Huawei Ascend Y300 tips? (launcher/browser/keyboard choice etc.)

Last week my non-techie brother asked me for help to choose a circa-100€ (that's around $130, but here in Italy the conversion on tech stuff is often 1:1) smartphone, his very first one.

He had to pick one fairly quickly, and the cheaper model on Amazon with decent specs, good reviews and Jelly Bean (4.1 – 4.2.2 update maybe coming) was the Huawei Ascend Y300.

He got two, one for himself and one for his girlfriend. A few days ago I helped them set-up the phones, import contacts, install essential apps and stuff – save for the horrible launcher, the phone is really good for that price point.

Not being an Android user myself I'd love a few tips, especially if there is any Y300 user/owner out there.

My major concerns:

  • the default launcher is pretty bad, it's laggy and it's very slow to organize and move apps around; would you suggest switching to Nova or something else? (please consider that the phone is owned by non-geeks, I'd only switch the launcher to gain a fluid and simpler experience, not for extreme customization)
  • the default keyboard is Huawei's, but can be easily switched to stock. I feel the stock JB keyboard is simpler and less cramped on the 4" 800x400 px screen, but I'd love to hear your thoughts (I'm not very inclined to installing a 3rd party keyboard.)
  • I didn't have the chance to really test the default browser vs. Chrome (which is also preinstalled, only buried in a "Google apps" folder), but I'm under the impression that the latter is slower (maybe not in rendering, but the application itself feels slower.) What's your experience?

That's all! Any other tip is welcome, thanks a lot :)