. The full specs were already published in the previous review here.

Setting up the phone up was simple. Power on the phone and enter your Google email and password. If you do not have one, you’d do well to create one. Without it, you will not be able to access some basic features of the phone like the Android market.

Take note, the Huawei u8180 that I am reviewing is a loaned device from Etisalat. It is available for offer at N18,999. Bear in mind also that it is locked to the Etisalat network, so forget about trying to slot in a SIM from another network. That won’t work.

What I adore about the device
As someone who is coming from a Symbian environment, there are certain things I immediately loved about the phone.

Integration of third party apps with the Phone – This is a feature that can be found in other Android phones too, not just the Gaga phone. I use Opera Mini browser much, as it helps to conserve amount of data consumed. As soon as you click the option icon on the Opera Mini browser and click on Share, you will be presented with different options depending on the messaging apps you have installed on the device.

Opera Share

In my own case, I had installed Facebook, Twitter for Android, Twitterific, Buffer App, Google+ and Gmail that came with it. The browser gives you option to share whatever you are reading to these locations with ease.


Android Market
In the Android market you can search between paid and free apps. There are lots of free apps in the Android Market. In my case, I was keen to download, Twitter for Android, Twitterefic, Angry bird. Facebook app, Whatsapp, Google plus and some other apps I was playing with. You have to be signed in to your Gmail account before you can access the Android market. After you do that, the rest is easy.

Gaga runs Android 2.2 Froyo. Given the screen estate, there is not so much opportunity for you to enjoy its features to the maximum. But I tell you after spending a few days with the phone, you will be forced to like it and want to take it with you any where you go. It is not as smooth and fast when switching from one operation to the order. For its price range, however, I will say that it is okay.

YouTube is there for you. There is an app that comes pre-installed with the phone. With ease you can search among the numerous videos that are on YouTube.

I was able to stream some videos over Etisalat’s 3.75G network.

Music playback has some nice quality too on the device.

Social Networking
The major social networks have apps that are free for Android, and so available for the Gaga phone. There is Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Google plus, Facebook, and Skype. They all integrate effectively with your contacts. When downloading the different apps, the phone will prompt you and ask if you will like your Facebook contacts to be synchronised with your contacts on the phone.

I particularly like the way the contacts can synchronise with the other apps. It would sync your Google contacts with your mobile phone for you. While working with Twitter of Facebook, it’ll allow you to decide what browser you want to use to open the link.

Typing on The Touchscreen
Typing on the touchscreen will be a chore for starters. However, as soon as you get more comfortable with it and use the auto-correct feature, you’d be comfortable. I spoke with a few people who are hard core physical QWERTY fans and who say they will not go for any touchscreen phone. I think that’s a sentiment that will last only for a while. Soon touchscreen will become ubiquitous.

I was not happy about a few things
I could not get an app to take screen snaps. After a few inquiries, I was told I would have to root the device to make the screenshot apps that are available work with it. It is most likely that those who will pick interest in the Gaga phone are not geeks. So, they will not be ready to root or hack their phone to perform such a function.

The battery does not last long enough. I do not get a full day use from it. I am a heavy user.

The Gaga phone comes with 50MB monthly free data from Etisalat. I exhausted the 50MB in less than 4 hours. If you do decide to get the phone and will like to know how to manage it to minimise data consumption, be sure to check this piece we did here – Managing mobile internet consumption on Android smartphones.