Orange Barcelona review

Barry de la Rosa
20 Sep 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

A well-built QWERTY handset, but it's underpowered and has some annoying software quirks



Android 2.2, 2.6in 320x240 display

Orange's Barcelona is a re-branded Huawei handset running Android 2.2. Although it's powered by a 528MHz processor, it features all the other trappings of a modern smartphone: a GPS receiver, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and an accelerometer. Best of all, it's available on a Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) deal from Orange for only £100.

The screen measures only 2.6in diagonally, so despite the poor 320x240 resolution, text and images are still reasonably clear. Browsing web pages was more of a chore, however, as the 320 pixels of horizontal space isn't enough to display most web pages at their full width. Thankfully, most web sites let you re-format the text to fit the width of your screen, but on more graphics-driven sites you may have to scroll left-to-right to see the whole page.

Orange Barcelona

A rubberised finish on the back cover makes the Barcelona comfortable to hold and despite its plastic construction, it felt sturdy. The keyboard's keys are rounded and prominent, but are packed closely together, so it wasn't as comfortable to type on as the HTC ChaCha or Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini Pro. The layout is simpler than others, however, thanks to the Barcelona's four-way navigation button, which removes the need for arrow keys.

We were impressed by the Barcelona's camera - despite its 3.2-megapixel sensor, it takes colourful, crisp shots with only a hint of noise in dark areas. The lower resolution means less detail is captured, but it makes up for this with bold colours and good contrast. Videos were awful, though. The tiny 352x288 resolution captures little detail, and footage is fuzzy and jittery.

Orange Barcelona back

This is just about forgivable at this price, but we can't forgive Orange for its crimes against Android. Many of the operating system's recognisable icons have been replaced by dull Orange alternatives and, like the Monte Carlo, many of the added apps are simply links to Orange websites or to Orange's app shop.

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